The argument could certainly be made that I’m “just this side of crazy”. And you wouldn’t be wrong. But is crazy really the right word ? I dropped K off at the train and high-tailed it to Nisqually. I’m here ahead of sunrise with just a few flurries and no snow sticking to anything. Face it, we all chase something.
I used to chase a good beer buzz or the deep meditative high of the perfect bud. Occasionally I took the chase further. Some people chase the thrill of a thing or danger or temptation. I chase life, in all the ways it might appear; in every way it might come to me. There have been hard lessons in that pursuit. Sometimes, like this morning, what you seek may be elusive. I had hoped for snow-tipped trees and a blanket of white at first light. At the moment it is cold and wet.
If the last few years have taught me anything, they have taught me about disappointment. What it is. Why it is. Whether there is some “action item” or whether sometimes it is enough to let a thing lie. I hate being wrong. My ego becomes engaged in all the wrong ways. But as long as I am in a chase … there is a certain inevitability about the damage I might do to myself. Not every pursuit is worthy of it’s cost..
As I write this on my phone as I walk, the geese, those boistrous honking birds, have arrived at this wetland playground. I think the honking is actually beautiful noise on this morning. The flurries have turned to freezing rain and I can feel the temperature dropping. The only thing that saves this morning walk from being a frigid mess is that the wind is calm. Oh, and well … everything else.
I walk parallel to the boardwalk on a wide gravel road, but looking over I see the softest covering of white on the wooden slats. I take the next boot path over and walk to the overlook. There is a deep message here. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it has to do with this thin, icy layer. We are so lightly here sometimes. I reach my gloved hand down onto the frozen bench and hold it there for just a moment. It melts and disappears forever, leaving only my handprint. So lightly here indeed.
The marsh wrens are in clusters along the gravel path. They are fearless as they go about the work of finding food beneath the thin white layers. Seagulls are dive-bombing a crow and I am understanding the hierarchy here. The ducks turn tail and run or fly away at the slightest hint of encounter. This is a fragile ecosystem where everything is in harmony, though few parts move in any fixed unison.
There are many documented resident owls, though the only ones I’ve seen are these 😊(You DO see them, right ?)
The regal blue heron has joined the crow as a spirit animal of mine. They hold themselves with such confidence. To see them from afar you might imagine they are clumsy or awkward. Instead, they move with an unexpected ease. Nothing about them says “panic” … everything about them says grace.
I wonder as I walk what has been surrendered here in this place. What becomes of the worries and troubles ? Does nature absorb these things, and then, like the handprint in the snow, does it dissolve into what holds and carries it ? I have left my share in this refuge. Could there be a more important place to preserve ? Figuratively or literally ?
What is surrendered? What is revealed? It’s like a soft, colorful map, alive with everything all at once. When I’m here I feel less visitor, more resident. What is offered here is held in this infinite space. There is a belonging that I don’t find other places. Perhaps this is my tribe after all …
While I miss having someone to share this with I never ever feel alone here. I feel held in a way that escapes the words I might have to describe it. Whereas people are often disappointing, this place never is. For someone like me, desperate to belong somewhere … this sanctuary feels like home. No judgement. Nothing misunderstood. And I can breathe.