Saturday, February 16, 2008

Winter's Lessons: Being at Home ... Always

Winter Vol. 6 No. 3

To drive in to the small town down the road we have to travel a steep and winding mountain road. This can make winter treacherous. After three weeks of snow, sleet, hail, rain and ice, the road has been, shall I, say less than inviting. But the sun has been out for several days now and the road is cleared and red with long, wet pine needles and sand-like material laid down to prevent ice build-up. Yesterday I drove into the nearby town for an appointment.

Having climbed the steep road out, I saw the undulating valley below as a panoramic sheet of white, punctuated with tall green pines and sliced by the winding ribbon of red I was driving along. The wonder of it stole my breath for a moment. What a blessing this hardship called winter, I thought.

Upon my return, climbing up the mountain and descending into our valley, I put the road, the mountain, the snow, and the danger aside in my mind, replaying instead the events of the meeting. But as I descended deeper and deeper into the bowels of the mountain's folds, my breath caught once again in my thoat. Crystaline walls of snow banks lined the road, rising high on both sides, so there was nothing in sight but snow everywhere wrapping me like swaddling cloth in a womb-like warmth.

I don't remember ever feeling so at peace, so safe and secure, so perfectly welcome. In this seemingly inhospitable towering winter landscape, I knew I am at home. I am returning to my hypernating place. My growing, nurturing place where I am safe, where I belong.
I wonder if we don't each have a place where we belong. A place that by its very being restores us, where we can curl up like the tiny ground squirrel tucked away for winter in the insulation under our sheltered water pipe.

Or like the ducks on the poor mutilated lake in the meadow below our house. Once a summer and shimmering blue of a Southern California sky, it is now a black pit of mud and slime. It's being dredged of the silt that has accumulated in it over the years. Surrounded now as it is in snow, it looks like an monsterous glash of filthy debris. But there, still and at rest in a tiny circle of icy water, sit our ducks.
Why don't they leave, I wonder as I see them day after winter day mired in that smelly muck? I called the Forest Service to ask about them. Oh, the ranger said, they are resident ducks. They won't leave. That is their home.

Like these ducks I think we know when we are at home. We know where we belong. And we crave it. We seek it, yearn for it endlessly ... until we find it. Then, when we do, we don't flee it's travails. In some odd way its very landscape holds us close and fulfills us, always, even in the most dire of circumstances, because, we are at home.

Winter Blessings,
Sarah Edwards

If you would like to read more about the power of place in our lives and our psyche, I recommend Terrapsychology: Reengaging The Soul Of Place by Craig Chalquist


Pat said...

Your writing paints an absolutely beautiful picture. Welcome to blogger!

SAE said...

Thank you, Pat. I love to paint with words. I'm hoping to add some photos of our snow and those gallant duck soon too.

smilnsigh said...

Welcome to the world of blogging, Sarah!!! Your on-line-journaling will be a lovely addition to what I call my "My Pretty Blog Land." This being, blogs where I can feel a gentleness. Where I can know I will not be assailed with argumentative entries.

I've enjoyed your 'Nature's Wisdom' e-mail-letter for a long time. I'm so glad to now have 'Nature's Wisdom,' listed on my Google Reader Listing of the blogs, which I love to follow. {Google Reader shows me when anyone has a new entry on their blog, and it makes reading/commenting so much easier.}

Welcome! I'm so happy to see you here! I will be sure to tell others, about you. Your writing is a joy.


Stephen said...

I've been an e-newletter subscriber for a while now. Congratulations on moving to a blog format. I always enjoy your sincere approach to expressing truths as you see them. You are a role model to many of us who want to connect more fully with life (in a larger sense) and be in this world in ways that create joy and help others and the planet. Thank you.

Sarah Edwards said...

It is such a joy to hear from you Mari-Nancy and Stephen. This is just what I have been looking forward to by blogging, to be able to interact with those who have been on the e-mail list for so long. I am glad you enjoy the newsletters. I love writing them and sharing nature's lessons. We're having another big storm this weekend. It's grey and snowing lightly today. All the dredging equipment is quiet today. Such a contrast - this forest and all that equipment. Makes me grateful that it is such an uncommon site.
Cheers, Sarah

Jo Ann said...

Sarah - Congrats on your new format. I love reading Nature's Wisdom and hearing about your life on Pine Mountain.