The Wood is shining this morning.
Red. Gold and green. The leaves
Lie on the ground, or fall,
Or hang full of light in the air still.
Perfect in its rise and in its fall, it takes
The place it has been coming to forever.
It has not hastened here, or lagged.
See how surely it has sought itself,
Its roots passing lordly through the earth.
See how without confusion it is
All that it is, and how flawless
Its grace is. Running or walking, the way
Is the same. Be still. Be still.
~ Wendell Berry
Well of Grief
Those who will not slip beneath
the still surface on the well of grief
turning downward through its black water
to the place we cannot breathe
will never know the source
from which we drink
the secret water, cold and clear,
nor find in the darkness glimmering
the small round coins
thrown by those who wished for
~ David Whyte
I am filling myself with poetry lately. Devouring it. Not in quick, wolfing-it-down gulps, but slowly, steadily savoring what I read before moving on to the next. I can’t explain why poetry is so attractive to me now other than to say the metaphors act as bridges between the senses and the self and the Self/Heart, which is a metaphor about metaphors, isn’t it?
Here we are, on the eve of election day in the U.S. and, having voted last week during the early voting period, I have shifted my focus. It is simultaneously an inward and outward focus, the inner landscape and outer Nature. They each (and both) hold their own kind of beauty, death, creation, change. Outside, the leaves on the trees have not yet fully changed over to their autumn colors, and they blur together on this blustery day. I admire the suppleness and flexibility of the branches, how they dance and sway no matter the strength of the sustained winds or the gusts. Birds speed by as the wind takes them, perhaps to places they hadn’t intended to go. Leaves, torn from the trees by a particularly strong gust, follow the birds. Clouds, too, are pushed by the winds. We have Gale Warnings and Small Craft Advisories reminding us that it will be windy and that we live near the water.
The Atlantic hurricane season continues through the end of the month (maybe even beyond — storms can form anytime of the year, in any season). We’ve been lucky this year. So far. Hurricane Eta, the 12th hurricane and the 28th named Atlantic storm of the 2020 season, sits off the coast of Central America and will be a Cat 4 by the time it makes landfall. Nobody knows yet whether or not it will impact the U.S. We’ll wait to see what happens when it moves to the Gulf of Mexico. In any case, we won’t be bothered much by this one unless the remnants move through with more rain and wind. Others will be bothered (more than bothered), though, and I do think of them, having to weather such a storm.
This election and the coming days, perhaps the coming weeks, is a little like waiting and watching a hurricane. Will it roar through, destroying everything in its path? Or will it be all bluster and rain, remnants of a past that could never really get itself together? I’m hoping for the latter with a calm that settles in after the storm. Not a return to normal but a chance to rest a little from the intentional chaos and anxiety we’ve been subjected to for four very long years.
I won’t be following the news cycle. I’ll find out somehow or another what happens. I have no doubt about that. My plan, if life allows it (and it might not), is to semi-hibernate for a while. Do my daily practices at sunrise and sunset, read poetry, draw, write blog posts if I feel inspired to do so, meditate, take a lot of walks, spend time with the trees, the earth, the water, and the wind. I’ve already started my withdrawal from social media, taking little vacations here and there. It’s time to begin aligning my behavior and my patronage with my values. As I’ve stated many times in the past, Zuckerberg’s values, if he has any other than money, are not compatible with mine. It’s time to stop contributing to his algorithm and his wallet.
Last week was interesting. I had the follow-up colonoscopy that was a little overdue. Two days of nothing but clear liquids was a little harder than I expected it to be. But I got through the fasting, the prep, the procedure. The news is good. I’ll have to go back in five years instead of the usual ten, but it seems like a fair exchange for good news.
I reckon that’s about it from me on this chilly, windy Monday. Thank you so much for stopping by and joining me on another meander. Another thank you, too, to everyone who made Walktober such a big success this year. I appreciate your walks and your participation/support.
It looks like it will be a good evening to watch the sunset from out at the Point. It’s scheduled for 5:02 PM (yikes!). Bundle up. It’s probably cold out there. It’s been in the 40’s today (for a high temp) and it likely feels a little chillier by the water because of the wind.
Please be safe, be well, and be kind. If you live in the U.S. and haven’t already done so (I know a lot of you have), please vote.
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 1,586) Interesting, lively discussions and disagreements with friends. It’s still possible to disagree and remain friends without being unkind. 1,587) Red beans and rice for dinner tonight. 1,588) Good news from the gastroenterologist. 1,589) Exercising my right to vote. M and I went to the local high school to cast our ballots last week. There was a steady stream of people going in and out, and we all moved along pretty quickly. No waiting at all. Everyone was wearing a mask (correctly!) and social distancing. 1,590) Hope. I am afraid to hope, but I’m going to be courageous and do it anyway.