I wake in the darkened room. The glowing clock on the nightstand tells me it's 5:14. I lie still, considering. Our bed is a soft nest, but with dawn arriving so early these last few months, it's been too long since I've seen the sky awash with color in those minutes before sunrise. Thirst for daybreak's blazing hues wins out over the possibility of more sleep.
I rise, dress quickly, and step outside. It is darker than I expect. The mountains that form this bowl of a valley are massive black shapes against a sky that is only beginning to lighten. As I walk, I greet each of them in turn, these peaks that called me to this part of the world more than two decades ago. This practice, usually taking the form of an improvised song, has become a daily ritual, one that roots me deeply to this place.
The wind is strong this morning, urging me from behind to full aerobic velocity. In five minutes, I round the bend and hear the rush of snowmelt flowing through the sluice into the lake. I pass its mad tumble. Here, where no hills or trees obscure the eastern sky, I see cloud upon cloud, suggesting that those colors I've longed for will be muted at best. I am not disappointed. I know other gifts will come, as they always do if I'm open to receive.
I continue a brisk clip to the northern side of the lake. The wind has increased significantly amid such openness, and I know it will be fierce, indeed, when I reach the lake's far edge. Sure enough, when I arrive there, it has become a tempest, whipping hair and clothing with an intensity that could be deemed unpleasant. But I recognize the gift.
I stop, turn to face both water and the now~moist wind that surges over it. I plant my feet, raise my arms, and welcome the rush of clean, insistent air. I ask it to loosen and lift away all that no longer serves my life or the world. Fear, stinginess, meanness of spirit...I give it to the wind. That which keeps me small and blind to the pervasive beauty of the Divine...I give it to the wind. All that holds me back, causes me to be untrusting, unkind...I give it to the wind.
I begin to sense a lightening, an awakening. I am being blown and jostled into aliveness. After several minutes, my arms drop, and with a grateful heart, I retrace my steps. Again, I reach the sluice, but now climb down its rocky edge to sit among tall grasses.
Thoughts and rapidly beating heart gradually slow. My gaze moves from water to cattails to amethyst clouds, until my eyes, too, cease their movement. I am still and at peace, one being amid a vibrancy of living things. Sated and scoured clean by the freshening wind, I rise and turn toward home. My day has begun.
May we each find a way to welcome our own personal winds and may they blow us free of all we no longer need, all that keeps us separate from love. Amen