Window of Opportunity

The sweetest birdsongs greeted my morning walk and the sky was the blue that I remembered from my childhood. There is less traffic on the road and fewer animals killed. The nettles are coming up enough to garnish our lunchtime quiche. For all the concern of the virus that is plaguing us, which is real, there is gentleness in this moment that is worthy of our attention.

Each day on the farm, we try to tackle a project that had previously escaped us. Today we began to fill a wound in the earth. It is erosion caused by our mules that we had too long ignored. But now we have the time and nature has supplied the means so we grabbed the window of opportunity to do a little mending.

Tasks often loom large and formidable until you actually begin them. Downed branches and dried grasses are abundant and create the perfect fill. We could also see another breach where the mules tend to walk and so we were able to mitigate that problem before it began.

And I cannot help but compare these everyday experiences to the predicament before us.

If we only listen to the pundits and the debates surrounding this crisis we may miss a very real opportunity. This is our chance to learn. It is our time to build our strengths. Our time to review what we have allowed and what could have been done differently. This may be the window of opportunity that we have long awaited.

Taking stock of our lives and everything our lives touch, making amends and mitigating mistakes before we fall prey to them again; this is the possibility before us.

We are being asked to be conscious, for ourselves and for each other.

What an amazing gift! Let us open it.

Tend to Life

Boredom is something I whole-heartedly avoid. Luckily life keeps welcoming my attention and is willing to teach. These days the sand hill cranes are echoing through the valley as they prepare their nests and stake out their terrain. And the young trees that we planted years ago have survived the deer and our neglect as we tend to them with manure and straw and new fencing.

There are even a few stubborn chestnuts and hickory saplings still standing strong. They were planted with the knowledge that we may never see their fruit, as it may be as long as forty years before the nuts are harvested. Yet with care and love, they will certainly grace some future passer-by with a tasty bite. And that is good enough.

My mother would often use the western Pennsylvania saying, “Give it a lick and a promise.” It meant when you start something, give it your best and if you cannot complete the task make your promise to return. Well this moment of “stay in place” is revealing a lot of unfulfilled promises that need my attention. And I am grateful to be able to oblige.

Today we unearthed the tiny strawberry plants and covered them for protection. We removed bits of wood that will stand in the way of enlarging our garden and all the while kept feeding the mule tuffs of last year’s grass to make him happy.

Plants and animals are thriving. We all flourish with a little bit of love and care. This tending to life is amazingly rewarding and yields the greatest gains.

Self –care has taken on a whole new meaning.  Taking time to find courage and strength to persevere and to feel love and compassion is imperative.

This moment of hardship and struggle offers possibilities that we have not yet dreamed. We cannot know what the future holds for our families, our communities or our world, but we can tend to life. Therein lies richness.

Be well.

Right on Time

 

Here come the first hints of spring right on time. I heard a robin sing yesterday and today the call of the sand hill crane caught my attention. The snow is melting and the mud and the ice are treacherous if you take a wrong step, but the brilliant sun makes the cold wind cower and you know it is only a matter of time before you will walk barefoot again.

And there is hope, right on time.

The news in any given day is bleak and I am inclined to believe it is intentionally so. It is easier to control a population when it is kept on edge. It is easier to drive an agenda if you do not give people a chance to find their own way. But at the end of the day, it will always be our choice to fall for fear mongering and hate baiting or to strive to create sustainable peace.

Winter in the Driftless is not for those afraid of a good challenge. But it is the beauty of the season and the brilliance of the night skies that soothes the soul and holds the promise of spring.

I couldn’t live in a hopeless world. And the return of the sand hill crane reminds me of that. I muse over the latest news on the coronavirus, or the hatred that has reared its head against Muslims in Delhi. Yet I rejoice to hear the Korean woman tell how she survived the disease and how the Hindu man saved many Muslim neighbors making trips by motorcycle.

You see, spring returns. And with it hope. Not blind hope, but hope born of reason, conviction and action laced with integrity.  We are born for this. We are born to be victors over fear, hatred and ignorance, because we are born for love.

 

sandhill crane in flight courtesy of wikipedia commons

Considering Trust

Whom do you trust? What do you trust? Do you trust?

Trust is a word seldom spoken these days unless it is used in legal terms. If it is used it is with great caution and it is often considered to be a weakness, such as having blind faith. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary refers to trust as “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something”. The word’s root is in Old Norse, an ancient North Germanic language of Scandinavia and it’s meaning was “strong”.

So somewhere in the history of the word trust, the meaning must have communicated strength; and the giver of trust was one who had “assured reliance” on the outcome of trusting.

Trust, in its original ideal, was more dependent on the person trusting than on the person or object to be trusted. In other words, to give trust implied that one had confidence in his or her choice. That the person giving trust had vetted well enough to be “assured reliance”. This is not “blind faith”. This requires a strength born of knowing, not simply hoping, that the gift of trust will be rewarded.

Trust is a tool we can use, not abuse and not one to hide behind. It is a gift we give to those who have proven beyond a doubt that they are worthy of our trust. That is the strength of trust. It is wholly dependent on the reasoning and the wisdom of each of us; and it is born of our discernment.

As we go through this very complicated moment in time, where truth is hidden and lies are boldly told, it is imperative that we revive within us the wisdom of trust. Trust is a powerful gift that should not be given lightly.

So when you consider giving the power of your trust to a salesperson, politician, doctor, clergy, facebook or anyone else, it may be wise to remember that your trust is your strength, not your weakness…and perhaps the most important trust is in your Self.

 

This piece aired on Thursday May 17 on WDRT‘s “Consider This”.