I do think the weather gods took pity on us this last week. There was warmth and sunshine and the solace of still waters. There were afternoons by the water that were so quiet, we felt compelled to whisper. The loons are back and we heard their haunting call for the first time, and the osprey have returned, as well as a few barn swallows who appear to be scouting out the place. The supermoon was the star of the week, visible in the afternoons, then lighting up the sky all night, and lingering over the water in the pink dawns. I’ve been so grateful for our hideout here at the lake–a respite from the news and the sadness and anguish of so many, in yet another coronavirus week.
Joy and her family safely made it back from Finland on Monday, and have been quarantined in a Kalispell airbnb. I knew we wouldn’t be able to be with them for their 14 days under lockdown, but when I went to drop off some food, Joy said to leave it on the table on the front porch, and rather than open the door and yell out to me, she said we could talk on our phones and she would look out through the big picture window so I could see her. Of course, we can’t be too cautious, but it made me feel sad, and on my drive back home, I remembered the story their paternal grandfather used to tell about how when he was six years old, his mother was dying of tuberculosis, and he could only look at her through glass French doors. April 9th was my own father’s birthday, and I had a sudden heartache as I remembered his big belly laugh. Such is the grief that doesn’t hide well in times like this.
I’m starting an online seminar with David Whyte, one of my favorite Welsh-Irish poets and authors. He’s been doing regular readings from his living room, which are posted on Facebook, and just listening to his voice is “finding ground” as he would say. One of the recent readings, from his book, Consolations, which is a resource I turn to time and time again, is called “Hiding”. Perhaps this is a new way to think about hiding out…
Hiding is a way of staying alive. Hiding is a way of holding ourselves until we are ready to come into the light. Even hiding the truth from ourselves can be a way to come to what we need in our own necessary time. Hiding is one of the brilliant and virtuoso practices of almost every part of the natural world: the protective quiet of an icy northern landscape, the held bud of a future summer rose, the snow bound internal pulse of the hibernating bear. Hiding is underestimated. We are hidden by life in our mother’s womb until we grow and ready ourselves for our first appearance in the lighted world; to appear too early in that world is to find ourselves with the immediate necessity for outside intensive care.