To be alive is to totally and openly participate in the simplicity and elegance of here and now. ~Donald Altman
I glide though the silence of early morning fog rising from the river, my kayak paddle slicing through the glassy water, propelling me forward into the next moment, and the next, and the next. I am not always good about doing this, but sometimes in the time just after dawn as the sun starts to claim ownership of the sky, I am able to be in each moment, not thinking about the last one, not anticipating the next one. Just present, one paddle slice or step or breath at a time. Simple elegance, on paddle slice at a time.
We spent this past week about 500 miles from home, in a little yellow cottage outside of Manistique, Michigan. Perched on the southern shore of the state’s upper peninsula and the northern shore of Lake Michigan, my husband’s family has roots deep in the sandy shores and waters and lore of the small lakeside town and its surrounding forests. It’s a place of simplicity if you choose it, and an elegance of a different sort than is usually conjured from the term. I suppose you could say it’s a place where they have always gone to be present. To simplify the pace of the days and let the slow energy of a summer vacation take the reins. Continue reading “Kayak Morning”
An excerpt from Woodland Manitou: To Be on Earth – available wherever books are sold.
About a month ago, we pulled into the driveway after a great five days up along the north shore of Minnesota, still reveling in the tonic that is Lake Superior, anticipating a low key few days of unpacking before returning to the usual work schedule. We ambled down the path from the garage, happy to be out of the car and walked into the house to a putrid smell and reports that the septic alarm had been going off for an indeterminate amount of time in our absence. Awesome. Turns out a little creature of some sort had chewed through the cord that powered the septic pump, shorting it out. Could have been much worse. All and all and easy fix for Nick, and we were back in business. But the smell….remained. For another day we pondered just what could be making the kitchen stink. Eventually we followed some clues and found a decomposing mouse behind the fridge. Again, awesome. But we got rid of it, gave the cats a pep talk and life carried on. Then I got a call that my credit card number had been stolen and there was someone in Texas trying to charge a trip to Thailand on my Visa. And the grass needed to be mowed and the garden weeded. Then the water heater broke, one of our indoor cats got out and was lost for a day and a half, and my retreat co-leader broke her foot and couldn’t come to the retreat we had been planning for several months. And then the road construction workers cut the phone lines that run to our house and we were down phone and internet for several days…and still are, truth be told. Not a big deal, really, except for when you work from home calling people and working on the internet. (And that’s just what happened in my own little privileged bubble – the events happening in tandem with my own mini dramas in terms of racial inequality and war and planetary destruction would make this little list much, much longer.)
It’s been a rough month. Continue reading “Bits of Astonishment”
Most of my childhood was spent living seven miles south of a small college town in eastern South Dakota. Days in the summer were spent outside in the fields around our five acre plot, picking berries and vegetables in the garden (enthusiastically…some of the time) and strategically placing Breyer horse models and My Little Ponies in various little nooks and crannies around the homestead. Spring was muddy and wet, but that just meant there were streams in the back in which to splash. Fall was about apples and jumping in piles of leaves and waiting for the first snowflake. Winter was all about burrowing into the snow, sledding down the hills in the neighbor’s pasture and skating on the frozen cow pond. My brothers and I roamed. Continue reading “Safety and Risk: Enough”