Posted in Air, Beach, Beginnings, Critters, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Fire, Garden, Gifts, Gratitude, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Quotes, Sky, Spirit, Summer, The Joy of Exercise, Walking & Wandering, Water, Weather, Wonder

A Monday meander: Elemental

Floating in a sea of green.

Don’t dismiss the elements. Water soothes and heals. Air refreshes and revives. Earth grounds and holds. Fire is a burning reminder of our own will and creative power. Swallow their spells. There’s a certain sweet comfort in knowing that you belong to them all.

~ Victoria Erickson

The goldenrod speaks of Earth and autumn.

I’ve been pondering the elements lately.  Earth, Air, Fire, and Water.  The yogis include a fifth element, that of Space or Ether (akasha), and so do the neopagans (Wiccans, for instance), that of Spirit which they also refer to as Aether or Ether.  The Chinese have five:  Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water.  I’ve been mostly concerned with the first four I mentioned in the beginning (Earth, Air, Fire, and Water).

Fiery hot pink.

When I lived in the Bogs, I think I was more grounded, more connected to the element of Earth.  I felt close to the trees, the plants, the landscape itself.  It was, of course, home to me, and in many ways it still feels like home even after living elsewhere for the past five years.

In the darkness of a watery day.

Here on the Eastern Shore, the elements of water, air, and fire play a bigger role than that of earth.  Earth, especially near the water, has a tendency to be more fluid here, shifting with the play of the water.  Not always, of course.   A good deal of farming is done on the Eastern Shore and, as in farming everywhere, earth is not the only element in play.  Too much fire, water, or air can ruin a good crop and just enough of those elements can bring about success.

One of the few orange zinnias. I had an explosion of pink this year (even though the seed packets claimed they were a mix of colors).

Hurricane Florence, who didn’t influence us too much (mostly clouds, some wind, a little rain), was a good reminder of the air and water elements.  She’s moving northward now and may introduce the fiery element of lightning this afternoon (thunderstorms in the forecast).

In the morning.

It’s day 8 of my journey to one million steps.  I’ve been doing a lot of walking outside, in spite of the heat and humidity which continue unabated (and probably will continue until Florence makes her way out to sea).  The nights have not been cooling off very much, not the way they usually do this time of year, and that means the mornings are still uncomfortable.  I come home from my walks dripping in sweat.  I can see and hear the wind while I’m out.  Flags flapping, tree branches swaying, soybeans, corn, and grasses rustling, and yet I rarely feel it.  When I do, it feels wonderful.  Even as it drags tropical heat and humidity with it, the wind still manages to refresh me with its movement.

Buzzing the Morning Glories.

I’ve been inspired on my walks by Cathy over at ~wander.essence~.  She is currently on a pilgrimage, walking the Camino.  I’ve been following along on Instagram.  (You’ll find her last post on preparing for the Camino here.)  Whenever I’m tempted to cut my walk short, I remind myself that my walks are not as long or as arduous (the Eastern Shore is flat — no hills to speak of and certainly no mountains to climb).

Hosed.

My walks have been taking on a more meditative quality, a spiritual component that I don’t think is related to place as much as it is related to what is happening on an inner level.  There is plenty of time to think while I stroll but after a while, I don’t engage with my thoughts.  Instead, I’m just walking, just being.  There’s a flow to walking when that happens, and I sometimes feel like I will just float away in the river of the experience.  Another interesting aspect has been the dissolving of the focus on my goal.  (The goal being one million steps in one hundred days.)  I experienced this sort of thing when I quit smoking and during other challenges in which I’ve met my goal.  I mind the gap, the journey, the in-between, and that is really nothing more than being in the present.  Just one foot in front of the other, step by step by step, experiencing the moment.  The goal is no longer the be-all and end-all.  It’s there, like a mountain in the distance, but it isn’t my main focus anymore.

Florence has gifted us with some amazing sunsets.

The everyday walks are also helping me get back in touch with nature, with my immediate surroundings, and with the elements.  If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I’ve experienced some wonderful views and encountered a few critters here and there.  Back country roads can be interesting and entertaining.  This morning I met some chickens crossing the road.  One of them was a mean, cantankerous rooster who stood in the middle of the road and practically proclaimed, “None shall pass!”  I tried three times and three times he warned me that he was not going to allow me to get by him.  On the third try a school bus came by and the rooster stood his ground, not allowing the bus to pass, either.  After about twenty seconds or so of refusing to move, the rooster slowly, and with great dignity, sauntered over just far enough to allow the bus to move on.  It wasn’t until the bus was driven away that I noticed the dead snake in the middle of the road.  It was a large black rat snake, and it appeared that the rooster and his hens had been making a meal of it.  Cranky Pants Rooster was just guarding a food source.  (Chickens are omnivores and will eat whatever is available.  A few days ago, the same rooster and his flock of hens were in a soybean field pulling the soybeans off the plants and munching on their version of edamame.)

Sunlight on water.

I reckon that’s about it from me on this cloudy, sometimes rainy, warm and humid Monday.  Thank you for meandering along with me.  Sunsets have been surprising us this past week.  The sky will be overcast with heavy cloud cover all day and then at sunset the clouds will thin and part enough to present a lovely show of light and color.  Let’s meet at the Point and see what happens this evening.  Sunset is scheduled for 7:10 PM.  I’ll be there early, in my rain gear.  Just in case.

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

Pastel hues. The gulls have been feeding well during high tide. The fish practically jump out of the water and offer themselves up to the birds.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  831)  Inspiration from friends, from nature, from all sources.  832)  Breathtaking sunsets at the Point.  833)  Access to an area where I can watch the sunset reflections on the water.  834)  Chickens crossing the road.  835)  Back country roads to walk and enjoy.

Catching a small bit of sunset magic.
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Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

9 thoughts on “A Monday meander: Elemental

  1. It’s wonderful that you are getting such inspiration in your daily walks. That was a great story about the chicken–crossing the road. 🙂 I love the darkening pastel hues with the gulls photo.

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  2. Gorgeous photos – even more so than usual! Zinnia, sunsets, water – the best!
    We’re getting the tail end of Florence late tonight. Another deluge – our water table and streams/rivers are the most full I’ve ever seen them since we moved here 28 years ago. Given the alternative, a blessing.

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  3. A million steps in 100 days is a great goal, Robin. I love the story of the rooster. I love how when you’re out walking, you encounter all kinds of creatures and people and flora. Thanks for mentioning me and my camino. I hear a rooster crowing right now telling me it’s about time to get up and start walking again. I wonder how many steps I’ll have at the end of my 52 days. I’m glad Florence hasn’t affected you too much. The afternoon heat here is rough, making the walking a challenge. Keep walking! 😊

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Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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