Written 3/30/23 I sat on these words for many months, and the reflections therein are of Spring. Now that I find myself in the full flush of summer, the heat and intensity and imbalance, I look back at those words of just a few months ago and feel reassured that I'm on the right path - namely: my own.
Going to the beach in the evening does not feel the same as morning beach going.
The energy is different. There are more people doing social human things and making the noises that such gatherings of people make. There is none of that in the morning. Or very little. We morning beach goers are solitary types. There are more people walking in the mornings. More dog companions. Even the evening-time dog energy is different. More enthusiastic and full of play.
Nelson’s pace matched that energy tonight. I had to hop-to to keep up with him as he trotted along the path. The place where the concrete turns to gravel is where the sanctuary feeling starts. The crunchy gravel underfoot, the crsshhhshhh-crshhsshh that gives voice to my steps.
Thoughts begin to clear when the crunching gravel welcomes me. My body moves with more ease. This is where I feel myself relax into the experience. Which prepares me for what’s to come.
Tonight, the High Holy Day melody of “Mi Chamocha,” sung by a full choir atop the drone of pipe organ came to mind while I gazed upon the distant mountains-across-the-water, illuminated in soft sherbet hues by the last of the sun’s rays, cutting through a blanket of lavender cloud.
“Who is like you, God, among the Gods that are worshiped?” Awe. Wonder. Deep Breath.
I return back to my body, on this side of the water and my feet take me to “my” tree (Elliott refers to it that way, which tells me the tree and I must have a relationship, if my child can see it). I visit it every time I come here. It invites me to listen. First, to feel held (I usually wrap an arm around it), and then to breathe in its smells - still wet but now with more green in it. The tree has sprouted bright green stalks and is beginning to show buds and even a few small leaves. It’s in its awkward phase, but soon its branches will be lush and full of oxygen to trade for my CO2.
Awkward. Spring is… awkward. Muppet, the neighbor’s ridiculously adorable and aptly named puppy has forgotten all of the manners she learned in her first seven months of life. Exuberance is her current mode as she flopsily tries to jump up in greeting.
I feel awkward, too. Coming out of winter feeling like I need to have it all figured out after hibernating for so long. Spring is here and it's time to come back out into the world. “We all look a bit silly,” the tree reminds me, “when we’re first showing signs of new growth.”
The parts of us that make us feel that way will soon turn into lush, rich greenery, and blossom and fruit. Blossoms contribute to the awkward bare-limbed feeling. How is it that they are so full of expression, while the rest of us still seem so naked, our growing places just beginning to bud.
Back to the tree, though.
These insights come mostly from the relationship with this dynamic being that is the tree. The tree does not give me these thoughts, but our relationship inspires and empowers me to be courageously conscious.
Nelson is ready to go and I’m ready to get home and end my day. We head back to the car the short way, walking back on the pavement. Hard surface shifting my awareness back to what’s in front of me. I think of the meal I will prepare for myself when I get home and Nelson picks up his pace. How linked are we, I wonder, that my thought of food motivates him to move faster.
We watch the people and dogs doing their thing. I delight in the flight of tiny legs across the field as a Welsh Corgi chases after a ball. I laugh to myself and think of maybe making a quick remark to the other folks watching the display of dogginess, but they aren’t there for that, and in truth, neither am I.
I guess I’m just accustomed to some light human interaction after worship.