July 4, 2015
Sometimes, We Just Go……
Do you ever feel that sometimes, you just need to do something when there really doesn’t seem to be any other reason than just a knowing? Something stirring inside, something telling you, “yes, go?” Today I found that when you answer that call, magical things can happen.
All week I had been wrestling with the thought of coming to Wisconsin for the Fourth of July weekend, but there were things at home that needed tending to. I could really get “caught up” if I stayed home and focused on some projects. (Do we ever really get, “caught up”, seriously?) The voice pounding in my head about “The Doing” that haunts us all. I then realized there was another voice calling…the softer voice of my soul. For some reason, it was nudging me, urging me, to go. Be where I resonate, by the water. Listen. Be.
This morning’s paddle into the inlet across the lake I call the sanctuary was the gift of the answer to that call. Up and on the water before sunrise, I experienced what I can only call holy. Sacred. So many times I have paddled here, but today, it reminded me of Heraclitus’ quote, “You cannot step into the same river twice. Each time is different, and so are you.” Today, the sanctuary was not the same and neither was I.
As I pushed off from shore onto the calm water, I heard the trumpeting call of the Sandhill cranes in the distance and the bald eagle, calling from his perch in the pine tree. As I turned to look back, I saw him alight, and fly with the freedom that only a soaring eagle can, and I gave thanks for our great gift of this country’s freedom on this day.
You never know what you might experience when you enter the sanctuary, and from a distance today, it looked as though the reeds were so tall and encroaching, you could not enter. But I knew better. There is always a way no matter how blocked or closed things seem on the waterways. And in our lives.
As soon as I entered, I heard loud splashing noises coming from behind a section of the reeds. Normally, the goofy carp are noisily splashing and jumping about, but this seemed more boisterous. As I turned and glanced to the left, two deer went hopping out of the shallow water and onto the other shoreline. I smiled at their playfulness and it reminded me of what Joan Anderson shares from her conversations with Joan Erikson, “Joy is a duty.”
Paddling further, I went to the other side to get a closer look at some cattails and interesting reed formations. In doing so, the current turned me around and I was graced by a magnificent sunrise. Had I not decided upon closer inspection of the shoreline, this glorious opening of the day would have eluded me. It made me wonder how much we miss by not taking the time to look closer at our lives, evaluating how we are spending our time and examining how all this busyness is serving us.
Back in the middle of the sanctuary, I watched an osprey fly by and land on a bare tree branch, content to be the overseer of all that was teeming below. Watching him (or her), I became very still and stopped paddling. In the stillness came the most incredible gift of the day. Emerging from the reeds was the most beautiful young buck, meandering in the water along the shoreline. I did not move. I did not want to breathe. He was magnificent and unaware of my presence. That made me feel good as I did not want to disturb his musings. He walked in the water, head down, until he was directly across from me, maybe 50 yards. And then he finally looked up and appeared startled to see me. Our eyes met and we held our gaze for a few brief moments. I have seen deer in here many times before, but never so closely. Looking deeply into his eyes connected me to all that is wild and untamed. His big, almond-shaped, brown eyes bore through me, as though he could see right to my very soul. Piercing. It was as though he was telling me, “THIS is right living. THIS is essential. Don’t EVER forget the essence of who you are.” And then, he turned, flicked his white tail and bounded out of the water into the woods. I still couldn’t breathe. I felt as though he opened my heart and poured it out for all the world to see. I sat there a long time, trembling, shaken by the feeling of everything internal being exposed in this instant. I wondered how I would put it all back and then I thought, do I? Should I? This indescribable moment reminded me that exposure is wonderfully freeing, whether everyone or no one is there to see it.
As I paddled around the bend, I decided to head out to one of the nearby islands, instead of going the usual way out. The normal route was filled with tall lily pads and imposing reeds, and it felt too confining to go in there today. Going this new direction opened me to never before seen vistas. Through a downed tree branch I gazed at a familiar shoreline, seeing it new for the first time.
Through nature’s window, I saw the reaching lily pads and the sentinel reeds in the sanctuary differently.
Very simple changes, yet reminders that we can feel refreshed by subtle shifts. Major changes often shove us in new directions, but gentle, continual shifts and adjustments can keep us on course. Help us to navigate the ins and outs and comings and goings. Help us to stay centered in the midst of chaos. Help us to be true to ourselves.
The blessings of the morning continued, as the sun rose higher, it was greeted by passing clouds, and the softness of the sky felt comforting and healing, wrapping me gently in its cozy blanket of peacefulness. Preparing me for the next set of glorious, cresting waves that will inevitably wash over my life.
Paddling back across the lake is usually challenging, being mindful of the increase of passing boats. But even the fisherman were serene today, all the boats on the water quiet. I did not feel the need to hurry across, but took my time and frequently stopped in the middle of the lake. Funny how I can feel so “grounded” on the water. I did not want to come off the lake, but knew that soon, the speed boats and jet skis will emerge, with humans frantically scurrying about. Bringing their hectic land lives onto the water with a frenzy. But perhaps for them, that is their sense of freedom, of unabashed joy. To each his own. If they can reclaim a piece of themselves in this way, then that is what matters.
For me, this morning, I knew why I had come. The signs and the answers for my soul were everywhere. On this day celebrating our country’s freedom, I realized that I am grateful for the freedom to experience ALL of life, to relish and cherish it. The freedom to know that in each experience, we grow, we become more of who we are, and who we are meant to be.
Today, what is your “knowing?”
Look and listen deeper. What is the gentle call of your soul’s desire?
What simple step can you take today to answer that call?