Spruce and fir trees in Canada are generating few seeds this time of year, and siskins, redpolls, pine grosbeaks, and crossbills are showing up in our woods and at our bird feeders looking for berries and other seeds to eat. I’m looking out the window as I write this. The sun is shining, bouncing off the new snow that fell this last weekend, and birds are hopping from branch to branch, singing.
Easy answers about the “true” nature of life are hard to come by. I often think I should try to get on radio or television shows to promote Heron Dance and its message. Heron Dance could certainly use some umph in its marketing. But what is my message?
When I started Heron Dance fourteen years ago I had a message. My answers are not so clear now. The road has a lot of twists and turns. Many setbacks were associated with my own foibles. Many of my twists and turns have to do with my attraction to complexity and poor people skills. My answers are now more in my art than my words, which is why art now plays a larger role in Heron Dance than it did in the early years.
Life is mysterious. Those who would offer to explain it to us on radio, TV, or in a book need to be considered with caution. If there is a spiritual force in the universe, and I certainly believe there is, it could well be that we are not meant to know its true nature. Perhaps we are meant to struggle with the uncertainty, the mystery that surrounds us, and embark upon a journey in search of our own answers. We grow through the setbacks on that journey. We experience life in a deep way.
When I think of words that are true—the constellation of stars I use to set my bearings—they are words of a few quiet, reflective people I’ve met over the years. Their words would not make sense shouted from the roof tops. They are words that arise out of living simply and close to the land. Or they are the words of living close to music, or art, or of serving others. The only common denominator that I can think of is that they are the words of people who have a definition of beauty and have built a life around living in close connection with that definition. Yes, they are intelligent, well-read and well-traveled, but out of those diverse experiences have evolved lives that are simple and built around a few carefully considered elements—elements that are to some extent preverbal.