At the Creek

The water in the creek was flowing slowly. In the early morning light, it seemed dark, almost rusty. I watched for a moment, appreciating the steadiness of the flow, the flush of life-giving water that runs continuously through this space––arriving unbidden as a blessing from unknown reaches and continuing on to touch places and lives beyond my sight and awareness.

And then I remembered other forms of the creek I have observed here. During the spring thaw, it runs high and and fast, frothy white as as it makes its way over and around rocks and roots. After many summer days without rain, it is a slow, meandering trickle, thin and spare.

The creekbed stands ready to receive the flow, however sparse or intense. I am struck by this generous receptivity––the capacity to receive and release whatever arrives.

In this moment, when summer’s abundance stands right alongside humanity’s utter brokenness, I recognize that there is something to learn from the creekbed. It is a vital aspect of the forest, offering steady, reliable presence and capacity to the ever shifting flow of energy and water. 

I aspire to offer that kind of generous holding to my family and community. Some days I am better at it than others. From now on, I will be leaning into the creekbed’s example. 

I will empty myself enough to allow generous receptivity to grow.

I will give myself fully to receiving and releasing both the trickle and the flood.

I will find stability in the bedrock beneath me and in the wisdom of creation that surrounds and flows through me.

I will hold my heart open to the ebb and flow of life’s unfolding.creek

Weaving a Life

Each morning, I wake up to find new treasures have been woven in the night. Throughout the yard, spiderwebs laden with dew lie horizontal to the earth. In the field, at the tips of the tallest grasses, more spiderwebs have been woven perpendicular to the grass. As I tiptoe among these singular and separate masterpieces of art and architecture, I wonder about the different types of spiders who wove them.

Did that tiny delicate brown creature work through the night to weave this new web?

Was it aware of the half-dozen others who worked nearby, spinning their own separate webs?

Do they start over again each night or can a fortunately located web withstand the wear and tear of a day?

Could they know that they have made a labyrinth for me to walk this morning?

I don’t usually notice the webs in the afternoon when I am watering the garden or throwing a frisbee but perhaps that is a result of my seeing (or unseeing) rather than their being (or unbeing). It doesn’t seem possible that a creation of such importance and such beauty would only exist at dawn. I imagine the spiders don’t waste much time worrying about the longevity of the web they are creating. They are born to weave and so they do. But the webs only catch my eye in the low light of the early morning when the fragile threads have collected dew. I rarely see the spiders who made the webs. They have probably gone to rest nearby, nestled deep in the grass while they wait for an insect snack to land on their finely woven dinner plate.

Walking around the webs that are scattered among the apple and plum trees in the orchard, I notice that I am weaving a landing space too.

Can I apply what I have observed and imagined in the spider’s work to my own?

Can I devote myself fully to the creative impulse, without worrying about its purpose or longevity?

Can I trust that the web of life I am weaving will sustain me and also contribute to a larger community of life?

As I turn to leave the labyrinth of webs and walk toward home, I recognize the familiar feeling of leaving this opportunity for inward reflection to turn outward toward the action and motion of the day. This is an ever-repeating and greatly appreciated pattern in my life ~ turning inward to reflect, outward to act, and inward yet again. There is a very natural, ongoing cycle of inspiration, motion, renewal, inspiration, motion, renewal…It is as natural and as necessary as both inhaling and exhaling, holding and releasing.

May I settle into this rhythm with renewed attention and devotion ~ and with gratitude to the spiders who offer a stunning reminder each morning.

Orchid Blooms

An orchid sits on my desk next to a window that draws my gaze outside from time to time as I work. My Dad chose this plant when I took him to the florist to pick out some flowers to celebrate his 71st birthday. One stem at a time, we constructed a huge bouquet to give to the residence where he lived and, only after I begged him to choose something for himself, he picked out a purple orchid in a square green pot. It reminded me of the orchids his mother (my grandmother) used to keep on the windowsill in her kitchen. When I asked Dad why he had chosen that particular plant, he replied, “I just like that kind of flower. I always have. Do you like it?” I assured him that I did. I liked that it elicited memories and that it felt both delicate and exotic as well as strong and durable, comfortable and familiar. I wondered if it held memories and emotions for my Dad also.

I watered the orchid each week when I visited Dad and its delicate blooms lasted for months. As summer turned to fall, the flowers died and the stalk which held them fell off too. When Dad died that winter, I brought the orchid home to my house.

For the last 3 1/2 years, I have moved this sturdy green plant from surface to surface trying to find the right combination of heat and light to nudge it into blooming once again. I have repotted it twice, watered regularly and offered orchid food. Then, in February of this year, as the hours of daylight began to grow longer, a promising shoot emerged and began to grow taller. Eventually little purple buds appeared and began to grow. As it grew, I began to imagine it would bear flowers by Dad’s birthday in April. When that anniversary came and went, I set my sights on Father’s Day.  By that time, there were more balls of flowers-to-be, but they were still closed tight.

Meanwhile, outside the orchid’s window, the lupine has popped up, blossomed and is now going to seed within a span of 2 months. I do not know about the botanical construction of either orchids or lupine but I trust that each plant is living out its cycle as it is intended. I am drawn to the contrast between the spare orchid and the lavish lupine field. I am struck by the dramatically different growth patterns, paces, and displays. And I am intrigued to notice that the plants elicit different emotional responses in me.

The wild, abundant, and frenetic lupine patch engages my senses and my sense of urgency. It seems to call me to action and ask what’s taking me so long. It urges me to take advantage of the energy of the season by giving my own energy to full participation in the explosion of potential. Considering all the world needs that are on my heart and at the forefront of our collective consciousness, the lupine’s call is alternately invigorating and exhausting.

Meanwhile, the molasses-slow orchid invites me to slow down and pay more attention. Its movement and growth are so slow they could be imperceptible. I am reminded that just because I can’t perceive the changes doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty happening. As I witness the protracted growth of the flower stem and buds, I recognize my own inner blossoming. Given the personal work that needs to be done to support our communal development, the orchid’s whisper is inviting and steadying.

Today, the lowest two flowers on the orchid have opened. I have been waiting, sometimes impatiently, for this for months. Now that it has finally happened, it all seems just right. The hummingbird is looking longingly through the window at the delicate new blooms as I admire the memories and teachings that they carry. Each flower has a delicate heart shaped center that must have been developing all these months, carefully protected by the outer petals.

 

May I always recognize that the teachings of the earth are teachings of the heart.

May the unhurried beauty and peace in these flowers support the beauty and peace within us.

May our own wholeness bloom in due time.

Solstice Blessings

At the solstice, I am awash in summer’s sensory bounty.

I follow my nose through the yard, inhaling the fragrant blooms of peony, rose, and lupine. Walking the freshly mowed paths through the field, I run my hands through the waist high grass at my side, tenderly touching and touched by the soft and gentle seed pods. Birds sing anthems, hymns, and chorales from balconies hidden by leaves of yellow and green.

I am dissolving into the familiar abundance. Surely, this is how life lives itself to death.

At once, something startles me to awareness. Little droplets of cool water kiss the skin on my hands and face. I pause to notice more fully but cannot really see or feel real moisture. The sky is clear, not a cloud in sight. The air feels dry, save for these curious and delightful pinpricks of coolness that fall here––and there––and there.

I often see and feel water vapor as rain, fog, snow or sleet but I have never felt it just suspended in the air. Yet, that is the only explanation for this sensation. On this crystal clear blue sky day, I can feel the micro-droplets of life-giving moisture in the air. These tiny, gentle blessings are so slight they might be imperceptible on another day and in a different frame of mind.

But today, with my senses alive to the season and my heart tuned to the mystery of life’s unfolding, I receive them with full awareness. What a gift to be invited to this mystery, to feel the cool water that enlivens this abundance.

The snap peas have grown another inch. The tadpoles have sprouted their back legs. The dragonflies have emerged. The peonies have bloomed and fallen to the ground in a single day. All this life is being nourished and, still, there is some for me.

In gratitude, I raise my hands and bow my head to receive this watery blessing, Invisible and Unknowable, Certain and Sacred.

Threshold

I am standing

On the edge

Realizing

Yet again

That I am

Always

At the threshold.

 

To move from here

To there

Does not require

a movement of miles.

Just a movement of thought

Or heart

A barely perceptible

nudge

through the veil

At each threshold

 

As thought

becomes action,

I sail

Toward the world

On the other side

Where infinite

Possibilities await.

Only I find myself

arriving 

at yet another threshold.

 

Choices

follow

choices.

Right action

Is always

An option.

The past is not yet complete

The future will never arrive.

There is only the

Ever-loving

Ever-arriving

Threshold

Of this present moment.

Searching for Wholeness

I am searching for wholeness

amid the shards of broken lives

and broken promises.

 

I am seeking healing

in a world that is ill

with greed, disconnect and fear.

 

I am longing for grace

that will fill the fissures and chasms

carved by racism.

 

I am searching for wholeness

in the hollow center of the american dream.

 

I am seeking wholeness

As I run down the trail behind my son,

struggling to catch my breath,

painfully aware of the irony and

the privilege that I, a white woman, carry.

 

I am longing for union that 

honors our histories

and also, finally,

dissolves me and you and them

and leaves Us.

 

Then, let us learn to love ourselves more fully.

All of us.

 

I am looking to the young oaks,

now full of bright green leaves.

while a few of last season’s

ragged ones hold on still.

 

I am finding wholeness,

remembering it is born in each of us,

in the healing voices and actions

we offer the world.

 

I am nurturing health,

connection and right relationship

in my own life. 

I am optimistic that

my small contributions

join others in a growing swell.

 

I am finding wholeness

in the clarity of my intention

and in knowing I am not alone.

Won’t you join me?

This is the work of a lifetime.