Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Perfect Moment In Time

The other day during a cool, crisp morning, I walked along the bike path that follows the Chena River. It was here that I sat on a rock and allowed the stillness and peace of this place to wash over me.

Often in our lives we miss the moments. We miss the stillness or the peace a place offers to us because we are caught up in our 'monkey mind.' Or we are caught up in wishing there were someone there to share it with and miss out on the gifts of the moment.

So on this morning, I snapped a photo with my cell phone and sent it off to one of my best friends who loves awe-inspiring moments like this.

It used be that these moments meant more to me when I experienced them alone. But over time I've come to realize that these moments are more precious when you have someone by your side. Someone who says later, 'remember that morning when I was stuck inside at work and you sent me a photo of the Chena River.' It was a perfect moment in time.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Gray Day

This photo is from our drive home from Chena Hot Springs this week. It was a rainy drive. I like the gray, sullen, calmness that comes with a rainy day. It quiets the soul. Makes you want to stay in bed and listen to the rain on the roof.

How would our lives change if we took the time to wrap ourselves in the rainy days?

Monday, August 10, 2009 walk in the woods, again...

Today was a beautiful day. The air quality was actually rated "Good" by the Fairbanks North Star Borough Air Quality Index. It was fresh, crisp and without a hint of wildfire smoke. My daughter and I decided to hike along the University trails.

Powerful feelings -elation, peace, and relief- arose within my soul. The result: a rush of tears began to pour down my cheeks.

I wonder why we don't shed a tear or two more often and let out how we really feel. Is it to keep up our appearances to others -both those close to us and those who don't even know our name? Is it so that we can tell ourselves a different version of the story we are living? Maybe we don't want to believe in the magic that surrounds us everyday.

Tears actually release toxins from our body -it's been scientifically tested. Emotional tears let us release pent up feelings. It's healthy. All human beings have tear ducts so it's natural. But seeing someone cry seems to be disconcerting and somewhat upsetting for most people.

As I stopped walking, time stopped and space expanded. I began sniffling and wiping tears with the back of my hand. We stood in the middle of a wooded trail, cherry-red rose hips to my right, fireweed going to seed on my left, my daughter patting my arm and wanting to comfort me. She wanted to make it alright rather than to let me cry. I didn't really have Words to describe how I felt walking with her on that trail. But I used my 5 cent, single syllable words to explain, 'it feels so good to walk in the woods, again.' (Oh, ok, ag-ain is two syllables...)

If a picture can tell a thousand words, tears should be able to tell at least fifteen hundred words. I wanted to express to her what I felt or thought. But in the moment, with my heart bursting and the tears flowing down my face, I had no words -just release and communing with the Greatness that surrounded me.

As she patted my arm and asked if I was ok, memories flashed into my mind (each very much worth a thousand words). Living in a 'dry' cabin when I first came to Fairbanks. Peaceful walks to the outhouse in mid summer. Naknek. King Salmon summers. Picking blueberries in McGrath. Waking to super cubs landing on Six Mile Lake. The summer I learned about medicinal use of Alaskan plants -and tried them out. The many summers I made Fireweed Honey -jars and jars of it given away as Christmas presents. Using a chain saw for the first time at fish camp. Riding on a four wheeler along the edge of the lake to get to the wooded trails. Memories break my heart and heal me all at the same time.

I wish my daughter could have uploaded the tear enhanced memories into her own thoughts and feelings of our hike together. My explanation -stifled, simple, lacking in substance -made me seem overly emotional and a little sad. And maybe I am.

Following the flood of memories, I was swept away by a Heart-decision, in that brief, tearful moment, that I'm ready to live in a cabin again...away from the ease of downtown living. I want to come home to a cozy, warm, cheerful cabin in the midst of the quiet woods I love, to knit mittens, cook soup.

As time resumed, I took a couple of deep breaths, hugged my girl up and gave her a reassuring smile. We continued our hike as we shared what we love about the woods. We just kept going. (And, isn't that we must do when struck by tears and time stops -just keep going forward.) So we hiked through the woods...happily...together.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A Proper Goodnight

Tonight my 10 year old daughter told me in her 'serious-yet-joking voice' that she was not "going to bed without a proper goodnight!" She has been practicing her serious voice for some time now -imagine how cute it was at 4 years old. For a 10 yr. old girl, a 'proper goodnight' entails a myriad of rituals. There's the joking and teasing as we remove the stuffies from the bed. Then pulling back the covers. Then there's the 'lean in for a hug and kiss.' Which is promptly followed by her request for a story, as she uses her super-power, death grip on my arm, while looking up at me with super-power puppy-dog eyes. So I lay down next to her with book in hand and begin the next chapter of the most recent book we've started. If it's a Nancy Drew mystery, one chapter is never enough. We always want to know what happens next. When reading time has come to completion, I tell her how much I love her and give her so many kisses that she's got extra for the next day. We wish each other 'sleep tight' and 'love you' as I turn out the lights on my way out the door.

This seemingly simple ritual performed in households throughout the world would seem to be perfunctory or just another chore of parenthood. However, any ritual involving love is complex and meaningful. Chores are perfunctory; love is not. Loving others should be an experience which transcends this moment in time. Love transcends time and place. When I think about my daughters' request I realize how we all deserve a 'proper goodnight' -one filled with rituals of sweetness and gentle ways. It should feel calm and quiet yet laced with joy on the edge of laughter.

If we all had a 'proper goodnight,' dreams would be richer and sleep would be deeper. Imagine waking up filled with an inner light and happiness that comes from knowing that you are so well loved. I hope this is what I am giving to my daughter. I hope that you can give this to the loved ones in your life.