Sunday, January 02, 2011


From my morning perch before the beloved woodstove I take calm delight in the blizzard out there, all that blurry air roiling across the mountainside the way mountainsides make blizzards do, and wailing around the house the way houses make blizzards do.

Out in the deeps of the storm I observe that despite the wild roil, even the smaller birds now and then fly hellforleather through the blinding tempest in search of the odd seed or berry (bold red berries are a bright help in winter, as I see from the diminishing supply on our many nanten bushes around the house). And when, after winging across the white whirls of the open stretches, the flying featherbundles reach our tall hedge of evergreen kinmokusei trees they swoop beneath the lowest branches and swerve upward into the inner recesses as into cathedrals of calm, where they can sit and be out of the wind and the snow for a time, shiver off the rime, plan their next move across the maelstrom to wherever a stock of food might be, plot their next path through the storm.

After watching the first couple of birds do that this morning, I imagined swooping with the next few, up from out of the howl into the calm perches that the inner unleafed portions of the smooth kinmokusei branches so generously provide, perhaps for just this use by just these birds! Who knows what forms of natural "friendship" abide out there in the deeps of the real world, how far these homely allegiances go, and where they integrate like two hands clasping. Or how far back in time they reach, how they began to be-- seems as much like an interweaving of wild wisdom as a mosaic of chance that worked out well.

Plant and bird have been carrying on this way for far longer than the flash we call history, the birds over eons perhaps carrying seeds, or paying a small toll in fertilizer for the privilege of stopping to rest during the times of hardship both forms of life have ever gone through together, and there in the hearts of the trees the birds can enjoy the quiet that abides in a plant, in exchange for the motion that abides in a bird; plants seem to appreciate rhythms of all kinds-- they dance in the wind, as I observe from my cathedral of calm, up here at the fire in the heart of the storm...

It must be that in all storms there are places of calm to be found, havens in which to pause and renew, from which to prepare for advance, that in all paths of life there are ancient sanctuaries where the traveler can stop to rest, where there is calm, where there is no pain; for that is how we ourselves survive the storms of living, stage by stage, how we nourish an entire life before moving on to the next discovery.


June Calender said...

Beautiful post. Thank you.

Robert Brady said...

You're welcome, June; and thank you, too.

Jenn said...