Monday, January 14, 2013

Maine's January Thaw

I was sitting at a small table at Peaks Cafe, addressing the envelope of a note I had written to my brother Bill, when I noticed the time - 10:00 a.m. - the beginning of Winds of Change. As I walked to the nearby Post Office, sensations of the January thaw abounded: the sound of song birds chirping, the smell of mud, the feel of warmer air and sun, the brilliance of the day.

After mailing several packages and cards, I walked an easy pace home, up the hill and along the winding road, being purposely aware of my surroundings. There were receding patches of snow in yards and driveways and individual droplets of water, sparkling in the sun's light, coating low lying bushes. My feet squished through the wet dirt and crunched through wet snow, sinking a little with each step. Crows cawed continuously.

Once home, I checked my phone messages, responding to a call from my sister Mary, whose birthday is today (Happy Birthday, Mary!). I appreciated conversing with her during WoC time, holding an awareness of the shared "presents" of each of you, in celebration of her birthday.

It was so glorious a day that after our conversation ended, I returned to the outdoors and walked the curves of Seashore Avenue, watching the rising sea as it slapped against huge rocks and sprayed into the air, rushed to the shore, then retreated to the ocean with a thunderous clattering of pebbles. The waves glittered and the sun glowed.

As I continued walking, I noticed my mind wandering away from the present and into the past and future. Several times, in response to my distraction, I inwardly heard Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts, yelling, "Silence!" as he commanded his students in one of the Harry Potter series. Routinely, I slipped into several of my walking mantras, one of them from Zen Buddhist monk Thích Nhất Hạnh: "Breathing in I calm my body, breathing out I smile, dwelling in the present moment, this is a wonderful moment." 

Wishing to return to silence, I repeated the word "si - lence" within myself, in rhythm with my pace, until gradually, the word shifted into two words, sigh-lens. At that point, a deep sigh flowed through me, expanding my present moment consciousness - my breath/sigh becoming a lens, a way of "seeing" from a deeper perspective. Each time I silently repeated the words sigh-lens, I would immediately be brought to that spacious place of opening. It is in this space that WoC time ended, so I retreated to one of the upper shoreline ledges, sitting in the serenity of sun and sea and salty air.

As always, I am so grateful for sharing the ride with each of you, and invite you to share your own experience here in the comment section of this blog. Namaste.