My grandchild has a special place outside, a large, sturdy box painted by him and his cousins, attached to a smaller one. He can crawl and sit inside.
We then created another special place with a slightly falling apart cardboard palace, some benches, two chairs, and yoga mats for the top. Two special places, private and not, into which he can crawl in and out.
I was sitting outside in a chair and he was inside one set of boxes, when I meant to say we were each in our special place, but what came out was sacred. I said, “We are each in our sacred place”, and it felt so right and true.
Though we were each reflecting privately, he in what he calls “his office” and I in my office of nature watching a bird’s chest swell in and out with song, we both were in sacred places shared.
As David Whyte wrote and says:
The ultimate touchstone of friendship is not improvement, neither of the other nor of the self; the ultimate touchstone is witness, the privilege of having been seen by someone and the equal privilege of being granted the sight of the essence of another…
And there we were, shared essence, witnessed, complete.
I seem caught in the roots of Joshua trees, the arms of Cholla cactus, as I hold and process sun and moonlight in new ways. This journey rings through me.
It was complex as my daughter-in-law’s mother passed away recently, so we carried grief with us as well as love and gratitude.
We were wrapped in the words of Pema Chodron: You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather.
And there is Bell Hooks:
Imagine how much easier it would be for us to learn how to love if we began with a shared definition. The word “love” is most often defined as a noun,
yet all the more astute theorists of love acknowledge that we would all love better if we used it as a verb.
And now I come to Galway Kinnell’s poem “There Are Things I Tell to No One”
Those close to me might think
I was sad, and try to comfort me, or become sad
At such times I go off along, in silence, as if listening
And then the poem goes on to explain what he means by “God”. This poem speaks to what I felt at Joshua Tree, what I feel now – flow – the ever-moving, balancing and giving flow – the Oneness we are with Gratitude as Blood.
Again, I’m outside in the early morning dark lit by stars. I feel the leaves and buds as they begin to rise and emerge from the trees. I’m aware of the blessing of moving through air, of how I influence my surroundings either consciously or unconsciously.
All flows in and out and through me.
What am I here to do and be?
I feel so entwined with the niches in my life, the riches, these words beacon through me, lighthouses guiding fluidity.
I would like to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.
Having two sons, over the years there have been various girlfriends, and an exchange of gifts, which as sons and girls moved on, those gifts were left here. One gift was a four foot tall creature, something well-known it seems in certain worlds, though not mine. I’ve been trying to give it away for years but finally had it sitting in the entryway to give to one person when a neighbor came by and fell in love. She left here holding it treasured in her arms. It was such an example of what we keep to ourselves rather than letting it circulate. It’s been sitting in our basement for years, obstructing energy flow and the new coming in, and now it’s carried to a new home in the arms of someone in love.
And again today I drive south to be with family, and check out homes. It’s my route of the moment, the immersion in change.
As I drive, I’m with these words of Shozan Jack Haubner, from “Consider the Seed”.
There’s a natural balance, a dance, between embracing and releasing: turning your surroundings into yourself, like the tree that absorbs carbon dioxide, and turning yourself into your surroundings, like the same tree releasing oxygen. This is what Buddhists call the Middle Way.
I spent yesterday with my grandson who is now 19 months old. He loves wind chimes so I’ve created a forest of them here at my home. He has one at his house that celebrates children. If you want a wind chime, this is one place to go.There are many. People love wind chimes.
I’ve given this little being our children’s giant tinker toys. They’re huge. He or his dad had put four sticks together with two wheels to look to me like fancy barbells but to Keo they were drums. He drummed away , each drum separate or one placed on the other, and then, he lifted them one by one and pointed, “Up!”
Naturally I obey his every suggestion, and since we were outside, I saw some hooks and nails along the covering for the deck, so I maneuvered this way and that until I figured out how to hang the drums. They looked slightly strange hanging there all a-kilter, so I didn’t take a picture but this morning it hit me. If the wind can play chimes, why not drums?
The news these days is sobering as our President works to keep our country a democracy with freedom for all. I nourish on a child in the park, on children everywhere.