“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it. People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.”
In my last reflection from mid-August, I revealed a weakness of mine: being in the moment. 😬. And I explored my interest in being able to stay grounded within myself so that I can better receive and engage with lessons from the world around me. It will surprise absolutely no one that these few weeks later, I have not become a master of being in the moment. Bummer! But, of course that’s not how it works and I doubt I’ll ever be a master in that department. It’s not my strength and that’s not my goal.
But, to try to sum it up, it’s been fun… and more challenging as life’s pace has picked up this September. In Vermont it was fun because I was with loved ones, and Vermont is beautiful, and my love for it runs unwaveringly deep. It’s also much easier to be in the moment when the moment is beautiful and the responsibilities are few (such an elusive combo). Practicing being in the moment on a pleasant vacation is like skiing on a bunny slope, or at least it was for me. My time on the bunny slope proved fairly easy and definitely delicious and I’d like to share some of it with you… so here are a couple in-the-moment moments from the Green Mountain State:
- While swimming in Mirror Lake in Calais, VT, my sister Stacy invited me to get eye-level with the water; to lower my head so far into that water that it was just below my eyes. Cool request, so I gave it a go. I felt so connected to the physical world that it waxed surreal; my ears submerged and my eyes above. The sensory experience divided between below and above was striking—the friendly blue sky, fluffy white clouds, and warmth of the golden sun above, mixed with the simultaneous experience of the fluid darkness and mystery below. The slowness of below, and the speed of above. Both experiences at once. 10/10 stars; please try this if you find yourself swimming in a lake, river, pond, etc.
- I spent a good amount of time in Vermont listening for birds; seeing how many I could recall from my family teachings in my upbringing. I heard bluejays several times. Such a loud ‘n proud noise that bird delivers. So direct and charmless that it makes me chuckle aloud when I hear it sometimes. And then there were the delicate, charming calls of the chickadee; a bird I’m predisposed to love because my grandmother did. Below is a photo and some audio of those cute chickadees:
I suppose my natural expanded goal is to move beyond the bunny slope, and to see what lessons await when I travel into the murkier waters where lessons linger in less smooth water. In the meantime, and because I’m not yet willing to let go, I wonder how you were able to connect with beauty this summer. If you have a particular moment that stood out, please, by all means share the beauty of it in the comments below! There’s never enough beauty in the world.
P.S. The photo at the top is of Mirror Lake, with my kiddo Griffin in the distance.
My joy is being a deck farmer. I planted basil under my tomato and green pepper plants to keep away the tomato worms. It worked and we had fresh basil all summer. Only when the basil got away from me and began to bloom did I discover the true beauty of this deck farming. Basil seeds are loved by gold finches. As I gaze out my deck windows there is a living movie of gold bursts among the final lavender blooms as the gold finches cling to the tops of the flower spikes and pick the ripened seeds at the spike base. A special sight indeed.
Your experience was what an alligator must see as it scans for dinner. He must get distracted.
Thanks for this lovely reflection. You conveyed the feeling of the experiences so well!
I am currently at a retreat/small conference in upstate NY next to a lake. There is no light pollution here and the night sky is AMAZING. It is also lovely to look out over the lake from the hill next to it.
Also, Gail, thanks for the lovely depiction of gold finches tasting the seeds from your basil!
Hello Sara – Many thanks for your reflections about natural beauty and its impact upon your focus on taking time out to observe how Nature fills the Earth with its bounties of plants and birds. You did a good job of sharpening your senses of sight and sound. And your skills with texts and media brings it alive for others.
In that sense may I suggest you do a documentary of the garden around OBIC that Ann Wing produced so completely and over a long number of years. Then present it as a summer sermon in an upcoming year . Ann’s legacy looms large in her perfection of plant selection ,placement ,and diversity throughout 12 months a year . We owe that documentary to both the congregation and to Ann Wing’s legacy. Even her plat of that arboretum is a work of art in itself. Regards John Guy
PS I do remember similar Vermont experiences in 1968 when I drove by Lake Champlain into Vermont on a hot August afternoon before sunset and was saturated in Vermont’s sweet scents of all its clovers :red ,yellow ,and white as I remember.