November 8, 2022
What do you see here? How would you describe this scene?
I imagine some would call this bleak, cold, barren, dismal and wonder why I would even take this picture.
This landscape is exactly what I needed recently.
Last week I was cranky, easily irritated. Unsettled and touchy. When I feel that way, I know I need more time in morning meditation. I need to write in my journal, read sacred words and ponder them, sit in silence, and pray. But this past week, although it looked spacious enough on paper, somehow zoomed past without room for what I most needed. A correction: The time was there, but I failed to use it in the ways I knew would help.
A dear friend has received a dire diagnosis, and I am grieving for her and for her family. And I am grieving for myself, too. I wake up in the morning in the midst of thoughts for her, and a prayer for her is the last thing on my lips before I shut my eyes at night. I experience both grief for what is being lost right now, and I anticipate the grief that will come.
I am so sad.
At the same time I want to be present to my friend and whatever she needs right now. A helper. A doer. A responder. A receiver. A calm and quiet presence. Whatever is needed in the moment.
A Call to Roam
The past week was beautiful, warmer than normal temperatures. Sunny, and many leaves were holding on in a continuation of fall’s majestic show. But Friday was cooler and grey; a day signaling introspection and contemplation.
How grateful I was that my husband and I had set aside that day to roam. At his request we drove down along the Mississippi River on the Wisconsin side of the river–one of our favorite routes. The towns along the way. Maiden Rock, Stockholm, Pepin, are busy on summer weekend days, and I imagine not long ago the leaf-peepers were oohing and aahing at the color and the sparkling water.
Now every tree was bare. The skeletal branches revealed the essence of each tree, and the sky and the waters almost blending together as one whispered a message of connection, of wholeness.
How grateful I was to be able to rest my eyes. Instead of missing what was no longer there, I paused in what is. This is beauty, too. This is love, too.
I still felt sad, but I also felt a kind of peace. The spaciousness I glimpsed between the branches reminded me that we are each part of the ongoing cycle the seasons offer us.
We crossed the river back into Minnesota and found a quiet place for lunch, next to a railroad track and right on the river. How fun it will be to return there in another season when the days are warmer and the scene is livelier and more colorful, but this was just what I needed in that moment.
What landscape nurtures your soul’s need? I would love to know.