There is a quiet place, a secret place, that is yours for restoration. There is a realness in the stillness. Go there, when you can; when you need to. It's safe. For me, it is the Other Side of the Trees.
April, I walked into the trees, climbed up on a rock, belted out a song and a high spirited howl of joy. Spring was (cautiously) emerging! Winter was waiting in the wings until our guard was down.
By May, winter left town. Summer came too soon, pushing spring out. An injustice, Spring had flown the coop, way too early. Seasons can be harsh, unfair, fickle. Indeed, spring had slipped out the back, Jack. In the “here-and-now”, leaves are turning their colors, gradually gliding downward. A one-time dusting of snow came, September. Other than that, we are holding on to fall as long as we can. I am in another season: I am pushing through a few barriers of resistance. Any of us, at any given time, may find ourselves in such a place; our awareness tells us that change is important; but the change is delayed.
The delay comes out of our reluctance to change; the reluctance comes because there is a “pay-off”. We are getting something we want from that which needs to change. To break through the barriers of a difficult season: I need a blend of specific, trustworthy, wise, supportive, and sensitive individuals to walk with; and I need some time to “sit in” a desert place of pain, to think through the process, the motives for wanting to leave what is familiar, and the implications of stepping into (again) the unknown. What will change look like? Peace be with you, sojourning bloggers. Keep writing.
This post was to go out a couple of weeks ago. Bummer.
I thought I would hold off before I stood up on a chair and belt out a song and a yawp of joy … Spring has been elusive, winter waiting until our guard was down, believing that Spring was bully here … and then rushing in like fierce snow birds, snow bunnies, snow squirrels. Now, I think that the snow is over, for the year. True, anything can happen. Snow in June?? Not yet. The injustice, here, is that Spring has almost flown the coop; slipped out the back, Jack; gone for the year … We may have a little Spring left. Those seasons, they keep changing. Such a simple statement, with profound implications. Our seasons in our lives, they look different for all of us. Me … I belief that I am in a season where I’m breaking through barriers of resistance. It is one thing to decide that it is your / my season … to break through barriers; and an entirely different matter to do it. This idea (you have already heard about) that sometimes the places we are at in life, struggling with certain issues, difficulties, offer us something, like a “pay-off”, and because of that we choose to stay, to linger, in these places. Those places might be in a desolate canyon with very few trees. Or, anxiety is dominant, or we wear depression like a heavy wool topcoat. And some might say that we struggle to move on, to move out, of those places … because we find some paradoxical comfort there. Maybe it is “the known”, versus “the unknown”. My final thought is this. For us to break through the barriers of a difficult season: we need a blend of specific, trustworthy, wise, supportive, and sensitive sojourners to walk with us; and we also need to embrace the reality that we must have some time to “sit in” a desert place of pain, to think through the process, the motives for wanting to leave what is familiar, and the implications of stepping into (again) the unknown. Peace be with you, sojourning bloggers. And, keep writing.
Three days ago I walked out to see how much snow was still on the ground. A few patches in the shady places, where sunlight filters through the trees. My thoughts were that Spring is coming through the mountains; that we had seen the last of snow. Such thoughts were in the space of obliviousness. I had not checked the weather, which according to some folks up here is a cardinal sin.
Two days ago some of the people I work with were talking it up:
“They’re saying up to two feet above 8,000.”
“Oh, it’s gonna happen. It’s going to be a upslope.”
Yesterday morning, the snow was just getting ramped up. Around noon, I had to push through my reluctance and the thick snow on the driveway. Snow blower doesn’t work, so it was me and shovel. We finally measured our driveway a while back. I would not have guessed, but its 450 feet long. There is a curve in the middle. I embraced the thick wool dungarees that I bought in 1992 at a thrift store; a t-shirt; a workout jacket; a polar fleece; wool hat; Sorrels snow boots; and some gloves (one right, and one left). I attacked the snow, driving back my nemesis (one of my nemesis), to the sides of the driveway. I felt like Gandalf, not with a staff but with a shovel, standing against the bellrog: “YOU … SHALL … NOT … PASS!!!”
By evening it was hammering pretty good. This morning, I looked out the sliding glass door at the two feet of snow. Ahhhhh. Just what I was looking for: more snow to shovel on my 450 feet steep-steep driveway. So … switching gears. The metaphor of the snowstorm connected with my heart and mind. I’ve been in a difficult season that has gone on … way too long. There have been several events over the last 7 years that have knocked me off the horse. In some ways, I have been a hiding man. In other ways I have been a wounded man. A handful of people, who know me well enough to speak candidly with me, have said numerous times over the last seven years: “T: get back in the game …”; “Get back on the horse …”; “You know what you’re supposed to be doing, so do it …” I don’t resent their counsel. They are right. And yet, I see some logic to the idea, expressed in this hypothetical question: “Why should I get back on the horse … just to be knocked off, again?” The snowstorm metaphor. I have no choice but to push back the snow. The snow cannot win. I have what it takes. As Winston Churchill said: “This will be our finest hour.” Chances are that some who are reading this post might have experienced some of the same anguish, some of the same type of dilemma. So, are we going to do this? Are we going to push through?
This was meant to go out a couple of days ago, but a case of “brain-freeze” got the best of me. I recently emerged from the hellish cerebral blizzard.
4.6 (degrees) … farenheit … below the ZERO mark. I’m low on mercury. Snow blower earlier in the day, to get out. With 4.6 degrees riding below the big zero, my thoughts froze up; for a moment I had no idea where I was. Then, from somewhere toward the back wall of my brain, I heard a distant motor of the snow blower. The sound became louder, gradually, and louder, and louder. Then the heat from the handles mixed with the rude awakening of my rotors hitting a rock brought me back to some level of winterized coherency.
I love Winter, and I hate Winter; and I love Winter. I like Winter, at times. At other times I don’t like it. Outside with audacious, sharp, wind, there is some measure of invigoration: AWAKEN O SLEEPER ! Tree green, accentuated with snow; long, long icycles hanging on for dear life from the edges of the roof. Ambivalence is strong when mercury is low, snow is deep. Maybe it is more about this season in particular.
Tree green and snow
There has been loss, and everyone experiences loss at one time or another. In some cases loss is more of a bite. This compilation, psychologically vicious. I am moving, constantly moving, into the next step, into the next bend. But I don’t think I am moving fast enough. Healing is happening, some days. Other days, its all frozen up, as if I had stopped moving in sub-zero temperature, and I stand in the cold, for what seems like years but may be only ten to fifteen minutes, and just listen. I don’t know what I am listening for: maybe an answer; maybe a question that will get me closer to an answer; maybe for an idea that will bring some thaw, that will get me moving again, past the cold, the isolation, the pain of knowing that things didn’t turn out the way I had hoped.
The good news, for ALL of us, is that we still hope, even if some things don’t turn out the way we wanted. Why wouldn’t we?