I’ve been waiting and watching and waiting and watching for this old tree to fall. For years it stood decaying where it stood.. held by the limbs of the tree beside it. This tree became a metaphor for much of my life. I walked past it and would debate pushing it over and instead I waited because intuitively I knew my two hands were not meant to control its time to fall to the forest floor. This tree was so dead, so rotten, that even birds would not make their home in it.. and yet it stood.. winds blew and it stood.. rains came and it stood.. ice, snow, heat, and hail.. it just held on.. until now. I feel myself rejoicing as once again it’s metaphor - it’s story is not lost on me. I will say beyond a doubt I am glad to see the hole in the Canopy this tree has left. Sayonara old friend. Let the new saplings grow! Thanks for the medicine and teachings about holding on and knowing when to let go.
Today officially wraps up 2 years of looking for moments, catching them, enjoying them, and making the daily space in my life to feel them and fully experience them.
730 days ago I began a 30 day sit spot challenge that became a life commitment of practice, sustenance, and tenderness in a world filled with suffering and heart ache. Some days these fleeting moments are all I have to keep me going. Most days they are everything to me. They are the daily reminder that in the end somehow - someway - love wins. Though this simple feeling can be hard to see in a world filled with so much. But, it is there.. waiting for me.. to catch it and remember my place in it.
There have been so many seasons, the coming, the going, the watching and waiting for them.. And like all seasons they teach impermanence and change. Which is the greatest lesson of them all so far. The realization - the truth - that we have been told - that I have been told - over and over and over again.. Change is the only constant.. Change is beautiful. It is surprising. And with every new season I marvel at the subtly the earth changes at and wonder does she also feel that pain I feel with change.. My heart tells me she doesn't. My mind says otherwise.
Great trees have fallen in the forest of my heart during great storms. Trees I thought would stand with me for the rest of my days. What foolishness my attachment to things is and how blinding it is. Like all powerful trees, they have left a hole in the canopy that has allowed new seeds that were lying in wait to germinate and begin to grow. And my forest of life is filled with sweet little saplings of all kinds of trees and flowers and shrubs. The decaying tree has been the continual reminder of the process - how the old still feeds the new.
I have planted seeds and watched them grow into the vegetables who will sustain me through the winter. And when we eat them they will remind us that summer is simply a few suns and moons away. Those same vegetables and flowers have provided the nectar and sustenance for countless butterflies, bees, grasshoppers and some truly strange and eccentric friends I was glad to meet along the way. The seeds that are left after the harvest feed my bird friends who sing me awake each morning and lull me to sleep each night. Friends, who proudly bring their young for me to meet and welcome to this spinning world.
Squirrels, chipmunks, and bullfrogs have come to call this small place home. Many of whom I can proudly say I am on a first name basis with. With each moment I am brought back to presence - to the teachings of the ancients - that I really have no control and must follow the heart no matter how much it hurts or how much my attachment says to do differently.
I have walked to hidden places on and off the trail to discover wonders beyond my wildest dreams in the simplicity of moments. I have watched sunsets, sunrises, reflections on water, birds, birds, and more birds. I have followed tracks, chased butterflies, and bathed in the cold waters of mountain streams. I obsessively ponder the lives and interconnections of all of those whom I have met along the way..
I started out wanting to grow closer to nature. I was wanting to be Snow White in the forest. I wanted animals to be my friends - to not fear me. I wanted to speak a language that we have long forgotten, but with a modern ear. Little did I know that language would be one that would transform and rock the very foundation upon which I have stood. For this great lesson I am grateful beyond words. There is no controlling change. It just happens. We can embrace it or we can fear it. I fluctuate between them because I am acutely aware of my emotions. But, with each season, with each falling leaf, new friend, each tender young bud, and song Snow White is no longer the aim - I've got that - the goal is to simply be.. To be myself, to be open, to listen, to learn, to watch, to wait and let the tides come in and go out.. to let the winds blow and the rain fall, to love my neighbors and do my best to treat them as I would have them treat me.. and to understand there is no such thing as better or worse.. there simply just is.. and that is all there is..
Here's to endless sunrises and sunsets.. to presence.. to voice.. to listening.. to tender hearts that are made to be broken.. to love, to learning, and to continual expansion.
...and I took up mountain biking...
I mean, just look at this. Have you ever seen anything like it? This. This, my friends.. These are the things that keep me up at night - chasing down the identity of a new friend, someone completely alien to me. I mean, look at those feelers, the black eyes, and that mandible.. Those legs! Those feet! And the red stripes.. How did this come to look like this? Seriously.. It's more than I can stand. I am completely infatuated.. Mesmerized.. And to think.. when this wild critter grows into an adult it will add to the cacophony of sound I hear right outside of my window as I type this. Welcome to my garden young katydid. Hark! The season of insects is upon us!
Stored within these beautiful seeds is the potential for a tree that can live for 300 years. That is pretty amazing to me.
Every year when this flower blooms I am reminded my of Grandma Rabun. She was probably the kindest most loving woman I have ever known. She gave me these bulbs when I was very young and I have carried them with me everywhere I have lived. I look forward to them bursting out of their tightly wrapped buds overflowing with textures and patterns and silky petals. An iris's center - the perfect sneak peek to the coming orgasmic explosion waiting for just the right moment to erupt.
I started gardening because of these flowers. I had to have a place for them. My grandmother did not have a lot when she left this earth other than her family and her flowers. And with the planting of her bulbs in my new home as a youngly married princess to my prince charming came my love of the earth in a whole new way. As I consider this it is funny to me now because everyone in my family always had a lovely vegetable patch and I spent most of my summer days in them..
those were vegetables.
An Iris is a flower.. A stunning work of beauty that bursts out of the leaves on a single fragile stem for all to see, but they do not let us forget they are there quietly waiting all year with their triangular pointed leaves..
Iris's brought this rebellious soul back to the garden in the most subtle way - in the way only my Grandma Rabun could have taught me to do it.
And, so, with every Spring I wait. I watch. I tend the garden around the bulbs making sure we're all set for this growing season. When my Grandma's beautiful irises arrive I make sure I turn my eyes to them daily until they are all done for another season and then, I get back to my vegetables.. (the way she would have wanted me to).