The Waltz in the Woods

March 19, 2013 § 31 Comments

Cold and gray this morning.  The storm has moved on.

I sit at the wall of glass looking into the pine forest that encircles my home along the southern coast.  I hear only the sound of the coffee brewing and the faint clicks from the keyboard as I write these words.

Right now the wind from the tail end of the storm is moving through the tall pines.  Each tree moves rhythmically with the wind, first bending to the wind’s will and then swaying back to its upright posture.   Yielding just enough to accommodate the gusts and then returning to its centered, upright way.

The wind ceases.  The dance ends.  The trees are nearly still now, just quivering a bit in the soft breeze that remains.

And then the wind comes up.  The dance commences again.

This cycle repeats- still, then quivering, and then swaying- a choreography of wondrous and hypnotic beauty.

I have not written anything for more than two weeks.  I have thought of writing every day.  And every day I somehow wasn’t able to write- too busy, the idea for the writing unworthy, whatever.

But this morning, I didn’t think about writing, I just sat here and looked out the window.  Wrote what I felt and what I saw.

Nature always models the way.  Giving up resistance, the tree bends to the wind.  But when the wind passes, she returns naturally to her centered existence.

The winds took me away because I resisted, I tried to think my way out.  But when I ceased fighting those winds, when I stopped thinking about what I had to do, I found myself again- here, at the window, watching the waltz in the woods.

From the Beginning

February 5, 2013 § 43 Comments

Wandering through the museum, appraising the creations scattered along the walls, I found myself before the Rothko and everything stopped.  Anchored in place, rooted in the moment.  That breathtaking moment.

Taking a different path that morning, I walked into the woods in the crisp morning air.  I stopped, stood dead still, hearing only my breath and the faint rustle of the wind.  I saw the trees arching into the infinite blue sky.  I took a breath and everything fell away.

I remember seeing her standing in my office doorway, so many years ago.   The way she stood, her dark hair and luminous brown eyes.  Her arresting and vulnerable beauty.  I knew we would be together, I knew.

In the intervening years, I have often returned to the Rothko, walked those woods countless times, and lived my life with the woman who stood that day in my doorway.   All familiar to me now.

But when I return to that painting, when I step into those woods, it is like the first time.  Filled with wonder, overcome with gratitude- undiminished.

We often think that these feelings- the feelings of the new- in time must leave us.  We imagine we must settle for the faint shadow of those intense first moments.  But those feelings don’t leave us- we walk away from them.

If we are open and ready, if we stop striving to recover something we think we lost, if we simply exist in our moment- before the art, amidst the woods, in the arms of our lover- the familiar is anew.

And so when she leaves me, I still watch her walk away, all these years later, hoping that she might turn around so that I could see her face once more- knowing I will feel again and again what I have always felt- from the beginning.

Where Am I?

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