I am learning to notice…

Goldfinch’s changing colors

Moon’s phases

Magnolia’s blossoms

Noticing them connects me to Deep Time. Time that is not measured in minutes but in moments. Deep Time reflects patterns that are not counted on a clock’s face but on the white faces of stars. When we experience awe and wonder we are in Deep Time. We are connected to Great Mysterious, others and ourselves.

Daily Time is the world of minutes. Busyness lives here. Daily Time says: “There are things to do, places to go, appointments to keep. Pressing cultural issues to face.” We experience urgency and panic when Daily Time consumes us.

These two rhythms are not new to us.

Paying attention to them seems even more important now. This blog is being written the day of the presidential election, while the pandemic still rages and a growing sense of unrest is palpable.

Challenges of the magnitude we now face, can leave us feeling ungrounded. It is easy to lose track of what endures. I have come to the same conclusion as Henry David Thoreau. He said, “Read not the Times. Read the Eternities.” His words written at a time when America was severely divided over the issues of slavery, race, and immigration.

He is best known for his observations of nature and living simply. He did not use them to escape from the world. He wrote passionately about the immorality of slavery. He even spent a night in jail for opposing a tax that would fund the Spanish-American war. His essay, “Civil Disobedience” informed and inspired Tolstoy, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and many others.

Thoreau was able to respond to the crises of his time and maintain a deep connection to the natural work. Our work is to find truths that sustain us over a lifetime. We can stay present to compelling issues of political upheaval, racial disparity, environmental chaos and even pandemics without losing site of the beauty that surrounds us.

Deep Time brings profound peace. It loosens urgency’s grip and increases an awareness of the interconnectedness of life. When I lose my connection to it, worry begins to fill me. I don’t notice things like how the goldfinch’s feathers change every month. Or I don’t celebrate how the moon moves with such predictability. I forget to appreciate tenacious magnolia blossoms that form in autumn and hang on all winter to bloom in spring.

I worry, and mostly about things I cannot control.

Pleated Inkcap Mushrooms caught my eye as I walked in the Arboretum. They look like a tiny delicate parasols appearing and disappearing in just one day. What an amazing little gift on a morning’s walk. I promise not to let this chaotic time hide the precious  experience of being alive.

How about you?

Thoughts on worry by Mary Oliver…

I worried

I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?
Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?
Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?
Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang