…because some thoughts are worth remembering
On our way to a winter solstice party, we paid a visit to a close friend of ours who recently became a dad. After a satisfying lunch, we made our way to Lake Lagunitas. Used as a water reservoir for the Marin County, the water was clear and quiet at dusk, in contrast to the crowded specialty stores in downtown Fairfax.
My friend wanted to take us to his favorite spot so we can “get our Zen on, quiet our thoughts” and let nature appear before our eyes. As we stopped talking and breathed in the cold, clean air, we heard a few birds rustle in the tall grass that lined the lake, and tracked a family of ducks quietly proceeding to the other side. “When I come here, I remember I like it more than I thought,” he said, almost regretfully. “It’s so close, yet we don’t come here as often.”
As we walked on the trail around the lake, mindful of newts trying to cross the path, he told us about the last time he was here, vividly recalling how nature presented itself to him like a special show he was invited to attend. “But the show is always on,” he reminded himself. It doesn’t stop when we drive back to running our chores or responding to email.
Nature doesn’t stop performing. We stop looking. Beauty exists in accepting ourselves as part of nature.
There is a poem by Mary Oliver I read to myself when I need to be reminded to accept this beauty.
The Morning Poem
Under the orange
sticks of the sun
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again
and fasten themselves to the high branches—
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands
of summer lilies.
If it is your nature to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails
for hours, your imagination
And if your spirit
carries within it
that is heavier than lead—
if it’s all you can do
to keep on trudging—
there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted—
each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.
Photo: Lake Lagunitas, Fairfax, California