"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience." — Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Like a cat in search of a light-strewn windowsill to curl up in, I’ve come and found a place in the sun on the front steps where the battleship-grey paint peels and dandelions sprout from the bluestone pathway.
Basking in sunlight has a way of lengthening my breath—of thawing out my hardened thoughts—giving-rise to the more-malleable realm of imagination.
Anything is possible.
A black, Labrador retriever, even, greeting me at the door—tail wagging, tongue dripping—out-of-breath with enthusiasm.
A breeze blows softly through the arm of my shirt billowing out my sleeve and raising the hairs on my arm—the contrast of heat and cool exhilarating, almost rousing enough to send me in for more layers.
The air mingles with metal and wood chimes—swaying above me—whispering a sublime song with just three or four delicate tones captured at the level of the heart—the place that occupies an infinite space within us yet is incapable of holding official, measurable weight.
Within the sound is an invocation of the holy—a call to pause on an ordinary afternoon just before school pick-up.
Might we all suspend thinking just long-enough to soak in the common backdrop that interweaves among us—no matter our beliefs or our locale.
Might we all experience this web of connection holding us up and propelling us forward, if only at a snail’s pace.
This is the how of the seeming coincidences—the timeless knowing—the magic.
The birds compete with the chimes whistling their own afternoon melody with glee—elated to steal the stage away from winter’s prolonged residence.
In a flash, a scarlet cardinal zips into the high, thin branches of a young, apple tree where small buds have begun to appear—soon to burst forth in cotton-candy-pink and white blossoms.
I envision how the red-bird would look juxtaposed with the soft-pink petals—the combination of hues striking.
Lemon-yellow is among the first colors to appear in the burgeoning, Spring landscape in Maine.
Arching forsythia branches stretch upward and wide as if awakening from a long sleep and fragrant daffodils speckle the landscape with cheer—like a child’s drawing taped-up in a dim hallway.
When Jonah and Adrian were smaller, we occupied our drive home from school pointing out, naming and remembering the patches of vibrancy that revealed themselves first—giving them monikers like Canary Corner, Big Bird and Golden Sun.
We would do it again in the fall when the leaves transformed into their gilded state—a favorite patch at the curve of the road where a semi-circle of trees would lose their golden leaves—seemingly all at once—painting the pavement as a yellow corridor.
When driving home from school recently we came upon another expression of nature’s capacity to take-our-breath-away in the form of an ample, draping tree with an abundance of soft-cream blossoms cascading toward the ground.
I pointed it out but couldn’t think of the name of the species.
I was surprised when Jonah piped in, “Oh, that’s a magnolia tree.”
He’s been astonishing me in all kinds of ways.
Last year in his class play he gave three lines—with his eyes closed, as if in meditation—the energy of the crowd drawing him within himself for comfort.
It was beautiful in a sense to see his sweet face soft and at rest in front of an audience and I admired that he did what he needed to, to care for himself.
I witnessed him on-stage again yesterday—transformed as if into another body completely—giving a dozen or more lines confidently and with feeling.
I could tell that he was still well-aware of the many eyes upon him, yet he had grown more sturdy and grounded—his roots lengthening, deepening with time.
Later, he held a clipboard at a baseball game checking-off the players on Adrian’s team as they went to the plate—his petals unfurling into blossom with the world around him.
The blue metal wheelbarrow with its burgundy hardwood handles has faded with time and sits near the flower beds where I left it before the rain—filled up with last year’s hydrangea stems.
The stems dried out in the fall and winter and were more like sticks when I cut them rather than flexible, living stalks.
I pruned them short for the first time in hopes of a more fruitful re-bloom—the last few summers only producing a couple of flowers on three large plants.
The bases of these perennials now appear like three porcupines attempting to hide in the flower beds, quills mid-emergence.
A heavy fog arrives in the evenings and at dawn dampening the intensity of Spring’s flourish—drawing on our patience and on our trust in the unfolding of the earth’s annual rebirth.
The anticipation of being lived-forward along with our breathing planet is palpable—a racehorse at the gates ready to run free—and important in its own-right.
Gathering up our stamina—our strength—for the inevitable continuation and push-forward in our own lives with all of their unique expressions and majesty.
Turning inward—quiet, still, listening.
Then outward—full, radiant, in-bloom.
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