Sunday, August 28, 2011

But Still I Stand Under The Trees

As I sit by the lake listening to to rooster's call to morning echoing in the distance, I contemplate the richness of Tuesday's dance. It could not have been a more perfect poem or line that chose me this week. I had just put out my hummingbird feeder, at the beckoning of the hummingbird who visited me last week. I have not seen her yet this weekend. I hope that she has not given up on me! The words of Mary Oliver resonated on two levels for me. At first, I thought of all the fulfilling work I accomplished last weekend, under Mother Nature's awning of trees. I sanded and painted the old bench overlooking the lake a new and vibrant deep green, to provide a place for me to BE under her arms. The work for now is done, until I move on to the next project, but as I still stand under the trees, can I stand STILL? Therein lies the lesson, the practice that I embark upon. How do I learn to still stand under the trees and remain still with the silence, with the non-doing? How easy the doing is for me, the finding sense of purpose in the projects, the accomplishments, that I can stand back and admire and feel, yes, I did this. Defining myself by all that I have DONE rather than all that I can BE, by standing still under the trees in the moment. To be able to touch the silence, that quiet place that I know lies deep within me, waiting to be unleashed. Then the being can begin. The trees are not going anywhere. They are still, they are being, they exist and have their purpose and importance by remaining rooted, by bending and swaying with the wind, reflecting their grandness in the lake as the breeze ripples  and distorts their shape, yet they remain unchanged. They surrender, and it cannot be any other way. I look out and up at their arms, at the shade their canopy creates. I feel protected and held. A seagull flies by, swooping and skimming the glass-like surface of the lake, looking for breakfast. The crows and other birds sing and echo in the morning, as the fog burns off. There is more clarity now as the sun awakens and makes it's presence known, burning through the morning clouds. Time for me to begin the day. How will I be today? Will I be able to learn to be? Baby steps once again, back at the beginning to start anew. To still stand under the trees and stand still under the trees. I welcome the sun as it yawns and does it's job of burning through the blanket of morning fog that hovers over the lake. I want to bask in it today. Just that and no more. We will see. Yes, permission for baby steps and room for a bit of doing, but creating more room today to allow the being to begin......

The Hummingbird

~~ Mary Oliver~~
"It’s morning, and again I am that lucky person who is in it.
And again it is spring,
and there are the apple trees,
and the hummingbird in its branches.
On the green wheel of his wings
he hurries from blossom to blossom,
which is his work, that he might live.

He is a gatherer of the fine honey of promise,
and truly I go in envy
of the ruby fire at his throat,
and his accurate, quick tongue,
and his single-mindedness.

Meanwhile the knives of ambition are stirring
down there in the darkness behind my eyes,
and I should go inside now to my desk and my pages.
But still I stand under the trees, happy and desolate,
wanting for myself such a satisfying coat
and brilliant work."

Friday, August 19, 2011

Don't Go Back to Sleep

As I sit on the deck sipping my coffee, fleeced and hooded, I watch the morning mist hover over the lake, just as the steam rises from my cup. The crows sing loudly and it echos through the quiet. A hummingbird buzzes in my ear reminding me to fill and hang the new feeder I bought. I am reminded of one of Rumi's poems that I am so fond of. I approach the day.............

  ~ Rumi~

"The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep."

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Last Time I Danced Mary Oliver I Was Touched Once Again

A River Far Away and Long Ago

The river
Of my childhood,
That tumbled
Down a passage of rocks
And cut-work ferns,
Came here and there
To the swirl
And slowdown
Of a pool
And I say myself-
Oh, clearly-
As I knelt at one-
Then I saw myself
As if carried away,
As the river moved on.
Where have I gone?
Since then
I have looked and looked
For myself,
Not sure
Who I am, or where,
Or, more importantly, why.
It’s okay-
I have had a wonderful life.
Still, I ponder
Where that other is-
Where I landed,
What I thought, what I did,
What small or even maybe meaningful deeds
I might have accomplished
Among strangers,
Coming to them
As only a river can-
Touching every life it meets-
 That endlessly kind, that enduring.

Finding Solitude

I can hardly see the keyboard to type as the sun is setting over the lake. The lake is reflecting the orange and pink of the western sky. It is peaceful except for the occasional dog bark that echos across the lake and the water skier trying to squeeze in one more run before sunset. My camera is at my side, Amos Lee playing in the background as the wakes and the wind create a gentle splash on the dock. There are still a few boats taking their "evening constitutional" around the lake to see what is going on. Ah..... now the silence sets in as the sky darkens. The pine trees that the Evergreen State are known for, create an ominous silhouette in the night sky and are reflected in the rippling lake. Even the rippling is slowing and settling in for the night. I hear a few girls giggle echoing across the lake as well. The dark descends rapidly and the bats begin their evening swoop to gather their evening snack of insects. I am spent after a day of scrubbing, furniture refinishing and various chores that called to me. My body aches. I finally settled in with a glass of wine, some leftover barbecued meat and some simple tomato salad I put together, and finally attempted to STOP.  To digest the day and savor the feeling of hard work and down time. The sun sets and rests. The water on the lake turns to glass and it rests. The crows that create the morning symphony rest now. It is now time for me to listen. To listen to nature, as it quiets and tucks in for the evening. I have a big day of projects on deck for tomorrow, if I can only settle in too, and sleep. The night is so quiet that every little evening sound and bump in the night is magnified. I am so used to the sounds of the city. The dumpster crashing, the rattling bottles in the shopping carts. Now it is time to become friends with the evening sounds of the lake. Is it a raccoon on the roof, a deer out for a snack in the garden, a hummingbird wondering if I have put out her new feeder yet? The house settling? It knows how to settle. I will try to listen to the lake, the house, the critters and the world settling in. Can I listen and learn as well? I am alone with my thoughts, the water, the breeze, the insects, the bats, the croaking toads, the swaying trees the quieting lake. How do I learn to settle in too as the day comes to an end and the darkness descends? Yet another lesson to learn from nature. The sun will rise in the morning and there will be a crispness in the air as I sip my coffee on the porch. The day begins, but the day must first be put to rest to gain strength to meet the new day. I have big plans that I would love to let unfold, but I must first rest. Or can I actually allow myself to rest tomorrow, to allow? The mosquitos are beckoning me inside. The sky is almost completely dark. The day is coming to an end and so must I put the doing and the thinking to rest. I long for the quiet rest that Mother Nature finds no difficulty reaching. It is mine for the taking. I just have to reach out as naturally as Mother Nature does. It is effortless and the only way she can thrive. All I have to do is watch, listen and allow. It is all I have to do. Why does the non-doing seem more difficult for me than the doing? Yet another lesson to learn, practice, the beginners mind has me back at the start once again. I long to learn the lesson, this time............maybe tonight..........maybe tomorrow............