Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Getting My Peace On

A few years back I found a song called Where I Sit is Holy, sung by Shaina Noll.  I'll post the youtube of it at the end of today's blog.  For now I want to explain how the song affected me.

A few days after I discovered the song and put it on a play list of other cool spiritual tunes I had a span of over 24 hours to myself.  Beaven went out of town for a couple of days.  I had no responsibilities and the weather was gorgeous.  It was one of my fairly successful attempts to "get peaceful if it kills me."  I can do this if I have the time and inclination.  It just doesn't last very long. So I keep trying.  One day it will take.

I realize what a gift, an absolute luxury I have.  I seldom have to do anything I don't want to. I pretty much wake up when I want and go to bed when I want.  We eat when we're hungry and never worry much where our next meal is coming from.  Beaven and I are both incredibly happy, healthy, and comfortable with who we are.  But this being peaceful thing sometimes slips from my grasp.  Especially at night when there is nothing to occupy my mind.

So, once I had over 24 hours to myself I decided to work on becoming peaceful.

I started with a walk.  When I got to the pond I found cow tracks. Then I noticed the cow had left calling cards scattered about. This was unusual on our land back then, before the Foy Farm moved in next door. Nowadays, we are as liable to have cow tracks as we are tracks from a goat or horse or mule or even chickens who have come to visit.  We know them by name and are able to guide them back home.  But, back then, the only cattle around here belonged to one neighbor a few farms up the road and he was notorious for not keeping his fences in good shape.  One of his cows had found her way to my house while my guard dogs slept at the foot of my bed.

About halfway around the pond I met Harold, pretty much where he is every afternoon at that time, laying half in and half out of the water.  Harold is either a water moccasin, which is poisonous, or just a plain water snake, which is not.  I call him Harold because it just seemed like it would help if we treated any snake we see as though it was always the same snake, kind of like a pet, as opposed to a whole herd of snakes that only come out one at a time while the rest wait in the bushes.

I stood for a  long time and watched him.  If I got too close he would slide back in the water and swim a little farther down the shoreline.  I started out trying yet again to decide what kind of snake he is but eventually I forgot to worry about that and began to notice how graceful he is, as he straightened his coil and curled himself through the water in an elaborate "S" and then straightened completely to match the shape of the water's edge.  Eventually, I became too bold and he disappeared into the water completely and I lost him. As I stood watching for him I began to notice the water bugs skating on top of the water.  A few tiny young frogs would hop into the water as I approached when they were sitting.  I could  never spot them until they had already gone 'plop" into the water.

I decided to build a fire to burn some of the wood we cleared over the winter.  This was the perfect time since Beaven was gone and he --well, let's just say he doesn't like it when I build fires.  (He claims he was traumatized by all the times we've had to call the local volunteer fire fighters. I don't worry about it so much because they have the route to our house memorized now.)  Once the fire died down I got a chair and sat to watch the coals.  I was in a little pocket clearing where the woods were thick around me on three sides with the pond and the sun setting behind my back.

If you've sat by enough campfires you eventually learn to tell the wood you are burning by the smell of the smoke.  This fire was oak and elm.  No pine or cedar.  Cedar pops and generally tries to take over.  Oak fires are calm and restful.

Night fell slowly. I could hear the birds and cicadas telling each other goodnight.  The fire had taken on a very innocent assortment of flames that might have been what the scriptures had in mind on Pentecost.

The bullfrogs started croaking in the water and the tree frogs answered them from the woods.  The coyotes sent out a mixture of howls from every direction as though they were taking attendance. The howls built in volume until it sounded so ferocious that I wondered if they had found and killed something.  This caused the wild dogs to answer back with their own ferocious howls but just a bit tamer-sounding.  This was followed by the nervous barking of the domestic dogs barking on front porches dotted up and down the country roads, claiming they were on duty.

Day turned to dusk.  And dusk became night.  The Chuck Wills Widow, my favorite bird, called out to announce that all was well and the night became a symphony of gentle sounds.I put more logs on the coals.  I realized that except for  a brief conversation with the produce stand man, I hadn't spoken a word aloud all day. I was not only enjoying the quiet, I was becoming at home in it.  I was becoming part of it.

I walked out to the clearing across the field and impressed myself at being able to navigate easily in the dark. I know this ground well. I went to check on the sliver of moon I had seen through the trees.  There, I spotted three stars in the sky.  I remembered something I had read that said the Sabbath arrived when three stars became visible at night.  I returned to the fire, to what had now become my Sabbath fire, and noticed how good the warmth felt on my legs.

I realized that where I was sitting was holy.



1 comment:

Mary Beth said...

LOVE THIS. Thank you!