We come home, shut and lock the door, and pull the drapes together.
Nature has been shut out.
The wind. The stars. The rain.
It doesn’t matter. It’s out there.
And we are safe inside here.
Increasingly, I think that we like to feel separate from nature because we don’t want to listen to her. We don’t want to know what she teaches us everyday. We want to be our own men. We want to determine what happens around us.
And we work very, very hard at that. We construct hospitals to cure everything. And when something isn’t cured, we blame the doctors.
We Must Be In Control Of Our Lives At All Times.
But nature doesn’t do this. Just the opposite, in fact. Nature gives us a continuous montage of change. Scheduled change. Random change. Gentle change. Radical change.
It goes on all the time. While people find more and more ways to protect themselves from this lesson.
Life is change. It has always been change. It will always be change.
Nature is very generous in showing us this. Everyday something in our environment outside our homes has changed.
Could be a color. Or a shape. A sound. A smell.
Life and death.
The cycle of change.
One of the worst things about man’s insistence in closing off our connection with nature is how brittle we have become when change comes our way.
In nature, the falling of the leaves off of the trees signals a significant shift in the growth around us. It is time to drop. To stop performing. To blend into the earth below.
This process enriches the soil. So that the new growth in the spring will have a healthy bed to grow from.
When our leaves begin to fall we grumble and complain and try to whack children with our canes.
We just don’t like it.
For us change is painful. It’s inconvenient. It’s stressful.
We don’t like letting parts of our lives just drop and fade away. We cling to our photo albums. Our stories. Our regrets.
A mother with grown children is described as an empty nester. Which is funny. This comparison with a bird doesn’t really make much of a metaphor.
There are birds who just abandon their offspring to fly south, leaving the little ones to meet up with other orphans to figure out how to do it on their own.
Humans don’t want to know this. They want older mothers to stand in the doorways of their children’s rooms, clutch their heart, and sigh.
We don’t really want to know the nature of nature.
It’s too confusing.
One message is constantly and starkly told: life changes.
And nature adapts. Goes on. Gets stronger. Or weaker.
It’s been doing this for billions of years.
Since life began on Earth, nature has been wiping species away like chalk marks on a blackboard.
Today, if a species is being wiped away, we weep and pull at our hair. As though once this species is gone, life will be changed on Earth irrevocably for the worse. We need the carrier pigeon.
We hold on.
For me, holding on to where I am in my spiritual growth is very important.
I don’t want to grow any more. I don’t want to change.
I’ve gotten used to this point in my development, and that’s fine.
No more blooming. No more height or width.
Just let me be.
When I go through growth spurts, as it were, it is so disorienting that I usually wind up on the doorstep looking out into the night and imagining that my life has never happened. That I haven’t been through what I have been through. That it was all just a dream. Or a nightmare.
I cringe down in hopes that it will just pass and I will be the same person on the other side.
It always involves digging out a fear. The deeper and deeper expressions of the fear that I am insane.
It probably began in puberty, when my reality began to clash so clearly with the reality of those around me.
It was the first time I decided, officially, not to be me. And I did my best to walk away.
But I seem to have something in common with the ocean: no matter how far out I try to get, I always come back to shore. Perhaps a bit more battered and bruised.
My life becomes my life once again.
In those attempted escapes, though, I drop something to the ground. And I get to watch it decay and go back to where it sourced from.
Then there is a time of peaceful rest. I reassure myself that that is the last time such a change will happen.
I even find myself dreaming of dying so that it won’t happen again. I want to be in control of my “life.”
I don’t want to be aware of nature. Of the falling leaves. Or the lessening of the birdsong in the backyard.
I don’t want to be part of the natural cycle of change.
Even for me.
My changes feel to me to be different from other’s changes, but the experience is probably much the same: anxiety, regret, anger.
There are those who have made for themselves a life of little change, of almost absolute security that surrounds them. Not that they are absolutely free from shocking or regular change. There are days that I envy these people. Who can focus on things like when to mow the grass and what to make for a church supper.
Like little chipmunks, really. Happy in their cozy holes. Understanding when to put up the shutters and secure the entrance, and happy to do so.
So it’s good for me to walk in the woods. Or down paths. Or across fields. Or on the beach.
To remind myself that everyday nature teaches me to let go. To let the change happen.
It’s going to happen with or without my anguish.
I will keep growing spiritually until God tells me its time to stop.
Not me. I don’t get to keep my current state.
I get to drop my leaves and await the new.