Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Let It Go ...

Leaves, Copyright 2007, Joan Z. Rough

I'm rereading May Sarton's, Journal of a Solitude. I first read this very special book many years ago and found so much wisdom within its pages that I decided that it was time for me to read it again. I'm not sure what brought it to mind again, but I wondered if there might be something it could say to help during these difficult days, when people are losing their jobs, their homes and our world seems to be in shambles. The following is what I found.

"I think of the trees and how simply they let go, let fall the riches of a season, how without grief (it seems) they can let go and go deep into their roots for renewal and sleep ...

Does anything in nature despair except man? An animal with a foot caught in a trap does not seem to despair. It is too busy trying to survive. It is all closed in, in a kind of still, intense waiting. Is this a key? Keep busy with survival. Imitate the trees. Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember that nothing stays the same for long, not even pain, psychic pain. Sit it out. Let it all pass. Let it go."

May Sarton
Journal of a Solitude

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Miracles All ...

We have had frigid weather here for several days, but today the cold spell broke and it is beginning to feel like Virginia again instead of the Arctic. We have frozen pipes in the garage but it isn't a big deal. We're able to isolate them from the rest of the system and hopefully we'll have little or no damage.

It seems miraculous to me that blooming plants can survive such chill, but they do and here is a Hellebore to prove it, looking none the worse for wear.

It is a miracle that some of the daffodils have popped up out of the ground and the Camellias are heavy with buds. Spring in itself is a miracle ... the beginning of new life. Though it isn't here yet, it is on its way for sure.

That 155 people survived a plane crash in the Hudson River last week is a miracle ... The Miracle on the Hudson, it's been called. So is the story of a couple who recently moved to North Carolina from Florida after the real estate collapse. A week and half ago in the midst of torrential rains, their new home slid down the side of a mountain to the road below. They lost all of their possessions, had bumps, bruises and are suffering from PTSD, but they are alive ... to see the sun come up again, to capture snowflakes in their hands, to see a grandchild grow. I cannot imagine their pain yet it is a miracle.

And so too is the inauguration of our 44th President this coming Tuesday ... the first African American President of the United States ... Barak Obama. Despite the wars in the Middle East and the financial condition of the entire world ... despite the threat of global climate change, I'm feeling hopeful for the future and feel certain that though we have difficult days ahead, that there are many more miracles yet to come as well. I am very grateful to be alive during this time of incredible change and wish for all of us peaceful and prosperous years ahead. Tuesday will be the first day of the rest of our lives and we must all stand up and help it to happen!!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Buds and Birds ...

I swear that if you look carefully you can see spring in this photo! The buds need to swell more, but there is definitely some promise there. It won't happen tomorrow for sure, but sometime in the next month or two, the signs will begin to be more obvious. Yesterday I saw the first robin of the year and today I noticed blue birds perched here and there, then swooping down into the freshly mowed meadow finding a juicy seed or two ... or was that an earthworm come to the surface to check on the progress of winter?

Of course I do live in one of those areas of the country that is quite blessed with its weather. There is a down side though ... we'll be in serious drought again this summer as there has been little rain in the past months. Our ground water is very low and needs to be replenished so that our gardens will grow. Each winter brings fewer and fewer snow flakes as the climate warms. We can occasionally be hit in late summer with the remains of a tropical storm or hurricane. These actually are always considered a blessing by almost everyone because it can save crops at the very last minute.

While the rest of the country reels from constant blows from snow, rain and freezing rain, we patiently wait for some of it to head this way. By the end of next week it's supposed to get bitterly cold here and if any clouds roll through just maybe we'll see a few flakes reminding us that it is still winter after all!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

New Years Walk ...

On New Years morning I took a lovely walk in the woods at the Ivy Creek Natural Area. It was cold and crisp with an Arctic blue sky.

There were enough other humans about to keep the wild creatures at bay except for the squirrels, foraging for acorns which are extremely scarce this year, if the oaks produced them at all. The squirrels that I did see looked well fed so I imagine they are finding something to keep their bellies full. At my home, we have a few squirrels but not the numbers we've had in past years. They feed on the fallen seeds beneath my bird feeder which they cannot get into.

I love the neutral shades of winter, especially the bronze of the beech trees which hold their leaves all winter until the warmth of spring rouses their green buds. The oaks also refuse to give up their leaves til spring. Could it be they want no part of this long winter sleep we often compare to death?

At this time of year the greens of cedars, pines, along with our native hollies shine in the sunlight, reminding us of why they are favored for yule celebrations when the days are dark
and short.


I have started clearing away the piles on my desk and amongst the many lost and interesting things, I found the following quote which might serve all of us well in the days to come:

"To live content with small means;
to seek elegance rather than luxury,
and refinement rather than fashion;
to be worthy, not respectable,
and wealthy, not rich;
to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages
with open heart;
to study hard;
to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently,
await occasions, hurry never;
in a word, to let the spiritual,
unbidden and unconscious,
grow up through the common-
this is my symphony."

William Henry Channing