Creation leans forward with eagerness and passion. Abraham-Hicks
I wrote a whole essay in my head this morning, a blog that felt fresh and alive and ready for me to press, “publish”. I did this while hiking on my favorite Ishpeming two-track through the hardwoods and pines, past a farm and a marsh. I was sure it would stick with me, this head-essay, flow through my afternoon pen out onto the page, but, alas, it’s lost somewhere on that bumpy dirt road, lost somewhere in an out-breath, perhaps when I was gazing up at two pileated woodpeckers, one below the other, as they tapped their heads against the top of a dead spruce, their red crowns ablaze with the morning sun behind them.
My morning essay, the one that was going to be about keeping things new, is lost in the past, and this is a new moment, right here at my computer beside the window and the breeze and the clouds tumbling by. How do we keep things new? We can’t haul out a morning’s ideas and think that they will be fresh and tasty in the afternoon light.
My father used to haul lobstertraps. It was his passion, to head out onto the sea after work on summer evenings and early on Saturday mornings. And often, we kids would climb into the big red boat with him. I loved these boatrides. Sometimes, I straddled the bow, letting my feet dangle into the splash of the sea, and sometimes I sat on a seat and closed my eyes and felt the wind and the water and the salt lick my face. These adventures were both familiar – we often followed the same route – and always different. Sometimes, as we dipped our hands into the water and grabbed for a wooden buoy, we would discover a tiny lumpfish stuck to its stem. Other times, if we were very lucky, we might spy a seal bobbing in the water nearby. And we never knew what we would discover when my father pulled up one of his slatted traps. Would there be a lobster flapping its tail? Would there be crabs, a tiny eel, or a dreaded scalpon staring at us with its horned head? We squealed with the excitement of it all. It was always fresh and new and unexpected.
It is never the same on my morning walks either. Although I follow a familiar path, I am always surprised by something – a sudden change in weather, a rabbit racing across the trail, the screech of a hawk. Yesterday, I ate my first blackberry of the season. Today I was dazzled by the fuchsia loosestrife dancing with the goldenrod and yarrow.
How do we keep things new? How do we allow ourselves to be dazzled? Sometimes, we’re called to uproot ourselves and take a different path. But often, it is in the familiar, in the yoga class we’ve been taking for years, the same neighborhood walk, the creative practice that has been ours for a lifetime, that we are dazzled, simply by being present. How do we keep things new? By grabbing at this moment’s buoy and hauling in its gifts, always new and fresh and tasty when we are present in the present.