Thursday, April 24, 2008

Out on the lake

It is hard to believe that only a few weeks back this was covered with ice and not that long before there were people out here ice fishing.

This past week was unusually warm for spring in the Berkshires. It seemed that we jumped right into summer, which sometimes occurs but only because spring is so late.
On one of these fine days I was able to take the kayak out on Laurel Lake, a body of water defined by its depth not its size. Fed by streams it is surrounded by woods, pastures and some houses.

The sun was bright and the wind light, enough to make a rippling of waves and lapping sounds along the shore and as I paddled. The water temperature was mild, though I am not sure I'd take the plunge with a dip; for then then wind would definitely be noticed.

Paddling across one side to the farthest shore and able to get some good sprints in, the workers were repairing picnic tables and raking sand at the Lee beach. The Lenox beach at the opposite side was quiet and vacant. Where the water was calm, swimming trout could be seen enjoying the fact that those fishing were on the other side of the lake, the water weeds were starting to green but still mostly held themselves to the lower depths .

Last fall when I was last out on the lake, the leaves were vibrant orange and red and the second homeowners had closed up and left for the winter, now there were buds on the trees and it was still still early for the snowbirds to return. At the boat ramp people of all types were casting there lines hoping for a big one as the environmental police were cheerfully bantering and doing a spot check for licenses. As I paddled away I left their talking belind and it was lost in the voice of the wind; blowing across the water, through the trees and forest across the thick grasses.

On a part of the shore where there were houses, workers were hammering and sawing, jolting noises from the mostly mellow sounds of nature. I heard the sound of a solitary loon that I couldn't spot but there was no mistaking the squawking pair of ducks that didn't like my approach and that finally took flight.

The clouds above were wispy and fine and the outline of a jet could be seen miles above, so far that there was no sound, just the sight of it glimmering in the sun.

The geese were grazing on the bordering pastures with an occassional honk but mostly not noticing I was there. In the matted down rushes birds flew about, darting from shoreline perch to the piles of grass and then back again as quickly.

Spring was in the Berkshires and it brought along summer for an early visit. It is a time before tourists, a time for nature to wake up.

What a pleasure to be part of it!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

God can I have new piece of paper?

I feel like I have made a mess of this one and am feeling in so many ways that I would like to start over. With so many mistakes it sometimes feels like I am trapped in a maze, this paper is not as good as I wished it could be. There are times when I can see the direction and the choices are clear and the times when the options were vague and I felt like I was in a fog;

I find myself mourning for all the wrong turns that I have taken, the lost time, the missed clues, the opportunities that came and I was too afraid to jump on or too caught up in figuring out the maze that the opportunity came and when.

This paper has so many cross-outs and notes in the margins from so far back that some of them I can no longer read. I struggle to figure out what goes where and what order to do it in and at times I am so confused. I fear that if this test were to end you’d hand it back as incomplete and lacking focus and totally missing the point.

There are passages I would so much like to erase –where I have hurt others or been oblivious to their pain- but the eraser doesn’t seem to work. There are rips in the paper where I have been hurt and though I have tried to mend them with layers of tape, I still find myself getting caught on the jagged edges.

My paper is stained with so many tears and dirt and sweat from work and marks from the hands of messy children and pets, the folds are worn from years of folding and unfolding, considering and then not considering; stuffing things in my pocket and forgetting them for too long.

If I could have a clean piece of paper I wouldn’t make the same mistakes. I would know early on what I should be doing and what to forget. I would know what mistakes really don’t matter with time and what seemingly minor ones do. I would know clearly which paths I missed and where I took the wrong turns. I would know the opportunities that will not last and that I should fully appreciate before they are lost. I’d be much smarter and wiser with this new paper.

But the how would I capture the beauty and sense of purpose that I discovered when I was lost? Can I copy over those experiences from all the wandering around? I don't know how it would it fit together, the context would be gone. How would I find my wife, my soul mate that I discovered though many wrong turns? And yes I still want those finger marks and margin notes from my kids and everything else about them; and yes the stains from the pets I have loved, they can stay as well. The tears of joy and compassion shared with family and friends, I don’t want to loose them; the random opportunities and joy, how will I write them down? If I could keep the lessons learned from healing without the hurt - but how would I do that?

How would I piece it together, the good and the bad? Out of so many mistakes also came so much good, so much laughter, so much fun, so much wisdom. From those journeys down the unknown paths and times of great pain came family I might never have had and friends I might never have found. How do I start over and still keep all of these? Could I take away the hurt I caused others and keep all else that is on this paper that seems so intertwined? That would be enough.

If starting over means that I loose so much that I love and cherish and so much that has made me who I am, then I’ll keep the paper I have and keep plugging away. If I could wish away the bad and wish for more of the good, then of course that is what I would do. But it doesn’t seem like that is the assignment.

So God, thanks for listening. I’ll keep the paper I have; for I guess you have seen worse and maybe seen better. When the time is up and I have to turn it in I expect I will do OK for originality even if it wasn’t perfect.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

If they didn’t want you to dance in the store then they wouldn’t play the music

When you go into a grocery or other store at different times of the day do you notice that the tempo and type of the music is different? I know someone who was “caught” in the grocery store by a world known singer, who lives locally, while she did a dance spin in the aisle to the music. She thought she was alone but he had just rounded the corner. She laughed (as did he) and she said “If they didn’t want you to dance in the supermarket then they wouldn’t play the music.”

How true this is!

As long back as I can remember I’ve been in tune with the store music, especially when there is less people noise and late night when the music is louder but also when the store is busy and crazy. I find myself humming or sometimes singing the lyrics to the music and doing a few dancing steps as I push the cart or pick things off the shelf. It makes the time go by quicker and quite honestly I don’t even realize that I am doing it. Today in the shoe store I caught myself swinging to the jazz on the speakers and had to smile, and kept on swinging. It is always interesting the reactions you get when someone comes around the corner unexpectedly. Some times they just smile or laugh or are completely stone faced. Then there is the momentary embarrassment of being “caught”, but what the hell. I expect that the people on the store cameras get a chuckle. My kids long got over the embarrassment of me humming and singing and doing the two-step to the “Muscak” and sometimes join in, though I am sometimes reminded that I am doing it in places where I probably shouldn’t be.

It was so reassuring to hear this otherwise subdued person sharing that she also danced to the store music.

We have so many rules about what be should and should not do. Some imposed by others and some imposed by ourselves. To me singing and dancing to the music is like stopping to smell the flowers. It’s an opportunity to connect with your surroundings, and opportunity to step out and do the unexpected, the opportunity to know that you are truly alive. to the music...hum and sing along. Life is all about dancing and singing to the music.

Friday, April 11, 2008

talking with the wind

The other day I was talking with the wind. It was a bright day and the wind was fine and I asked it how things were. It told me of its trip through the miles of woods and how easy it was this time of year because there weren’t any leaves but how it missed the summer sounds that it made through the trees; how the buds we appearing and the song birds nesting and the families of bears coming out of their caves. It told me of the mountain tops and how it could see for mile upon mile, of carrying the hawks and eagle a flight and dancing with the windmills; of the river that was winding and overflowing its banks flooding the land where grasses will grow and of the whistliing noise it made between the towers of the city. It told me of its journey to the fluffy clouds above and the ocean shores afar and the spray of the surf and bark of the seals. The wind was quite contended with what it had seen and where it had been, things were well…, to the wind, was good

Monday, April 7, 2008

Down by the River

Walking down by the river the sun is bright but the air is a cool and the wind goes right through the fleece that I thought would do it. But it is so beautiful. The river runs quickly, swollen with the melting run-off from the north amd recent rain.

At the boat launch where in a few months I will slip in my kayak it looks so differently. The tall grasses that, in the summer, frame the river and the launch area now are matted down from the snow and earlier flooding and it gives a wide open view that is lost in the summer. In the sheltered spots back from the water, the tall dry grass waves like flags in the breeze.

A fallen tree, a remnants of a beaver meal from last season left and perhaps forgotten, buds appearing on a few bushes and trees in the sunnier areas; bits of trash and balls washed down stream and previously hidden under snow and green brush quickly fills my plastic bag.

The air is clear and there are the sounds of the river swirling around pieces of wood lodged in the river bank, the wind in the trees and the trickle of dozens of streamlets draining the land.

Around the area the sound birds are returning, mother bears have been spotted with their cubs walking the neighborhood in search of food, daffodil green is appearing along the southern sides of stone walls and in the yard and the days are longer.

Spring is here!!!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The currents of Life

There are times when I think I am a stone in the river of time, held in place in the riverbed and supported by those around me. The currents of life wash over, bringing all sorts of interesting things and experiences; bubbling, lapping, slurping around. With time the constant flow smooths my rough edges, wearing me in some spots and leaving me untouched in others but then I am here for the duration. Often the current is smooth and there is peace. But there are times of drought when I feel alone, not connected with others by the current, dry, baking in the sun and feeling stagnant. Occasionally there are times of flood and these engulf me and all that is around, churning, boiling and full of uncertainty; sometimes moving me from my place of security to somewhere I have never known; changing my world as it has been and the support I have counted on. But in my heart I know that the security that I once knew is still around, it is just different and I must adapt to something new, for I must always remember is that the calm and peace will return; it always does. The currents of life are constant, they never end and even rocks must seek some grounding and be centered lest the floods wash us over the falls to a place from which we cannot return.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The eye of the soul

The eye of the soul sees what is all around and not just what is in front of it, it sees down deep, sees what is constant and what is true. The eye of the soul is not distracted by awkwardness, or what is irrelevant. When its vision is clear the eye of the soul reveals the core of what is important and what is beautiful. It sees calm in the midst of chaos, it sees through the fog and sees what can be. For those who can truly see, the eye of the soul can not be blinded.