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
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.