If you’re looking for inspiration read The Hummingbird’s Gift by Sy Montgomery.
“Hummingbirds are less flesh than fairies. They are little more than bubbles fringed with iridescent feathers – air wrapped in light.”
Hummingbird nests are woven with spider silk so the nest stretches to fit the tiny creatures as they grow.
“These little bubbles of spunk inspire extraordinary tenderness. One autumn, a ruby-throat, on its lonely, five-hundred-mile migration – a journey across the Gulf of Mexico, which can demand twenty-one hours of non-stop flight – landed, spent, on a drilling platform on the Mississippi coast. It was too exhausted to continue. The oil company dispatched a helicopter to fly it to shore. The hummingbird spent the winter in a gardener’s greenhouse, then left fat and healthy, on its spring migration.”
Yesterday afternoon I sat on the couch enjoying the dance of the fog as it moved in and out. This morning we’re wrapped.
Last night I finished reading The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven by Nathaniel Ian Miller. It was recommended and as I adventured in, I wasn’t clear why, and thenI was drawn in to life in the far northand how even in seclusion, politics and boundaries intrude.
The narrator lives and survives in the Arctic, near the North Pole. He has moved there in a search for solitude. He writes:
“At first I watched the weather obsessively, for it moved, changed, and spoke with something like the speed I expected from the society of man. But soon it became one seamless movement instead of a series of staccato events.”
“Now I merely took note of subtle changes. Minute shifts in scent and stone. I felt that Eberhard, (his dog) and I had found an even greater communion than ever, for now both of our minds were clear.”
He has read the classics before but, “Now my brain was a rock-pool at low ebb, empty and brackish and yet perfectly shaped to welcome the incoming tide.”
His house burns down. He builds a new one and says, “So the rock is abraded by storm, and thinks little of it.”
I’m reminded of this poem by Octavio Paz.
Wind and Water and Stone
The water hollowed the stone,
the wind dispersed the water,
the stone stopped the wind.
Water and wind and stone.
The wind sculpted the stone,
the stone is a cup of water,
The water runs off and is wind.
Stone and wind and water.
The wind sings in its turnings,
the water murmurs as it goes,
the motionless stone is quiet.
Wind and water and stone.
One is the other and is neither:
among their empty names
they pass and disappear,
water and stone and wind.
~ Octavio Paz ~
(Translated by Mark Strand, The Collected Poems of Octavio Paz, 1957-1987)
John Muir wrote:
In every walk with nature, one receives far more than they seek.
I also believe that we need a social network of support.
From Writer’s Almanac today:
On this day, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Social Security Act of 1965 into law, creating the Medicare and Medicaid programs. It was the country’s first national health insurance program.
We have ⅓ of an acre, most of which we keep natural for our fellow creatures. A part is fenced though to contain and protect a Japanese garden. Yesterday afternoon we noted movement over the fence, and here is our new friend.
We have four maple trees with red leaves. When grandson was here, he asked how we painted the leaves red. The question made me even more appreciate the variety in nature’s palette.
This is the first, wildest, and wisest thing I know, that the soul exists, and that it is built entirely out of attention.
We’ve been with our grandchild. Being with a young child is a practice of meditation. I watch the movement and openness in hands and feet and feel a response in me. Fluidity.
We read and climb. We tuck, hide, peek, bounce, jump, glide and slide as we make trains both large and small. We pick apples from their tree and eat them and leave some for the squirrels. I’m entranced with what comes forth as we make songs on his suggestions, his mind rounding on all that surrounds.
I’m home now absorbing and integrating. Mingyur Rinpoche offers an online course on meditation through Tergar.org. One son and I are enjoying the course on “Joy of Living”. I’m currently with sound meditation.
As long as you know you are hearing the sound, that is meditation.
Awareness is always pure and pleasant.
And there is Meister Eckhart: For the person who has learned to let go and let be, nothing can ever get in the way again.
Of course this is a practice, and yet pausing to listen and receive, I find myself pulsing with the universe, the heartbeat, the gong, the bell, the dance, the song.
Pythagoras: Astonishing! Everything is intelligent!
We’ve been with our 2 and ¾ year old grandchild, and being with him, seeing through his eyes and senses, it’s clearly so true. “Astonishing! Everything is intelligent!”
Grandchild notices everything and wants to know purpose and interaction. Posts provide the retaining wall for our Japanese garden. He wants to understand them, to know why they’re lined up like cars on a train. Are they a train? I never noticed before. I simply saw posts. Suddenly I felt the aliveness still there in the posts, in the metal in cars on a train, and the interdependence in the garden swept over and through me. “Astonishing! Everything is intelligent,” when one sees with the eyes, innocence, and wisdom of a child.
Years ago, I did the Coastwalk. We walked the coast of Marin, spending the night in tents, a hostel, at Audubon Canyon Ranch. We walked along the bay, up hills, slept by the beach, walking, tasting, talking, and not.
This morning I walked alone along Tomales Bay – low tide.
From The Power of An Open Question by Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel:
Life is full. In fact, life is so touching, curious, sad, exciting, scary, and bittersweet it’s almost unbearable at times. But as human beings, we need to ask ourselves:”Must we turn away from life’s fullness?” To turn or not to turn – to stay open – this is the question. And this kind of questioning takes us deep into the heart of personal inquiry and shows us how to fully embrace our humanity.