Almost five….been awake since three…..no bell tolls….no phone rings….but the plaintive sound of my soul calls me from
resting to the wonderful vigil of wakefulness…
I arise to enjoy the energy that is circling from all the encounters with the mysterious…..that is the beauty and the freedom of the spirit.
I can wander in the rose gardens of Shiraz….or walk along my Mississippi River…..revisit the mountain tops of the Rocky Mountains in Aspen…where I had some of my early out of body experiences…I can go into Sacred Heart…the church where I prayed and sat with the ancient ones in the energy of prayer for hours………I can wander the places where we played growing up….I can walk in the gardens of Tabriz…….walk the beach of Monterey….the apple orchards and redwoods of California where I found such silence….and knelt on the earth feeling like it is God’s own cathedral by design.
I can wander in the gardens and trees my Dad planted on our land in the pine trees of Carolina with the magnolia trees, the flowering dogwoods and redbud trees, the azaleas, and mountain laurel, the night blooming jasmine, the little benches my brother made from stones he carried there, sculptures covered with ivy, and a hundred different flowers they planted…and my brothers still maintain the place, creating new ones. My sister lives up the hill with her family, and when I open her letters, the petals of flowers fall out of the envelope.
Birds gather around the feeders…deer wander into the yard at night…and the owl has a perch where he watches….the sea oats grow fifteen tall by our driveway carried from the ocean side. Wild roses grow by the roadside….and next to the house. The hummingbirds hover close by near the feeders and flowers. My Dad’s spirit still wanders there. He loves that place. I always liked to be around him where he was so happy.
My Dad watched the Tarheels basketball team….yelling and knocking over lamps with his waving arms…a sacred tradition when the family would gather….savoring the soups my mother made….outside the door, the poppies were like sentinels, the lilies, blue-its, wildflowers, the mockingbird in the pine tree, the cardinals bright red…catching the eye as they flew from tree to tree…..chickadees, Carolina wrens, mourning doves, goldfinch….paths through the gardens….covered with pine mulch and it seems there are always compost piles where the dogs liked to roll….my dad had a big sheep dog for a while…and they were a pair ambling through the woods…gathering brambles and stickers……..and I can still visit his study where he read and wrote and listened to the ancient poets and writers …..like Whitman and Emerson and Krishnamurti, who became friends who walked with him…….and all his books had conversations written in the margins. He enjoyed Ogden Nash with his limericks that made him laugh…….and we would laugh at him.
All is in the present when love gathers in the energy of those places where my heart is free to love and appreciate the beauty….and my Dad holds out his hand and says “Here, take my hand, child. I do not believe my eyes anymore. Here, take my hand, child, take me to your fire. I do not believe my ears anymore.”
Lines from his verses….”Did we pray or did we play our innocence away?” I think I developed my writing to talk to him. We wrote letters….and he used to say…”you are a thousand miles away, and there are moments, when I feel closer to you across the distance, than if you were here”…….that is the way of dreamers….we meet at that point of union where the visible and invisible touch.
Thoreau the writer….was the naturalist, the philosopher in the woods. I read the book, Walden Pond, so many times, I had to buy new copies. “To affect the quality of the day is the highest of the arts.”
Whatever I taught, I did it with questions….and I would seed it with the arts….and then move it to the heart. I found the path to it in the woods.
My Dad ran the school systems, was an administrator, and a vision carrier….and yet he loved to tramp the woods, the seaside, and get his hands in the dirt…..commune with the wildness within himself. It was where he seemed most at peace.
Suddenly, it is all available to me…all at once…..simultaneously….not longing for what was….but what is ….because love is an energy that cannot be segmented or separated. I feel like those I love must know my Dad…because you all meet in my heart. He had an irreverent humor at times, and a sacred reverence at other times. You know what he called his three acres in the woods? “Childwood” He used to bring Head Start children to the property to play and to get their hands in the dirt.
He would take me down by the stream in the woods…and it was like church to him….snapping twigs and leaves crunching beneath our feet…..the birds following us in the trees, squirrels leaping from branch to branch….and he carried a stick to roust out any sleeping snakes…. He loved the poet, Robert Frost. “Do you think that cloud will hit or miss the moon?” “Whose woods these are, I think I know.”
Maybe some of this is a book I need to write……….Childwood would be a good title …….it is good to share our joys….to tell our stories. He would sometimes sign his writing…..”A man called Jon”. He shed his titles in the woods, and he is the one I liked to go walking with to discover the gifts we could find.
Let’s get drunk on the spirit of love flowing in these songs. ‘Tis vintage wine!
My heart is a mansion with many rooms….many worlds at once open to me….many dimensions….and in the beauty of the wilderness, we are always creating new rooms…..a sacred placelessness………..I am grateful for it all.