“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread,
places to play in and pray in,
where nature may heal and give strength
to body and soul alike.”
Thursday was the celebration of John Muir’s birthday. He spent much of his life traveling into the wonder of creation. We have been gifted to share in this journey through his writings – writings describing much of what he experienced in beautiful detail and wisdom.
Ever grateful for his call to nature, I spent some time that day moving carefully inside the edge of my nearest forest. Every where I looked shades of green gently protected the new life growing in its midst. Dogwoods spread their white and pink buds throughout as if to add an extra layer of shelter.
Surrounded by new life, spring awakens our spirit. A familiar curiosity can draw us away from the busy pace of life- if only for a moment. Be it a flower pot transformed into a home for baby wrens or the scent of Carolina jasmine returning to the lattice by the front door, we are cued to remember -to celebrate ‘creation-rekindled’.
If only for a moment…
Turn your face to the sun, and the shadows fall behind you.
There is always a choice as to the direction we face. I learned, while living in Colorado, the wisdom of this land’s native people – with feet planted firmly on the earth, turning to face each direction instills honesty, healing and strength.
Shadows play an important role in life and growth. They protect the fragile seed as it prepares to root and stretch toward the sun’s warmth and light. The seed knows when the time has come to move out of darkness otherwise their life may bear no fruit nor beauty.
Shadows may be important during healing and protected growth yet choosing to turn toward the sun’s warmth brings to light all that is possible. Most all of us can encourage another with our own ‘turning’ stories. Can you recall when you faced light’s direction?
To friends and readers this post was entered with a portion missing from the quoted poem, Edge of September. In respect for the poet, Jeanie Tomasko, and to complete the original reflection, I have discarded last night’s work and now re-post what was originally intended. Thank you for your patience!
“Seasons change and so do I…” – a line from the song, “No Time”, written and sung by THE WHO. It was a song that proudly played from my dorm room window on speakers cranked loud enough to reach two other dorms and a field used for tag football and sun bathing. That was when ‘serious’ studying was set aside. It was too difficult to resist the call of Boulder’s Colorado sun. When I hear this song I can swiftly return to that time in my life – formative and filled with possibilities.
On October 1, I will have been retired four months. While reflecting on my own changes, I found myself singing this line from “No Time”. It was the thought of seasons that brought the words to mind. There is no surprise that one reflects on the changing seasons now. The days are getting shorter. I read in yesterday’s weather report — today the sun would set two minutes and twenty-three seconds earlier. It does not take a written report to know that summer is waning. Evenings are cooler – the trees are beginning to show highlights of gold and red in their leaves. I have always enjoyed “transition seasons”. These seasons seem to act as a bridge between winter’s cold and the breathless heat of summer.
This fall I am particularly aware of how life can reflect the nature of seasons. In the heat of this past summer, my new life in retirement felt uncomfortable, still too bright for me to find focus. As in other times of change in my life, I continued to be grateful for God’s grace in each day’s rhythm. Too tired and distracted with details, I would have been unable to tend to the sun’s rising and setting.
Now, I seem to welcome these early days of fall. With four months of retirement behind me, I sense the beginning of a pattern to my days — the words rest and relax feel less foreign. These early days of fall remind me that all of creation knows the stress and creative energy found in times of transition. With gratitude, I welcome fall as I prepare to receive its guidance and calming pace.
Edge of September
Again this year it comes:
the shift in the wind
that certain slant of sun
the sudden red of sumac.
Out at the lake
birdsong is less urgent,
the young can feed themselves.
In a few days
something like light
will tug on wings.
I am at home with
the downside of summer.
I take stock of the woodpile.
Night comes earlier. The space
between cricket chirps, longer.
I’ve stopped coloring my hair.
My husband fingers the gray
as if learning a tenderness.