Today, I reflect on circles, cycles and the natural flow of being.
Below are the words of Black Elk, Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux (1863-1950).
You have noticed that everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round.
In the old days all our power came to us from the sacred hoop of the nation and so long as the hoop was unbroken the people flourished. The flowering tree was the living center of the hoop, and the circle of the four quarters nourished it. The east gave peace and light, the south gave warmth, the west gave rain and the north with its cold and mighty wind gave strength and endurance. This knowledge came to us from the outer world with our religion.
Everything the power of the world does is done in a circle. The sky is round and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nests in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours. The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle. The moon does the same and both are round. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing and always come back again to where they were.
The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves. Our teepees were round like the nests of birds, and these were always set in a circle, the nation’s hoop, a nest of many nests, where the Great Spirit meant for us to hatch our children.
After the daily ski with Lucy, I like to spend the rest my mornings doing some reading. Usually the morning reading is on something instructional that will teach me something or enhance my life in some way; evening reading is usually a novel, a memoir or a book of poetry.
At the moment, I am reading The Tao of Abundance: Eight Ancient Principles For Abundant Living by Laurence G. Boldt. This morning I read his chapter on “The Beauty of Abundance” and wanted to share a few quotes as they relate so beautifully to yesterday’s post on moments of wonder:
…all nature is rhythm, and manifestly so for those who live in it. Whether it is on the beating of the human heart, the inflow and out-go of breath, the patterns of a leaf, the sound sof a stream, the migrations of animals, or the cycles of days or seasons, the pulse of life is rhythmic. ~ Boldt
Like the Taoists before them, eighteenth century American European Pantheists like Goethe and nineteenth century American transcendentalists like Thoreau advocated the contemplation of nature as a path to transcendence. Their writings exhort us to take the natural world as our temple and find in it the revelation and Beauty of trancendent Mystery. ~Boldt
Wisdom is inherent in nature and reveals iself to people of any nation, race, or time if they will open themselves up to it. We too can avail ourselves of this wisdom by making time to spend in nature. ~Boldt
Spending time in nature allows our bodies to slow down to the rhythms of nature, and to begin to feel at one with them. Our senses become more acute and our attention spans elongate. …In this state of grace, we can begin to more fully appreciate the transcendent wisdom that abounds in nature. ~Boldt
Boldt, L. (1999). The Tao of Abundance: Eight Ancient Principles for Abundant Living. New York: Arcana.
One thing that I love about living out in the wilderness is that you never ever know what you are going to see from one moment to the next. Often I’ll be busy completing a task and suddenly I’ll look up and see a beautiful bird, like this golden winged Northern Flicker (above) and I’ll catch my breath at the beauty of the moment. Just yesterday morning, I had another moment of wonder when I opened the back door to a small herd of deer snuffling around under the bird feeders. (I admit that after enjoying their beauty for a few minutes I let Lucy chase them. She lives for these moments and although she never catches them, she lives for the opportunity to try!) I have also been glimpsing both a red fox and a grey fox quite often this past month, usually at night and in the moonlight.
This makes me wonder how many moments do I miss each day simply because I am so engrossed in a task (and forgetting to look up once in a while) or perhaps because my mind is ‘somewhere else’ and not ‘here, now’. These fleeting glimpses of nature’s beauty are truly gifts. They take my breath away, make me smile and fill my days with magic and wonder.
Living far away from the lights of the big city helps me pay more attention to the phases of the moon, which in turn nurtures my connection to Nature’s rhythms and cycles. Full moons are a good time to finish projects, ‘clean up’ and release anything that is unhelpful in our lives (just as New Moons are a great time to start new projects.)
Tonight I made a fire outside and brought my new drum out. Accompanied by coyotes howling in the distance, I took some time for stillness. Then I expressed gratitude and reflected on things I want to release in my own life. Then it was time for some singing and drumming! The acoustics are amazing as the fire pit is actually on a ‘peninsula’ surrounded by a small canyon (see daytime photo below and notice how the land just drops around the edges of the fire pit). Tonight, the sound of my voice and drum carried over the canyon with a bit of an echo… it was fantastic! Lucy stayed near me, keeping busy exploring the bush nearby.
Planning my life in harmony with the rhythms of Nature nourishes my spirit and allows me opportunities for stillness and reflection. Good night, everyone! And don’t forget to put out some moon water…
Lucy and I have just come in from our evening walk. When we left it was pouring rain outside and I had one of those fleeting sulky moments where I thought to myself, ‘If I didn’t have a dog I would be curled up by the fireplace with a good book right now instead of putting on rubber boots and raingear…!’ Of course as soon as I got outside and breathed in the fresh air and looked around at the glistening trees and wild plants dripping with rain and walked on that soft carpet of moss I was so glad that I had come out and joined in this natural event. There was even a little spring in my step as I headed down the grassy trail.
In the evenings, Lucy and I often hike part of the same trail that we take every morning, but keeping it shorter and saving the longer walk for earlier in the day. This particular evening, the sun shone brightly through some gaps in the clouds and just as we were heading home, I happened to glance up and see a beautiful rainbow arching across the sky. Knowing that I was going to write this first entry as soon as I got back, I thought, ‘What a great start!’
This blog is dedicated to people who, like myself, are passionate about: respecting the earth, walking in nature, observing wildlife, eating a local diet, making do with what you have, buying handmade, repurposing, organic gardening, foraging for wild plants and fungi, natural health, scrumptious healthy cooking, doing renovations and other DIY projects, crafting, their dogs, taking time for stillness, and living a life in tune with the seasons.
As I have already lived here for ten months (and Lucy for seven) we have much to catch up on! I hope that some of these posts resonate with you, whether you live in the country and are having similar experiences, or perhaps are planning to move out of the city some day and want to learn more about the many facets of country life and natural living. I look forward to learning from you and with you and invite you to join us as I share stories from our daily lives here at the cabin, complete with all of its challenges, joys, and moments of wonder.