Archive for April, 2017

spring rain

April 25, 2017


Although the wind continues, this morning is cloudy and cooler. I can see the mist on the Sandias and know it is raining at 11,000 feet.

I would write that there’s nothing like the scent of rain in the desert except my mind tells me it is remembering. To prove its point, it slips away to search the recesses of its memories so it can compare and contrast, and while it’s absent, I want to grab the world in my fists as one might a shirt that holds the fragrance of a loved one and hold it close to my nose, inhaling its essence to make it part of me for as long as I walk the earth.

Yesterday, searching for clues for how to deal with my overwhelming emotions, I read about the liver. How it’s the seat of anger and resentment I knew. What was new was that courage and will power are its positive expressions. I rushed to rebuke myself: I needed to work harder at taking courageous steps.

This morning, sitting with my coffee and feeling the air, earth, wind, and fire meet in the world around me, my mind returned, unable to match the scent.  Maybe it’s a memory of a future time? Or of this time. And then I was gifted with this thought: sometimes the bravest thing to do is to wait.

springing to life

April 17, 2017

The cottonwoods in the bosque where I walk have leafed.  Their green reflects the sunlight like water.

Down there in the riverbottom, a few old ones appear unable to join this celebration of spring renewing.  They remind me of a dogwood tree I grew to know back in Charlottesville.  Just as with these wild cottonwoods, I had no idea how long this dogwood tree had been planted.  Many of the plants had found their way into this yard only at the gardener’s behest, but dogwoods being native in Virginia, this one might have been preserved from the original woods the owners had fashioned according to their tastes more than 60 years earlier.

When I first grew acquainted with this dogwood, I noticed the scars that told of how often it had been pruned, a sign someone had tended it carefully.  It stood alone, protected beneath the towering shade of a hemlock, some white pines, and tulip poplars, its base uncluttered by groupings of azaleas or rhododendrons or the vinca that had long slipped the gardener’s controlling hand.  That first spring, it bloomed later than the younger specimens, but eventually it offered a respectable number of four-petaled pink flowers to the general riot of color.  The next spring, however, it was looking less capable.  That was the spring my landlady, the wife of the long-deceased gardener, was no longer on the property.  As I anxiously checked its progress, I intertwined its efforts to push itself back to life with my landlady’s disappearance.  Eventually, from the seemingly dead tree, one slender branch produced a few blossoms, and I cheered for it and for Pam, now residing in an assisted nursing facility, both of them still determined to survive another season.  By the summer, however, it was clear that the tree was too weak to survive another year.  Last spring, no buds arose in answer to spring’s siren song; Pam would be gone as summer turned into fall.

Just last week, as the earth warmed and buds began bursting, I understood how that old dogwood and these old cottonwoods felt.  The strength to start again, to meet the resistance life offers every day with my own will, seemed beyond my capacity.  Watching the red willows late to leaf, I thought of what an affront it would be to my sadness to see leaves on those branches.  The place I’d taken to my heart as a refuge because it reflected an austerity that mirrored my own internal landscape was beginning to reflect a vigor and a joy I did not feel.  More than once, I returned home from my walk disoriented and confused, deeply worried about how no answering movement was occurring within me.

Seeing those cottonwoods this morning, I thought of how their energy isn’t gone.  It was never really theirs; they were simply expressing life’s vitality as a cottonwood does.  Now what was once their responsibility will be taken up somewhere else.  They played a part in the fabric of life, just as the dogwood, the gardener and his wife Pam played theirs.  And until the day I grow too exhausted to summon the strength to join the general chorus, I once again find myself able to step into my role of reflecting what has nurtured my spirit, hoping that my efforts are like the cottonwood’s new leaves, able to honor the energy I’m privileged to share at this moment in time with all the other amazing expressions of life on our Mother Earth.