Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Winter Day's Wanderings

While visiting at Anchors and Masts the other day, I noticed that one of the comments, talked about feeling disconnected from nature, not really aware even of the cycles of the moon. I am thinking right now of what it is in my life that keeps drawing me out into nature during good weather and more difficult weather (I can’t stand to call any of it “bad” weather) and allows me to experience that natural energy on a very regular basis. It is my dog!

Yes, I say that I love the outdoors, but I actually have a very good view of much of it from my window and I tend to prefer to stay warm, cozy and dry. However, I have a 75 pound mutt who prefers running and sniffing to warm and cozy and seeing that smile on his face (I know I’m anthropomorphizing) every time we head down the road is always worth it. He is my guide, day after day, into great beauty.

Winter has come to Alaska and though we don’t have a lot of snow yet, it is quite cold. As I begin my walk my cheeks are flushed and my hands tingle encouraging me to pick up the pace a little. I remember to breathe and look around me with every step, allowing myself to have thoughts, but trying more for pure presence. The day is gray and overcast, with a slight breeze that keeps the air pure and clear. I live on a country road, just on the edge of wild Alaska. It is easy to find a little trail or path into the woods which we take. There is an eruption of ice crystals on top of the inch or so of dry snow looking like tiny pure white forests sprouting every where that I look. In the middle of the woods there is some sort of water pipe that is spilling a small amount of liquid. It has formed an amazing sculpture of ice, a hollow stalagmite through which the water flows, creating a kinetic work of art. I stand and marvel at the beauty and listen to the perfect music of the flow of the water. Later, I spy a little movement out of the corner of my eye, a squirrel, clinging to an alder branch. As I watch it becomes perfectly still, gazing in my direction. This is interesting because these creatures are NEVER still. My body stills in response and we both stand there looking at each other. I wonder when he is going to start chattering at me to be on my way, but he never does, maintaining instead his alert repose.

Just before I reach home, I stop again to observe the a bunch of tall brown grasses. I have never been a fan of the color brown, preferring almost anything else. But now that all of our other colors are gone, I become aware of the many shades, textures and hues of the browns around me. These grasses are a soft yellowish brown, their seed heads full and abundant. They are being swayed by the breeze into a gentle rocking dance and I can feel myself moving back and forth with them. I listen intently, straining my ears to see if I can hear the swish of their stalks against each other, but I hear nothing. They dance in absolute silence. And I watch in reverence.

I am deeply grateful for this Earth, for all of her creatures and for the opportunity to soak it all in. May you find earth’s beauty today, wherever you may be.


Anonymous said...

Lucky girl~ I am envious of all you enjoyed...mostly of your companion. I miss Alaska. Never thought I would say that.
I did have a teeny gasp at you not liking brown. my personal favorite. ;)

i have been spending more time outside here in TX then i ever have in my adult life. It is an escape for me.

Rebecca Johnson said...


Aha!! We continue to learn new things about each other. Brown is your favorite color?! Wow. You're the first one I ever met. Always knew that you were on of a kind.

Now let me get this straight, are you jealous of Zeke or me? We are both pretty lucky, I think. But he is much cuter than me. Also, his ears are floppier.

Miss you. Hoping to hear your voice at Peace sometime soon.


Barbara said...

Here in Montreal, the seasons are still turning. There is just a hint of colour, although the leaves are mostly on the ground now. I live in a residential district of the city, but we do interact with the local wild life: squirrels, raccoons and skunks. Too dangerous to let my pampered house kitties out, although I yearn to share the crisp air with them. Their idea of wild life is hunting ladybugs that sneak into my kitchen.
I share your affection for the grasses that take over the landscape when the winter comes. They are used in flower arrangements in Japan around the time of the harvest moon. I fell in love with them over there and I continue appreciating their fuzzy heads dancing, as you put it, in the chill breezes.
Keep warm and cozy during that long Alaskan winter!

Rebecca Johnson said...

Skunks in the city! Oh my. Cats are very unsafe outside here in Alaska as you can imagine.

Usually I don't pay a lot of attention to the grasses here because the snow comes so early that everything is covered up. This year I have an opportunity to meditate on all of the browns rather than the white. New ways to see the world and its beauty are always being offered.


Tess said...

Beautiful descriptions. I wish I could have a dog, I love them (although if I'm honest I love them loving me back!), but not being at home enough I just don't think it's fair.


A beautiful post - you took me right along with you and your dog!