Posted in Assateague Island, Beach, Change, Covid-19, Critters, Earth, Eastern Shore, Endings, Exploring, Gifts, Gratitude, Heartfulness, In these strange times, Life, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Portals & Pathways, Quotes, Sky, Spirit, Virginia, Walking & Wandering, Water, Weather, Winter, Wonder

A day at the beach

The last full moon of 2020.

People often use religious terminology when they speak of the spiritual or transcendent. Our yearning to find whole-ness as holiness, and at-one-ment as atonement, fills a need ancient and essential as air. Because English vocabulary offers few ways to describe religious events, except in churchly terms, I often resort to such words as sacred, grace, reverence, worship, holy, sanctity, and benediction, which I cherish as powerful feelings, moods, and ideas. I’m an Earth ecstatic, and my creed is simple: All life is sacred, life loves life, and we are capable of improving our behavior toward one another. As basic as that is, for me it’s also tonic and deeply spiritual, glorifying the smallest life-form and embracing the most distant stars.

~ Diane Ackerman

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Posted in Air, Beach, Beginnings, Change, Covid-19, Critters, Earth, Eastern Shore, Endings, Exploring, Fire, Gifts, Gratitude, Heartfulness, In these strange times, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Pond, Portals & Pathways, Quotes, Sky, Spirit, Walking & Wandering, Water, Weather, Winter, Wonder

Winter’s wonders

Yesterday.

I salute you. I am your friend, and my love for you goes deep.

There is nothing I can give you which you have not already, but there is much, very much, which though I cannot give it, you can take.

No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in today.

Take heaven.

No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this precious little instant.

Take peace.

The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach is joy. There is radiance and courage in the darkness could we but see; and to see, we have only to look.

Life is so generous a giver, but we, judging its gifts by their coverings, cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard. Remove the covering, and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love, and wisdom, and power. Welcome it, greet it, and you touch the angel’s hand that brings it.

Everything we call a trial, a sorrow, a duty, believe me, that angel’s hand is there, the gift is there, and the wonder of an overshadowing Presence.

Our joys, too, be not content with them as joys. They, too, conceal diviner gifts.

Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty beneath its covering, that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven.

Courage, then, to claim it, that is all! But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are pilgrims wending through unknown country our way home.

~ Letter to a friend written by Italian friar and painter
Giovanni da Fiesole, known as Fra Angelico, 1387-1455

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Posted in Air, Art, Assateague Island, Autumn, Beach, Change, Covid-19, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Gifts, Gratitude, Heartfulness, In these strange times, Little Peanut, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Play, Portals & Pathways, Quotes, Spirit, Walking & Wandering, Water, Weather

A Monday meander: Arts and crafts

Last Friday, on Assateague Island, somewhere in the backcountry.

Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.

~ e. e. cummings

My word of the year is listen.

It’s one of those words whose meaning is in its music. Listen is a quiet word, that half swallowed L and diffident I and softly hissing S. It defies the clamorous words it absorbs, the words that have defined this year, the shouts and roars, the bray and bluster. Listening is hard when the sounds around us grow mean and ugly.

And listening takes particular courage in divisive times.

It’s long past time that we quiet our animal spirits. Our fierce public battles, political fights that have infected our friendships and family, have degraded our discourse, defaced institutions, disturbed our peace. I grew up in Quaker schools, which included regular silent meetings. This did not come naturally to nine-year-olds. But I found then, and need to be reminded now, that we can’t hear the soft, sane voice inside us if we’re talking all the time, and certainly not if we’re shouting.

Instead, let’s listen. Invite surprise. Invest in subtlety. And surrender to silence once in a while.

~ Nancy Gibbs

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Posted in Air, Art, Assateague Island, Autumn, Beach, Beginnings, Change, Covid-19, Critters, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Gifts, Gratitude, Heartfulness, Hiking, In these strange times, Life, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Play, Quotes, Spirit, Walking & Wandering, Water, Weather, Wonder

A Monday meander: Snow day

It snowed this morning!  (Hopefully you can see the white stuff that might look like lint on your screen.  It’s snow!)

I bless this day in the fullness of good it already contains, in the many occasions it offers to listen deeply, to be of service to others, to express gratitude moment by moment and to keep my mind so filled with love, beauty and joy that no negativity can find even the tiniest crack in which to set foot.

I bless this day in the infinite opportunities it gives me to love:  to love and bless every human I meet, every beast or bird I pass by, every plant I behold, for all are but the manifold expressions of the infinite Life that undergirds all.

Truly, I bless this day for the wonderful adventure it can become as I walk through it with the eyes of wonder rather than boredom, use every opportunity to express peace rather than irritation, and choose love over fear.

Thank you, Life, for this day.

~ Pierre Pradervand, 365 Blessings to Heal Myself and the World

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Posted in Air, Assateague Island, Autumn, Beach, Change, Covid-19, Critters, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Gifts, Gratitude, Heartfulness, Hiking, In these strange times, Life, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Portals & Pathways, Quotes, Spirit, Walking & Wandering, Water

Time traveling to the recent past

Riding the waves.

Once you’ve plunged into the ocean, does it really matter whether or not you believe in water?

~ Brian C. Muraresku, The Immortality Key

If you’re not willing to see more than is visible, you won’t see anything.

~ Ruth Berhard

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Posted in Air, Assateague Island, Autumn, Beach, Books, Change, Covid-19, Critters, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Gifts, Gratitude, Heartfulness, Hiking, Home, In these strange times, Life, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Portals & Pathways, Quotes, Soapbox, Spirit, Walking & Wandering, Water, Weather, Wonder, Yoga

A Monday meander: Horsing around

Gossiping on the beach.

The animacy of the world is something we already know, but the language of animacy teeters on extinction — not just for Native peoples, but for everyone.  Our toddlers speak of plants and animals as if they were people, extending to them self and intention and compassion — until we teach them not to.  We quickly retrain them and make them forget.  When we tell them that the tree is not a who, but an it, we make that maple an object; we put a barrier between us, absolving ourselves of moral responsibility and opening the door to exploitation.  Saying it makes a living land into “natural resources.”  If a maple is an it, we can take up the chain saw.  If a maple is a her, we think twice.

[…]

… Learning the grammar of animacy could well be a restraint on our mindless exploitation of land.  But there is more to it.  I have heard our elders give advice like “You should go among the standing people” or “Go spend some time with those Beaver people.”  They remind us of the capacity of others as our teachers, as holders of knowledge, as guides.  Imagine walking through a richly inhabited world of Birch people, Bear people, Rock people, beings we think of and therefore speak of as persons worthy of our respect, of inclusion in a peopled world.  We Americans are reluctant to learn a foreign language of our own species, let alone another species.  But imagine the possibilities.  Imagine the access we would have to different perspectives, the things we might see through other eyes, the wisdom that surrounds us.  We don’t have to figure out everything by ourselves; there are intelligences other than our own, teachers all around us.  Imagine how much less lonely the world would be.

~ Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass

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Posted in A bit of history, Air, Assateague Island, Autumn, Beach, Books, Change, Covid-19, Critters, Cycling, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Gifts, Gratitude, Health & Well-Being, Hiking, Home, In these strange times, Life, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Portals & Pathways, Quotes, Sky, Spirit, Walking & Wandering, Water, Weather, Wonder, Woods

Cleaning house

When autumn begins decluttering.

We dream of having a clean  house — but who dreams of actually doing the cleaning?  We don’t have to dream about doing the work, because doing the work is always within our grasp; the dream, in this sense, is to attain the goal without the work.

~ Marcus Buckingham

Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.  Lower the bar.  Actually spending ten minutes clearing off one shelf is better than fantasizing about spending the weekend cleaning out the basement.

~ Gretchen Rubin

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