The wind blew in and doors slammed. According to my phone, the temperature drop was 28 degrees. We’re back to what we perceive as normal here along the coast.
I stand outside in the dark, hair stroked, and think of emotions, trends, relationships, and politics, and how the wind blows through.
I come to Richard Rohr and he reminds me of these words of Thomas Merton from Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander. Merton is standing on a crowded street corner in the midst of an ordinary day when …
In Louisville, at the corner of 4th [now Muhammad Ali Blvd.] and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. . . . This changes nothing in the sense and value of my solitude, for it is, in fact, the function of solitude to make one realize such things with a clarity that would be impossible to one completely immersed in other cares. . . . My solitude, however, is not my own. It is because I am one with them that I owe it to them to be alone, and when I am alone, they are not “they” but my own self. There are no strangers. . . . If only we could see each other that way all the time. . . . But this cannot be seen, only believed and “understood” by a peculiar gift. . . .
“A peculiar gift”, and yet I, too, have felt this at times, or perhaps been opened to it, or immersed, or embraced, and perhaps not so directly and articulately, but yes there will be a digestive squirt and swirl, as though yes, there is no division between you and me, in and out, solitude and togetherness, and of course as Walt Whitman says, “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”
How do we balance these multitudes? That is the joy and task.
Rohr continues: “In October of 1968, just minutes before his death, Merton told a large audience of Asian monks at a Calcutta conference: “My dear brothers, we are already one. But we imagine that we are not. What we have to recover is our original unity. What we have to be is what we are.””
Why is that so challenging, and yet, as I sit here, waiting for dark to turn to light, I see that as my carrot for the day, my mantra. I trust in permeability, and the touch of the wind as it vibrates through unity in diversity. I trust in parts as whole.
Last Saturday night this snake was one of the Animal Ambassadors for Wildcare. I remember the first time I held a snake. They are not slimy. They are beautiful. Enjoy the strength and resilience in the movement of scales.