Every tree and plant in the meadow
seemed to be dancing.
I have become particularly aware of our intricate relationship with nature as seasons change in these mountains. Having been raised in a family of readers, I remember campfires by tents and evenings at home sitting near as my father read to us. Stories filled with details that stirred our imaginations and dreams. There were wardrobes that opened into new lands where animals talked and creation was alive and invoked. Trees and caves, rivers and beaver dams were as important to the story as were the humans and animals. (yes, Narnia was always near)
Listening to these stories awakened my relationship with nature. As I grew older it was easy to see animation in a grove of aspen trees, gain respect of the protective strength in mountains and watch the ocean tide move in and out in the rhythm of its own music.–
As I ride through hills which turn to open fields and in turn to deep woods, I am drawn into the part of creation we are so often too busy to notice. The colors are gone on the mountain tops, leaving a stark and open view. And as I have recently described, I am intrigued by nature’s detail only revealed in the bare winter. With no foliage to cover imperfections, the landscape bears the ice and cold, trusting the earth to hold firm. Trusting the earth to support its inhabitants who huddle in wait for the first blade of green.
The stories we read as children told of a land called Narnia, a world where all of creation came together, relying on one another in the harshest of winter and the joy of spring. As winter begins I am grateful for this perspective – not just ideas from a book but a way of relating to all of creation so to nurture gratitude and respect. May we all learn to do this as a way to preserve the world around us..
Wherever you stand – be the soul of that place. RUMI
Since the recent Friday morning when I woke to news of another devastating tragedy in Colorado, I have been filled with prayers, touched by memories and searched for places of hope.
Prayers -for all people who spent what seemed like an eternity terrified for their safety and for their loved ones. For those who died and for those left behind. For the injured and all the caregivers. For a troubled and dangerous young man and a city and nation numbed by the harsh reality of our vulnerable and tenuous safety.
Memories– of all the times etched in our minds and hearts when our world shook from these same kind of tragic moments: the brutal death of John F. Kennedy, his brother, Bobby and Dr. Martin Luther King; the 1st attack of the Twin Towers in New York City, the explosion of NASA’s Challenger, the Oklahoma City bombing, the fatal shooting at Columbine High, the second and devastating attack on NY Twin Towers –911, the Amish school children and teachers who were met with the bullets of an angry man, the shooting at Virginia Tech, and now a terrifying shooting at a movie theater in Aurora. Even compiling this list is unnerving as it is certainly not complete but too long as it stands. A list filled memories which lead to the familiar question; ‘where we’re you when…”.
Searching for places of hope–we seek solace and we long for answers. Our minds need concrete logical explanations for things that only float in the gray. The quest for answers consumes our airways with repetitive ‘breaking news’, interviews and conjecture. This exhausting dissection may appeal to the over-curious and heighten anxiety for many others but what comfort does it bring to the heartbroken? Where do they turn in such a time of confusion and grief? Could we become ‘the places of hope’ where hope is absent? Could we gently hold faith for people overcome with mourning and shock — carry their prayer when they are lost for words and exhausted by sadness?
As directed in these words by Rumi, ‘to be the soul’ in such places may seem impossible but I believe we are already equipped with all we need for such a task. The soul is at the core of our being, binding us to one another. Guided by the heart of compassion, may we help light the way with hope and faith.
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?