I have recently become completely enamoured with the Forks, as well as the walk i get to walk to pass through there. It’s the perfect-sized loop and passes by all kinds of little worlds. If you’re lucky and walk from your house through the loop, you get to pass over three (!) bridges which all have completely different flavours, see a bald eagle very low and very giant (the other day), and a million geese, a bunch of old guys sitting and looking at the water, and happy, healthy people hanging around, playing, enjoying. I especially like it in the weekdaytime when all of these are sprinkled with life brightly but calmly. And i especially like the longcut en route home, where you can pass by Cafe Postal and get a coffee or tea. If you drink it reasonably, it will last the rest of your walk, but mine never does because they make pretty good coffee over there and i’m impatient/bad at savouring slowly/think good coffee should get drunk hot. Anyway, check out what some probably-introverts made for us to enjoy at the forks. TILT by ATLRG (Sean Radford, Chris Wiebe, and Brian Pearson) is this useable, happy exhibit along the riverbank almost at the foot of the Provencher Bridge. The little yellow half-tents are made for idling or acting or just generally being. And they’re great! Here’s how they describe them: “Its movement conjures a school of fish, or a flock of birds, flitting in opposite directions, remaining as a whole.” Who doesn’t love the concept of being together, apart sometimes? It seems like it’s what our culture misses a bit of, for this introvert at least. We have lots of time alone, we have lots of time together, but what a treat it is to be disconnected together. Or connected, slightly apart? These tiny meeting spots, or idling spots, or playing, sleeping, reading, being spots are my new favourite Winnipeg thing. Thank you, great city. You’re my favourite place.
I know. Flower pictures. Bo-ring.
But while walking along the river and on Lyndale Drive with Jude yesterday, we came across these flowers, and she was excited and forgot herself for a few moments and fell into gardener-love with them and is trying to figure out what they are. We decided they’re probably poisonous because they’re so beautiful.
Do you know what these are? Do they grow only wild and free?
“In the end, only three things matter: How much you loved, how gently you lived and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” -Not the Buddha, but someone after him.
In class this week we’ve been exploring and practicing grace. (Like the personal kind, rather than Grace, which comes exactly right after the personal kind.)
Over perfection. Over getting it right.
I’ve always thought it doesn’t matter what kind of huge thing you eff up, so long as you do it with some mustered up modicum of grace. (I’m learning.)
What a relief that you don’t have to get it right. You don’t even have to get it half-right. You can fail completely. But stick with grace.
Unfortunately, I forgot (could i have never known?) what grace meant for me.
I mean, i would know it if i saw it. But a prescription for it? Define grace? Blank stare.
I figured maybe it was an undefinable, but i tried anyway and I asked my friends to as well.
And what grace-infused responses came, I tell you.
Always, each and every one, had a blend of strength or some kind of firmness accompanied by lightness, sweetness or ease.
Sukha Shtira Asanam. Again and again.
Here is what i think:
grace = courage (often to do/feel/believe/trust the thing that is the most out of our comfort zone) + self-love (which spreads expansively into everyone-love, of course.)
And then? This miraculous thing happens; we set down the things that kept us away from an infinite supply of this universe’s grace, and the universe has got us. Isn’t that the best news ever?!
Perfection is for the birds, man. Bring on the courageously-flawed, edge-softening, heart/face/everything-lifting, connected-to-everything, carries-you-into light, imperfectly-steady, beautifully-messy, beautiful you-grace.
“Nature, time and patience are the three great physicians.” -Bulgarian Proverb
Not to be all rose-coloured-glasses or anything, but really. Who cares what else for a moment when you are walking on crunchy, uneven, real ground, and baby ducks are learning to swim right beside you already, and you can look at this beautiful business?
You know what’s great? A string of rainy days and a home, despite the mixing of emotions, finally, to settle into. Open windows. A breeze that has been washed by the rains before it comes. The gentle hopefulness of sun after a good rain. A killer view that it only takes three staircases to get to. Spring, in all of its exhausting, promise-of-a-new-day glory. A newfound like of the Beatles, especially the george one. Being called little darlin by them. Sun coming. And then rain and more sun. Some ease. And so on.
This is happening around here.
Everywhere you look!
The promise of a new day is thick in the big expansive air and it’s really energizing and a little overwhelming sometimes. I feel like i’m on speed and like my long-winter cocoon got opened by big curious hands, slightly before i was ready. (I know it was a long winter. Who isn’t ready for the promise of a new day, anyway?!)
Transition is hard:)
Which lured me into the thinking of how much it sucks to resist the flow; the littlest bit of apprehension and we fall out of the current that carries us into the new season, the new experience, and the life in general.
Did you notice that a lot of people die in Spring? I’ve always thought that they must sort of resist the flow of life, intuitively knowing that they are not meant to go through the cycle of the seasons again. That nature honours this resistance and leaves them to their falling out of the rhythm of the life and into a different rhythm. It’s a lot of pressure having pushy spring come around and try to get you to dance when you don’t feel like dancing, i bet. I suspect it becomes pretty clear if it’s your time or not, when extroverted spring comes around.
So, if we are going to be in this life, like really be alive, i guess it’s our job to align with the rhythm the best we can and not resist and let spring (or winter or challenge or joy or whatever part of the cycle we’re in) carry us, even though it seems like it’s a bit over-zealous, if you ask me.
Into the flow, washing the windows, soaking in the fresh air, embracing the spring.
How ’bout you?
Sometimes it starts to feel like Spring is springing when there are giant puddles everywhere and you can hear the metronomic drip of things melting and softening. And sometimes it’s the sound of the first few flocks of geese, high above head, their honking announcing almost-spring, giant wings appearing after you hear the call.
Or rubber boots, or the sound of happy kid laughter, the feeling that the air is full of potential, or the bravest buds bursting first.
For me, it’s spring when the mysteries of nature start to stir and move with curiosity of a new time, thawed out, forgetting last this happened; everything new again in a giant rebirth.
Who knows what is possible.
This usually happens with a fox.
Always the fox looks like an apparition.
Usually he does something peculiar like follow you around a golf course and lie down on various patches of grass, watching with sharp, attentive eyes to see what you’re up to.
Consistently every one of his movements look like it’s fuelled by curiosity.
This guy showed up the other day and then again. And again.
He let us get pretty close and we didn’t bug each other at all.
He wasn’t molting yet; he was still in his warm winter coat, but i’m sure that’s coming next. I’ll keep you posted.
Thank you, longest, coldest winter in the history of the world for the reminder.
There’s no forcing nature.
Things will boil down or come up or work out, settle down exactly how they’re meant to.
There’s no stopping or starting the nature.
It’s a wild thing.
Oh, and it also is a giant practice patience.
We’ll get there someday. (Won’t we?) At some point, the crunchy, uneven ground of old and new snow mixed up underfoot will be replaced by (elusive) pavement, or (from wildest imaginings;) grass, even. The jagged-edged noise of winter will fade out; replaced by the soft-curved sound of warmer times. The cramped cocoon of winter clothes will loosen, ice will yield, arms will open and faces will lift and sunshine will shine. (Won’t it?)
(Maybe the longest winter on earth is also a practice of faith.)
Always things will melt and soften and grow and live and shrivel and die and harden and soften and bloom and expand and then more freezing, dying, closing, and then again, after the longest winter you’ve lived and when you see it coming the very least, and when you’re not sure if it’s going to come; more awakening.
But it’s not really any of our business when nature will relinquish the old or when any of this will go down.
This is a bit of a relief.
Seize the good winter-spring day.
keeps showing up everywhere.
The pileated woodpecker.
I get it. You’re a big deal. Endangered and scarlet-headed. I can’t look away.
In the spirit of research, i’ve explored the woodpecker a bit/lot. Aboriginal spirituality says he’s the strong, instinctive, unstoppable rhythm of the earth; the deep animal knowing of things. The rhythm of the universe that happens despite whatever we do. There is a pattern that we are part of that is woven not by us. This guy is a reminder of that pattern, the rhythmic tapping, and the beating of life’s heart which our heart is part of.
This is a salve.
Also Tom Robbins likes woodpeckers and i like this, on magic and love and the woven pattern that we are part of but don’t make and our work within the pattern:
― Tom Robbins, Still Life with Woodpecker
I’ve been gone fishin’, figuratively speaking, but thought i would stop in so things don’t become stagnant and so you don’t think i fell into a well, (which i did, but i’m ok!)
Here’s a picture from my new other favourite river, on a day when at times you could barely see.
But anyway, who the shit cares about clarity when the ambiguity and obscurity are so beautiful and totally uncomfortable as you try to firm your gaze, but you can’t because of the snowy blur, so you close your eyes instead to enjoy the crystal clear feeling of the snow falling softly on your face?