Each year, just as autumn chills down the air and most flowers are dying, my bunker mentality comes into full bloom. As the thermometer drops, my physique adopts an atavistic, hunched-over stance. This ‘keep warm’ clench, this Nature-as-adversary regard inhabits not only my body, but also my entire worldview. Thus driving to work one recent frosty morning, I found myself increasingly crouched defensively over the steering wheel. Rounding a curve, I noted with foreboding the heavy sweater on a woman leaving letters for pickup in her roadside mailbox. But then, shortly beyond, in front of a stand of trees, I beheld two young deer. Half again as big as Great Danes, they stood on twig legs; their large, dark eyes watched me with (what I interpreted as) a mix of anxiety and curiosity. Immediately I sat up out of my crouch and the washboard wrinkles in my forehead relaxed smooth. My scowl inverted into a smile and I whispered a low ‘wow’ to myself. I braked my car to a crawl, in part lest they suddenly bolt in front of me, but as much to prolong my witness of two large and supple creatures infrequently seen. After slowly rolling past them, I reluctantly accelerated, still glancing back in my rearview mirror. I saw the mail depositor’s car slow suddenly and I hoped that she too was experiencing a few moments of grace. Grace- gravy- is not rationed out by the occasional teaspoon; it is lavished upon this world by the ladleful. I espouse what biologist Ursula Goodenough calls ‘religious naturalism,’ a profound appreciation of the natural world in all of its staggering, interdependent splendor.’ The very existence, the intrinsic ‘is-ness’ of this vast Universe we inhabit, is its own reason for wonder and awe. As Keats said about the truth and beauty of that ancient jug, ‘that is all you know and all you need to know’……..Richard Greesley
snippets of grace align us to our inner compass….we can ‘come back’ to ourselves, back to what’s important, back to a place where we are called to be….this is not heady stuff….these moments are found in the gristmill of our lives…when we feel absolutely alive….interconnected and zinging with love…in the hug going out the door, in the first sound of rain that quiets the night, in the bowl of popcorn shared…..
I was 25 & penniless, alone, frightened, and ill. I was living in a garret. I had no friends, and I was far from family. The mother of the man for whom I worked was a very insightful woman. As a child of 12 she had watched the Nazis come into her classroom and take the Jewish children away. No one spoke of it and class went on as if nothing had happened. Day by day she saw her friends disappear. She became a watcher and a survivor. For months she watched me struggle with the demons that were driving me. One day she took me aside. ‘I watch you. I see the loneliness in your eyes. I watch your heart running away. You must learn to seek the blue moment. The blue moment can happen any time or any place. It is a moment when you are truly alive to the world around you. It can be a moment of love or a moment of terror. You may not know it when it happens. It may only reveal itself in memory. But if you are patient and open your heart, the blue moment will come. My childhood classmates are dead, but I have the blue moment when we looked in each other’s eyes. Listen carefully to me. Seize this moment. Hold it. Don’t turn from it. It will pass and we will be as we were. But this is a blue moment, and the blue moments string together like pearls to make up your life. It is up to you to find them. It is up to you to make them. It is up to you to bring them alive in others.’……Kent Nerburn