"Let's go on an adventure" is what I said.
I am traveling. On the road with my girl through the American West for a whole, luxurious month. Marking a year of separation from my husband, with another year to go I say, "Let's go on an adventure, Clara." As if somehow, life itself isn't adventure enough. But I know that sometimes, too often, most of the time, really -- I need to step away from the day to day machinations of my life to appreciate the beauty, healing and vast abundance that life and nature offers.
Saying, "I love the land." is insufficient.
The earth's bones, her scars, the many types of skin, the contours, the rivers, like the blood of our bodies, the lakes and oceans, like the tides of breath that feed me... the earth, and my relationship to it, fills me with awe. I love it. I drive saying thank you, over and over in my hear, as I chat with my girl or we move through the landscapes in silence.
By this time in the trip (just one week in) I am covered in bug bites. Burnt. A bit tired. The after-glow of making love to life, to the earth herself, who opens her arms and welcomes me into her embrace over and over. In the face of what is happening in the world today, I wonder, is it enough? Is it enough to love? To see and appreciate the beauty of the world?
Does the small offering of my attention matter?
In the midst of our collective waking -- our chaotic, violent, present moment -- there is a sadness nipping at my heels during our travels. The sadness brings a gravitas to the incredible awe and joy and hope that I feel as I travel this country with my daughter - a fervent desire to live in a world where all the people at war with each other could sit next to a pristine river in sovereignty, peace and safety. To hear Aspens shiver in the breeze. To see endless seas of soft, golden grass undulate in the wind, or to taste the salt air of the Pacific Ocean with every breath.
I remember that the recognition of wholeness, beauty and love in all it's forms heals both individually, and collectively.
Yes, this offering is enough.
I open my arms to beauty, to awe, to earth, to my daughter, to this life that is mine.
To my daughter's chagrin, I talk to everyone. I look each of them in the eye. The farmer selling the most beautiful flowers. The man who comes to clean the room. The woman who pumps my gas and amazingly, cleans all the bugs from my windshield. I smile. I say thank you and I really mean it. I feel so tender, so broken open by the vast, gorgeous world. This attention to the beauty of nature reminds me again that we humans, we are nature, too: deeply connected to the earth and one another in ways understood, and in ways that we can scarcely imagine. This feels like an important remembering in this moment of our history.
May there be a remembering that we are all children of the stars, born of the earth's body - sisters and brothers. In the offering of attention, may we be gifted the bone-deep knowing that we are a small part of something so much larger than our minds can possibly comprehend. May we remember that the most important work is to tend to what is right here, an offering of open-hearted presence to life.
May it be so.
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