How quickly it goes. August, the summer.
Sometimes I feel as if I’m caught in some time-lapse movie where, in the space of a few breaths, frozen ground sprouts with shoots of green, bare trees erupt in blossoms and leaves, flocks of birds arrive, fields grow thick with crops, and then – at some silent signal – it all reverses.
Tractors pull the crops from the fields, the leaves turn to crimson and bronze, the flowers sing their last hoorah and snow falls on the empty fields.
The best you can do is be awake in every moment as it passes. Bow to the gold of it, revel in its song, breathe its fragrance into your being until you are one with it, dancing and filled with joy.
I’ve always thought it was kind of summer to choose the cool end of the spectrum for her dominant hues. They’re completely installed now, the blue with its playful clouds, the greens dancing with the slightest breeze.
But aside from its colors and its sounds— the birds, the cicadas, the crickets and chipmunks, the frogs, the shrieks of children freed at last into the world’s great playground, the rustling leaves, the fall of rain, the churning rivers and babbling brooks— aside from all these, it’s the fragrances that marks the season.
I suppose it’s the thickness of the air.
You need a certain density to carry the smells of the river, of the grass and its clovers, of foods cooked over an open fire, of wild roses and the ever-changing perfumes of the cultivated gardens, and of soil before and after rain, and of the produce at the farmers’ markets, and melting asphalt in the parking lots and on the roads. It’s ever-changing, this ocean of smells, and it’s all so rich, and so summer, don’t you think?
Don’t you love the way it makes you want to breathe all the way down to your belly just to taste the passing smells?
Before the day sweeps in with all it bustle and noise, the earth breathes. In this one silent moment, it remembers all that has gone before. It imagines all that is to come.
And then it drinks in this now, with its softly floating clouds and still waters, with its waking fishes and floating geese.
Now, as the sap rises in the trees and their buds swell, as the plants just beneath the sand feel the April warmth on the hulls of their waiting seeds, as robins sing their morning songs, the earth breathes, and the Yes echoes through the hills.
This is the time of the great inhalation. The earth pulls into herself the energies of air, of sky. She opens her pores and takes in the snow. Its light is her bread, its moisture her wine.
When the sun paints the sky, she laps up its colors and stores them away in cocoons and sleeping seeds. She embeds them in the minerals and in the pools of sap that doze inside the trees.
Some call the stark landscape desolate. But the earth is alive, and she breathes.
Let the hillsides and roadsides be bright with your song and all the world leap now with joy. Fling open your arms and spin with the sun. Trumpet your yes with bold gladness.
Reach high. Stretch tall. Breathe your best dreams.
Dare everything. All you can lose is dark lies.
Let no drop of passion go unspent. Be it all. Give it all. And trumpet your yes with great gladness.
Pick a getaway place to go in your mind when the stresses of life bear down. Fill it with sunlight and a soft breeze. Imagine it goes on for miles, and that here there is no time.
Fill your lungs with its soft, light air. Imagine hidden flowers and singing birds who wear the colors of a sunrise. Stretch yourself into its spaciousness; drink its peace.
This world is yours alone. No one can take it from you. And every time you come here, it becomes more real, and you become freer.
This precious ever-changing now, with its perfumed blossoms and clear blue skies, imprints itself on my soul, folds into all the moments that have gone before and that will come after.
I breathe its beauty and hear its song, and something in me wants to hold it forever.
But it is as wide as infinity and the now that follows it is the same. And all I can do is flow in the ecstasy of its dance.
Into the center of my heart, I breathe you, welcoming all that you are.
From the center of my heart, I release my love to wrap you in healing and joy.
I am the untouched spaciousness, the center and circumference, taking in, giving out, containing, uniting, revealing, releasing.
I am the Yes within you, and without, that from which you came, and that to which you aspire.
I am complete; I have no bounds.
I spread myself before you and beneath you. I show you my face in every hour that you may know me.
My song flows without end and I sing it, my child, for you.
“The pleasure which is at once the most pure, the most elevating and the most intense, is derived, I maintain, from the contemplation of the beautiful.” ~Edgar Allan Poe
The woods are drenched in silence as I climb, the ferns lying flat against the earth, having been laid low by morning’s heavy rain. And although the rain ceased hours ago, the sun is still burrowed in deep clouds, its light filtered and subdued.
The air is cooled and filled with mystery and I breathe quietly, lest I disturb the holiness that surrounds me. The subtle hues of summer’s waning days pour into my eyes, washing away the veil of thought that blinded me to their beauty.
And seeing it, I become as still and alive as the trees and breathe with them, watching a yellow leaf float down to nestle among the mushrooms and moss as if it were some rare bird returning to its nest.
“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘Thank you, that would suffice.” ~Meister Eckhart
He was right, you know, old Meister. And when it comes right down to it, what else could you possibly say?
Are you awake? Does breath flow in and out from your lungs?
When you strip away all your stories and stand, so firmly held by the planet’s spin, and gaze at the infinite sky, are you not aware of the miraculousness of being? Of the magnificent mystery of it all?
Words fail in the face of it. It is too large to comprehend, and yet we know, without a doubt, that we are.
Look! In the midst of a world teetering on madness, a fragile yellow swallowtail feasts on the joepyweed. Let your heart whisper, “Thank you.”
What else could you possibly say?