Daily Presentations

05-01-2016 | Lindsay

Tomorrow begins the women's retreat, "Restorying the Heroine's Journey" here at Rolling Ridge. We who are participating are supposed to bring a story from our lives as women. In preparation, I've been pondering; mulling over what some have called "the Divine Feminine"...and trying to come up with a story, one which (as suggested) calls to me, that won't let go. But all I can think of is the azure blue indigo bunting at the feeder a couple days ago: iridescent, nearly glowing; and the red breasted grosbeak, striking and regal, who appeared at the very same place this afternoon. Mary Oliver's words come to mind: "Every day I see or I hear something that more or less kills me with delight, that leaves me like a needle in the haystack of light."

Our woods here are modest. There are no majestic redwoods or towering pines; the scenery is ungraced by cragged peaks or frothing waterfalls. Our so-named mountain is a foothill of the ancient Blue Ridge. We have oaks and maples, tulip poplars and sycamores, redbuds and pawpaws--the usual inhabitants of a regional forest. Though we see an occasional bear or fox, most often our sightings are of squirrels and deer. Oliver goes on, "Nor am I talking about the exceptional,...but of the ordinary, the common...the daily presentations..."

Yesterday I went walking through the greening forest, everything fresh and tender, bird song in the canopy, white dogwood blossoms like lacework tossed in the air. A pileated woodpecker sailed between the trees, her crimson crest an eye-catching flash against the dark wood. She landed vertical against a tree trunk, perfectly still, a vision of primeval splendor.

I hardly know whether this bombardment of awakening, arriving, blossoming life is the Divine Feminine at play. Last evening I discovered another poem from Mary Oliver: "The Wren from Carolina", which includes this line: "All things are inventions of holiness."

At the end of a day last week, we sat around the little pond outside Woodhaven, on camp stools and benches, admiring the grasses in the pond and drinking juice blends and cocktails skillfully prepared by Scot. He and Linda told us that a young water snake had appeared there recently, as had American toads. These left behind hundreds of eggs: an afternoon's daily presentation and promise of life to come.

In the most recent Friends of Silence Letter, Linda included a quote from Annie Dillard:

The secret of seeing is, then, the pearl of great price...But although the pearl may be found, it may not be sought...I cannot cause light; the most I can do is try to put myself in the path of its beam.

Or fall daily into the haystack.