Opening to the Season

One day it was summer and the next day it was autumn. A deep silence heralded the change. Then, with a sudden wind, the new season flew in, bringing a day of dramatic skies—sunny patches, blue-gray clouds shedding thin sheets of rain, white clouds towering in wild wind-sculpted shapes. The only creatures I met in the desert were quail. The temperature had dropped twenty degrees, and everything that lives in a warm burrow was in it. Even after the weather began moving, my mind remained affected by the strange silence that preceded it, fascinated by sounds and the space between them. The tapping of rain. Nothing. The brushing of wind against rocks and trees. Nothing. A quail peep. Nothing.

I went to City of Rocks state park a week or so ago when friends visited from Virginia, and it was perfectly silent unless we spoke or walked. No cars. No other people. Nothing.

It’s hard for the human mind to sustain total silence. Openness to the arrival of pure experience can be overwhelming. My head is more at home filled with the chatter of its own products, from the turning point in a plot to my daily plans. But without stillness, none of the activity works as well.

At home, the silence embraces me. After nearly six months of running the air conditioner, I’ve been able to turn it off. On an evening walk, my neighbor and I fell into silence as the bats emerged from their new home, swirling into the sunset sky from behind a broken blue wall with a mural on it. They’ll only be with us for another week or two, and then they’ll migrate to Mexico. We humans, our heads full of words and the sense of time, are aware that when the bats leave, another season has changed. Something has ended. And yet it hasn’t. In the perfect, circular nature of real time, the cycle is eternal.

*****

Read more of Amber Foxx’s essays on this blog and in the collection in Small Awakenings: Reflections on Mindful Living.

 

Advertisements

Recycling Another Old Calendar

I use a paper calendar, not an electronic device, for planning, and I can flip back through the pages and see the things I had to keep track of before I took early retirement and moved, finally, back to New Mexico. I can see the to-do list of the transition, too, and the schedules and plans in my new life. The year was significant, but the days more significant. Each of those little squares was life lived. Interactions, connections, experiences. Each of those little squares was a day when I kept certain commitments no matter what else was going on: yoga, meditation, and writing. My life has felt more circular than linear, and since I have occasional precognitive dreams, I question the perception of time as a step-by-step passage, with clear lines between past, present and future like those little squares that organized 2017.

There are many New Year’s rituals in which people let go of their past habits or troubles and embrace something new and positive. One such ritual is an interactive art installation in the ladies’ room at the T or C Brewery. The one before it used maps, and invited the women passing through the space to add notes about where they had been and places that affected them. The one for the New Year is a figure with messages accumulating on her, letting-go and turning-toward intentions. She will be burned, like Zozobra, in February.

A small spaceship full of hopes and wishes will go up on New Year’s Eve from Healing Waters Plaza at the time of the Ascent of the Turtle, T or C’s uplifting variation on dropping the ball in Times Square. (I have no idea what this little spaceship is—I’ll find out and report back.)  I like the imagery of both these rituals, and yet I can’t think of anything to add to them, not a message to set afire or one to send out to the universe.

Though I’ve I learned from my past, I seldom think about it. There’s more behind me than in front of me, but what’s ahead is more important. And what’s now is most important of all.

A book I’ve read a few times and no doubt will read again is No Word for Time by Evan Pritchard. The author, of Micmac descent, visits a tribal elder in Canada to study his ancestral culture and language. He asks the words for various things, and of course, asks the word for time. How would you react to the answer, there is no word for time?