Grackle & Sun

Archive for the tag “gifts”

Morning Meditation: {Don’t Think of Elephants}

I was chasing the sun. A common thing. Early in the morning. An uncommon thing.  But it’s what I needed to do. So Ronin and I drove to the banks of the Mighty Mississippi, which is where the sun was hanging out.

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Ronin is my good buddy.

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I’ve lived by the Mississippi for years and years. I’ve watched full moons and red moons rise over it. I’ve seen it high and rushing, full of branches and limbs as big as boats. I’ve seen it so low it showed its secrets–wing dams and dry banks. I’ve seen it whipped so hard by the wind that whitecaps stood up like ocean waves. I’ve seen it in the dark with only lights from the bridge reflecting on its dark surface. But I’d never seen it at dawn. I didn’t realize that until I was standing there watching the mist rise off the water like some otherworldly veil, softening the sounds of the river as it flowed past.

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The riverfront here is a combination of paved areas and old hand-laid rough cobblestones. You can walk along it for a long way in either direction, and you can walk right into the water if you like. Something caught Ronin’s attention, and he was trying–as only a dog can–to inhale the entire world through his nose. I followed him, curious about what had him so excited. We walked right to the edge of the embankment, several feet above the water, and looked down. There was a dead fish floating–half a silver carp–very big, staring up at us. Mystery solved. I wondered how it had died, why it was there. Then I caught something out of the corner of my eye. Immediate recognition. A few feet to the left, nestled between some sharp rocks, an unmistakable shape under the water.

Ganesha.

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I asked Ronin to wait for me and climbed over the edge of the embankment onto the rocks below. Ganesh was glowing orange with the light of the dawn, the colors soft under the muddy water. And there it was. The whyness of my morning.

Ganesha, the Remover of All Obstacles, the god of new beginnings.

We said thank you to the river, goodbye to the dawn. We stood and waited patiently for a morning train to pass; it’s tracks run right between the river and the street where we parked. It’s the only place I know where you can stand so close to a passing train that you could touch it, jump on for a ride. And nobody thinks anything of it. Small town. Ganesh rode in the passenger seat as I drove us all home. I washed the river off him and anointed him with butter, and now he sits in our kitchen where he is very happy to look over things from the heart of the house. And obstacles are being removed.

The elephant in the room is my atheishness. But I’ve learned not to overthink these things. Gifts from the Universe take many forms, and we are fools to think they will only come in one flavor–no matter how we try to construct our reality. So follow what pulls you, keep your eyes open for shapes in the water, and listen to your dogs. That is how you catch a wave and surf the Universe–nimbly and joyously and always, always with gratitude.

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Queen of Winter

A lot has been going on the last couple months.  Things that have kept me from being creative or productive or myself, really.   Sometime I might be able to write about this, but honestly whether or not I will work up the courage to hit “publish” is another matter entirely.  In the meantime, here is a wonderful example of the subtlety of Nature and a gentle reminder to open one’s eyes and one’s senses so as not to miss the beauty hiding in plain sight all around us.  This is one of my favourite plants in the yard:

Hamamelis vernalis, the Ozark Witch Hazel

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During these months, this little shrub is easy to overlook, the eye drawn to the striking silhouettes of greater trees with their stark bones outlined darkly in the winter sky.   She looks like this every year—withered and brown—for a good month or so before I remember what it is that I am actually seeing.  I am slow as molasses.  I always forget and think that those are dead leaves too stubborn to come off their stems.  Like those of the pin oaks that are all too common in St. Louis neighborhoods, dropping dead leaves all winter long.   But they are not.  They are her flowers, beautiful and otherworldly, releasing their heady, spicy-sweet fragrance to the cold spring air—and to anyone who knows well enough to step closer.  I remember to do so.  Eventually.

hamamelis vernalis 3-16-2013 12-21-12 PMJust when I’ve had all the winter I can take, the witch hazel sends her gift—a call to awaken.  I need reminders like this often.  Open your eyes!  Look around you!  Breathe deeply!  Wake up!  Time for the sap to rise, time to shake off introspection and move into action.  And always, always time to find beauty no matter what the circumstance is around you.  And when you cannot find it, make it.  Make it!  And know you are not alone.  There is the witch hazel, making beauty while all else succumbs to sleep still.  That is true strength.

Soon enough the sun will shine again.

 

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