October 30, 2022
The wave starts at one end and ripples to the other. Franklin’s gulls rising one after the other like a wave into the air. The wave begins to swirl and rises higher. As one they move, turning, swirling, dropping, and lifting again into the air. A dance where each nearly touches the other yet moves without colliding. Poetry to watch on a cool, fall morning.
Earlier, in the still of the dawn light a beaver worked fastidiously on cleaning the bark from a branch. He moved away a little as I approached. I stopped as soon a I saw him and stood still. He made a circle and swam back. Beaver picked up the branch where he left off and continued to work in his unhurried way until the bark was gone. Every movement of beaver is gentle and calm. When he finally decided to swim away I thanked him for the peace he provided.
The big tree is a sentinel as I leave the park. She shares her majesty in all seasons, holding the space on the hill. She is stressed by drought this year like all the plant beings, but still she dons her yellow robes and drops her seeds. I talk to her often as I leave the park, thanking her for holding the space and helping me feel all will be ok.
I have felt very unsettled this week but the peaceful moments have helped. Last Sunday a fire broke out in a yard waste collection/mulch-producing facility at the north end of the lake. In the heat (80s) and high winds (20-50 mph) of that day, it spread near the highway and threatened local homes. Thankfully it rained on Monday and they were able to contain the fire. It continues to burn. Today it was smoky in the areas I frequent thanks to light north winds. Continuing to pray they can safely get the fire out and return the air quality for all who live - and walk - nearby to a healthy level.
The smoke has added some pink to the sunrise skies - even the worst things find a way to contribute to beauty it seems.
I often recite this poem by Wendell Berry when I feel unsettled (one of the few poems I know by heart):
"The Peace of Wild Things" When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. - Wendell Berry
The birds keep migrating through and I try to keep up with the photos. I thought this photo showed the size of a Franklin’s gull really well compared to an American avocet. I always think the avocets are much bigger, but they are pretty close side by side.
Meanwhile, the maple trees turn red and drop their seeds. The cottonwoods and oaks glow in orange. Trees whose names I don’t know shine in beautiful yellows. Everything turns brown and falls to the ground. My fears grow with the state of the world and the impending election. I look to the trees and the birds to help me find peace.
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Wishing you all whatever moments you need to find peace in this troubled world.