Looking out my bedroom window, the skies are dark. The clouds are moving fast. The trees are bending in the wind. A storm is brewing.
Yet, from where I sit now in the formal junk room, looking out the back towards the sea, the clouds are a lighter grey. You can even see whiter, fluffer ones with the yellowish tinge of sunlight trying desperately to peak through them as they hang like Hope itself over the glass reflection of the sea.
Like life itself, it is all about perspective and timing.
But in those storms when life hollows around us, chilling our souls and ripping the protective layers of our masks from us, we forget that. It seems as if life is nothing but storms. The summer sun, the colors of her flowers, even the dry, sweltering heat are forgotten. Gone. Never to come again.
Or so it seems in that moment.
That is a huge part of the problem with our Western society. We have become so disconnected with the cycles and rhythms of life itself that we forget spring and summer follow fall and winter.
Our ancient and even not so distant ancestors understood that. They celebrated and connected with the never-ending circle of life, death, and rebirth. They had festivals and gods/goddesses that were reminders nothing stays the same.
Just two days ago, I took a long walk through the local park where Welsh poet Dylan Thomas spent many of his childhood days. Though the sun was weaker and the weather anything but sweltering, I came home high. For the first time in my life, I truly understood this John Denver classic.
But today, listening to those winds hollow that seems like a million years ago. Perhaps it was not even real. Perhaps it was nothing more than wishful thinking. Or a dream?
That is a trick of our minds.
It is also why I have come to love photography as much as I do writing. Then I capture just a tiny bit of those feelings. So I can hold on to them in moments like this.
I think that maybe one of the problems with professional psychology that encourages you to ‘live in the moment.’ Living in the moment does not afford us the hope that comes with looking at the bigger picture.
Those ancestors might have had a better idea. Celebrating the end of winter and rebirth in Spring such as Beltane or May Day (very special one in our @HomeCrazzyHome as it was the day I met Alan). Lughnasadh in August gave thanks for a bountiful harvest and a break from all the work that went with it. And Samhain ushered in these dark days of autumn and winter. It was a cycle and while there might be variations, some harvest less bountiful, some winters longer; there was a certainty in the very nature of it.
We drive everywhere; isolated from the sounds, smells, and feel of the seasons. Our houses are heated in the winter and cooled in the summer. With the exception of a changing wardrobe, we are more disconnected than we ever have been.
But now we get our food from a store. We don’t need to carefully ration out the proceeds of our harvest. There was no need to preserve it carefully. No need to huddle close to the fire in groups, telling tales, and sewing or sharpening our tools for the coming spring. We simply go to the store and anything we want is at our fingertips. Fresh lettuce. Pineapples in February.
Tomatoes…well, this one will never be right. But the saddest thing is that most people don’t even know the difference anymore. They have never tasted the sweetness that burst like sunshine itself on your tongue from a mater fresh-picked, still warm from the vine, and that slight tang of its green stem.
We have the illusion of plenty and safety from the seasons and those storms. We think that they can no longer touch us. That we have become as gods who can control, if not the storms, then at least their effects.
So, when they come, when they break through our illusion of safety, or when Fate forces us from its pretense, then we are defenseless in the power and majesty of those storms. They are not merely a natural occurrence, a part of that cycle of life. They are evil. They are bad. Something that we need to fight against and conquer.
On that walk the other day, my senses were assaulted with the devastation that our local council is bringing to that park. There were huge piles of limbs that had been cut down, often whole trees. My heart ached as if I could feel the sap that had once coursed through them as surely as I could the blood that flowed through my veins.
When I came home, I was complaining to Alan about it. He is his more practical mindset pointed out that some of them were dead and presented a health and safety issue, others were perhaps diseased. And my logical brain heard his words and recognized their truth.
But there is a greater truth. Perhaps the only one. The truth of that circle of life, death, and rebirth. The season and those storms are part of that. In nature, there is no need to cut down those dead or dying trees. The storms will blow them down. Or fires will come to burn them down.
I am old enough to remember when the volcano Mount Saint Helen’s erupted. It was utter and seemingly total devastation. In fact, one whole side of the mountain blew away. Everyone bemoaned the destruction of such natural beauty. It would take decades, perhaps centuries for it to be restored, perhaps never, certainly not in our lifetimes.
Yet, within six months, scientists were amazed to see that life was returning. Small insects and hardy plants were sprouting up. What’s more, the life that did return was more native to that region than the one which man had planted and been destroyed in the explosion. Today, it is a thriving ecosystem once more.
Yes, one day it will all blow again. When? No one can for certain.
And yes, while the sun is peeking through those clouds even more in the brief time that it has taken to write this blog post, the storms will come. In nature. And in our lives. We have surprisingly little control over either.
But we do have control over how we see them, how we choose to view this world and our lives. We can be victims of nature, whether that be Mother Nature or our own human natures, or perhaps others. We can see life as win or lose. Conquer or be conquered.
Or as our ancestors did, we can connect to the cycle of the seasons, weather, and nature herself. We can see ourselves as part of something larger. We can recognize that to survive, grow, and thrive, we need both…sun and rain.
Yes, there will always be storms. Dark days of winter. But spring will come. The sun will shine. And it will begin anew again.
Until it does, goddess bless, heal, and keep you.