Thursday, January 10, 2013
The snow is falling in rhythmic silence, tiny pitter patter of marshmallow feet on my nose and lips. My world is isolated and soft, grey white where the earth meets the snow meets the sky. Its gentle and welcoming, wary and frigid all at once. I catch myself wondering what it would be like if I was standing at this exact same spot just without the weathered boards under my feet and golden light spilling from the doorway of the cabin. It makes me shiver and I am once again racked with an intense gratitude for the place I am at and the beauty and comfort it affords.
I am so lucky. So blessed. So grateful. I can’t stop being grateful. Gratitude is a way of clinging to the beauty around me. A way of stopping to let it seep in. A way to try and catch the intricate snowflake of each tiny moment.
I hesitate to believe in energy. To believe in intent. To believe that what I dream about and visualize will manifest itself. Yet, here, it has. Here, it does.
Here, in Homer, everything that I have needed has come to me in exactly the right time, the right place, in the right amount. From being sent my books by a stranger, to opening envelopes stuffed with cash, to being gifted a plane ticket to Juneau to see family, to having been set up with a majestic location to house-sit, to being loaned a car to drive, to getting rides when I need them when my car is broken down, to finding the right job at the right time in winter, to getting a paycheck just as I max out my credit card and spend my last brimming handful of change. From the wonderful neighbors I have who have been gracious and helpful and connected me with friends and community, to the friends I have met who immediately took time out of their established lives to fit me in – all of it is just breath-taking.
How can I not be grateful? Yet is this a recipe? Is this what happens when you “step out in faith?” or when you take a risk? Or when you follow your dreams? When you put yourself “out there” or step into the unknown of a phantom path or follow the faint tune of a heart song – is that what happens? Is this energy? Is this manifestation?
Yet I have to be careful. I am grateful. I am in awe. I feel a deep reverence and wonder. Yet how can this be something I brought to myself? That sounds cocky. That sounds dangerous. That sounds like playing with forces I could never begin to understand and not want to believe in. Or is it karma? Is it the old goes around comes around cast your bread upon the water etc. etc. ? But could my karma be this good? And then what about all those that suffer, suffer more than I can possibly imagine or relate to as of yet in my young life – can you look them in the eye and spin this cosmic yarn?
It is undeniable that there is power here. Maybe there is a strong energy here. Maybe it’s just community. Maybe it’s the mountains – the culture of a people that are surrounded by beauty and ocean and nature. Maybe it’s just that things are slower here, people are kinder, they care about their neighbor, they stop for hitch hikers, they know peoples first names, leave their doors unlocked, and depend more on each other. Maybe its luck, a series of fortunate events. Maybe its G-d. Maybe it’s nothing.
Sometimes it frightens me to be this grateful. It certainly humbles me. Some people don’t climb the mountain because they afraid of the top – can you live on the summit forever? What happens when you realize your dream? What happens when you have tasted and exquisite bite of life (I interrupt this reverie with the news that a large black fly just drowned itself in my water bottle – awesome), does everything else seem bland? But I don’t think this should discourage us from reaching our own personal summits, for grabbing at stars. I think this quote I read recently in one of my Aunt Carolyn’s photo books sums it up perfectly:
You cannot stay on the summit forever, you have to come down again…one climbs and one sees; one descends and one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself – by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one no longer sees, one can at least still know.
I’m don’t think I necesarrily “deserved” my summits. I am certainly on one right now. Yes, I climbed hard to get here, but I was also carried much of the way. I was born in a democracy, I grew up without a TV, I had a mother that read to me, I had exposure to travel, to Alaska even, at a young age. I made a serious of teenage mistakes that broadened my perspective immeasurably. I crossed paths with brilliant friends that changed my attitude, perspective, and thinking. I have been surrounded with people smarter, wiser, deeper than I. I was given the gift of education. I was given the gift of love. I held powerful books in my hands and let the ideas of others flow through me and shape me. What I have now, the things I have accomplished, the memories I have made, the places I have been, all are largely a direct result of the kindnesses, unselfishness, hard work, and belief of others.
So is it karma? is it as Soloman says in Ecclesiastes, "time and chance happen to us all"?
Is it fate, destiny, luck, myth, or "the universe"?
To refer to a recent conversation I had, all I know is that I don’t know. That’s it. I know its deeper than I, wilder, wiser, perhaps even more nonsensical. But I am deeply grateful for life, for the opportunity to be here, for the opportunity to breathe. For the opportunity to run and laugh and fall down cross country skiing. For the opportunity to meet fascinating people that are working to make their world and communities better. For a loving family and a job. For the opportunity I had to go across the world and have my perspective radically altered. All I know, is that I don’t know. But all I know, is that whether or not I have a right to be here, whether or not I was meant to be here, whether there is energy or not, karma or not, divine leading or not, I am here. And in this moment I am stunned by that opportunity. And I want to slow down, savor snowflakes on my tongue, rain on the roof, sparkling white crystals on the trees, moose in my yard, perfectly baked salmon, flashes of northern lights, round eyed medicine moon, heated subarus, steaming coffee, my grandfather’s stethoscope, my brother’s hug, and all the little moments, people, and colors that make this life such a unique and rare opportunity, even if only for an instant. And then there are the mountains. Always the mountains.
Mountains - I love you
At Bishop's Beach in Homer
Yep just fell skiing - the one on top is me going 0.1 miles an hour screaming at the top of my lungs! It really was very fast - you have no idea.
The snow has arrived. View from just outside the neighbors house (I took this one! I swear....)
Me and brother hanging out (note to self: don't work out while wearing red shirt and then take picture....)