Wow, has it been raining. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen so much rain pouring off our steep roof as it did Sunday and all Sunday night. We’re waiting for the snow plow man to come and fill in the gullies up the road. There have been passing showers ever since and low hanging clouds move up and down off the surface of the lake. It feels like a game changer. When the rain is over by the end of the week, there’s likely to be a day or two of cool, clear 70 degree days, more yellow leaves here and there, and then more rain showers, with nary a hint of those hot summer days. We turned on the furnace for a blast of heat this morning. As the new season is moving in, I feel the stirrings to prepare my nest. Summer clothes need to be moved to the upstairs closet, sweaters out of storage, and the stack of wool throws returned to the living room.
I love the nesting season. I change the furniture in the living room to cozy up to the fireplace, and the sailboats on the mantel return to the basement. Tartan throw pillows replace the marine blue striped, the Portmeirion botanical dishes are swapped out for the holly and ivy ones, and I cut red and golden branches in the woods for the dining room table. As the sun gets low in the sky, the screen doors get removed from the line of French doors to the lake, and Don washes the glass, and sunshine makes glittery reflections of the lake on the walls and ceiling.
The Mindfulness in Ireland workshop I attended last September met again a few weeks ago, in the same place, on the west coast of Ireland. I’ve loved seeing their photos, knowing just how the air felt and how it smelled to be next to the sea. My favorite day was when we hiked in The Burren, peeked into Coleman’s cave, and then sat on the rocks next to the little spring, under the hazel bushes, where yellow leaves rested at the bottom of crystal clear water. It was a “thin place”, as the Irish say, where heaven and earth meet. I’m thinking of that place, here in my place, as we move into Autumn, and grateful for the calm, quiet there is in my life at age 72. It’s a nesting time of life, as David Whyte tells us in his poem, Coleman’s Bed, and an invitation to “make a nesting now, a place to which the birds can come…”
Coleman’s Bed by David Whyte
Make a nesting now, a place to which
the birds can come, think of Kevin’s
prayerful palm holding the blackbird’s egg
and be the one, looking out from this place
who warms interior forms into light.
Feel the way the cliff at your back
gives shelter to your outward view
and then bring in from those horizons
all discordant elements that seek a home.
Be taught now, among the trees and rocks,
how the discarded is woven into shelter,
learn the way things hidden and unspoken
slowly proclaim their voice in the world.
Find that far inward symmetry
to all outward appearances, apprentice
yourself to yourself, begin to welcome back
all you sent away, be a new annunciation,
make yourself a door through which
to be hospitable, even to the stranger in you.
See with every turning day,
how each season makes a child
of you again, wants you to become
a seeker after rainfall and birdsong,
watch now, how it weathers you
to a testing in the tried and true,
admonishes you with each falling leaf,
to be courageous, to be something
that has come through, to be the last thing
you want to see before you leave the world.
Above all, be alone with it all,
a hiving off, a corner of silence
amidst the noise, refuse to talk,
even to yourself, and stay in this place
until the current of the story
is strong enough to float you out.
Ghost then, to where others
in this place have come before,
under the hazel, by the ruined chapel,
below the cave where Coleman slept,
become the source that makes
the river flow, and then the sea
beyond. Live in this place
as you were meant to and then,
surprised by your abilities,
become the ancestor of it all,
the quiet, robust and blessed Saint
that your future happiness
will always remember.