Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Some but not all of the things I think about when I am walking in the woods wearing a mask

A friend who has been learning to speak Spanish for some time and making good progress sent me a link to Lydia Machova's TED talk about people who have the ability to learn multiple languages.  For the first time in my life, I am trying to learn Spanish with my heart instead of my mind.  I even said to another friend a few months ago, "What's different this time is that I am having fun!  There is no teacher, no pressure.  I am not being graded."  I am not paying anyone any money.  I'm fascinated by the idea that each polyglot she spoke with learned in their own unique way, but all of them approached a new language with a sense of delight and curiosity and playfulness.  They learned multiple languages on their own quirky terms.

It has occurred to me that what she says about learning language can apply to learning anything.  I've been making progress in playing my autoharp, too.  Something has shifted.  Something has changed.  Something has opened up.

While I was out walking, I picked up two books from a free book-sharing stand.

I've read Lucy Grealy's book before but was struck by the book cover in this time of masks and feel compelled to read it again.  Alan Lew was mentioned by Stephen Levine in a book I just re-read, Unattended Sorrow.  Flipping through One God Clapping as I walked along, I was started to see that Alan Lew lived in Gualala, California, the unincorporated town where my parents lived overlooking the ocean near the Gualala River from 1974 until my mother's death in 1994. 

While I walk, I often think about what I would like to post on my blog.  Lately, I haven't been able to find a focus.  There is so much I want to say, but I can't find a way to make my thoughts hold together.

This song by Bob Dylan came to mind and I thought about my complicated mother who died in 1994.  I realized that, this week, while out walking in the woods I have stopped to talk with three women I know who are my age and who don't have children.

Lines from Bob Dylan songs are always playing in my mind as I walk, "... Lies that life is black and white, spoke through my skull ..." (from "My Back Pages")

Approaching Big Rock Garden, I had heard the sound of what I thought might be an owl.  I hear it calling almost every time I walk in that part of the woods.  Up ahead was a couple with binoculars looking up.  It turned out that they were seeing an owlet.

In the next tree was an adult Barred Owl, vocalizing every so often.  A mother and her three young sons stopped to see the owl.  We all kept our distance from each other and gazed upward and talked a little bit.

I continued on to just beyond the eastern edge of the woods, coming to an elementary school surrounded by a hurricane fence.  A rabbit was leaving the school grounds.

Before going back into the woods, I walked down a short trail that features a wooden bench with a fine view of Lake Whatcom.  When I was married, I lived just down the street from the bench.  The old house had a magnificent view of Lake Whatcom.  There was nothing but woods for several miles behind our house.  That was a long time ago. 

I was ready for the last part of my 2-hour loop walk, ready to visit Big Rock Garden and was thinking about a rock in Big Rock Garden with a piece that fell out of it.  See the center of the photo.

I had placed the piece from the rock in the center of a concrete slab nearby a few days ago.  Someone used the piece to make a stack of rocks.  I picked up some cones and made a hexagram, with the intention of going home to see which hexagram I had formed.

It was Hexagram 8 -- Holding Together:

What is required is that we unite with others, in order that all may complement and aid one another through holding together.  But such holding together calls for a central figure around whom other persons may unite.  To become a center of influence holding people together is a grave matter and fraught with great responsibility.  It requires greatness of spirit, consistency and strength. (p. 36 of the Wilhelm/Baynes translation of the I Ching)

Not far from this someone had created:

The six sticks make Hexagram 1 -- The Creative:

When an individual draws this oracle, it means that success will come to him from the primal depths of the universe and that everything depends upon his seeking his happiness and that of others in one way only, that is, by perseverance in what is right (p. 4)

I remember this song:

"... Peace will come With tranquility and splendor on the wheels of fire ..."
(Bob Dylan, lyrics from the 1978 album titled "Street Legal")


ellen abbott said...

what a wonderful post. I often have ideas for posts when I am away from the computer and then when I'm ready to write I can think of nothing.

Anonymous said...

I loved taking this walk with you. It was like a having conversation on your two-mile journey. Thank you for writing it down.

Tara said...

This is a jam packed post, dear friend! So much swirling around in your brain and I love it all! How remarkable that something has cracked open for you and the flow is happening more easily.

My sister's house on Shepardson St has a great view of Lake Whatcome as well. I love that area. You are lucky indeed to be able to walk a two hour amble in such beauty!

37paddington said...

I enjoyed walking with you today. xor

Sabine said...

I have been coming back to this post several times in the past days. So much to find and listen to. Thank you.