The ordinary man has always been sane because the ordinary man has always been a mystic. He has permitted the twilight. He has always had one foot in earth and the other in fairyland. He has always left himself free to doubt his gods; but (unlike the agnostic of today) free also to believe in them. He has always cared more for truth than for consistency. If he saw two truths that seemed to contradict each other, he would take the two truths and the contradiction along with them. His spiritual sight is stereoscopic, like his physical sight: he sees two different pictures at once and yet sees all the better for that. Thus he has always believed that there was such a thing as fate, but such a thing as free will also.
~ G. K. Chesterton
As we approach the end of our stay in the Bogs, I’m finding it difficult to begin this post about endings. So, I’ll start with beginnings, with the morning ritual of watching the sunrise and doing my morning practice. My morning yoga practice isn’t what most Westerners think of as Sun Salutations. Nonetheless, that’s how I think of it. A salute to the rising sun. A salute to something big and bright and constant in our lives. Oh, the angles change and there are long days in summer and short days in winter, but the sun, even when we can’t see it through the clouds, is always there.
This week I’ve been going over to see the Little Wookie and Little Peanut early in the morning, after my morning ritual and practice but before they start their at-home preschool day. Their regular babysitter is back on the job for the morning shift. That should help transition the boys back to their normal day when we leave. (In case you’re wondering, their mommy takes over in the afternoons. She works from home in mornings and if she has work in the afternoons, they somehow work things out since M the Younger also works from home.)
The early morning walks are nice. Even though things have changed, I still know this land pretty well. This is one case in which familiarity does not breed contempt. The year of getting outside every day (2010-2011), taking photos and blogging about it, taught me well about place and the seasons and the rhythms of life in this place.
This time of year is all about big changes, from one season to another. There will be plenty of warm/hot weather in the coming weeks, but the light is different, the days are discernibly shorter, the nights cooler. It is, to me, much more noticeable here than on the Eastern Shore. By the time we return home, the goldenrod will be nearly finished whereas here, it’s just beginning to bloom. The turning of the leaves on the trees, however, takes longer in our part of Maryland than it does here. It will be a while before the cooler nights arrive there.
On my way back from visiting the boys yesterday morning, I saw a praying mantis that was molting. They molt 7-9 times in their life before becoming a sexually mature adult. Molting is a dangerous business for the mantis. So many things could go wrong. If it’s too dry, they could get stuck and the new skin will become too hard. Or they could fall. Or become prey to other bugs while they are in their delicate state of emerging. It takes 24 hours for the new mantis skin to harden.
I saw numerous caterpillars on the milkweed. Several were Monarchs and many were Tussock Moth caterpillars. They have similar colors, but the Tussock Moth caterpillar is described as looking like Cousin It (of the Addams Family) although I would describe it more as Rod Stewart or Tina Turner (in her “What’s Love Got to Do With It” video from 1984) hair style. Tousled, wild, sticking out all over.
I’m trying to imagine what it must be like to have to emerge into a new skin or a completely new body. I saw a Monarch butterfly just as it was emerging from its chrysalis one morning during my walk over to the Lovelies when I was substituting for the nanny. Monarchs go through five instars. Once they reach the fifth instar and hook themselves to a leaf, enzymes are released that digest all of the caterpillar tissue so that it becomes a rich, culture medium. Imaginal disks or cells grow like crazy, forming different parts.
It’s amazing. How would it feel to go through such a process? We humans think of transitions or rites of passage as being reborn or changed, and sometimes there is a physical process to it. Even so, it’s not as if we are completely dissolved in the way a Monarch caterpillar is or having to shed a whole, old skin the way a snake or a praying mantis does. (Note: I do know the human body replaces itself with new cells over a period of seven to ten years, but that’s different, it seems to me, than having to do it overnight.)
But sometimes it feels that way when the change is a painful process.
I’ve been reading a lot about how yoga is an intimate and individual spiritual journey, but it is also about relationship and community. It’s not either/or. It’s and/both. Is it just me or does so much of life seem to be and/both? I really don’t think it’s just me. I believe there are a lot of us who feel this way, who have come to realize that paradoxes are everywhere and we can somehow hold the and/both. Like Francis Weller’s take on holding grief in one hand and joy in the other. In the middle of that, in our heart center, we hold gratitude. That’s what makes it easier to hold the and/both of life.
I reckon that’s enough from me for now. I think my next post will likely come from Maryland, from the home ground we call the Wabi-Sabi Ranch. I have a ton of photos to show you from this trip. Just yesterday M and I met up with close friends near The Ledges Trail in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. We had a physically distanced picnic lunch and then went for a walk on the trail. It was wonderful to see them, to know that they are well. I miss the hugs, though.
Thank you so much for visiting with me again while I’m in the Bogs. I don’t think we’ll see much of a sunset this evening. Clouds moved in overnight and there are storms in the forecast for this evening. The remnants of Hurricane Laura will be coming by this weekend, and no doubt her clouds will get here before she does. Our best chance of seeing any more sunsets from here will probably be on Sunday evening, our last evening in NE Ohio. But you never know. Sunset is scheduled for 8:07 PM tonight. (I went back to look and on July 6, the first evening here I made note of such things, sunset was at exactly 9:00 PM. Kind of interesting to see that even though I could already tell the daylight hours had grown shorter in the time we’ve been here.) Meet you out by the cornfield if it’s not raining or storming.
Please be safe, be well, and be kind.
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 1,511) To have had 1,511 things I could list to be happy about and grateful for. 1,512) M, always. Today is our anniversary. 44 years of life together. Lots of ups, downs, and everything in between. 1,513) The family that was created through us. 1,514) Rain. I hope we get a good soaking. The land here needs it. 1,515) Surrender and release.