Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Music of Marsh

The least strain of music lifts me up above all the dust and mire of the universe. I soar or hover with clean skirts over the field of my life...

...It is ever life within life, in concentric spheres. The field wherein I toil or rust at any time is at the same time the field for such different kinds of life.
Henry David Thoreau

I'm slowly finding familiarity with the music of the marsh...if not the orchestrated life it sustains. Here, predator and prey, crossing paths, sharing space, separated by time. How often do we also cross the path of another, out of sync...missed by a single beat?

Such an assortment of tunnels and tracks...what rich community life hides beneath the skirt of snow?

And above? A trio of turkey awkward and hulking on land, they glide with silent grace in their element. One spied me...circled ever closer...coasting overhead for a curious glance.
Even in silence, there is harmony.

Friday, January 9, 2009

What if there is a place we belong?

I met a woman at a writing workshop in Taos, NM last year. Long, grey hair, plaited in two braids, rested on the shawl draped on her shoulders. A muslin caftan hung to her hips over the burnt orange Indian cotton skirt that fell to her ankles. Pale, unpainted toes wrapped in brown leather thong sandals. In the 70’s, we used to call them Jesus-sandals. She wore no makeup.

“Are you from here?” I asked.

“No, Chicago.”

I paused, surprised and confused at the mixed messages. “You don’t look like you’re from Chicago.”

She looked at me oddly and cocked her head. “Funny you should say that…I don’t feel like I’m from Chicago.” We spoke for several more minutes, then parted company.

“I hope you find the place where you do belong,” I said. She smiled and laid a hand on her chest, “In the meantime, I carry it here with me.”

I believe I have found where my heart belongs: This little corner of New Brunswick with its gentle rolling hills, mixed forest, soft ponds, and sweeping marshlands juxtaposed against the mighty rhythmic tides of the Bay of Fundy. What more could I ask?

Right now, my home is cloistered…surrounded by trees…and I find great serenity walking amongst them, under the protection of their canopy, my eyes searching, searching; my ears listening, listening; my fingers reaching out to touch.

I also find myself in a season of introspection…sometimes almost in a dreamlike state. Once, I sought thought; now, I often stand still and let thought come to me…

This year will be a very different one for me. I have begun writing a book about a rather large life…a woman who finally found the place she belonged, then devoted her life to sharing the joys and gifts that place brought her. I have been gathering material for this book for several years…now is the time to settle in and let her story emerge on the page.

It's very intimidating - and humbling - to write about the life of another. But oh, so enlightening. In discovering her, I also discover myself. In discovering her world, I am discovering my own.