Mary Oliver famously wrote about your / our ‘place in the family of things’ in her glorious poem Wild Geese – which still strikes awe in me after the umpteenth reading …
... the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
Now I know that some of us are great and enthusiastic ‘returners’ and some not. My family and friends know well that I’m certainly one of those happy wanderers who’s always hugely grateful to return to home-base and reflection upon the adventures of the day.
Here, in these Edinburgh days, life beneath Arthur’s Seat is time and place that brings about a gratitude – a ‘knowing my place’ – in me that I’ll never forget until the end of my days.
Solid as rock – well, nowadays anyway – 350 million years ago Arthur’s Seat was an erupting volcano! Sometimes the changing of the light across the Crags illuminates my very soul.
It is said that a person’s being awestruck leads to moments of contemplation – whether expected or intended, or not.
And contemplation quietly leads us to the paths of humility before a greatness that is largely incomprehensible – and staggeringly beautiful – and often appearing to us in ways that seem entirely accidental.
Does an ocean contemplate? Perhaps it should not very much surprise that the Moon that governs the ebb and flow of the tides also touches the ocean-soul of my ‘thought,’ and ‘time,’ and ‘light,’ and ‘dark,’ and ‘my’ ongoing, reaching, being, contemplation 🙂
What is it about light that draws me so powerfully? I can’t say just now, at least not in a few words. I only know that it does. All day, every day. And in moonlit night too. In the course of my supper tonight I’ve been awestruck by the movement of the light every fifteen to thirty seconds, here at Holyrood Park in Edinburgh. And whilst there are zillions of such views and opportunities all over the earth, I’m grateful every day to be in one place, often enough, for long enough, to feel myself a part of one of this world’s stupefyingly beautiful ‘works’ of art. The movement of the light across The Crags and Arthur’s Seat – from the sun’s rising to its setting – makes me glad to be alive!
Trees, plants and flowers are not alone in celebrating Edinburgh warmth and sunlight today. Everything has a ‘Spring’ to it, and with lockdown restrictions due to ease considerably from next Monday there’s a real spirit of anticipation in the air – shop fronts being swept and washed-down, window ledges being painted, in anticipation of hardly-dared hoped-for reopenings. Yes, Spring is Spring in more than one sense this year 🌱
… and then again when I read his then current favourite line from Anne Lamott.
Thanks Matt. Thanks Anne. Thanks Jane Austen, Mary Oliver, Yung Pueblo, David Whyte, Brianna Wiest, and to all who encourage, feed, nourish and sustain us – though all too often you cannot know how much you mean to your readers and fellow travellers. Thank you! 😊x
The sheer majesty of the natural world sets imagination alight – and was certainly a perfect, tranquil setting for the lovely walk I’ve enjoyed in excellent company today. Our conversation touched upon allsorts, including the Funeral for Prince Philip at Windsor. I wonder if that’s why I ‘saw’ a flight of angels in cloud art in the photo hereunder?
Lambs calling out ‘Mmmaaaammm’ notwithstanding, there’s a deep, deep silence to be heard and felt on a sunny, still day on the shores of Ullswater. It facilitates my hearing something of the deep, deep reflective silence somewhere, sometimes, in the centre of me …
Morning sunlight through the translucent leaves of oxalis triangularis is among the countless astonishing things I feel I notice more and more with the passing of days, weeks, months and years. I don’t quite know whether it’s chiefly an effect of daily meditation, or simply of ageing, but I hear a daily call to slow down. And still enough, often enough, I notice the veins in an oxalis leaf, and the way she opens and turns to face the sunlight, and I recognise the same pulse of life in her as in me. So it is that a plant in sunshine leads me to thankfulness and – once again – to a being ‘surprised by joy.’