Monday, January 11, 2016
I had the good fortune to visit a dear old friend this past week. A familiar pathway through the woods, a venerable old oak, a clump of crocuses pushing their colorful heads up through the cold ground, for those of us who are nature lovers, these can feel in our heart of hearts, like some of our most cherished friends.
During last week's winter storm pattern, nearly a foot of snow fell in Yosemite valley. It was stunningly beautiful. The sheer granite walls scraping the sky were bedecked with brilliant white caps and their every dark craggy overhang was contrasted sharply with a line of white snow.
With all of this grand glory surrounding, I went to the southernmost end of the valley to visit my humble and quiet old friend, Fern Spring. She lay there tucked in her tiny swale surrounded by a deep blanket of snow. Black and reflective, still and yet quietly flowing, she greeted me with a knowing smile.
Snow and ice were everywhere. The roads were frozen over with plowed and compacted snow. The walking paths were lumpy and slippery affairs. Sheets of thick ice formed and broke up and reformed in the shallows along the banks of the nearby dark Merced River. But little fern spring sheltered by the boughs of overhanging branches remained clear and flowing, dark and full of depth in her shallow little rock lined spring box.
I carefully stepped over the large clods of rough and tumbled snow that lined the road and into the deep white footsteps of others who had come to visit her in her winter bower. I whispered a little prayer of greeting and took a few steps closer. There, by the edge of her tiny waterfall and minute creek I was startled by the duality of the reflected cloud filled sky overhead and the dark chrystal clear shallow depth of her little pond. Layers of oak leaves still and quiet, lying right where they had slowly fallen, lined her bottom, their five darkening fingers reaching out in different directions. The uppermost of these still held some of their red brown fall colors, the deeper ones had become a black brown with the thin layers of soft sediment that they were merging with from underneath.
As I gazed at this understated spectacle of contrast and clarity before me, I asked a question that has long served me well, "Do you have a message for me?" I immediately heard in my mind, "You always get your greatest clarity by going within." So true. Once we learn to quiet the "shoulds" and push away the conflicting voices of the good and bad opinions of others, our own true sense of what we want or need to think or do in every moment shines brilliantly through.
So, here, while standing on the doorstep of our brand new year, may we all find our way to the deeper understanding that comes to us when we seek a little time apart and quietly go within.
© Josephine Laing, 2016