in winter’s dark moments I forget
Beauty is just
It’s as simple as
walking out to
walking in to
calm and a
glistening on snowflakes.
Infinite possibilities for
The birds agree.
Coffee in hand, I settle into the corner of my “sanctuary’s” sofa, the best spot for witnessing the dawning of a new morning, this, the last Sunday of summer.
Poised on the equinox, a soft golden glow appears through the willows as the sun makes its way into the sky, only two hours late, yet still early with what’s to come.
Surprising the degree to which wind currents vary in the relatively small space of a backyard. From the barely evident whisperings among the lowest leaves and draped branches, to a fluttering higher up, and then to the more pronounced swaying in the treetops. Yet nothing like the big winds on Friday night, that came in a sudden and furious rush out of nowhere, stirring up big energies that caused a full moon-like fitful sleep, blowing out summer.
The tapping of toes on hardwood floors and kitchen tiles as my dear old Peggy dog wanders, out of sorts that I’ve taken my place in a room she’s never really felt at home in – except for her mid-morning sun baths – now restlessly waiting to fulfill her role as my office assistant, where she sleeps by my desk and the space heater.
Annie, meticulously cleans each toe on each paw, softly lapping and licking, focused and intent, until the need to establish ground, and hold court by issuing a low warning growl to Peggy’s unsteady and clumsy advances.
Tender indigo lobelia, still flush and iridescent in its outdoor planter while fuschia geraniums and pale blue petunias look weary, having weathered early September cold and snow, and its rebounding heat and sun. The high bush cranberry bushes filled with crimson fruit, leaves finally the promised vermillion after being freed from the shade of the dying forty year old mayday tree. Context is everything.
Quiet and steady thoughts send blessings and loving kindness to family and friends, one about to return from travelling abroad, others in the mountains, several healing from health crises or tending to ailing parents, many riding the waves of transition with grief, fresh or anticipated.
Gratitude for this moment, and for everyone and everything that as brought me to this moment.
And then those thoughts insidiously slip to the next moments’ myriad of things to do and I notice – whoops – how I just lost my balance, how that soft and subtle, open and receiving, peace and contentment – in a moment – becomes tight and closed, shallow and anxious.
Breath and redirection.
Gratitude for this moment, for this new day, the last Sunday of summer.
My final summer reading was Buddha’s Daughters, a collection of teachings from women who are shaping Buddhism in the west. (In sweet synchronicity, I see the publication date is my birthday!) I didn’t quite finish, as by the September 2 due date there was a hold from another library patron. I did read enough to know that this, too, might need a home in my own library, though which book to relinquish to make space?
Blanche Hartman, in “Just to be Alive is Enough,” shared a teaching from Tara Tulku Rinpoche on gratitude and generosity. She relates a time when the teacher asked them:
“to think of everything that we thought was ours and to consider how it came to us. Our food, clothing, houses, books, tools, toys, health: anything we can think of comes to us through the kindness of others…Gratitude and generosity generate each other.” (123)
As I read this teaching, I was sitting in my “sanctuary” and paused to look around me. It was true. Everything in that room, on which my eyes rested, on which I rested, had come to me as a gift from the generosity of others. Absolutely everything. Then I looked beyond into the next room and found the same. And as I mentally reflected throughout each room in our home, I discovered much the same.
In that moment, my heart filled to overflow and came through my eyes.
I knew the truth of these words, “gratitude and generosity generate each other.”
Gratitude and generosity, the heart’s twin sisters.
Seems I’ve been having a lot of these lately.
Tonight, when I was preparing dinner, going through canisters to find some jasmine rice, I came across those plastic measuring cups – the ½, ¼ and 1/8 th cups all nested within each other – the cups that had gone missing for a week or so. I remember the moment after I misplaced them, thinking, “Whoops, they’re gone,” like they’d slipped off the edge of reality. Had I rescued them in that moment, I’d not have had the days since, occasionally searching and wondering, “Where did they go?”
I just texted “The Scientist,” who’s now in San Francisco on a short business trip because he, too, had been a member of the search party. He of the ever- light heart, humorously suggested I admonish “the girls” (our dogs) for moving my stuff. My reply, texting as I laughed, was it was me in a mindless moment, and maybe what I should’ve called my blog!
Millions of mindless moments when I’m cruising on autopilot… preoccupied with some inner non-sense…habitually worrying…or…or simply empty and not thinking of anything at all.
This just came to me as I typed…mind empty, not thinking about the past or future. Isn’t that what meditation is about? A bit of that cloudless blue sky…seeing through to it, seeing it through, the edges of a mind full of otherness?