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Immense things

In the Mystery Woods.

The work right now is to become immense. We have to get our arms around immense things. Violence and hatred and bigotry and racism. And also around love and compassion and devotion and a certain fidelity to protect what is alive. We have to become immense. This is not a time to become small.

~ Francis Weller

Snow falling on the marsh.

When we lose regard for the sacred, we will consume everything. Isn’t that what we’ve done? We’ve turned everything into an object. This is a resource rather than a living system, those sacred groves. A part of our call right now is to re-sacralize, to reimagine the presence of the sacred. The deeper we go into physics, the deeper we go into biology, the deeper we go into psychology, we find at their shared root, mystery. Absolute, enduring mystery. That’s the closest I can get to what I would call the holy, to the sacred.

~ Francis Weller

Among the cedars and loblolly pines.

I recently read an interesting interview with Francis Weller.  I think I’ve mentioned him here in the past.  I also think I misquoted him.  The reason I think that is because I did exactly that yesterday morning while talking with a new friend.  I (mis)quoted and paraphrased Mr. Weller as saying that as humans we carry grief in one hand, joy in the other, and gratitude in our hearts.  This is the correct quote:

The work of the mature person is to carry grief in one hand and gratitude in the other and to be stretched large by them.

By the pond.

In case you might be interested, you can find the interview here:  Deschooling Dialogues:  On Initiation, Trauma and Ritual with Francis Weller.  This led me to look for the quote I’ve been misquoting, and that led me to this:  The Geography of Sorrow.  Both articles are well worth your time, if you have the time.  Thanks to Gita class, I (along with the cohort) have been giving a lot of thought to time, worth, and what is worthwhile.  Or worth while.  Both articles I linked to were worth my while, but that may not be true for you.

Also by the pond.

I was particularly intrigued by the beginning of the second interview in which Mr. Weller spoke of ascent and descent (“We experience little genuine joy in part because we avoid the depths. We are an ascension culture. We love rising, and we fear going down.”), and how we live in a “‘flat-line’ culture, where the band is narrow in terms of what we let ourselves fully feel.”  I’ve found that to be true of myself.  I once told a friend that I not only have trouble expressing deep grief, but also immense joy.  I tend to stay somewhere in the middle which is, I believe, what Mr. Weller means by a “flat-line culture.”  I have sometimes seen misunderstandings of this within the yoga and meditation culture, where balance or remaining in the center is seen or practiced as a way of not displaying deep feelings/emotions.

It makes me wonder what life would be like if we were able to fully express our sorrows and joys in the ways they are meant to be expressed.  How high could we reach if we were to allow ourselves to descend into the dark when it is necessary?  How much deeper could we go if we had the support needed to do so?

The greenhouse in winter.

Sunday’s snow didn’t stay with us long.  It was gone by the time the sun went down.  On Monday afternoon it began to snow again, off and on.  It continued to do so through Tuesday and we were gifted with another inch or two.  Most of that had melted into the ground by sunset yesterday.  I have so many photos of Sunday’s snowfall bonanza that I could spend the next few weeks posting them.  That might be boring.  We’ll see.  I still have to sort through them.  Very often I take more than one shot of the same scene.  It’s a just-in-case kind of thing.  What I find curious is that it is almost always the first shot that is the best.  That brings up the question:  Why don’t I trust that first shot?  Or trust myself to have taken the shot I wanted the first time?  A small part of my reasoning in taking more than one shot is related to the fact that it’s digital.  I can take as many as I want with the big SD cards that are available now.  A second small part is related to blurry photos.  When I get excited, the odds are good that I will take the shot too fast and end up with blur.  As for trust, perhaps that’s not a part of this process at all.  The extra photos are insurance, and maybe that’s all there is to it.

Entering the New Woods (what I used to call the Future Woods but the trees have grown quite tall and “future” isn’t accurate anymore).

Today we have sunshine and a deep blue sky.  It’s breezy, but not as windy as it has been.  Almost all hints of snow are gone except in the dark and shady corners where the sun never penetrates.  Tomorrow we’ll be back in the 50’s (F) with rain.   The roller coaster ride will continue for a while although the weather folks are saying we are going to miss out on the next blast of arctic air (arriving in places north of us on Monday).  They’re not sure yet.

Sweet gums and loblollies.

I haven’t written about our virus load (numbers) in a while.  We are currently up to 2,268 cases with 26 deaths.  Our positivity rate 7.42%, higher than the overall state positivity rate.  However, there is a prison in the county and inmates are considered residents while they are incarcerated.  That increases our numbers and positivity rate.

M and I started double masking a couple of weeks ago.  I see that’s now the recommendation.  I will probably start wearing a single mask outdoors when we’re in spaces with other people.  The latest announcement from the local health department makes it clear that it is going to be a while before we can get vaccinated (unless things change drastically in terms of shipments).

Looking up.

As far as what we’re going through right now, we’re watching the historic trauma unfold, and the reactions to trauma, which are panic, terror, exaggerated expressions of masculinity in its grossest form. And we’re also seeing a heightened and quickened sense of compassion. People are beginning to look beyond these dualities and whether that’s gender issues or race issues. They’re beginning to see what is non-binary. What does the third way look like? What does the imagination take us into when we stop seeing it as an either/or situation? We’re seeing the ancestors of Nazis sitting down with the ancestors of the Holocaust survivors finding common ground. We’re finding the ancestors of slave-owners and the ancestors of the slaves finding common ground. That’s momentous. That’s hopeful. That binary system is beginning to create a third, a new imagining of how our mutual lives are so entangled, therefore our healing is entangled.

We have to give up the idea of private salvation and the idea of private healing. That’s all fantasy. We either heal communally or we don’t.

~ Francis Weller

Weighed down by the snow.

That’s about it from me on the beautiful day.  Thank you so much for stopping by.  Let’s meet out at the Point for sunset.  I wish I’d gone last night, but I was too cold and lazy.  It was gorgeous, with a sun pillar on display.  I watched from our backyard.  Sunset this evening is scheduled for 5:30 PM.  I’ll be there early so I can take a little walk before the sun slips below the watery horizon.  It’s still chilly, especially by the water, so bundle up.  It’s better to have the extra layers.  You can always remove them if you don’t need them.

Please be safe, be well, and be kind.  ♥

Yesterday’s sunset from the platform (probably an old deer stand) in the backyard.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  1,716)  Sun pillars.  You need just the right conditions for a sun pillar to appear.  It’s the light reflecting off of millions of falling ice crystals.  Kind of miraculous if you ask me.  1,717)  Oatmeal with apples and walnuts for breakfast.  For a long time, I was unable to eat oats.  Recently I decided to try some of the more expensive, gluten-free, oats.  And voila!  Now I can eat oats again.  I’m not sure why gluten-free should make a difference.  I still eat bread and pasta and all that good stuff.  However, I have noticed that I can’t overdo the bread or pasta or all that good stuff.  1,718)  Seeing in new ways.  1,719)  M, always.  1,720)  Family and friends, always.

A closer look. I did not have the big camera with me. The phone camera didn’t capture it well, but at least it captured it.


Robin is...

22 thoughts on “Immense things

  1. I always take more photos of the same scene than I should, Robin, but I have never regarded it as lack of trust in my own abilities, but as insurance against the dreaded blur that sometimes appears unexpectedly. Also, by moving ever-so-slightly to a different position then taking the same shot, on some days, the light can change in the resulting photo. 🙂
    Your snow photos are an absolute joy to look at, and I suspect the bending limbs on some of the trees are due to the weight of the snow. Is that right?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Joanne. 🙂 Yes, it the weight of the snow. If the snow had lasted long, it could have taken out some branches with the weight. It strengthens some, too. In this case, probably more strengthening going on since the snow only lasted about five hours or so before the rain took it all away.
      I came to the same conclusion regarding taking multiple shots. It’s insurance against blur or not getting the horizon lined up or other physical matters. Light is always a factor. But it was an interesting question regarding trust and skill.


  2. My habit of taking more than one shot of a scene has to do with film, I think. It used to be that I would try several camera settings or at least two. And of course, then I’d be waiting…The thing about the digital cameras is that if the shot is bad, eh, it’s not like I waited until the film was full and then developed and printed–it’s just a small loss. I agree that most of us like staying in the center, having equilibrium, but we can only have that when we understand the push and pull from height and depth. Sometimes we have to sit with the darkness, not wallow or linger, but sit as long as we need to. Joy, though, seems to me to be a gift. You can make yourself open to it, but I don’t think it can be cultivated. Another good blog, making me think…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love your musings on staying in the center, and “the push and pull from height and depth,” Lisa. Now you’ve given me more to think about. 🙂 I think you’re right about joy being a gift.


  3. While oats are naturally gluten-free, they are often processed in facilities that process wheat, rye, barley, etc. So opting for a pure facility probably accounts for the higher priced oats. Glad you are enjoying oats again.
    Lovely photos, Robin, as always. 🙂 I enjoyed your quotes as well… good food for thought!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Beautiful images, as always. I wonder how good it would be to allow ourselves to go to the extremes. Food for thought. Our snow came big time but it’s been relatively warm so there has been a sort of melt here, too.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thoughtful, reflective post with pictures that invite the same, Robin. I appreciate the quotes by Francis Weller. His work has been a touchstone for me for a number of years now. Grief work is so healing and can awaken us to so much more…of ourselves. Thank you for highlighting his work here. It has come at a good time.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Beautiful photos, as always, Robin. It’s good to know that real photographers take multiple shots of the same thing, too. 😀.
    It’s raining here now, so I imagine that will get rid of a lot of our snow. It was pretty though.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Merril. 🙂 The snow was nice while it lasted. We’re getting rain again today. I was hoping it might be snow, but the cold temps didn’t get here fast enough. We’ve had so much precipitation lately that it’s a wonder we don’t float away.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m loving all the magical snowy pictures of your sacred groves, Robin. We’ve been double-masking, too, when going in for medical appointments or food shopping, single-masking for walks outdoors where human encounters are few and far between, and easily distanced. Looks like we’re in for a long wait for our vaccination turns, too. Wondering what life will be like next year…

    Liked by 2 people

  8. “Why don’t I trust that first shot? Or trust myself to have taken the shot I wanted the first time? ”
    Sitting with that one, feeling sore and sad -and then hearing it quite another way by another reader –
    loved the photos and the atmosphere,which is remarkable I think

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Leelah. 🙂 There are a lot of different ways to look at that. I’ve noticed that sometimes I don’t need to tinker with things whether it’s the first photo, the first draft of something I’m writing, or a first drawing (when I’m drawing mandalas and other things). Simple is often best, and I think that involves trust.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Beautiful images. Thank your for introducing me to Mr. Weller and the links. I will dig deeper into what he has to say. I have also started double masking. I actually find it comfortable and much more secure. The best way to describe my attitude in in Southernese: I ain’t playin’ with that virus.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome, and thank you, Sarah. 🙂 I have found double masking more comfortable, too. I breathe better. I ain’t playin’ with that virus, either (because I know it isn’t playin’ with us).

      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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