Playing Amidst Fall Colors 9/22/13
Autumn brings the harvest, and every other needful thing…..like weather stripping, furnace filters, snow tires, PLAY, the gathering of frost killed vine tomatoes, and the saucing of dusty apples. Ahhh Choo! “Want to see me make a bunny with this tissue?!” But, my weekend picks did not follow these prodigious intentions after all. While Mark was faithfully home on call for ambulance and fire, doing laundry, and making applesauce, I flew the coop… “See you later Pard, I’m going out to PLAY on the mountain!”
On the way to mountain magic I am driving a dusty backroad, breaking in “Pearl,” my seashell car, and listening to a favorite literary pick. The book I am speaking of is The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. Soon I find myself nodding in agreement with the shepherd boy in search of personal legends. His words quite nearly become my own in saying, “I could not have found God in the seminary.” Won’t be finding God in the battle of the Utah teams today.
And so I set off on my own mini crusade…..to find God in the beauty of His handiwork, seeking good omens in fall colors of yet another wonderful Timpanogos hike. Smiling and waving an early Christmas to everyone I passed on the Alpine Loop backway. Ignoring the BYU/Utah rivalry as much as possible. Difficult when so many wear these trail shirts, mingled with boastings of Ragnars and other runs. Pride casts many rainbows, I think.
The parking lot was more full than I had seen it all summer. Somehow, I slipped in, completed the ritual readyings, and hit the trail. Soon upon a fuzzy, rolly, wooly bear caterpillar sunning on a paved part of the trail. Thinking I’d play the role of savior, picked it up, in moving it aside to “just the right spot” some ten or so feet ahead. Thought nothing of it and continued on. No sooner had I hiked up my favorite cut-off scrubs shorts, and wiped the sweat from my brow, than my ring and middle fingers began to sting and itch like crazy!! Leg too. Phew! What was going on?!!
No dusty apples in sight. Still, I felt a strong urge to rub my eyes, but stopped myself. In sudden panic, I was almost too late. Wondered….if I rub my eye, will my eye itch just as much?! Withstood the urge. Glad for this quick intuition.
And so I sluthed. Hadn’t tangled with any stinging nettle. Only one possibility…..the wooly bear. The fuzzy, hairy, victim-persecutor that I had helped. Now I yelped, and scratched, and hiked a little faster to the falls, where I soaked my hand to numbness. Relief.
Only, the stinging did not go away. Still no relief on Sunday and I am left second guessing. Should I have helped or not. Fact is….every time you love, you risk being hurt.
Some risks taken feel larger and weightier than others. Thought is the catalyst. Asking a great risk and kind of crazy admission of vulnerabiltiy and courage. All the time keeping Ego and motives in check. Acting, in a step forward, a huge leap of faith, and the momentum for a chain of cause and affect. Receiving whatever may come in time requires patience, but also a huge amount of calm and collect and again faith and resolve in accepting whatever the outcome. Knowing full well, the rules say don’t assume, or expect anything, and yet wanting to hope and believe that good will come. What the heck!
In choosing not to risk giving love, you almost certainly choose to receive none. You may even feel somewhat safe in your conservancy, but truth is, after awhile it gets lonely with “me, myself, and I.” Later sad and the victim of self pitty. Almost justified, spin in dumb stupor. In this place…prayer is desperately needed, possitive thought, faith, and again personal ACTION.
In loving, and in falling short, one feels all sorts of things, some of which are disapointment, sadness, regret, guilt, anger. Sometimes celebrate love feelings prematurely, wishing them true, assuming wrongly, until the sordid reality of the thing becomes clear. In listening to your heart, must be careful not to assume. Careful, not to host a self righteous atta boy stance in trying to love and be loved, whether fruit develops or not. Misdirected motives, rooted in selfish desires most certainly, are common waylayers in loving and being loved. Eventually true motives appear like polaroid pictures.
Must be honest with ourselves in our motives. This is sometimes painful, because we don’t want to see these manifestations. Admittting motives feels scary in additional admission of needs, or weakness. Honesty requires strength, humility. Sometimes motives feel just and right, genuinely rooted in love. Exquisite. When love is reciprocated… a euphoric drug. Nothing could be better. In the perfect moment, nothing worse could ever exist or even touch it.
Fear of action is debilitating. Spinning in stalemate just as harming. Pangs of “ should of, would of, could of set in.” “If only I had..” second guesses and rationalizations come creeping in,” along with consequences of inaction. The only thing worse in all of this, is not feeling or being aware at all. An inability to be aware, or the refusal to see things as they are. Sends one asking, What is real? Do we go to this numbness by choice? Do we turn eyes down, and away from reality because the truth hurts? Maybe.
Suddenly all this talk of risking to love is sounding way too complicated. Think I should be spinning it to Loving to risk? Humans are good at complicating simple things, I think. Ooops, I’m doing it again.
Today I listened to another fine sermon from Pastor Scott Fine. He lays out the human psyche very well. Wonder how he has come to these knowings. As a pastor I suppose he knows the sinners in his circle. Jesus did. Knew the inner thinkings of sinners. Could read minds, I think. And hearts. I laughed, and smiled many times in Pastor Fine’s humorous/serious trueness of trappings we have all found ourselves in at one time or another. Cried too. This man of God moved me. He also offered an invitation to enter into a personal encounter with Jesus. Challenged all to commit to such. I will think on this more and more this week as I move along predictable paths. Want to encounter Jesus more.
But how to do it? Through awareness, and stilling mind. Through the Word. Through prayer. Through coming unto Him. This answer is both easy, and difficult. Similar to solutions offerered in other Christian religious circles and texts. In the reading of the LDS Book of Mormon. Muslims would recommend a reading of the Koran. To draw closer to God and His holy ones…..one must ACT in drawing near to them. Requires the same creative process as the Law of Attraction, I think. Requires faith. I wonder…can faith and fear abide one another? And then a Bible verse comes to mind. “Love casteth out fear.” Christ’s love. I must love as Christ loves. I can not do it alone. I can not do it for myself. Only Jesus can save where the rest of us fall short. There is hope in Jesus.
His love is pure. His love and grace saves us…..in both death, and in living. He rescues us from faithless drownings. Invites us to take His hand, to follow him. A champion of higher caliber than even the best Olympic swimmer. Even butterflyer, Michael Phelps in this craft. Christ invites our hearts to encounter him as we walk daily paths and swim laps almost rotely. Reminds us everything is better when done with a feeling heart and with LOVE.
Sometimes death scares me, but mostly life does. Smile, taking what comes. Then try to smile some more no matter the reality. Knowing my response carries the power, and I can keep my peace in the midst of tempests. It is really only me and HIM calming the wind and the waves. Unless others would like to latch on in one long rescue chain, like the kind we employ in Sharks and Minnows fashion at the close of swim team practices.
In falling victim to the Woolly Bear, I did the only thing I knew….. perservered. Hiked on in spite of the crazy, itchy scratchy encounter. Without experiencing discomfort, I wouldn’t be able to appreciate other more pleasant skin sensations in comparison. Truth is…my pains are trite, seemingly insignicant in comparison to the burdens of others. Widows, fatherless, homeless, unemployed, displaced, abandoned, homebound and lonely. Trite in comparison to a real life survivor of the Holocaust, Corrie Ten Boom. Every person should read The Hiding Place.
Further more, nothing can compare to what Jesus did and DOES for all of us. Things I think and do and occassionally complain about pale to sufferings and sacrifices of these proportions. What’s a little caterpillar sting, or a few blisters, a messy kitchen, a headache, or some low CRT scores….really. Nothing Job-like for sure.
Realize I have lost nearly ten miles in the forest of my mind. Wake up in motoring this realization and quickly turn attention to the CD that has started over, switch to Serius Satelite and Coffee House Soundtracks. Other happy things.
I clear my throat in singing lyrics that I am beginning to know better, in this new found privileged motor vehicle, like a Chris Tomlin song called “My God is…” that the Mountain Life band plays. Float along on the smooth ride. In time I hope to feel more comfortable in these oblations. Some day I may even enjoy singing along with worshipers who raise a hand as if to touch Jesus on the Cross, feeling a lot less tense in new experiences. Seeing more loving eyes cast my way in the growing, bursting congregation.
I am soothed by the wind in the trees, and on my face. It heals me….like the loving eyes of Jesus. I feel this love again and again as I hike, or as I race with the windows rolled down, arm outstretched in this open, acceptable resistance. I imagine myself a lucky penny surfing the canyon swell on a child’s outstetched pointer finger. I feel this happy focus in the smiles and hugs of children. In office smiles. I am happy feeling these feelings, and grateful I can and do and will feel many more.
I am reminded of this very thing in daily routine. Recall the carpool of dancing girls, giggling and frolicking in the back seat to the latest, greatest beat on the radio. Stubbornly unbuckled and fetching pennies from the dirty floor mat. Setting up, and paddling the next big wave out the window. Until everyone suddenly lunges forward at the STOP sign at the bottom of Brave Way and Main. “Awww!” the girls say, as the wake breaks prematurely. “Aww!” says Ivy the leaf lady. The girls toss coins at Ivy’s feet, applauding her leaf dance. “Buckle up, girls!” I say with a smile.
The snaking canyon tightens like the legs on a cyclist. A car zooms toward me, passes with a whoosh! These are the final few miles of the drive that I like to call “the grove.” In finding a serpentine rhythm, I notice tree things. The aspens large and towering. Hidden below, a huge ancient, underground infrastructure. A looming mass of connected ecosystems spanning a mechanical motorized Intermountain West. The tree giants hold on regally. White in spite of black eyes and scars. Limb-like arms up and outstretched. Circling, swaying and praying to a mountain God. The wind giving voice and song. The aspens’ arboral message, a gusto “Thank you,” carried on the wind.
I believe that all things have a soul, a voice, and witness to a creator. I hear the trees conversing with their God in beautiful, rustling refrains. Feels like a Hallelujah chorus, a Handel overature at Christmas performance. Theater in the Pines is often full and thriving in activity. Today, I receive a private viewing of an aspen en core. It is all mine.
Truly something to hear and to behold. Much like a precious sparkly knock-off Michaels’ costume jewelry bracelet that I have worn up and down the mountain all summer. Still insist on wearing it. Want to sustain those happy summer feelings. A product really of Narnian caliber and listenings. I acquired the piece and wear it to remind me of Aslan, and of my role and stewardship to Him. I guess it is my version of the cross. I am happy I can see this Aslan painted larger than life in our happy little library at school. Law of Attraction I think. I know.
While I recognize all Jesus has given in hanging on the cross, I would rather imagine His smiling face, than His head bowed and body bleeding. These are not the images I would choose, any more than I would want to see my father on a respriator, or my mother with a shotgun, or Aslan on the Stone Table beneath a white witch. Change the channel from these. Dismount and hop on another……..different….happier painted pony. Hug her neck and root in her mane.
The cross bracelet reminds me of my Savior’s beauty, and of my own. A beauty for the making, and for the discovering, that emanates outward, from within. This token reminds me that I too can act a higher part in thought and deed. Reminds me of other potentials and possessions such as divine nature, personal worth, choice values.
So…I wear this bracelet often, or others like it, because reminders sometimes work for me. I am very visual. If I can’t see it, I create it in my mind. I hold it there, believing it until it is so. So I am experimenting with this. It works. Fuzzy sweaters have a similar leveling effect on a tactile level, and inspired literary works on an audible one.
As I listen to the Alchemist, I notice green sparkles casting on my overhead visor, and for a moment querry the wonder of it. Laughing at my being the butt of my own childish, unintentional prank. I shine…a ha…like a green sequined mermaid in a car. My brother used to think it funny to catch the sun on his wrist watch and shine the beam in my eye. A kind of mote and beam thing, I think. Gives new meaning to the eye is the light or window to the soul. More like a mirror, or an enticing lake of emeralds like a basin at the bottom of a high meadow glacier.
It was in this moment of introspective sparkling, that I notice the leaves. Their robust green shimmerings and shiverings in the cool autumn air. The breeze brought me a word… Biomimicry. I recall an edition of the National Geographic for Kids, and a word bank in an article about how business has copied and marketed that which is done best by Nature. Resultant inventions have revolutionized industries and made modern life more convenient and competitive.
I wonder if the business “edge” is edging out Nature as I pull into the trailhead parking lot that looks a lot like a Doug Smith Chevrolet, Dodge, Jeep Car Lot. I think…. a lot to take in. ha ha… Ratio my chance for finding a parking space while juggling… Sticker burr: velcro; like high performance banned Olympic swim suits: fish scales; and so many more. In this moment, green sparkly bracelet: aspen leaves……and it is most definitely undescribably beautiful, and perfect. Perfect is my day. Perfect was my hike in all it’s stinging, glorious splendor. Still found light.
Who can argue that God, whatever name you choose to use, has a hand in our world when Monarch caterpillars transform from a kind of larval Camball’s soup into winged wonders. That these creatures can migrate thousands of miles, going through multiple life cycles, passing genetically imprinted instructions across generations to arrive at destinations their pioneering grandparents only dreamed of, amazes me. Again life, and history copies Nature as seen in Lola Beetlebrox’s A History of Summit County for Kids, and livings legends in the making too, as found in purple Monarch queens with frisky wolf pup companions.
This and more gives me hope. Where test scores may slip, students, parents, teachers can succeed in moving forward together, toward rehabilitation, productivity and effectiveness. Miraculous really is the vision. Tricky in the application. And so the wise ones try to duplicate a perfect copy in Christ, in Nature, and in the followers of both. Living out a Golden Rule in an indoor/outdoor classroom of autumn leaves. Rewarding progress in spite of fallings, and failings, and cold forecasts. Casting gazes like quivering tickets in the wind. Flying upward and forward to the promise of all things new, and green, and of the heart like a releasing of a thousand butterflies.
I realize my Sunday morning is slipping away. I feel a kind of adrenalin rush, flourish and excitement of what is required of me in only a short few minutes. Much like a Monday morning. Hustle, toss the writing aside for towels, and dresses, and flats, much as I set aside the downloading project I was attempting in the early hours. Shoved aside for the writing!
Now the dear writing must wait awhile. Realize, if I’m going to make my worship service….I must move quickly. I do want to catch the shuttle with someone I will meet named Jack from San Diego. Jack finds joy in dutifully driving a mostly empty shuttle van, because the believers love their cars more than parking at a distant parking lot and riding in with new friends.
Wish I had a cup of something hot and caffeinated for the ride, remembering I don’t drink coffee, but if I did I would. Wonder if I should, could, would ever make accomodations, acceptions for an occassional cup…perhaps at school. In a secret stash. Hmm…some cold winter morning.
Any how, I think Coalville needs a proper coffee shop, like it used to have in the former Dean’s Cafe. Bella’s Beauty Salon is here now, in making way for a new generation of Coffe Mug’s daughters……sisters Kelly Rodgers and Jodi Coleman. Kelly a hair dresser, and Jodi an awesome masseuse, grew up in the Coffee Shop working for their owner parents. Now Kelly cuts hair. And Jodi works out knots in patrons stress ridden backs by day, and cuts though city tape on the town council by night. Wish they still had the family coffee shop in conjunction with their own services.
In the end I am caught up again in imaginings myself owning a business, perhaps a bowling alley/ grill/ coffe shop. Hosting local musicains to perform. Oh the Places I go.
Swallow the last sweet sip of savory roasted lucre, as if I really had some. Swallowing with satisfaction, one final thought inspired by Coelho’s alchemist, “It’s not what men put in their mouths that is harmful. It’s what comes out of their mouths.” That in mind. I will carefully go forward today in trying to speak and write only the best things, making time for PLAYING amidst the fall colors in my mind. 🙂