Scraps of Paper Come AlivePosted: March 10, 2016
I just found a half-sheet of yellow paper ripped off a legal pad, stained with coffee and displaying the beginnings of what looks like an excellent round of crayon doodling by a toddler. The title says, “Blog Post” and under that I wrote a list of things to write about:
- The warmth of eggs on cold hands
- The crescent moon slowly slicing its way across the western sky
- The huskiness of coastal dusk
Finding this list this morning stopped me in my tracks and brought a smile to my face for it is a brief glimpse into my life, into a day in my life showing something about the richness in which I live and the mind that I try to cultivate – a mind without walls that can be present, aware and appreciative of whatever is occurring in the moment.
How wonderful is it to know the delight warm eggs on cold hands, eggs that had been warmed the soft body of an ochre-colored hen. If it was cold enough that my hands were cold in this mild coastal climate then the skies must have been clear. And if the skies were clear then nascent stars would have been visible to the east and the western sky would have been the most splendid dark blue color fading to lighter blue and on down into a very subtle green where the blue of night-time sky and the yellow of the daytime sky just above the horizon merge. Yellow and blue make green.
The crescent moon slicing its way across the western sky would have been hanging there or perhaps this was another evening. The crescent moon with a planet dangling off of it like those Arabic earrings I saw for sale in Moroccan shops. There is something about the smallness of a crescent moon that illuminates the vastness of the night-sky in ways that a big, round full moon fails to do. Just enough light to let me know where I am but not so much as to make me feel exposed.
On other evenings when I head out to do the chicken chores, taking them fresh water, collecting eggs and closing them in for the night, the air feels thick and heavy. It’s a huskiness that can feel oppressive in hot places but not here on the coast, where it is almost always cool and mild. On these evenings there is cloud cover, which acts like a blanket over the earth, holding in the heat of day and raising the humidity. Calmness and quiet reign supreme on these nights as if the moisture in the air captures any errant sounds. On these nights a few chickens may still be out, pecking here and there or getting their last drink of water before roosting for the night. If this is the case, I slow down and simply take it all in. If I hurry, however, and am impatient the chickens will run away frustrating me to no end. But if I just relax and let things unfold, the stragglers will put themselves to bed. No effort on my part but mind that it takes to just be there. In these instances I am afforded the opportunity to look around and take things in. I may see the trees in the orchard beginning to bloom, plums first then apples and pears. My skin may feel the slight movement of a soft breeze, gentle and refreshing, perhaps bringing the scent of plum blossoms along with it. And I may hear the sound of a cow mooing in the distance and think perhaps its Basil, the cow that has been giving us delicious fresh milk once a week when Kristin volunteers on that farm. The sounds, smells and sights of this moment are always there, if and only if, I can be there too, not distracted by self-centeredness or delusion. When the walls of mind come down, anything is possible and the moments of life scratched down on scraps of paper come truly alive.