I started a blog back about 7-8 years ago. It was my way of sharing how I look at things, sometimes directly, sometimes less so. Now I'm integrating it with my web site. Smart... Perhaps you'll find it interesting. If so, read on.
On this day of surreal warmth after a stretch of typical winter fare, I am struck by how just a taste of easy sunshine can shift more than my mood. We walk around the Reservoir, until a week ago completely ice-covered; now it yields to the temporarily inevitable warmth and its debris – leaves, twigs, branches – is free to make its way, with the wind, upon the liberated water.
It is a striking scene, absorbing on this May day in mid-February. I am grateful for the alignment of color and texture and shape – it makes me hopeful, reminding me that beauty is available at all times, under all circumstances.
Indeed, the water was green. Why? I haven’t a clue.
History, the word has new meaning for me. Here, in this palace in Agra, built perhaps more than a thousand years ago, I feel deeply what it is to be "old" and to live in a land where one can see, daily, things that are older than most anything I will see in my country.
It forces me to slow down, to wonder how this particular place came to be, how long it's been this way, what is there to learn.Multiply that by hundreds of things in this city and hundreds and thousands of cities and villages across the county. The sheer intensity of so many people, so many places, such a long, complicated, diverse and, at times divisive history.
This puts my today in context. It doesn't make it easy, just give some perspective, some greater clarity about what I have and what I need.
That dark and grey of autumn has come. Much as we might want to ignore these changes, they are real. Indeed, they will give way to the solidity of winter. This time before the coming of the cold has a tentative quality to it. We wait, knowing or assuming that the burden of winter will come upon us sooner or later. We might take heart in the field without snow even knowing that it will change and likely soon. Perhaps we can decide that we don't mind, that it's all just weather. Perhaps. Of course it's easier to do that with warmth and quiet surrounding us. Let us hope that everyone can find that in whatever way works for them.
A glass house, set up for growing things. Old but still functioning. Come up close and peer inside. It is hard to see. The door is locked. In some places, it's hard to know what is inside and what is out. Walk around it, knowing that you cannot go inside. That's OK, there's much to look at, think about...
It was toward the end of November, the time of more frequent bitter winds, the time to find the snow shovels and rock salt, the boots, mittens,scarves, all the gear to keep the winter at bay and the heart's warmth close. It isn't easy in New England, especially since you know what's coming. Yet here I am, literally half a world away, watching with surprised eyes as spring continues its more enthusiastic southern dance.
The wind blows here, too, but gently, and the jacaranda trees show off exuberant flowers, impossibly beautiful. I see the detritus of spring but even while having lost contact with their host, these petals still seem serene.
I was sitting on a bench surrounded by traffic, noticing these quiet, surrendered petals. This urban world has much in common with my home, yet it is mysteriously, unidentifiably different, unique - slower, more open. I'm glad to have been there...
Pond is a deceptive word for me - I think of a relatively small body of water, like Jamaica Pond near my home. Prindle Pond, on the other hand, is considerably larger. We started to walk around it but then thought better of it, given its size and our time.
I hadn't had my fill so the next morning, I walked back and found this lovely spot. At least it seemed lovely to me - perhaps the trees, leaning ever so much closer to the water - had a different perspective.
What a blessing is this calm body of water. I especially liked knowing that I couldn't see all of it - too big! And I liked that the houses that dotted its edges did not overpower the sense of quiet majesty of this space. I wonder how many hidden spaces there are like this.
I'll come back again...
The time of heightened color is here. It joined us slowly this year, creeping in among the warmth and dry weather of an extended summer. If you weren't looking carefully, you might have missed the beginning, but it is clearly here now. !
We celebrate the transformation of trees, this shift away from green to a riot of yellows, reds, oranges and more. Yet this palette comes to us with another story, a different sensibility, if we continue to look carefully. As glorious as the color can be, these leaves are injured, they are dying.
So is it their death that we are celebrating?
In a way, I suppose it is. Good to notice; good to consider the message that has for we humans!
Walking through the Arboretum, coming upon such a generous wealth of growing things, it’s hard to decide where to put my attention – so much to look at, smell, touch! This day I am moved to look closely, in smaller than usual frames. It is a way of generating mystery, bewilderment and that gives me pleasure!
Without any indication of scale or context, we might be unsure of what we are looking at. Rather than need to figure it out right away, let’s sit with that confusion, not fight to find what it “is” but notice how it makes us feel. So I look and I can imagine a journey to some alien terrain, uneven, lush, profoundly unfamiliar. Is it rocky and hard, overgrown and soft, what would walking there be like?
It is a momentary delight to shift our perception to imagine what is clearly not so. When we are done, and we are back with our familiar thoughts, we might think, while it has some elements of landscape, it seems more likely to be a growth on a rock or a tree. I know we'd be right but we are wiser for the pleasure of our invention, no matter how temporary.
Clearly these old roots and this concrete wall have been in relationship for quite some time. These living roots, so put upon by human behavior and yet so implacable, are slowly overtaking the retaining wall. It won’t happen in a day or a year and if humans intervene it may never happen. Yet, to look at this scene right now, you’d have to say the roots have wrestled the wall to a draw. What happens tomorrow, well, let's wait and see.
Truly, this is about the boundary - between living and dead, between industrial and organic. That’s the confusing place and the place that might benefit most from our attention. Perhaps we need to temper our black-and-white thinking to allow for greater comfort at the boundaries. That would require a greater understanding of the other and might lead, in various parts of our lives, to great compassion.
Yes, wait and see.
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