Today marks the solstice; here in the Northern Hemisphere days will now slowly lengthen. In years past we could anticipate strengthening cold would accompany the growing light. While that remains the case, the cold has grown more intermittent, as has the snow. Not enough cold air remains in the arctic to sustain the climate we depend on. There is no real doubt that our climate is dramatically, and rapidly, warming; there has been no true debate about this since the early eighties.
Being winter, we are up most days well before dawn. I’m writing from my desk in the studio, as sunrise colors grace the western horizon. Off to the east, a cloud bank obscures the rising sun.
I awoke this morning reminded of my time in northern New Mexico. Most days, no matter the time of year, were outside days. Walking through the landscape meant being an active part of the natural world. Often, hawks and golden eagles would accompany me as I strolled along deserted roads. Mesas, mountains, and vast skies were my companions, as were bear, elk, deer, and turkeys. A stroll along the creek bottom in warm weather meant one watched for rattlesnakes and black widow spiders.
Always, there was advice from the elders to “walk in balance and beauty”. Walking through the world, one was aware of being a small, although not insignificant, part of a great web of life, one’s state of mind, and one’s behavior, impacting the whole. Somehow, in that vastness, thoughts and actions that were out of balance seemed to bring almost immediate repercussions, jarring one back into a state of spiritual, moral, and physical attentiveness. New Mexico remains for me a state of holiness, even with the violence that remains an ongoing part of its history.
Today, as the earth moves again towards summer, we remember the ancient admonition to “walk in beauty.” We open our eyes and ears to the “beauty that lie before, behind, and above us”. We notice that even as our legs may have grown unsteady with hard use and age, our steps may carry us forward in beauty. We pray that even as we become unsteady on our feet, we may find balance in our thoughts and actions.
May you be held in beauty today. May it always be so.