chey being

Seeing what's inside again.


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Silence

I love being under water.  The weightlessness.  All sounds fade away.  My entire body is being touched all at once by the softness of the water.  It’s such a strange feeling because when you are fully submerged, you don’t feel wet.  It’s just comfort, like a warm cozy blanket.  The few seconds of time that I am able to hold my breath are magnified because I feel completely present, completely at peace.  All problems or cares cease to exist.  Even though I may fear what is in the water or that I may step on something unknown, the feeling of being within the water is enough for me to take my chances.  It is one of my favorite experiences.

This place reminds me of my childhood and the creek and lake that are in my old neighborhood.  I spent so many summers swimming in that lake.  I’ll never forget that I always had to keep moving or the fish would bite if I stood still for too long.  My mother called me a fish because I would stay underwater for what seemed like an impossible amount of time for my little lungs.  Like a ribbon in the wind, I would glide through the water just above the sand for as long as I could stand it.  This was my escape from all my fears, an escape into what felt like a dream world.  I could allow all my thoughts to come out in the silence.  No one could see me there under the greenish-brown water.

I remember traversing the creeks on the other side of the subdivision.  I always felt like it was undiscovered country.  I would fearlessly walk through the creeks to explore the other side.  It was so exciting and dangerous, or at least it felt like it at the time. When my mother and I hike in the mountains out West, I still feel that playfulness I had as a child.  The two of us encourage one another to overcome our fears and head into the unknown.  Decades later, it makes me happy to still carry those feelings and even more so when I let them out to play.

These were my thoughts as I walked along the wooden pathway.  The water here is frozen and covered in hard, crunchy snow, yet something made me think of summer and what it’s like to play in the water.  Everything is very still.  Unmoving.  Quiet.  And eerie in a way.  The dark tunnel only amplifies the eeriness.  It is a far cry from the splashes and squeals of summertime.  My footsteps on the cold bridge now sound off their echo.  The noise within the hollowness is a bit of a comfort now.  It’s funny how silence can be scary at times.  Like there is nothing to ground us, nothing to make us know that we exist.  Or maybe it is the fear of our mind being left to its own devices.  If there is no noise, no distractions, we may hear something we do not want to hear.  We may have to listen.  Listen to what we already know but thus far have been successful at tuning it out.

Yes, that is what I am feeling.  That is why this quietness frightens me.  I don’t want to be by myself.  I don’t want to listen with a clear head.  It will require action.  It will mean that I know and I can’t take that back.  My steps begin to slow down.  I do not want to come out into the open.  What was once spooky and dark has now become a safe haven.  I am hidden here.  It is like being under the water and no one can see me.  I stop.  It feels like a stand-off now.  Something out of the Wild West!  How did I come to this?  I was just thinking of happy childhood memories and now I am frozen in place.  I know I am only facing myself.  I know it is a more peaceful self.  A happier self.  Yet it is truly frightening.

I begin to pace now from side to side.  It is colder here in the shade and I feel the need to move.  There is an anxiety building in my chest and I am finding it hard to breathe.  I start to talk to myself.  I tell my self to calm down, that everything is OK.  I force myself to take some deep breaths.  Just then, as if whispered in my ear, I hear that I am safe.  I am safe.  These words come to me as a knowing.  I already know that.  I laugh a bit and smile.  Of course, I am always safe for it’s just me.  My soul, my guiding light that only ever wants what is best for me.  The one that wants me to stop and listen more often.  The one that tirelessly tries to show me and lead me towards my highest good.  The wave of fear has left me now.

I take a deep breath and walk into the light.  I will stand there and I will listen in the silence.

 

Photo courtesy of D. Campbell.

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A Season

She looks so cold.  The gray blue sky behind the squiggles of branches reminds me of something out of a horror movie.  Cold pale skin and blue veins.  Her arms reach out, extending her fingers, grasping for something.  Reaching.  Maybe it’s my mood that has turned this symbol of nature into a forlorn creature.  Maybe it’s the lack of sunshine, the long gray days of winter, and the temperatures so cold that every breath is made visible.  Maybe it is getting to us both.

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Even though she looks as if there is nothing left but a crooked body of wood and sticks, there is still life inside her.  She has had to retreat deep, deep within to protect herself from the biting and frigid winter.  I wonder if she is restful during this time, like a long winter’s sleep.  I imagine it would be peaceful to simply be still for so long, to simply observe.  I wonder if she is happy with the change of seasons or sad when all her hard work falls to the ground come autumn.  I believe she knows her precious leaves come back to her in the end.  Each year they nourish the ground at her feet and return infused within the new life, becoming a collection of memories.  They will always be a part of her story, for one chapter can not exist without the other.

I can envision her roots far beneath the frozen ground.  I imagine it is exhausting come spring to find the right amount of water and nourishment from the ground, always having to search deeper and deeper into the unknown.  I wonder how many obstacles have been in her path; a cement wall, another tree, or maybe a rock have all caused her to pause and redirect.  Yet she has never given up.  Her sheer size is a testament to her desire to keep on living, to keep experiencing all that surrounds her.  She knows her part.  She knows she is needed.  She knows her life and our lives are connected, but she fears we may have forgotten.  It is her only sadness.

I can find no rhyme or reason to her growth.  She appears undoubtedly erratic.  She moves from here to there.  She tries this way and that.  Maybe it breeds more life, maybe it doesn’t.  Her moves are fearless.  In this bare, uncovered state, it is easy to see her life, her choices, her successes, and her failures.  Here I can clearly see the newest of life was only birthed from the journey taken before it.  I can see her healed wounds and where she let go so the rest could live.  I can see the direction that makes her happiest, the direction in which she thrives.  I think she knows.  I think she knows as a whole, in her entirety, she is truly magnificent.

Every spring is a rebirth.  A chance to begin again.  A chance to grow and expand.  The more she dives deep into the ground, the more places her branches can reach.  There is so much she is needed for.  Every branch, every stem is waiting.  The very air around her is waiting.  They are waiting for her love and support.  But for now, it is her time.  Her time to rest after years and years of growth and survival.  I feel she is at peace.  I can feel her graceful stillness, her wisdom.  Her message from the summer’s breeze still rings hauntingly in the air.  Like a wind chime far, far away, I can almost hear the rustling of her leaves.  She wants us to grow and to make mistakes.  She wants us to thrive and to rest.  She wants us to remember to be still, to stop and listen, and to breathe.  To just breathe.

 

Photo courtesy of D. Campbell.