Jane Schnetlage’s fireflies
I hang on to the small rituals of the day, I hang on because they are the things I can be certain of. I am happy to be in this somewhat bucolic space, this is the place I am used to, the place I know so well. I know that the mockingbirds live in the white oak near the garden shed and I watch helplessly as they raid my biggest fig tree each July morning; I am forced to share. I know that there is a green lizard that lives behind the wooden shutter of my kitchen window and he comes out into the sun while I am making coffee each morning in summer. I know that the tree frogs sing with the moon rising and that my honey bees are collecting at the opening of the hive, feverishly fanning to keep things bearable inside for the queen and her brood. I know that I picked the last magnolia and that this midsummer heat is for my zinnias and lantana, the gentle bloom of summer has passed and the heat is not kind.
I don’t know what will be on the news next; I have come to assume it will not be good, it will be another horror situation. I am ready to unplug. I say this not out of apathy, quite the contrary, I say this because I fear I will become deadened from the barrage. Before I can somewhat absorb one thing there is another. I know it is no one’s “fault”, it is just what has become. We move on so quickly; we move on without completing the process. Our fast food concept has seeped into the whole of our lives and I question that and it seems, I am fighting that. I want to absorb and understand and feel the events that are happening, I want to have the complete package so that I can better understand the world around me and make my own choices and believe what I have deducted not what someone on social media is pushing on me. I want time to use my mind and emotion to decide, to mourn, to fear, to be happy, to feel, and ultimately, to contribute.
Like everyone else, I just recognize the “problem” and can offer no “solution”. It is the world we have created, we “know” everything the instant it happens, news is pushed through our hand held devices and what we may have missed we will see on our computer screens the second we flip open the top. I know there is some good in all of this, I recognize this as progress but I also know that we do not have time to absorb and it is becoming more and more difficult to think our own thoughts – propaganda is excessive because there are so many ways now to penetrate.
As I reread this piece, I recognize there is no real “solution” – this is our world, our time. When I am overcome with blurbs of media I can come here and write in this progressive “journal”, I can lay out my state of mind and feel a bit better for sending it into this high tech world I speak of and perhaps that will be the balance – that is the “give” for this “take”.
My thoughts continue to drift and I think of Pooh Corner…and “count all the bees in the hive”.
Sometimes I go back into this blog that will soon be 10 years old and check to see if I have accomplished any of the tiny goals I sometimes plant here – goals that have popped up in my day, in my life, that, for me, are remarkable and take me here to this keyboard and force me to write them down and then share…anyway, here are a couple of long ago entries for this late December day. I feel somewhat comfortable in declaring that I have arrived in this “place” I describe, this “place” I sought out, this place of spirit. I will admit however, that ego still thwarts me and I suppose will always do so, it is part of being human. I have come to understand, however, that we need our ego, it protects us from emotional dangers; we just need to keep it at bay…
Yesterday I was thinking that while I am very grateful for all the goodness in my life this Christmas I look ahead to next and think of a couple of things to improve. I want to step even farther away back from the commercialism of course – I have done a fairly good job this year and in doing so I have made discoveries – pleasant ones about soulfulness and good will. Secondly, I want $100 to be a lot of money to me. I recently saw the value of money through the eyes of someone I know rather well, a specific amount, a small amount, to me, and it made me realize how, like an addict, the numbers have to be bigger and bigger to have value for me. I suppose this is just a fancy way of saying I want to need less. Besides the health of my family, I think this is my biggest wish for next Christmas. Regardless of how much wealth I may or may not acquire, I want more value in less. I have moved so far from the “things of the world” and I continue to seek and find that wonderful space that is about spirit, sometimes I feel like I just hoover above those foolish things that used to matter and the feeling is, pardon the pun, so uplifting. It is a freedom and sense of calmness that I have worked hard to find and I treasure each time I “get there”. The passing of my parents have catapulted me into this place of immaterial – in seeing all that “mattered” in their lives and then watching the final chapter, I have been able to sort through some of the nonessentials and see what, in the end, endures. I suppose parents never quit teaching their children.
For a brief period of time today, I felt true peace. It was late in the afternoon just before evening. I had had a good day and everyone in my family was good. I sat in the front yard tending a fire and drinking coffee. The woods were quiet except for the scurry of a squirrel and the falling of a few late autumn leaves. I put myself in a place of contentedness, a contentedness that comes from only wanting the simplest of things and in return, I felt at peace. I have written about this place before, this place that has no regard for matters of this world – stuff and competition – when you don’t place value on those things, you set yourself free and you are open to the peacefulness of your spirit – you let go of ego. I love this place. Anyway, I found happiness today drinking coffee and tending a fire on a December day.
The cat is at the window – sitting there watching me pour my morning coffee. He has, by now, eaten a lizard, had a run in with a mockingbird and peed on my periwinkles. Now, he sits, watching me and waiting for breakfast. Every day is the same…I love this cat (except for what he does to my flowers). I love that I look up each morning and there he is at a window, watching.
These things in our days that are familiar and constant are so perfect, these things we take for granted…until they are gone. I hope to notice more of them, to be less distracted by the temporary superficial clamor of life and notice the foundations of my day, the people, places and things that make it mine.
The longer I live, the less racket I want. I wish for happiness and goodness for my adult children (and everyone’s children), figs on the trees in July followed by citrus in winter, fireflies in the woods on summer nights, a full moon in the sky every 28 days and the cat in the window watching me pour my first cup of coffee on a summer morning.