Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Sunday, January 24, 2016
Whether imposed by harsh weather, religion, or individual will, there are lessons to be learned from a sabbath. If you're feeling "stuck at home" by the winter storm, I recommend you relax, call it a sabbatical, and learn what you can. Here's my list of 10:
1. There is a difference between wants and needs.
2. True emergencies arise, but there is very little that cannot wait until another day.
3. Oxygen, water, food, and shelter are fundamental. A good Wifi connection and beer are not.
4. Rest and contemplation are restorative. If you don't understand this, then you need it badly.
5. Simplicity can be a joy.
6. Knowing how to cook from basic ingredients is an important life skill.
7. Whether watching foraging birds out the window, going for a moonlit walk in the snow, or watering your houseplants, there is a joy in connecting with nature.
8. Absolute freedom is an illusion anyway. We are never really free to do what we want whenever we want.
9. True wealth has little to do with money.
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
It started with coyote song. I had cleaned up the kitchen and turned off the music just in time to step out into the night and hear the song of a lone coyote down near the creek. It was wild, beautiful music for a cold, clear night, and it deeply stirred my imagination.
The next night, as he pulled into the driveway, my son Joshua spotted a coyote at the far end of the yard. I was delighted that he quietly entered the house and took me with him out onto the back porch to see what we could see. Picking out where he thought it would be, Joshua shined his flashlight into the woods.
Glowing eyes stared back at us. A moment later we confirmed another set of eyes. There were at least two of them, just inside the woods, not a hundred feet away.
I shivered in the cold damp night air. My breath became fog in the flashlight's beam, momentarily obscuring my vision. There was talk that it would snow during the night, and it certainly felt like it.
And there we stood, eyes looking at eyes, the four of us, watching each other in the night. I'm sure we each wondered what the others were thinking. On both sides there was caution, but no fear—each simply waiting to see what the other would do.
Our curiosity was satisfied before the coyotes', and we turned off the intrusive flashlight and returned to the light and comfort of our house. The coyotes no doubt relaxed and continued the patrol of their territory, their home.
Alert with coyote thoughts,
silently they stalk the shadows,
cautious, curious, and hopeful.
Sleepy and contemplative,
I turn to my own bed,
cautious, curious, and hopeful.
I fell asleep wrapped in coyote thoughts, wondering if it would in fact snow.
Thursday, January 14, 2016
Saturday, January 9, 2016
After decades of working retail most Saturdays, I had learned to have no idea what a blessing a regular day off could be. I believe work is a blessing too, but rest is just as necessary. I now know that a schedule-free Saturday is a gift, and I intend to use them wisely. Maybe I'll fix something, write a letter, or go for walk, but I won't make it a day where the work is simply moved from the office to our home.
As I write, it is nearly 11:00 a.m., and I am excited to see how the day will unfold. After a good night's sleep, I awoke at 6:00 this morning. Being wide awake, I drank coffee, enjoyed breakfast, looked out the windows, and wished I had more seed for the bird feeders. Then I read an article and scrolled through Facebook before grabbing a favorite blanket and taking a gratuitous nap. I have a few other things I want to do today, but there is no to-do list.
A day with no agenda clears the cobwebs from my brain, and prepares me for the rigors of another workweek. This day becomes a gift. It is a true sabbath. And I am thankful.
Saturday, January 2, 2016
This is a blossoming Hepatica acutiloba observed today, Jan. 2, 2016. Normally in late winter/early spring I celebrate the first Hepatica blossom when it appears in the back of our hollow, but this is way too soon. It may be pretty, but its appearance out of time is nothing to celebrate. To me this bloom is a reminder that something is terribly wrong.