The eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time. They are kneeling with hands clasped that we might act with restraint, that we might leave room for the life that is destined to come. To protect what is wild is to protect what is gentle. Perhaps the wilderness we fear is the pause between our own heartbeats, the silent space that says we live only by grace. Wilderness lives by this same grace. Wild mercy is in our hands.
~ Terry Tempest Williams, Refuge
It’s early morning. I’ve been sitting here watching the sky, the gradual brightening of the grayness of a rainy morning. The deer are out there munching on clover and whatever else they eat that grows with the grass of the lawn. It’s not the grass. Otherwise, we would never have to mow. It’s been a good year for clover. It’s been a good year for the deer too, from the looks of the growing herd. There are at least five fawns. Two sets of twins and Ali, the little one who slept in our vegetable garden for a while.
It’s a little later now and I’m looking out the office window at the hydrangea that is so full of flowers it’s almost weighing itself down. I wonder what it is like to be so full of and so thoroughly YOU that you are willing to take the risk of blooming as wholly as you can, beyond what you think you might be able to carry? From time to time, I get glimpses of what that might be like.
July went by slowly and quickly at the same time. That appears to be the way of time lately, the paradox of it. Summer days have a way of stretching on forever while the month itself passes so fast that you’d think it was trying to set a world record for the Olympics of time.
The cohort I’m in met for the last of our round of Gita classes last night. Karin, the teacher, will be picking it up again in September with a new group. (If you’re interested, you can find more information about it at Karin’s website, here. Just scroll down a little when you get to her website. You’ll find it.)
It was an emotional gathering. Endings tend to be that way, don’t they? We’ve been together for almost two years, starting with the yoga teacher training. We will meet again in September to begin studying the Yoga Sutras. Still, this was another ending just as we had an ending of the yoga teacher training (although I suppose it could be said that training, of any kind, never really ends until you decide to quit). We’ll be on a little break until the Sutras class starts up. It will be good to take some time and let things soak in. I spent some time during the day or two before the last Gita class flipping through my notes. I filled almost two journal-sized notebooks (about 100 pages each) with notes and doodles and questions and thoughts. The remarkable thing to me is how the Gita circles us right back around to the beginning. So, here we are, at an end and a beginning.
I will insert an advertisement of sorts for Karin here. If you have ever wanted to study the Bhagavad Gita with someone, I highly recommend doing so with Karin. Her wealth of knowledge, history, and stories are awesome and amazing. The guest speakers she invites are also awesome and amazing. The community that forms around the class is awesome and amazing. (I thought about consulting the thesaurus for new words but “awesome and amazing” fit so well that I don’t mind being redundant.)
Like many people, M and I have been watching the Summer Olympics. I’m not enamored with the coverage. I haven’t actually timed it but it seems as though we get about three minutes of coverage for every ten minutes of commercials. Then there are the montages they put together (such as the one for Simone Biles narrated by Taylor Swift). I don’t mind the little bits that tell us something about the athletes, but some of the montages feel more like vehicles for the celebrity that is narrating it. Besides, I’m old (and maybe cranky). I don’t want to have to stay up until 11:00 PM in order to watch what I want to watch just so the network can stretch things out for the ratings and the money.
Gymnastics is interesting to me from an insider’s perspective. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned here that I was a gymnast when I was young. Eleven years and one shot at the Junior Olympics (where I won a silver medal for the balance beam). M and I were watching as the women were doing their thing on the balance beam last night, and when I said to him, “That was my best event. You’d never know it by the way I trip over my own feet just walking on the ground,” we both laughed because really, it’s hard to believe that I could once walk, leap, and do flips and cartwheels on a piece of wood that is 10 centimetres wide and 1.25 meters off the ground. It should be noted that the flips and tricks are much more advanced now. Artistic gymnastics (as I see they are now calling it) was much more artistic in my day with more dance to go with the flips and tricks we were capable of at the time.
Thoughts about gymnastics and my body came up this morning as I limped my way to the kitchen, my hip/knee/back problem not as bad today as it has been on other days. A lot of training goes into being a good gymnast. A lot of injury happens, too. But that isn’t what I was dwelling on. Instead, I wondered about the way I used to think I’d still be turning cartwheels well into my 80’s and 90’s while at the same time not taking good care of the body that would be necessary to do those things. This was not a passing of judgment or regrets. It was more a marveling at how the human mind works.
A wealth of evidence documents the human talent for disregarding reality. Sometimes this ability benefits us, as when optimistic cancer patients outlive their pessimistic peers or when an athlete tricks himself into believing he has plenty of reserve energy to push his body past its limits. At other times, our self-deceptions are detrimental… humans are the world’s ultimate risk takers, ignoring scientific facts such as the dangers of smoking and climate change.
~ from a book review written by Daisy Yuhas of the book Denial: Self-Deception, False Beliefs, and the Origins of the Human Mind by Ajit Varki and Danny Brower
We humans are interesting creatures.
My July has been filled with reading (note to self: I need to update my book lists over in the sidebar), writing, drawing, and listening to music. Some dancing, walking, bicycling, kayaking, and swimming. M and I have been to the beach once or twice and he’s been out on the boat a few times. Mostly we’ve been hanging out here on the ranch working in the gardens, mowing, repairing, cleaning, and all the usual chores when we’re not watching the other residents who live with us on this land, marsh, and water. A few evenings ago we had the privilege of watching a Bald Eagle who was sitting high up in one of the trees at the edge of the marsh dining on a very large fish. I marveled at how he or she managed to carry it up there. The photos I took are awful so I won’t bother to show you. I don’t have a camera or lens capable of shooting something that far away.
Given all the time that has passed since my last post, you might think I have a lot more to say/write. If I do, it’s not rising up in my mind so this seems as good a time as any to wrap things up. Thank you so much for stopping by and visiting with me today. I hope this finds you well and safe and enjoying your summer (or winter, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere).
Please be safe, be well, and take good care of you and others. I already know you are a kind group of people so I’m dropping that part. ♥
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 1,811) Bald Eagles, Laughing Gulls, Butterflies, Dragonflies, and all the winged creatures we share the world with (except, maybe, the mosquitoes and deer flies). 1,812) Coffee. I will be cutting back on my caffeine intake soon but in the meantime, I will appreciate it. (I was a latecomer to the coffee scene. I spent most of my life as a tea drinker. I think it’s time I went back to only tea.) 1,813) Rainy days to rest the eyes. Sometimes summer feels like too much (too much light, too much color, too much heat, etc.). It’s nice to have toned-down days. 1,814) You. For visiting, for your friendship, for reading, for leaving a comment. 1,815) M, always and forever. If I have to live through a pandemic (and it seems I do), I am so grateful that I have this life with him.