A year ago today I matched each rise and fall of my breath with my father’s. I didn’t know his breath would end the next day. We never know exactly, do we? Yet even as I remained bed side attentive, I was aware of fear and restlessness, a longing to know woven with denial, this wondering how long side by side with the wonder.
Within a week of his passage, wrestling with the emotional buffet grief delivers, surrendered to sorrow, a universal version of this feeling state was arising on the heels of the emerging Covid-19 reality. Laced as it was with each of our unique cocktails of inertia and resistance and denial and fright. It did not stop Spring from arriving: tender grass shoots, buds promise-full, my fingernails creased with dirt wet from nesting seedlings. What universal good fortune to feel earthly new beginnings, life a-sprout as we daily digested so much strange and dire news. Little did we know this was the beginning of a whole year. Care to dance into a sense of that fullness on Wednesday or Sunday?
I’m remembering those Spring days tinged with the innocence of the east. The east? Why the east? I’ve been deeply rooted in the energetic qualities of cardinal directions for a long time. My indoctrination is Native American, though cultures around the world have their versions. I’m willing to stand accused of cultural appropriation because I feel this deeply in my bones; there must be an Eastern European version. Some day! This year I’m monthly new moon reading Jamie Sams’ The 13 Original Clan Mothers. Sams delves into Native American grandmother lore. It mesmerizes me. East? In Native American lore, east signifies Spring and birth and new beginnings. After sensing east, we cycle south to summer, to the innocence of childhood growth.
Last year, in the Northern hemisphere, as spring gave way to summer, we were witness to raging heat shimmering off protest-filled pavements. Memorial Day slid into July 4th. For the first time, we gut-felt what a spike was. Little did we know these were small harbingers of spikes to come. Summer: time for seeds to set fruit and for children to grow faith and trust and humility. A period when, according to the Native American crones, we ripen into the primary lesson of childhood: that unless everyone wins, no one wins. We began to wear masks. We began to think in terms of months, not weeks. Grateful for isolated moments of faith or trust.
As we turned west, US elections and wildfires raging, Autumn blew us away with crestingThanksgiving and Christmas spikes. And even though there was promise of a new administration and expectation of vaccination, it felt risky to even hope. Faith and trust were all we had. We turn to the grandmothers again, they tell us Autumn is when dreams are born. Dreams that will manifest only when we learn to honor the equality of all life forms. Truly this is when many of us understood that individual dreams and desires don’t manifest in a bubble of alone-ness. This lesson of inter-dependence has never been more palpable. The season that began in such chaos turned into utter surrender to that “only one of us here” reality. Every day another practice in being with what is.
As winter dawned, as the world in unison turned north, those of us lucky enough to have lived through to this point in the cycle, each in our own way…perhaps much the wiser through this life experience. Or not. Bring on an insurrection just in case we have not felt enough. The grandmothers say that in winter we are heart to heart, soul to soul, face to face with eternity. If we are paying attention to the moldering leaves, the silt pouring from river to sea, the big and little deaths peppering each day…then we know damn sure change is a constant, everything cycles.
Astoundingly, nothing is lost as it/as we continue this journey throughout time. Every time we welcome winter at our door, every time we are witness to transformation, we step closer to wholeness. Perhaps our spirits live forever. Is there any doubt that we are all part of this great mystery? A full year now. With this under our belts, I feel us taking tentative steps forward into the loom of Spring. Perhaps a bit wiser. The fear and restlessness, this longing to know woven with denial, this wondering how long, this wonder…still here.
We never know exactly, do we? But a couple years ago, when we had conversations about acceptance and peace and hope we did not have the wisdom this year bestowed. Now each of us, in our distinct way, have matriculated to maybe a fuller possibility. Did we want this? Need this? Ask for this? Don’t know exactly. Do know this: I’m on the journey, you’re on the journey, we’re all on the journey from here to eternity. It’s more do-able together. ❤️Bella