Visual stimuli engage my brain far more than audial means could ever dream of doing. Visual is my learning style, and my way of understanding, filtering, interpreting, and often sharing the world around me. With that, the very moment of my optical intake of the image on this post…abruptly blossoming out of my heart, the following vivid application wound its way through my person, and popped through the ground of my brain, and simply hovered there for a good, comfortable while–stewing–as I become increasingly mindful of it and present with it. … This application is in regards to how I often perceive people. Though as instantaneously as it came to me, admittedly, I had not thought of it in this way ever before.
One Thursday after a long day of work and doing a little weeding at home, I netted down a lawn chair to the back of my motorcycle and threw a few essentials for proper sitting in the trunk, and I made a quick jaunt over to a state wildlife area near my home.
I’d been there several times before when I needed to regroup with serenity. I passed by the old white truck that has always been in the same parking spot every single time I’ve gone, this time accompanied by a yellow VW Bus. I parked in a corner of the lot, holstered the lawn chair strap over my shoulder and took my lunch bag along. I usually take a left at the first split in trails, so I opted right. A deep voice from heaven uttered, “You have chosen wisely!”
I urged the dirt path–a flat, thin valley surrounded by tall grasses, winding its way toward the waters’ edge– to take me somewhere neat. Within moments, I saw maybe ten yards away, the caught-in-the-act side gaze of a brown rabbit pretending not to see me nor be seen. I stopped and admired the darker hue of brown from most rabbits that I see in the area, while it continued–I assume without even breathing– in a frozen state of anxious paranoia. Thinking I ought not tarry any longer to disturb the green grass dinner, I carried along.
Shortly, I was on a small ridge, between two of the ponds, meandering back into the unknown. Save for the extraordinary amounts of goose poop–which is disappointingly very known to me. I startled a large blue heron on the left bank, that promptly swooped its lanky wingspan into action, and got the heck out of Dodge! I kept walking, and picked up a feather to admire along my way. Almost toward the end of both the path and the ponds, I found the spot that was meant for me. A quick dip just a few steps below, and I was set up in a damp grassland abutting the water’s edge.
And so I sat. My being harmonized with nature’s melody. Or was it the other way around? Well, it was musical one way or another. I puffed a few smokes from my tobacco pipe, enjoyed a solitary sip of whiskey, ate two mandarins, wrote a brief snippet, and took a handful of photographs. Throughout, birds of all kinds were bustling about, routinely involved in the commerce of their local ecosystem. There was a significant amount of commotion in the reed bundle just off to my left, though I never could make out any particular figure. It ended on the opposite side with what I presume, was a belly-flop from a turtle, showing off to his friends. Fish were jumping on both sides of the ridge. The water eagerly reflected back everything that was daring enough to look into the glassy mirror. My head oscillated back and forth like a hot summer night’s table fan, as I found myself mesmerized and captivated by both the sites and the sounds.
And then I picked the feather I was closely admiring earlier when I first sat down. I determined I would create a scene. A mindful, artistic, photogenic scene. I marked the sun’s location and determined the optimal accessible glassy canvas to work with. I took a few steps to my right, and planted my right foot on a sturdy enough branch sticking out of the water. It held my weight, so I brought up my camera, positioned myself, and dropped the feather onto the water just inches away from its surface.
It made the most gentle and delightful little ring of ripples. And this is the precise moment when the vivid application settled into me. It was like this…
That feather. It is so pristine and lovely as it floats there! What a delight to see and know this feather. I imagine every human as fragile, delicate, supremely designed, unique and wildly complex in structure— full of capacity and potential— existing there, surrounded by immense, unwavering yet ever-changing beauty. And yet, each human lives in this uncertain surface tension of the world with unpredictable ebbs and flows that at any moment could break the rippling tension of the surface and cause any measure — from one gentle dewy drop to a forceable rush of water — to flow in like an invigorating, breath-taking splash, or over, like a downward-pushing suffocating flood. It’s this unknown state that so often keeps us looking intently at the edges of ourselves, waiting and worrying that the tension might break at any given moment. And so we study it. We bustle and crow and squint and incessantly fluctuate our heart’s rhythms. We make calculations and predictions. We create black and white and defy gray’s existence, so that we can maintain our false sense of control. All the while failing to realize and rest in the surrounding beauty that exists to direct and reflect our eyes toward the prize. To believe. To trust. To rest. And in turn, to thrive!
Living is risky. Dying is inevitable.
How we spend the in between is a monumental choice. But really, it’s thousands upon thousands of tiny choices every day. How will you choose? Yes. But how will you choose to choose? [Don’t take it any deeper! Choice inception is a rickety rabbit hole! :p Don’t do it!!]
It can be helpful to have a baseline for our daily choosings. I’m going to choose, at least this time–right now–to gaze on the beauty and mystery of it all—of you all. I choose to breathe it and you in. I choose to accept and love not just the desirable, but the undesirable too. It’s risky. It always has been. And it’s good. Especially when others are there too. I hope I’ll see you there—living in the tension, smiling back at me! Throw a lawn chair on your motorcycle and join me anytime! You are always welcome.
Loveland, CO ¦¦ May 30, 2019
Copyright © 2019 Tack & Pine, All rights reserved.
Bonus content: I saw an awesome little turtle friend on my walk back to the parking lot!!! I think his name was Nick? But I couldn’t quite make it out.