The cloud is free only
to go with the wind.
The rain is free
only in falling.
The water is free only
in its gathering together,
in its downward courses,
in its rising into the air.
In law is rest
if you love the law,
if you enter, singing, into it
as water in its descent.
Or song is truest law,
and you must enter singing;
it has no other entrance.
It is the great chorus
of parts. The only outlawry
is in division.
Whatever is singing
is found, awaiting the return
of whatever is lost.
Meet us in the air
over the water,
sing the swallows.
Meet me, meet me,
the redbird sings,
here here here here.
~ Wendell Berry, The Law That Marries All Things
If we were having coffee, I would welcome you back to the Wabi-Sabi Ranch with a big smile and big hugs. Or a handshake or a nod, depending on what you’re most comfortable with when it comes to greetings. Come on in out of the cold. It’s not as chilly as you might expect in January, but it’s still cold. Weather rumor has it that we’ll be back down in the 20’s for highs by the end of the week with some snow in the forecast for the weekend. That makes today seem positively warm. Let’s have a seat in the kitchen and I’ll get you something to drink. There’s the usual coffee and tea (caff and de-caff), along with some hot chocolate. Since it’s sunny and not too cold, maybe we can go for a walk after we get caught up a bit.
How are you? What have you been up to lately? How is the season (winter here in the northern hemisphere, summer in the southern) treating you? Has it been very cold or very hot? Have you traveled anywhere since our last chat? Read any good books? Or seen any good films?
There are times to cultivate and create, when you nurture your world and give birth to new ideas and ventures. There are times of flourishing and abundance, when life feels in full bloom, energized and expanding. And there are times of fruition, when things come to an end. They have reached their climax and must be harvested before they begin to fade. And finally of course, there are times that are cold, and cutting and empty, times when the spring of new beginnings seems like a distant dream. Those rhythms in life are natural events. They weave into one another as day follows night, bringing, not messages of hope and fear, but messages of how things are.
~ Chogyam Trungpa
You’re probably wondering where I’ve been. Nowhere in particular, to be honest. I can’t even say I’ve been busy. Oh, there have been full days and times when I did feel a little busy, but mostly it’s been a quiet January. I haven’t traveled anywhere. Now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve even been out to Assateague. It seems best not to put too much stress on our local National Seashore while the shutdown continues. Perhaps a little unfair, too. We need to renew our pass. We could take advantage of the current situation and go without one. That doesn’t sit right with me. I have never minded having to pay to get in, just as I have never minded that my tax dollars support our national parks and pay the salaries of those who work there who should not have had to go without two paychecks because the Big Baby decided to throw a tantrum after watching someone on television condemn him for not sticking to his promise to raise a wall of bigotry and hatred.
Where I have been is… immersed. Immersed in the day and the daily routine. Immersed in sunrises and sunsets. Immersed in The Art of Self-Care course I am taking. Immersed in learning to listen while also learning how to be heard.
I have been learning new routines, routines that follow the day and the season. I have been taking my daily walks, not always with the camera but sometimes it comes along for the stroll. I have been reading the workbook for the course, listening/watching videos that are part of the course, and reading books for pleasure and for learning.
I have been playing board games (Backgammon, mostly) or having long conversations with M or with others. I have been attending meetings, including a training workshop, for our local Keep America Beautiful affiliate. I have hosted a meeting of another community group here at the ranch. I am learning that community is important. I suppose I knew that, but I know it better now.
I have missed this community, our cybernook so to speak, but couldn’t figure out how to get started writing again. I have been writing, Morning Pages, every day. That is not the stuff of which blog posts are generally made, at least not my blog posts.
I have been reading poetry and writing poetry. The reading is of good poetry. The writing is probably of bad poetry, but who knows? I’m not a good judge of my own creations. I have mourned the death of Mary Oliver. That reminds me of something I read recently that asked the question, “What if Mary Oliver had buried her poems in a drawer where no one ever saw them?” The admonition was to stop hiding, to raise your own light.
Sometimes I need
only to stand
wherever I am
to be blessed.
~ Mary Oliver, Evidence: Poems
I have learned that you can have deep conversations with someone you think of as a stranger and in that learning, I’ve begun to question whether or not anyone is a stranger.
I have been worrying about current political events, but not overly so, not to the point obsession. I have not been spending much time with the news cycle or with Twitter. I have not yet deleted my Twitter account. I think about it. I know I should do it. Instead, I have cut back on the negativity in my feed and started following people who are creative and inspiring, people who have possible solutions or good ideas, and people who make me laugh.
I have been worrying about climate change. I have grandchildren who will have to grow up with what we have wrought, what we continue to wreak. This story about how Everything is not going to be okay stresses why we should be worried. But, as Canadian poet Alice Major writes in Welcome to the Anthropocene, “we forget we live on a planet that is more inventive than ourselves.”
In a conversation with a new friend, there was talk of the extinction of humans and the ways in which the planet will recover from us. I read a book about that once: The World Without Us by Alan Weisman. Have you read it? It’s very good. Hopeful, in terms of the earth and some of the other creatures who are part and parcel of this planet. My hope is, if we humans do drive ourselves to extinction, we won’t take too many other earthly beings with us. And if we do, I wonder what Mother Earth will come up with next in terms of life?
I have been spending time with the season, getting to know winter as it is presenting itself to us this year. Bone chilling cold days when the temperature doesn’t go above 20°F are followed by a day or two of 60°F at sunrise or sunset. Winter has multiple personality disorder this year. (I know it is now called Dissociative Identity Disorder. Just using an old term because it better suits the weather, I think.) We have had snow (once), sleet (a couple of times), rain (lots), sun (sometimes on the same day as the snow, sleet, and/or rain), and at least two or three “wind events” as they’re calling them now, with wind gusts of up to 50 mph or more.
I have stood on the shore at the Point getting pummeled by strong winds and stronger wind gusts. I have walked in the woods during the super high tides we seem to be having more of lately. I have watched the moon grow, from no moon (or New Moon) to Full Moon, and I am now watching it as it shrinks (current phase is Waning Gibbous with 76% of the moon visible). I have conversed with the full moon, but missed the eclipse (I slept through it). I have watched as a Bald Eagle went diving down into the pond, twice, before coming up with a large fish. I had no idea we had fish that big in the pond. I later found the fish head in the woods, under a fallen tree by the boardwalk that leads to the dock. I wondered why the eagle didn’t eat the head? Perhaps he or she was scared off by something else and if so, by what?
Well, then. I have been chatting quite a bit today. There is so much more, but that’s enough for one post/chat. It’s time to turn this over to you. Thank you so much for stopping by for coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. Thank you so much for listening while I ramble on and on. Please stay for the sunset. We’ll go to the Point. Winter sunsets (and sunrises) can be so beautiful, color in the sky and reflected on water making up for what we see as lack of color in the winter landscape. There is color there, if you look, but not the brilliant colors of other seasons.
Sunset is scheduled for 5:18 PM. You’ll want to bundle up. It is cold out by the water and often windy to boot. The tundra swans have been out there lately, calling to each other. It is lovely to listen to.
Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 1,006) Taking the time to feel what a gift it is to be alive in this world. 1,007) Frosty mornings with sparkling sunshine. 1,008) Bald Eagles visiting often. 1,009) Appreciating that this day will only happen once, right now. 1,010) Daily routines that are somewhat in sync with the day itself and the season.