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A Monday meander: Community

On the anniversary of my mother’s death (09/09), a sunset.

What if our religion was each other. If our practice was our life. If prayer, our words. What if the temple was the Earth. If forests were our church. If holy water–the rivers, lakes, and ocean. What if meditation was our relationships. If the teacher was life. If wisdom was self-knowledge. If love was the center of our being.”

~ Ganga White

A screen shot from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) this morning.

I’m starting with this craziness (the map above) because I want to acknowledge it and move it out of my way for now.  It’s insane, although I’m sure someone will come along and tell me that in the 1800’s they had nine storms within a few days or some such thing.  That’s not particularly reassuring, to be honest.  But I do appreciate the sentiment of trying to reassure that all is not as crazy as it appears.

I read the discussions the forecasters write up because I find them informative and they tend to be interesting for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the forecaster’s personality.  For instance, this morning I was reading about Teddy and there was this (sorry about the formatting — can’t seem to fix it and it grows worse with each try):

Teddy will have several days to strengthen over very warm ocean
temperatures and within a light vertical wind shear regime. The
only hindrance to intensification will be intermittent intrusions
of dry mid-level air that will briefly disrupt the inner-core
convective structure. The NHC intensity forecast remains unchanged
and brings Teddy major hurricane strength by the middle of the week.
Some of the dynamical hurricane models continue to indicate that
Teddy could strengthen faster than that, but I can’t bear to make
that forecast at this time.

Can’t bear to.  Get it?  Bear.  Teddy bear.  It’s good to see the forecasters have a sense of humor.  (In case it needs to be said, I know hurricanes and storms are serious business.  Still, we need to lighten up once in a while.)

When dad babysits the kids.

Life is getting back to some semblance of normal here on the ranch.  I did my first mow since returning.  I’m grateful we found someone to mow while we were away, but I’m also glad (well, sort of glad) to be back at it.  The guys who did the mowing made a mess of things, cutting down areas we don’t normally cut down (they almost decimated the rain garden) and waiting until the grass was practically a hay field before mowing.  When it’s long (as it will get if we’ve had a lot of rain, which we did), I essentially mulch the grass, going back and forth over it.  They did not do that.  Instead, they left large clumps of grass that are so thick they killed the grass under it.  Our lawn is not manicured like a golf course, but it’s going to take a little while for things to get back to what we think of as normal.

Isn’t he beautiful?

The flower garden is big, wild mess.  I still haven’t found the bee balm I planted before we left.  If it survived the weediness, it’s still in hiding.  I’m waiting for the next cool down to get out there and do some serious looking around.  I think I’ll poke around with a rake first.  In case a snake or two has moved in.

Common Buckeye butterfly.

I registered for the Seagull Century.  I was thinking of using the bicycle rides as my Walktober contribution this year, but I’m rethinking that.  It’s difficult to carry the big camera when I’m on my bike, mostly because I don’t feel confident enough to do so.  The camera is heavy, too.  It’s easier and more comfortable to ride without it.  The little everything-proof point-and-shoot camera is perfect for bike rides and gives me a chance to practice my editing skills since the photos are often overexposed, no matter what settings I use.  In other words, we’ll see.  I still have time to think about it.

We do not want them eating that (it’s a forsythia). I informed them of the rules after taking a series of photos (priorities, ya know).

Since the Seagull Century takes place October 3-10, I’ve decided that the Walktober dates will be October 3-18.  That’s a little more than two weeks which should give us all plenty of time to get in our walk, ride, skate, swim, whatever, and post about it.  As always, if you need more time or those dates don’t work for you, let me know.  I’m not strict about the dates and there really are no rules.  I’ll be happy to add more time for you.

It’s a wild world.

We’ve been discussing values, a lot, in the Bhagavad Gita class.  It’s also a subject that’s come up, a lot, in conversation with friends and family.  One of the interesting exercises I’ve been working on is to come up with a mission statement, something I would use to express my values if I were to take up teaching yoga.  (I still have no plans to do so.)  Narrowing it down to about five or so of my top values in life started out as being a little more difficult than I thought.  Then I began to see how some things fit together under one umbrella/tent (kindness and compassion, for instance).  Sometimes it’s just a matter of finding the right word.

Something pretty.

In the Spiritual Ecology course I took in July, we were given a list of five Spiritual Ecology values.  The first was Reverence.  That struck me as an important value to have.  Those of us who have a strong connection to nature already feel some kind of reverence for life on this planet and for the planet itself.  Maybe, for some, not as much reverence for humans as for other beings.  It can be a struggle to appreciate the beauty of humanity if all you’re looking at are the flaws, the greed, the over-consumption, and the disrespect for the gift we’ve been given.

Almost time to let go.

Not on the Spiritual Ecology list of values is Community.  Except, maybe it is.  Maybe it falls under the second value they listed:  Interconnectedness.  In his op-ed piece, In the Ground of Our Unknowing, David Abram wrote:

We have no autonomy, no integrity as a species separate from the other species of this world, no collective existence as a creature apart from the animate Earth. We can understand ourselves, and feel what it is to be human, only through our interaction and engagement with all these other, nonhuman beings with whom our lives are so thoroughly tangled. And yes, of course we can and indeed do feel a deep solidarity with one another, and with the rest of our kind. Yet we cannot stretch that bodily empathy out to all of our single species except by way of the more-than-human Earth. We cannot extend our senses to the whole of humankind without the sensitive and sentient Earth getting us there. It is this vast and sensitive sphere, glimmering with sensations, that grants us that ability to feel and resonate with one another, to ache when another aches—whether it be a small girl hospitalized in Iran or a young elephant whose mother was killed by poachers, whether an old man struggling to breathe in China or an aging sea lion snagged and tangled in a fishing net. Our real collective Flesh is not that of “humankind” as an autonomous abstraction, but is the living Body of this biosphere, breathing. That’s us.

Morning moon, morning star.

My thoughts on interconnectedness when it comes to the human community are embedded in what I think of as boots-on-the-ground community.  In this globalized world, I turn towards the local:  locally grown foods (when I’m not growing them on my own), local and small businesses (and if I have to go with a big, chain store to get what’s needed, better to buy from somewhere nearby rather than order from far away because at least nearby big businesses are employing local people), neighbors.  There is an online community to go with that, and it’s become increasingly important to those of us who have had to isolate because of the virus, but I think we need to start at home, so to speak, when we can.

Morning has broken.

I reckon that’s enough from me for today’s meander.  Thank you so much for stopping by.  Let’s meet out at the Point for sunset.  It’s scheduled for 7:12 PM.  It’s been warm and humid today.  No jacket required, but you might want to wear something that will keep the skeeters (mosquitoes) away.  Long sleeves, insect repellent, whatever works for you.

Please be safe, be well, and be kind.

Following the sun.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  1,531)  Following the sun at sunrise and sunset.  1,532)  Being greeted by a crescent moon, a morning star/planet (Venus, I think), and a beautiful sky.  1,533)  Baked potatoes.  When you haven’t had one in a while, they taste really good.  1,534)  Friends and friendship.  1,535)  M, always.


Robin is...

19 thoughts on “A Monday meander: Community

  1. Interesting that you have mosquitos this late in the year. Ours mostly disappear the end of a July. Will think about values this evening now. Glad you’re home and taking up the mowing again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Kathy. 🙂 The mosquitoes stay until the first good freeze. Sometimes we see them after that if the weather stays warm for a few days. They seem to get worse every year. They also come in with the tropical systems (hurricanes, tropical storms, etc.).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m trying to read this but husband is talking to me and even though I have said 2x that I will look at what he’s got going as soon as I finish this he is continuing to talk and I just really wanted to read this. But so far all I can say is the photos are lovely and I will try to read it again tomorrow when he’s still asleep. OK. Rant over. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lol, Dawn! My husband does that to me all the time, too. It’s one reason I’m not able to keep up with blogs and blogging. Seems like whenever I sit down, he has something to say or needs my assistance for some project he’s involved in or… well, you get the idea. Covid life gives me less time to myself. It’s been an interesting look at what retirement will be like when M finally takes the plunge. 🙂


  3. I’m back. He’s sleeping. Dog is outside enjoying cool weather and a breeze. I leave tomorrow early for a few days up north with a friend. Life is good. Well, mostly, right? We still have the hurricanes to worry about…can’t believe Sally is going to hit the coast so near the last two. Looks like, in the latest prediction of path, that it will go right over our lake house, over my brother’s house and then over my sister’s house on Thursday. Neither of them pays any attention to things like this so I will worry for them. I have to believe that this is climate change induced. Every day when things get more and more crazy I am glad we didn’t have kids. But then, I can see how much you lovey ours and your grands, and how much fun you have with them and I know I’m missing out on that and then I’m sad.

    So…to combat all this craziness I am headed north tomorrow. Stopping at a nature preserve on the way for a few hours but will end up on the shores of my lake for a couple days at my friend’s house. She is so gracious as to invite me again because she knows how much I love it there. Might even be able to sleep in the bunkhouse if it’s not too cold. I am not sure exactly what ‘too cold’ is yet this season, I’m taking extra blankets in case.

    Something ate all my sunflowers. Sigh. I suspect deer. Sure, they’re pretty. But…

    Your sky pictures with the moon are stunning. The nights I’ll be up north I think will be moonless, or at least the moon won’t be up until early in the next morning. We’ll see if the smoke from the west messes with the sky or makes it prettier.

    Thank you so much for hosting Walktober again this year! I have no idea whatsoever about where to go. I’ll be walking a lot up north this week….and then the last week of September into Oct 1 I’ll be camping up north with Katie, our final of the season trip, and there will be walking there…but we’ll be done by Oct 3. She might have to use that as her Walktober though…nothing down here will be nearly as spectacular as hiking in old growth pine forests.

    Anyway…I’ve rambled enough. I can’t sleep at night these days and I think it’s making me a bit loopy. But thank you for this post! It was beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome, and thank you so much for the ramble, Dawn. I appreciate you taking the time to do so. 🙂 I hope the lake house and your family all made it through the storm unscathed. It’s been almost nerve-wracking to look at the NHC website. So many storms! We’ve been lucky so far. Isaias caused some damage, but we weren’t here for it.

      I get sad, sometimes, that my children and grandchildren will have to continue on in this world we’ve created. I think I mentioned once that my youngest son, in response to me wondering what the boys would be when they grew up, said, “They’ll be busy fighting the climate wars.” I fear he might be right if we keep going in the direction we have been. In another five to ten years politics might not matter as much as fighting for survival in a world with superstorms and wildfires and drought.

      Don’t worry about the dates for your Walktober. If you get in a good walk before October 3rd and want to use it, go for it. I’m not a stickler when it comes to the dates. They are merely a guideline.

      Looking forward to seeing your photos from Up North. 🙂


  4. When I think about reverence, I immediately remember the feeling of being outside at night, when the sky is clear and black and all the lights of the stars twinkle brilliantly out of the darkness. That to me is reverence, realising how small I am in the “big picture” of the Universe, standing alone beneath the infinite skies. It’s a brilliant, almost addictive feeling that leaves me in awe of nature.

    And speaking of nature, your daddy dear and the kiddlings are gorgeous! You are so fortunate to have them visiting. Can you plant a second forsythia so there’s more to share? ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, there are already two forsythia bushes out there and they are eating them both, Joanne. It seems they don’t want to share them with us. lol! Thank you for your description of reverence. It’s beautiful. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Particularly beautiful photos in this post, Robin! I love the deer. I can’t get such shots when I see them here.
    I agree about the baked potato. I haven’t had one in a while. Maybe with the weather getting cooler. . .
    I’ll think about Walktober. I walk almost every day. . . if we get a chance to walk someplace different.

    Liked by 1 person

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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