I sit atop a tumble of red rocks deep within the canyon, stark cliffs rising all around in shades of orange, tan and greenish-grey. My dear friend Kelli continues the steep climb to the top of Kitchen Mesa, but knee strain and disinterest in destination~~even one with such stunning views~~urged me to turn around and allow my journey to unfold in a different way. I’d been moving steadily through stands of weather~worn juniper and cedar when these red rocks called me to them. And now, I simply sit.
We have come to Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu for a much needed retreat. My life has been a whirlwind of activity these past few months, and I’ve been spinning right along with it. It’s all been good, with a certainty that I’m where I need to be, doing as I’m meant to do and, luckily, as I want to do as well. In that way, I’ve felt in accord.
And yet, the rapid fire succession of experience following experience, needed decision following needed decision, loved visitor following loved visitor has left me externally oriented, focused on the temporal, tied to a world of this and that. I’ve been all motion and no stillness. I’ve been all rushing river and no still lake reflecting sky. And it is still lake reflecting sky that I yearn for now. And so this is what I become.
I look up to the cliffs, down to the rough earth, deep blue sky arcing over it all. Wind is the only sound as it rushes past my ears and whistles through the branches of nearby trees. With a prayer that it be recycled to good purpose, I release my frenetic energy to that wind, each gusty blast of clean air taking what I no longer need.
I inhale and the surrounding expanse fills me. I exhale and give it all back. Rushing water gradually settles into calm lake.
My relief is palpable. Do water molecules feel such solace upon arriving at the lake after a tumultuous dance down the mountainside? Water molecules~~some of the least likely teachers in this arid land, yet teachers they are to me now. They love it all, they tell me~~the giddy glee of rapid movement and the serenity of quiet reflection.
The secret, they whisper, is to discover serenity in the movement and spirited joy in the stillness. Yin and Yang, each embracing the other within the boundless eternal.
I’m home now, sitting at my desk, the ticking clock the only sound I hear. Life has swept me back into itself, a rushing river carrying me away once more. Yet in this moment, serenity is mine, even as my molecules dance with abandon.
Blessed dancing to ya!
But there's more...a poem that came from the essay above. But first, an explanation...
At a writing workshop I attended a few years back, there was a wonderful exercise. We were given about 45 minutes to write a few pages about some theme I don't now remember. After we'd had time to work it and become enthralled with our words, the teacher said, "Great! Now cut it down to one page." We groaned, but did as we were told, xing off whole lines, keeping what was best. After 20 minutes or so, she said, "Great! Now 25 words." What an exercise, learning to let go, to not be too attached, to find the kernel within our wordiness.
So here’s the a poem I wrote from this essay. You’ll find that it differs in ways other than length. One metaphor flew the coop while another arrived to replace it. These things happen sometimes and who am I to quibble?!! Here it is, to be read slowly, as a meditation which, in fact, it was and continues to be with each re~read…
A tumble of red rocks
Calls me to the canyon floor.
Cliffs rise...orange, tan, greenish~grey.
Wind the only sound.
I sit on hallowed ground,
Hallowed ground hollowing me,
That I might better hold the Light.
And that’s not all, gals and guys! Here are two pictures Kelli took from the top of the mesa. Almost makes me wish I’d made the climb! Namaste, ya’ll!