Friday, June 26, 2015

spring green...

"Our task is to stamp this provisional, perishing earth into ourselves so deeply, so passionately, that its being (arises), invisibly, in us."  Rainer Maria Rilke

What a miracle spring-green is. When younger, I was always on my way to "somewhere"  that was more important than spring-green. This year my destination seems to be more Now -- walking now, feeling now, observing now. Everywhere, my eyes are taken with all the emerging every-things.

Looking out these windows the color green, except for the lake, fills the landscape.  As common as it is, how can I be enchanted? Yet, I rather am. Recently, I headed north from Arizona as did my friends the migratory birds. There is no green in my front or back yard in Tucson. The desert, having it's own unique beauty, is speckled with grey, purple-brown sand dotted with sun-worn cactus, sage and tumbleweed which is not the iridescent green we know here. When looking up at the night sky there are no young sprouts of grass on the moonscape, no early morning sun inching, feeling its way, caressing the newest leaf as it unfurls its sails. Nor does green exist on any other planet we humans know.

A decade ago, I also had a little help wakening my spring-green eyes. After an accident, I was stopped for many months. Everything moved slowly in me and by me. I wrote in my journal, "My new passenger status and cane offer me countless early-green encounters.  Looking out the car window a lacy pattern of new maples and poplar leaves dance their iridescences in a backdrop of blue. Grasses and new shoots pass me in slow motion. Looking to the top of the hill, in the distance,  cows are munching their fill of this rich spectacle. Lazily I wonder, "Will it give them a stomach ache?"

My journal continues, "Imagine, I have to wait another whole year before I see these exquisite sights, again. A thought stings me, death now rides a little closer on my left shoulder. There are no guarantees. I nearly missed this spring. And no matter how much belief I have in life continuing in some form, I also believe the texture, the solidity of my feet in this new spring-ness and the tender slide of the young poplar leaf velvet-ing my fingers may not be the same on the 'other side'."

Although this morning, a decade later, I try to describe what I see out my window here, I still can't. I go to the poets, they can't. So I won't. I can only take a deep breath, look and passionately desire another spring with it's iridescent green.  Like Rilke, maybe my task is stamping this earth into my being, so it's beauty and mystery can arise within. 

photo source:  Sunny Flowers,

Friday, June 12, 2015


Spring is here in Nova Scotia and the first duck families are swimming by our lake-front.  A mother is often followed by a half dozen or so puff-balls. Initially, you can hardly tell they are ducks. Yet, every week they shape more into little ducklings. Sometimes, their daily path swimming by our lake-shore seems to be a "road-way" shared, morning and evening, by muskrats, geese and beaver.

In summer, we often have supper on the lake-side deck. My two grands like to sit on the "high" chairs so they can lean over the second-story railing. Tonight, my granddaughter, who is four, spots a duck swimming near the shore. She starts sporadically calling to it, "Duckie, Duckie, Duckie." Pausing, she eats a little more supper then starts calling again. Momentarily, the duck disappears behind the bushes on the shore line. With delight she repeats the call. A half hour passes. Her persistence is striking. 
After a few more bites of food and more calling, the duck lifts off and seems to head our way, but I know it will angle off over the trees. It doesn't. My granddaughter leans forward with anticipation as I grab her shirt-tail. I am suddenly looking at feathers on the inside of its wing-span.  

Now eye-level and seconds from the potential collision, I see fear in the duck's eyes. I instantly feel it myself. The bird's wings grab air frantically. I am looking at a "back-peddling" duck! A strange sight. I have never seen a duck try to fly backwards and for seconds, I think it does. My guess is that "Duckie" and I are having an identical experience, one of fear and confusion. After achieving a slight space, the bird makes an unnaturally sharp ninety-degree turn and heads over the trees. 

Regaining my wit and looking at my granddaughter, I see her experience is quite different. Her face is lit with delight and laughter. Of course, the duck comes when she calls. Magic happens. She, unlike the adults present, had every confidence this wild creature would fly a hundred feet in a straight diagonal to meet with her on the deck! She knows she can talk duck-language. She believed it would respond as strongly as I believed it would not.

My questions are obvious. How much of this world, how much magic do I miss? Most of it, I suspect. How important it is to feel out beyond my own "dead-end" expectations. And what doesn't happen because I don't?  Do I expect the wind to be more than the wind, that the prayer really will be answered in whatever mysterious ways prayers are answered? That old Christian scripture might have a point, "Unless, you become like little children..."  Will I ever enter the Queendom of the Duckie?

Drawing by Shawn Scott