I’ve returned to my beloved mountain valley. After five days the stillness is starting to settle in.
This morning the eastern sky was red. “Red sky in morning, sailors take warning.” It will probably rain today.
The sun is slow to reach the west side of the house. For now the garden is shrouded in shadows and mist.
“Again I resume the long lesson: how small a thing can be pleasing, how little in this hard world it takes to satisfy the mind and bring it to its rest.” ~Wendell Berry
Izzy watches attentively while I fill her bowls with food and fresh water. This is her first summer here and her interest in the smallest things is rubbing off on me. I’m unusually attentive too as I prepare my breakfast of coffee, fresh strawberries and blueberries, yogurt and walnuts while she wanders in and out of the house. Although I intended to meditate every day, I haven’t yet. But this morning, this stillness, this heightened awareness….it’s all a meditation.
Our walks through our 28 acres bring new wonders every day. Izzy has been fascinated by flowers since she was a puppy. At two and a half, she still sniffs every new one she sees.
The crows seem determined to attract our notice this summer. Or am I just more aware of them? They wake us up in the morning, punctuate the quiet air with raucous caws throughout the day, leave their perfect black feathers on the trail. This year we brought gifts for them. Izzy approves.
“Whenever we touch nature we get clean. People who have got dirty through too much civilization take a walk in the woods, or a bath in the sea. They shake off the fetters and allow nature to touch them. It can be done within or without. Walking in the woods, lying on the grass, taking a bath in the sea, are from the outside; entering the unconscious, entering yourself through dreams, is touching nature from the inside and this is the same thing, things are put right again.” (Carl Jung, Dream Analysis: Notes on a Lecture Given in 1928-1930).
Yesterday brought us a rare visitation from a beautiful timber rattler who barely moved but eyed us warily as we passed. “A truly numinous encounter with Other-ness, Jeanie. Very auspicious— just give plenty of room for her to move. Many Rattlers do not even carry venom. They come as Teachers of the ancients,” says Facebook friend, Melissa La Flamme. Elaine Mansfield agrees, “Wow, Jean. A visitation. Respect and caution needed, but what a gift to mine. I imagine you writing about this soon.” Yes, I will write about this once I’ve absorbed its message.
This morning I found a skeleton by the back steps. It looks like a baby alligator’s head, but that’s impossible! Not in the Smokeys! What could it be? What can it mean?
Other gifts arrived this morning via Grandmother Spider’s world wide web, including the quotes and poem I’ve cited here. Her messages speak to my immediate experience. Such synchronicities no longer surprise me.
“Since psyche and matter are contained in one and the same world, and moreover are in continuous contact with one another and ultimately rest on irrepresentable, transcendental factors, it is not only possible but fairly probable even, that psyche and matter are two different aspects of the same thing.” (C.G. Jung, On the Nature of the Psyche, Collected Works Vol. 8, para. 418).
Again I resume the long
lesson: how small a thing
can be pleasing, how little
in this hard world it takes
to satisfy the mind
and bring it to its rest.
Within the ongoing havoc
the woods this morning is
almost unnaturally still.
Through stalled air, unshadowed
light, a few leaves fall
of their own weight.
is gray. It begins in mist
almost at the ground
and rises forever. The trees
rise in silence almost
natural, but not quite,
almost eternal, but
What more did I
think I wanted? Here is
what has always been.
Here is what will always
be. Even in me,
the Maker of all this
returns in rest, even
to the slightest of His works,
a yellow leaf slowly
falling, and is pleased.
Jean Raffa’s newest book, Healing the Sacred Divide, can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc. Ebook versions of The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and Diesel Ebooks