The San Bruno fire is with many of us today. Just like that, there is explosion, loss, change. A friend has surgery this morning. A friend of a friend dies, and yet, each day I look out on a landscape that holds stability as the seasons and light change. This morning, I hear a chain saw and we will be taking out more trees in a few weeks. Each day I ask the trees if that is what they need. We have a neighbor who moved in and now lives in fear that the trees will fall. I don't want to cause distress and so each day is homage to friend trees as we celebrate their last days.
I'm reading a wonderful book, Here If You Need Me, by Kate Braestrup. She is a chaplain to search-and-rescue workers. She speaks of what she can say when a rescue goes well or not. She says, "I'd like to say I know what I'm doing, have ready answers for any questions that arise, but I don't. What I am conscious of is a softening in my body, an almost painful tenderness in my chest."
Perhaps as we go through these next few days, September 10, 11, 12, we can be aware of a "softening in our body, an almost painful tenderness in our chest."
E.B. White said, "All that I ever hope to say in books is that I love the world."
That intention with each thought seems a noble goal.
As to noticing what is around us and where we live, Braestrup suggests this:
In his book, The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos, cosmologist Brian Swimme offers the following exercise:
Invite someone to visit you who lives at least twenty miles away and who has never visited you before. You can give verbal instructions on how to get to your abode ... but the one rule is this: in your directions you may refer to anything but human artifice. You may refer to hills, oak trees, the constellations of the night sky, the lakes or ocean shores or caves .... ponds, trails, or prairies .... estuaries, bluffs, woodland .... creeks, swamps .... and so on.
May your day be full and tender with noticing the natural surrounds, including the magnificent, changing heart.