Nature

The summer issue of Orion Magazine is on Nature and Culture, our essential need for nature.  Look outside.  Walk outside.  Rest; renew, blessed.

E.O. Wilson, a writer, biologist, and naturalist wrote: 

Planet Earth will enter a new era of its history,

cheerfully called by some the Anthropocene, a time

for and all about our own species alone.  I prefer to 

call it the Eremocene, the Age of Loneliness.  

Rachel Carson  in Silent Spring wrote:  “Our origins are of the earth, and so there is in us a deeply seated response to the natural universe, which is part of our humanity.”

On Saturday we were blessed to be in DeLaveaga Park in the rain.

Looking up!

Buckeye blooms

Wonder and Awe!

Gathering

The family gathered in the Santa Cruz mountains to enrich and nourish with redwoods and oaks.  We took the Roaring Camp steam engine train through old growth redwoods and enjoyed the sea lions in Santa Cruz.  I’m with the words of John Squadra as we circle round like a cathedral of redwoods navigating birth and loss.

When you love, you complete a circle, when you die, the circle remains.

When a redwood dies, her descendants spring up around her leaving a circle in the center.

View from the House

From the pier in Santa Cruz

Earthquake

This morning at 5:07 I felt the house shake. Earthquake.  It was a little shake but noticeable, and another wake-up call on the preciousness and fragility of each moment. 

Years ago I was at a memorial in Inverness.  The pastor was new to northern CA and said he now understood why people here tend to be more open-minded.  The earth literally moves under their feet.  

I’m with these words of Pir Elias Amidon:

Between the river banks of your heart

an emptiness flows, sparkling with light

from nowhere. Push your body boat

into the current, there’s no need to row. 

Morning Today

Children

I can’t shake my grief over the slaughter of these children and two teachers.  It’s a weight, a weight for the country, a weight it seems we deserve.  

My brother and his family lived in Newtown when the shooting at Sandy Hook happened.  They went to funeral after funeral.  When I’d visit, we’d pass a beautiful playground built with money donated as people wanted to assuage their grief.  

A playground needs children and I never saw any children playing there.

I read that the teacher closed the door when she heard shooting outside but the door didn’t lock.  Imagine if it had.  

We have money for weapons and protective gear for police and then we ignore basic maintenance.

We are a nation grieving as we enter this new month of June.  June is named after the Roman goddess Juno.  She is the god of marriage, childbirth, and fertility.

Om

Sink into the heart

Morning Fog

Breathing

Yesterday was the conclusion of a nine month group I’ve been in to explore the layers of unfolding from conception, then, birth, to death.  We learn to walk, talk, relate, lead, and then how do we meet that final breath?

I found myself allowing the exhalation to explore as it let go, to be curious about my nooks and crannies.  How much could that precious breath touch before it released back into a wider world?  Of course in the world of non-duality there is no in and out though it may feel that way.  

What I know is that for some reason, I tend to hold onto breath, to keep a little in reserve, just in case.  It goes with my need to keep a supply of food, blankets, and books in the house, just in case, just in case, of what I might ask?

In this exploration of curiosity of just how much is happening inside this organ of skin I perceive of as “mine”, I came to a settling into ease and peace, an expansion of ah and awe.  A gift!

Last night I finished reading High Conflict by Amanda Ripley, a book I recommend as a way to soften the differences between us.  

Many of us read The Lord of the Flies when young, and may have been raised on survival of the fittest, a philosophy now disproved as more and more we see interconnection and the essential need for communication as we each fulfill our niche.  

We may have feared the chaos, cruelty, and violence in Lord of the Flies, but there is another story.  In 1965 a group of boys were shipwrecked on a remote Polynesian island.  Rutger Bregman in his book Humankind describes how the boys hollowed out tree trunks to catch rainwater.  They worked in pairs, drawing up a schedule of chores for gardening, cooking and guard duty.  They started a fire and kept it going for 15 months until they were rescued.

How did they do this?  They created rituals.  When there was a conflict between two of them, each boy would go to the opposite ends of the island to calm down.   They made a guitar out of a piece of driftwood, a coconut shell, and six steel wires scavenged out of the ruins of their boat.  They started each day with songs and prayers.

We can change the story.  We can listen to each other and feed back a loop, a response, that shows we have received the other and what they are saying.  We all want to be heard.   

We’ve been living in a world getting more and  more divided, when, at heart, we all want the same things – family, friends, connection, clean air and food, and space in which to breathe.  

May we extend each breath, inviting it further in, and allowing it to reach further out, as we connect our intention by massaging our hearts.

Memorial Day

We pause and honor those lost in war.  

We pause.

Seeing my hair woven into nests of birds, I give thanks for connection shared.

Mark Nepo:

In a world that lives like a fist, mercy is no more than waking with your hands open.

Gratitude

I woke this morning in a field of gratitude, not just gratitude in one place, like heart, stomach, and/or lungs, but I woke as though I was immersed in a field, held in a gathering of sunflowers, daisies, and strawberries. 

Rumi’s words fluttered through me like butterflies.

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”

Then, on Nextdoor, I saw a photo of a whale frolicing and waving its tail.  It was taken at Stinson Beach yesterday.  The whales are here.

That led me to open Amanda Ripley’s book, High Conflict, Why We Get Trapped and How We Get Out.  One focus of the book is the tightly knit community of Muir Beach, ten minutes from where I live.  It’s peaceful there and yet the community became embroiled in conflict.  

My intention is to read this book this weekend. I suggest it as a tool, guide, refuge for us all as we navigate through pain and trauma to meet in a field “out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing”.   Let’s meet there.

The hills are turning gold

As we honor and resound

In our yard, Oak and Redwood root together and share a cleansing air