What else is going on right this minute while ground water creeps under my feet? The galaxy is careening in a slow, muffled widening. If a million solar systems are born every hour, then surely hundreds burst into being as I shift my weight to the other elbow. The sun’s surface is now exploding; other stars implode and vanish, heavy and black, out of sight. Meteorites are arcing to earth invisibly all day long. On the planet, the winds are blowing: the polar easterlies, the westerlies, the northeast and southeast trades. Somewhere, someone under full sail is becalmed, in the horse latitudes, in the doldrums; in the northland, a trapper is maddened, crazed, by the eerie scent of the chinook, the sweater, a wind that can melt two feet of snow in a day. The pampero blows, and the tramontane, and the Boro, sirocco, levanter, mistral. Lick a finger; feel the now.
Spring is seeping north, towards me and away from me, at sixteen miles a day…
~ Annie Dillard
Let’s take a walk and see what Mother Nature has been up to lately. We can talk of many things, the small and the large of life. Or we can talk of nothing at all, enjoying our own silence while listening to the wind, the birds, the grasses, the trees, the water, and the sound of our footsteps.
The birds and deer have been bold, watching us as we watch them, not flying or running away as quickly as they usually do. The fish splash, surge, swim in large schools, hundreds (maybe thousands) undulating like one body at the edge of the creek. Perhaps it is nature’s spring state of mind. A waking in the waters, the forests, and the meadows. It seems to me a happy awakening, with nature urging us to come out and play.
Today’s temperature isn’t quite playing along. It’s cool. In the upper 40’s. Gray and cloudy although streaks of blue sky sometimes appear to remind us that the sky is clear above the clouds.
I put my hands in my pockets to warm them. My fingers find pieces of sea glass that I picked up on the beach at Assateague. Two small, smooth, white, almost clear in spots, squares of glass that the water and sand have polished. All of my coat and jacket pockets seem to have sand in them, and I am often surprised by the treasures I pocket and forget about. A shell, a feather, a rock, a piece of sea glass, a flower, a bit of driftwood, a small bone or tooth. Sometimes I give those gifts back to nature, leaving them somewhere that has touched me, opened my heart and soul (even just a little bit). An offering to the local gods and goddesses. An offering to the land. Maybe that’s why I leave them in my pockets and forget about them for a time.
In another pocket, I carry a small notebook and pen. They are there to catch phrases, bits of poetry that will never be read by anyone else, words or thoughts I want to remember. The camera, strapped around my neck and bouncing against my chest, imprisoning images and memories on an SD card, cannot capture and hold everything. Neither can my notebook nor my memory. I wouldn’t want them too. Better to capture those small bits of flotsam and jetsam while allowing myself to simply experience the rest of life. (I almost typed the “best” of life. That would have worked, too, don’t you think?)
The clouds clear and the sun comes out as we walk towards the meadows. Let’s go see what’s happening with the Bradford pear tree. From a distance, it looks like it might be budding or blooming.
As we follow the path that is being carved into the ground by deer, their tracks following a squiggly line in the middle, we talk of this and that. We touch on current events, weaving in and out of our fears and hopes. I tell you that I worry about the predictions of a civil war, as remote as that might seem, because it appears we’re already in the midst of a civil war of words, opinions, polarization, and (the hot term of the day) tribal mentality. And in the middle of discussing this, we both smile and exclaim, “But, oh! Those kids!” Those wonderful teenagers who are rising up in spite of their grief and fear, maybe because of their grief and fear, rising up to be and see the change they wish for the world.
This started with, has been about, will always be for, all of us. And who are we? We are the people who died in the freshman building on Valentine’s Day at Douglas High, and the people who died in every mass shooting in U.S. history. We are everyone who has been shot at, grazed or pierced by bullets, terrorized by the presence of guns and gun violence in America. We are kids, we are parents, we are students, we are teachers. We are tired of practicing school shooter drills and feeling scared of something we should never have to think about. We are tired of being ignored. So we are speaking up for those who don’t have anyone listening to them, for those who can’t talk about it just yet, and for those who will never speak again. We are grieving, we are furious, and we are using our words fiercely and desperately because that’s the only thing standing between us and this happening again.
~ Emma Gonzalez, from an essay she wrote for Bazaar magazine which you can find here
I don’t know where the children will lead us, or if they will lead us to change at all. I hope so. There are small indications they already have. Ooops. We wandered too far. Would you believe we walked right past the Bradford pear? Let’s turn around and go back. It shouldn’t be that difficult to find in this sea of bare branches, grays, and browns. I see a hint of green to the upper left, just around that small curve. Is it blooming already?
Not quite, but soon. There might be some open blooms up at the top of the tree, but I can’t tell. Do you see any? You say you might see some up there, but you’re not sure, either.
We walk on and you ask about the meadows, what will we do with them now that we’re out from under the conservation agreement? I tell you I’m not sure. The one thing I am sure of is that M has been pondering and planning. I like to wait and find out what he has in mind before inserting some of my own ideas. We almost always come to a meeting of the minds. Some of the area we’ll mow ourselves every year to keep it a meadow. I know M wants to allow the trees to grow in another area. Look, over there to the right. That’s something new. A holly in the midst of all the grasses, pines, and myrtles. I wonder who brought the seeds over? A bird, most likely. Do deer eat holly berries? (It turns out that they do, in late winter, when all the good stuff they like to eat is gone.)
As we leave the meadow, I spot something soft, gray, almost wing-shaped flapping in the breeze. The color is so similar to that of a Great Blue Heron that my heart skips a beat with the thought that another heron has died. (We found one last year, or maybe it was the year before, that looked as though it had been attacked by a predator of some kind.)
I’m relieved to see it’s a plastic grocery bag. Not that I like seeing plastic grocery bags scattered across the land, but I can do something about this. Pick up the trash, take it back to the house, dispose of it properly.
Speaking of the house, let’s go back that way. I’d love to walk all day but I really do need to get a few things done before the day is over. Feel free to keep wandering around the property, have a seat on the dock or by the pond, and enjoy the rest of the day.
Thank you so much for joining me on another walk around the Wabi-Sabi Ranch. The clouds have moved back in so I don’t think we’ll see much of a sunset this evening. We’ll keep an eye out and if it looks good, you can decide if we should go out to the dock or the Point to watch. Sunset is scheduled for 5:56 PM. The moon is supposed to come up about ten minutes before sunset. If it’s clear enough, we can watch for that, too. It’s almost full.
Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 576) Long, wandering walks with a friend. 577) Oyster mushrooms from the farmers market that are going into tonight’s dinner. The mushroom guy I bought them from said they are excellent in omelets so we’re doing breakfast for dinner tonight. Omelets and a big salad made with fresh greens (also from the farmers market). 578) Hope, in all its forms. 579) Bird songs and sunlight waking up the landscape. 580) Decaffeinated Lady Grey tea. Light, fresh, delicate tasting. Perfect for an late afternoon cuppa.