I was sitting in the sun, on my yoga mat, in the brightly grassed clearing across from little cabin in the woods, simply listening to the sounds of the forest around me, breathing deep, meditating on the Psalm I read in the earlier morning hours, feeling the heat of the day on the skin of my back and the blonde of my hair, eyes shut, other senses wide open. I was there like that, unfettered in silent kindness, for quite some time. When I finally opened my eyes, there was a dainty snake on my yoga mat with me, curled in a series of tiny, parabolic waves, beside my knee. I stayed very still, let out a little scream, glanced at his tail for rattles, and since there were none, I let the minuscule snake stay. I looked very closely at the beautiful details of its scales and darting tongue (like a flame flicker, moth sputter near an old, drafty, manse window). I found myself thinking, “Thank God, for this too.” All creatures great and small.
Last night, while driving home from work, up the steep and rutted road to the cabin, my bones jingling in their sockets and the dust seeping in through the open windows, I saw a buck divine, standing on the edge of the road, in golden grass. To have eyes as wise as that must require a thousand years of living. His antlers were without velvet and stark, newly-born white in the softness of sunsetting. There are, perhaps, one million deer living in the Methow Valley, I see them all the time, but this one was special. Perhaps it was the light, or some merciful sweep of the great plains of my being, but the beauty of that buck moved me to tears. In the end, all things seem like tenderness and tiny, wild joys, galloping like rainbows from the black, rising like hawks: flaming seraphim swaddling me in an ocean of wings and eyes. There’s some sort of holy protection woven into the glorious grip of love and beauty.
I think my heart resides within four narrow walls — a wooden frame built of knotty pine through which to view and feel the landscapes of the world around me. I love to see. Seeing is believing.