I hear from Jane it snowed in Portland this weekend, a white coat. Portland, Oregon - snow on April 19. Does anyone notice the weather is a bit goofy of late?
What I noticed this weekend is how aware I was of the rising and setting of the sun and moon. I had to stop and be part of it. Here, I live more in the changing of the light, let it filter over time through my consciousness rather than coming to a full stop to gasp and clap.
There I sat, and watched the running of the grass, and here, well, here, too, I pause now to watch the flight of a crow and the feathered movement of the needles on the redwood tree. They reach more and more closer to me. In a few more years, I can lean out the window and shake hands.
Thomas Merton has this to say.
More and more I appreciate the beauty and solemnity of the "Way" up through the woods, past the bull barn, up the stony rise, into the grove of tall, straight oaks and hickories and around through the pines on top of the hill, to the cottage.
Sunrise. Hidden by pines and cedars on the east side of the house. Saw the red flame of it glaring through the cedars, not like sunrise but like a forest fire. From the window of the front room, then he, the Sun (can hardly be conceived as other than "he"), shone silently with solemn power through the pine branches.
Now after High Mass the whole valley is glorious with morning light and with the song of birds.
It is essential to experience all the times and moods of this place. No one will know or be able to say how essential. Almost the first and most important element of a truly spiritual life, lost in the constant, formal routine of Divine Offices under the fluorescent lights in choir--practically no change between night and day.
Thomas Merton. Turning Toward the World. Edited by Victor A. Kramer (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1997): 122.
I was reading that Thoreau, as we know, wrote that we each need to find and march to our own drummer, and it is important to remember that we do need a drum, a beat. I sit with that as I consider the richness of these days, and how we can choose to beat in tune with the pulse of the sun or the moon. We have choice over how much light we produce, radiate, or plait. We can burst forth like the early fruit trees or hold back a bit and maybe wait with the buckeye trees to venture forth with new leaves into the light.
There isn't much history where I live as compared to Rome or China, but we do have Miwok burial grounds bordering my section of the bay. We had The Fireside which was a speakeasy and then had the best margaritas and then was shut down. It seems there was always something uneasy about it, something haunted, and now that the new building of housing for the elderly and low-income, which in this area, is actually not that low, is almost complete, they have decided to announce it is built on a Miwok burial ground. They have found the bones.
I wonder about building on such a site and certainly quiver at the covering it up. We need to value the land, and balance its uses, its pace, and the population is increasing, and we will increasingly notice and utilize striations in the air.
For now, live in bird song and polish your inner stairs. We still have an environment asking for notice and care.
You can check out the countdown to Earth day tomorrow and see what is yours to do to celebrate this planet which allows us to live.
I have been reading the book Rogue River Journal by John Daniel. He spends over four winter months alone in a writing cabin along the Rogue River. He explores solitude and his relationship with his father, Franz Daniel, who was quite a force in the unions, and began working for social justice in this country in the 20's. The book is worth it for the history of the unions, and it is a beautiful meditation on nature and wilderness.
Here is a one paragraph.
"Usually I see only the grass, trees, fence, and drive that are always there. Nature excels in empty scenes. The ongoing action is in those vast sectors we can't see - miles of fungal filaments pursuing their commerce in any ounce or two of forest soil, the prodigious traffic of food and fluids in the xylem and phloem of trees, the manifold borings and diggings and chewings and excretings of various hidden insects, and of course the arcane dotings of bacteria and other tribes of the Very Small - if we could just see the tribes within our own bodies, we'd need never watch another World Series game for entertainment. But in our ordinary visual range, it's slow going. Usually."
Entrance today with your own entertainment system, dearly won.
Nature is what we know -
Yet have no art to say -