Hills_and_LakeWe’ve been fretting about the state of the world. The other evening we put those worries aside and kayaked on the lake. We were at Sand Bar State Park, a lovely sandy beach with hills running into the lake on the north and south. Those hills used to be mountains, perhaps taller than the Himalayas are now.

The hills are rocky and tree covered. Twelve thousand years ago or so they were barren, having been scraped clean by Ice Age glaciers. Traditional people would have followed the retreating glaciers, so probably arrived in what’s now Vermont about then. By the time Europeans arrived, the dense forests of New England would have appeared to have been here forever.

At the beach we joined quite a few other people who were picnicking, swimming, and boating. Fair weather clouds gathered and bloomed in the Beach_Peopleotherwise blue sky. Later, those clouds would catch a fine sunset.

I went out for a brief paddle. Jennie’s kayak was a joy, responding immediately to each stroke, stable, and gliding easily through the choppy water. It took no time at all to get out far enough from the shore to escape the joyful hubbub. There, in the open water, the breeze was stiff and the word a deep Mediterranean blue. The kayak being very steady, I took a few moments to just float and sing to the clouds, sky, hills, and lake. Even though my mind was chattering along, their response came sure and clear. I had a brief vision of the landscape stripped of every bit of life, save a sparse scattering of lichen. Slowly the trees and other vegetation returned, was reduced again as the European settlers clear cut the hills, then regrew. A voice spoke from somewhere inside, saying, “You see. You worry about the future because you are a human and have a short view of things. Life is resilient and DSC01116insistent. The current cataclysm is not the first; always life returns, and will do so till the planet dies. It is best to take the long view, a very difficult thing to do in your time of the instantaneous. So take heart and do what you can, even as you grieve. ”

All this happened in maybe ten seconds, although I pondered it for a while before heading back in to shore. The sunset that followed a couple of hoursLake_Moon later seemed to repeat the theme: we humans, too, are transient here, the graced recipients of the world’s splendor and beauty. Best to stop, enjoy, and wonder.

25 thoughts on “Comfort

  1. thank you for sharing both your moment of connected peace and your unease. I feel the latter is shared by many of us as we intuit the currents around us. As I understand it we are both connected to, and composed of, all of life. That aspect of the broader view too is comforting. We are never alone, never cast adrift but always supported and steered through life – especially when we pause, present, to take a navigation point as you did.

    1. Dear Homestead, Yes, we can never truly be alone. Hey, there are BILLIONS of others who live within us! Yet, our minds and hearts sometimes experience loneliness and isolation. Such a conundrum! Sometimes pausing allows us to reconnect, sometimes our minds just keep on going….. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

    1. Andrea, I believe that even when under duress, Nature embraces us and soothes us. That practice of stopping and appreciating the world is an ancient one, full of surprises and blessings. Just being is so hard!

  2. What a beautifully written post, Michael. From my faith perspective, I have many times heard “Be still and know that I am God.” I think we heard similar messages.

  3. Michael: Thank you for reminding us of the reality of deep time. Change is happening very fast today. At least we can sometimes find a grander sense of our lives.

  4. These are such crucial insights about life, Michael, and so eloquently said. Despite the chaos and destruction around us, “always life returns, and will do so till the planet dies.” Our lives as we live them now are fleeting, but while we’re here we can be present in each moment – to observe, listen deeply, and share the truth and beauty we discover in our words and actions. Thank you for sharing these profound insights.

  5. Michael…I could feel the beauty of spirit in this post…It is like I was in the kayak out on the water WITH you…paddling along in the energy of love! Your words conveyed exactly what you felt…and the energy lives on! Thank you!

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