The Fox at Dawn

9.21.19 Not All There Is
September 21, 2019, 5:23 pm
Filed under: Art of the Day, Teaching, Writing | Tags: , ,

It feels like most of the world lives full out sunlight lives. Everything is clear, not that it’s easy, but the edges of everything are solid, the tasks are defined, the consequences are known, the paths are marked, unknown territory can be mapped. The sun comes up and people hurl themselves into the motion of their days. It is assumed that what is seen in the light of day is, in fact, reality. It is assumed that this is the reality that everyone lives in. It is taken for granted that this is just fine with everyone.

I can do it, live in the daylight world. I can make my to-do lists, tick off the tasks one by one. I can line up my ducks and count them, teach my classes, assess the progress, attend the meetings, write the curriculum, send out the emails, gather the supplies, clean up the mess. I can schedule schedule schedule the days, weeks, months. I can parse out my minutes to each allotted task and watch the calendar pages fly away like a murmuration of starlings.

I can do it, I have to do it, but it is exhausting and it chafes because there are other worlds to live in. There are other worlds in which my soul longs to reside. Too long in the sunlight world and my soul cowers, my heart raises its shields. Too long in that solid what-you-see-is-all-that-is world and I lose my way to those other lands.

Perhaps they may be called threshold worlds- the liminal world of dawn and twilight, the world of darkness that is not ruled by our sense of sight. In those threshold worlds, the pulse of the interior life is strong. There are forces at work that cannot be seen but whose effects can, like wind moving through the tree canopy. Beauty is one of those forces. Love is another. Perhaps they are the same thing. All of creation talks and sings songs to itself in the threshold world. Songs of possibility, of transformation and of forgiveness. It goes on whether humans are there to mark it or not. I long to hear this song and I’m always on the lookout for signs that it’s there whether I can hear it or not- the fallen hawk feather, the sighting of a fox in the city, the sudden cool wind that changes everything. I move through the daylight world with my head cocked, listening for creation’s song. It is very hard to hear most days, drowned out by the ticking of our clocks, the alerts, the ringtones. Sometimes the best that I can do is remember- this is not all there is.

9.1.19 Morning coffee by the golf course at The Williamsburg Inn
September 1, 2019, 9:40 am
Filed under: Art of the Day, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , ,

At dawn I watch all 
the little generals muster 
for the morning’s battle.
The fleet of silent carts 
line up under the pines, 
loaded with their arsenals.
The solemn marshals 
(no enlisted on this hallowed ground)
are dressed in battle uniform:
Collared cotton shirt,
short sleeve,
solid pastel,
a loose but tailored cut
designed to cover
prosperous bellies
and tuck neatly
into khaki shorts
belted with monogram
leather or needlepoint,
topped with visor, ball cap
or the occasional 
Havana fedora 
of the five star veteran among them.
“My ball will go in the hole, gentlemen,
however far away it appears,
despite the trap of sand, water or bunker.
I have the measured strength
and long vision, 
the mental steel
and mighty club
to do it.
Mark my words gentlemen,
my ball will penetrate the hole
long before yours.”
Let the generals play. 
Perhaps the privates,
lieutenants, sergeants, 
and captains will be left
in peace for a time.
Let the generals play.
It is a beautiful day.

Suspicion of wealth is a default setting of mine, yet here I am enjoying immensely what immense wealth has created and afforded- The Williamsburg Inn, Colonial Williamsburg, William and Mary. Eternal thanks to my sister for this glorious weekend together, my first real vacation in years. Wealth can be like the Grandmother Tree in the forest- the biggest and grandest tree that disperses its amassed treasure of nutrients into the roots of everything around it as it slowly declines and passes away.