Hiking in the woods three days ago, the air is soft, the sun warm, the snow retreating. On the ground, patches of brown and green colors revealing themselves. Birdsong. The slow signal of seasonal change.
Today hiking in the woods, snow is falling.
Nonetheless, I stop and take a deep breath. There is space around me, no other moment than these moments. Time stretches – it feels more elastic, less caught in a never ending cycle of twists and turns, that can become tighter and tighter.
With this tangible sense of space, I can explore, wonder, inquire, and reflect. I see the individual shape of the trees, their outline, their strength, their brokenness. I see the space between them.
We are not used to the freedom of space, of not needing something else; its potential for liberation; releasing us from the tyranny of wanting. Of desiring more and more, until we feel satiated or equally sick.
Practicing mindfulness creates the possibility of space. Finding a place to practice where we will not be interrupted, where we can feel safe. As we come to stillness, we experience tiny spaciousness moments revealing themselves in the mind and heart, uncovered on the breath and then gone. Fleeting. But with continuing practice, these moments return, again and again. In this way we build foundations of care, and trust as we step into new territory. We sense moments of lucidity, of calmness. And when we do this, we prepare the ground for new experiences of wonder and mystery.
Spring is this time for letting go all of all that is no longer necessary or useful. Mindfulness practice helps us with this, creating connections and pathways in our hearts and minds towards our better selves.
A calling , a beckoning, here, now.
In Blackwater Woods by Mary Oliver Look, the trees are turning their own bodies into pillars of light, are giving off the rich fragrance of cinnamon and fulfillment, the long tapers of cattails are bursting and floating away over the blue shoulders of the ponds, and every pond, no matter what its name its name is, is nameless now. Every year everything I have ever learned in my lifetime leads back to this: the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation, whose meaning none of us will ever know. To live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.