a gentle tree

4.7.13.5078
4.7.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

On March 31st I met a lovely tree in a local cemetery and could not stop thinking about her all week. (See the Lady Patience post.) So I plan to visit her as often as possible and get to know her through the seasons. As is often the case with me, I sensed an energy coming from her but did not notice any of her particular physical characteristics.

During the week following our meeting a life-threatening health crisis arose for one of Tim’s brothers, Toby. Brother Josh flew from his home in England to California to collect Toby and fly with him here so he could stay with us and seek treatment. So it’s been a very busy week getting Toby settled in for the indefinite and uncertain future.

4.7.13.5080
Larisa ~ 4.7.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

It is difficult to realize how great a part of all that is cheerful and delightful in the recollections of our own life is associated with trees. … Their shades, which, in the early ages, were the temples of religion and philosophy, are still the favorite resort of the studious, the scene of healthful sport for the active and adventurous, and the very sanctuary of peaceful seclusion for the contemplative and sorrowful.
~ Wilson Flagg
(The Atlantic Monthly, June 1868)

I don’t even know what kind of tree “my” tree is! When she puts out some leaves I will be able to identify her, but I wish I could identify her by her bark.

Larisa came for the weekend to visit her uncles, and when I mentioned my new tree she was happy to pop over with me to see her and to pose for a couple of pictures with her, too. On this trip I noticed the tree’s burls – one very large one near the base of the trunk, and perhaps ten much smaller ones above it and below the first branches. And Larisa noticed the shape of the branches – like check marks they arch up and then down before reaching up again.

The kitties are handling all the extra people in the house pretty well. Zoë is blossoming with friendliness and curiosity. Scarby is still pretty shy and anxious, but she stays where she feels safe under Tim’s bed and I suspect she comes out to eat and use the litter pan once everyone is asleep. We’re giving her all the time and space she seems to need. After all, it’s only been a month since her whole world was turned upside down!

beneath the snow

“Village in the Snow” by Paul Gauguin
“Village in the Snow” by Paul Gauguin

I do an awful lot of thinking and dreaming about things in the past and the future – the timelessness of the rocks and the hills – all the people who have existed there. I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the landscape – the loneliness of it – the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it – the whole story doesn’t show. I think anything like that – which is contemplative, silent, shows a person alone – people always feel is sad. Is it because we’ve lost the art of being alone?
~ Andrew Wyeth
(LIFE, May 14, 1965)

there to cheer you on

“Young Mother Contemplating Her Sleeping Child in Candlelight” by Albert Anker
“Young Mother Contemplating Her Sleeping Child in Candlelight” by Albert Anker

All the things you treasure most will be the hardest won
I will watch you struggle long before the answers come
But I won’t make it harder, I’ll be there to cheer you on
I’ll shine the light that guides you down the road you’re walking on
~ Dar Williams
♫ (One Who Knows) ♫

sacred awareness

“Contemplation” by Horace Weston Taylor

The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness, and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.
~ Aristotle
(Survival: Webster’s Quotations, Facts & Phrases)

Each thought, each action in the sunlight of awareness becomes sacred. In this light, no boundary exists between the sacred and the profane.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
(Peace Is Every Step)

a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam

My next post was supposed to be about furniture arrangements and home decorating, but I’ve stalled big time. I’m hoping this week will be more productive as many things are sliding here on the home-front. Had a very annoyingly busy week and then when the time finally came to get back to finish moving the furniture I became glued to the TV, trying to comprehend all that was and still is happening in Japan. Sometimes the mundane things in life start to feel pointless. But then I guess that’s the horror of it, so many people with their lives interrupted or cut short – it’s overwhelming to try to take in… I don’t know anyone there, but I know that each life lost was the most important person in the world to somebody, and for them my heart breaks.

“Japan’s recent massive earthquake, one of the largest ever recorded, appears to have moved the island by about eight feet (2.4 meters), the US Geological Survey said.”

“The quake probably shifted the position of Earth’s axis about 6.5 inches, said Richard Gross, a geophysicist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge.”

These numbers boggle my mind. In one sense we’re safely spinning through space on our relatively little blue spaceship, but when the planet starts readjusting itself it abruptly reminds us of how precious this life is, and how precarious in the grand scheme of things, whatever that scheme ultimately proves to be.

I feel something like a Who on the speck of dust in Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hears a Who! “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” We feel so very small in the face of this. Such a pale little blue dot, our earth. But such a cataclysmic upheaval of our big beautiful and often frightening planet.

Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
~ Carl Sagan
(Pale Blue Dot)

As I’m writing this some of the lyrics of Pig, one of Dave Matthews’ older songs, one of my favorites, come back to me with added poignancy:

Isn’t it strange
How we move our lives for another day
Like skipping a beat
What if a great wave should
Wash us all away
Just thinking out loud
Don’t mean to dwell on this dying thing
But looking at blood
It’s alive right now
Deep and sweet within
Pouring through our veins
Intoxicate moving wine to tears
Drinking it deep
Then an evening spent dancing
It’s you and me
This love will open our world
From the dark side we can see a glow of something bright
There’s much more than we see here
Don’t burn the day away
~ Dave Matthews
♫ (Pig) ♫

All we have is this moment.  Let us not burn our days away…

sultry midsummer

6.20.10 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
dewdrops of grape leaf ~ 6.20.10 ~ Storrs, Connecticut

Yesterday Bernie and I went for another walk… It was so clammy outside, though, that after he did his business he decided not to take his usual trek through the woods. All the greenery was drenched with moisture even though it was early afternoon. He headed for the fenced-in garden (to keep the deer out), a place I rarely enter.

6.20.10 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
Bernie meditating? ~ 6.20.10 ~ Storrs, Connecticut

Once inside the enclosure he sat very still by the fence for what seemed like an eternity. The sun was beating down on me and I was getting restless. So I began to suggest that we move on, but Bernie ignored me completely. I found a shady spot and took a peek into my brother-in-law’s little greenhouse. Bernie still hadn’t moved. So I ventured into the greenhouse to satisfy my curiosity…

6.20.10 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
inside the greenhouse ~ 6.20.10 ~ Storrs, Connecticut

After poking around I peeked outside and Bernie was still lost in contemplation. I sighed. It was so muggy! He looked over his shoulder and decided to move. Yea! But as soon as we left the garden he plopped down on a small spot of semi-shaded bare earth… This outing was so strange, he rarely sits or lies down when he’s outside! Maybe he’s grounding himself, I thought, and decided to lay down near him and annoy him by taking eye level pictures…

6.20.10 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
Bernie grounding? ~ 6.20.10 ~ Storrs, Connecticut

After this Bernie decided to go back inside, where my brother-in-law was installing the window mounted air conditioners. Phew! Even Dad was hot, and he’s “always” cold.

Dad and I watched a little opera on TV. The word “doge” popped up in the subtitles. “Doge?” asks Dad, so I reached for the dictionary. It might seem a little weird, but Dad and I both love etymology and looking things up is still a pleasure he can enjoy with my help.

(Doge = chief magistrate in the republics of Venice and Genoa, Latin and Italian)

When the opera was over we switched to golf. The ocean scenery at Pebble Beach made him recall the one time he stuck his toes in the Pacific Ocean. With the air conditioning now doing its job it was turning into a nice Father’s Day. Dad also told me about the one time he ever played golf. He was having a stroke of beginner’s luck when the guy who invited him to play got mad and quit the game.

Then we got a huge thunderstorm! I opened a door to see outside and took the picture below, which I’m guessing is mostly raindrops, but I think I see a couple of orbs in there, too. Or maybe they’re all orbs? The camera was not out in the rain. That will have to be a future blog.

6.20.10 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
orbs during thunderstorm ~ 6.20.10 ~ Storrs, Connecticut

Later, when it was time to go, I discovered a gift that Thor or Mother Nature left on my car.  🙂

6.20.10 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
after the thunderstorm ~ 6.20.10 ~ Storrs, Connecticut

Happy Midsummer!!!