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
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).
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.
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.
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).
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.
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).
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.
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.)
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. 🙂
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.