Monday, May 26, 2008

The River below the floating clouds

I haven written many times about the ridge line and a couple of entries ago shared some photos of the clouds over the valley. Yesterday morning the kayak and I visited the river below. At 7AM the sun is up but the mist is still on the water It is really to beautiful and complex to capture on my basic camera but much still comes through the lenses.

The Housatonic is a meandering river, taking quite a while to cover not much distance as the bird flies. The twists and turns have it sometimes going east and west and in reverse directions and many oxbows and side pools to explore and wander. When taking it slow and checking these out the only constant landmark is the ridge. Loosing sight of it and you can easily be turned around and be heading from where you just came. With a state forest on one side and wetlands on much of the other this stretch of the river seems more remote than it really is. The presence of years of PCB pollution buildup in the sediment means that the fish are large because they are always thrown back and the water is not for swimming or drinking. But by just looking around one would never know what is hidden amongst this beauty.

The river is quite but by no means silent. The sound of birds that I wish I could distinguish; the families of ducks sensing my approach; making the call and moving quickly away; the cluck of a beautiful white swan; the click and splash of turtles entering the water; the birds and other unseen creatures thrashing in the brush; the croak of bull frogs; the geese and the splashing trout. It is all a rhythm of its own, a symphony of parts weaving with the sounds of the water and wind. There aren’t many humans but on this morning a couple of canoe racers come through, the rhythmic “hut” of the one directing the paddling, swift and slicing through the water behind beside and ahead. A while longer a pair of canoes come through and creates a wake as they pass. The sound of “hut” slowly disappears in the distance.

The paddling is smooth on the main channel of the river, the current is there but on this section it is strengthened mainly by the direction of the wind. While it isn’t very deep, sections of the middle and edge have so many years of sediment and weed build up that even a kayak has difficulty floating across without getting stuck

Returning back to the launch I spot the swan that I heard, floating smoothly in their own noble way in one of the side ponds, visible just through a slit in the bush. Just the sound would reveal it is there.

The sun is higher the mist is gone and the human life beginning to arrive at the railway museum near the launch. The sound of the train floats across the quiet of the pond, not disturbing just mixing. Morning has begun.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Bug on the windshield

In the ongoing writing this blog I see needing to decide which of a couple of directions to go with it. There are blogs that are really on-line personal journals of very personal thoughts. When I read ones that are right out there and very personal it can seem like I am eavesdropping, though no one could ever have any real expectation of privacy, and am tempted to respond. Sometimes I do and then sometimes I don’t want to reveal I’ve been looking. Sound familiar?

There have been a few times when I have written here from a place that is very raw, very personal and with very little context. Sometimes I have pulled them back to smooth out or just kept them off line because they are too raw.
And there are those that are more distilled. So I guess this is still very much a work in process to figure out where that line and direction is. So with that context I continue to write and explore.

As I have written before, creative writing doesn’t come naturally or fluidly to me and I write more from an inspired moment or theme. I have surprised myself when the words just seem to come out from an unknown source. Lately that source is blocked by so much stimulation coming in that the exits of thought seem to be clogged.

Have you ever had a bug land on your windshield while driving and seen it hold on doe dear life even though your speed is increasing and you can see its body getting a buffeting from the wind? You think how much easier it would be if the bug just let go and got thrown off rather than endure all this. But the bug usually just holds on tight for the ride.

Well I am feeling like that bug on the window. I have an almost total lack of focus caused by multiple work and related issues that are on me, like the wind on the windshield. I hold on tight and try to progress and try to figure it out while the constant buffeting of that wind makes the necessary focus almost beyond my reach. I also control my anger at the greater wind created by the inactivity or foresight of others and my resentment of much of me this wind can consume. How many times I have sat to write or taken my camera out and there is nothing but the barrage of this wind.

As with all forces, this wind will eventually subside and in those moments of calm, as I usually do, I will map a way through. The focus, or lack there of, will be continue to be a challenge to endure but then it is my wandering mind that becomes my greatest source of inspiration.

I will be that bug who holds on to the windshield, arriving in a different place then where I started, probably worn out from the ride. So if my writing slows down it will be because of this wind and it will return when I find pockets those in the wind.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A beautiful spring morning

Out this morning on a 5:30 run it was beginning to rain very lightly, enough to be felt but so fine as to evaporate in the breeze as I ran. The sky was blue gray and a beautiful contrast against the soft colors of the distant ridge line. Not one color but multiple shades of green accented by reds and yellow and the browns of rock and brush. Low traveling clouds moving up the valley were at my eye level and seem to hover. The apple blossoms are brilliant along the road, the remnants of old orchards now just decorate yards, standing out from the green of the fields. The smells of lilac and the apple blossoms waft through the air, changing with the wind.

It’s quiet this time of day, the occasional call of birds and drip of the rain on the leaves. As I return home the rain begins to pick up and changes the color of the road and the sound of tires on the occasional car passing by. It waits until I am hope then the skies open wide. A beautiful spring morning in the Berkshires.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

What am I thankful for!

I am not always fully aware of the inspirations for this blog and I am still very much of a student of writing. A series of subtle observations and situations has created a spiritual conflict and is challenging something at the core and like dominoes brings into question many other things. For those who are aware of my writing, this isn’t a religious issue but much broader and it is through the skin and senses and soul.

In some areas of my life I am trained to be very thick skinned but when something I have thought has meaning or is beneficial to general good Karma is challenged as being meaningless the delicate house of cards begin to quake.

I thank folks for the generous comments, both here and by email. This is a recalibration of expectations and insights. When we do things that we hope better the world as we know it, either in specific deed or in healing and good thought, the most we can hope for is that we put it all out there and let the wind carry it. In doing so we sometimes make ourselves more vulnerable, but the risk of not doing something is greater than not.

We can never know if it all matters, but there is absolutely no doubt that making the effort and being conscious of the need to make the effort does matter.

* I am thankful for all the good that is out there.
* I am thankful for the bright sun that rose today and made the morning dew sparkle on the grass.
* I am thankful for the masses of genuinely good people out there
* I am thankful for the breeze that makes the leaves outside my window flutter and dance.
* I am thankful if my random thoughts hit a tone with someone, anyone -even if I don’t know it.
* I am thankful if my comments to others do make their day a little easier and lighter and perhaps they pass that lightness on to others.
* I am thankful for the cheerful and insightful comments of others as it makes my day lighter and pauses me to stop and be present.
* I am thankful for family whose love is unrestricted
* I am thankful for people around me who tolerate me singing and dancing and being a little looney at times but know that I also have a serious deep side as well.
* I am thankful for the people who have the jobs of doing things that I am glad I don't have to do
* I am thankful that I work for an organization that is truly thoughtful in its deeds and treatment of people and well as in its words
* I am thankful I work with people who are not just talented but genuine and just chuckle at me talking to myself and doing some off beat things
* I am thankful for the people at work and church and other settings who just smile at me being occasionally neurotic about recycling and just chuckle when I am half submerged in the trash digging out plastics.
* I am thankful for laughter
I am thankful for those who are conscious of and care for the environment
* I am thankful for the family of rabbits that dance around my yard
* I am thankful for those who challenge me intellectually yet keep me from becoming too serious.
* I am so thankful that I live in an area where I last night could see a professional Shakespeare production 5 minutes away and have a good laugh.
* I am thankful for all the people I have met volunteering here and there and for their energy, work, quiet devotion and spirit
* I am thankful for the beauty and peace of the area where I live
* I am thankful for the people who are attuned to the practice of healing prayer and thought and who will help me through this current rough patch.
* I am thankful for so much that I can't list
* I am thankful for life.
* For anyone who is reading this, I am thankful for you,

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Does it matter?

For the past week or so I have been experiencing more doubt than I have felt in quite a while. I am testy, unmotivated, not able to focus and not at all upbeat and having a tough time making it through each day at work. I even find I don't want to run in the morning, something that for months I had come to look forward too. Even getting this post out is a challenge.

I have been thinking out the theme to a post on the impact that small and large things we do have on others and how they then effect how they relate to others. I have lots of ideas, but they won’t come out on the keyboard.

While I have frequently thought that we all can have an impact on others and therefore can effect how they treat others, now I don't know. There are those dynamic people that seem to draw people to them and seem to always have an impact on others even if all they are doing is going about their every day life. I am for the most past on the quieter side, except for a limited few who would absolutely laugh at the "quiet" comment. I know that the quiet is perceived by some as disinterested, when it is not. The things I do are lower key and often I keep them to myself with the believe that karma is fed more fully when the source of the deed is not known. Is this foolish? I don't know.

I am sure that you can list people who have a dramatic effect on people and their community around them (large and small). I am thinking I am just not one of those people. This isn’t necessarily a feeling of depression it is more of sadness, regret, resignation of "does it matter". More the George Baily feeling.

Does it matter that I smile a lot throughout the day and laugh pretty easily and say hi to most everyone I interact with? Does it matter that I give out anonymous birthday cards throughout the year to all 50 people in my office or do other similar things when no one really knows it is me? [ no one at work knows about this blog, so that secret is safe] Does it matter that I leave comments on other people’s blogs so that they know I was there and that their thoughts mean something? Does it matter that I am always volunteering to help with this or that project? Does it matter that I send positive thoughts to a list of people each day who do not know it? Do the prayers of healing really do anything for others except make me think they do? Does it matter that I write this blog? Does anyone really know it is here?

Intellectually I know the answer to most of these is yes, (except for the last few) but in a more solitary way I really don’t know and even more profound, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter that I feel this way.

So, today there is a picture of reflection because that is where I am at. Not necessarily liking the view but knowing that life changes on a dime and hopefully that view will become more clear.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Greening of Spring

Taking my $10 point and click camera out this seemingly dreary morning snapping pictures of spring just to see what comes though the lenses. There is so much brown, so much matted down from the snow and ice but tucked all about are so many sprouts of green life. Through the gnarled thickets are small flowers in bloom. The heavy cool dampness chills the bones but is protective and nourishing this new life.

There is a part of the woods behind our property that was harvested for hardwoods a few years back and what was left was a mess of hacked trees and bushes, tire ruts and a visual wasteland. But the sun that was opened up has helped nature reclaim this space with sprouts of green, saplings that had been shaded and can now grow and this is now an area for more birds and animals.

The rain is soft though the air is cool. The mist hangs over the mountains like a cool nourishing blanket, drifting with the breezes.

Out of the brown of winter comes new growth, new life, new opportunity. The sun will come out another day and the flower will bloom and the trees will be full, but this only because of the cool rain and mists and clouds of days like today.

So much of what goes on with the seasons goes on with us as people, in our lives and with our challenges. Through periods of brown can come new growth. Nourished by what supports us we again bloom another day in another way. Maybe not the same as before but as someone else once said, a rose is a rose and here a bloom is a bloom,