Life, death, and our entitlement to nothing…

“If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to. If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve.”
~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

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I am attached. To birth, beauty, wonder, awe, love and laughter, to all the precious awarenesses that electrify and fill me with aliveness. We are in a season energized with new life. We feel it when we walk in the woods, when the deep green around us permeates and feeds us to our bones. This fawn, and her mama, were in our backyard a few days ago.

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Deer are a common sight in Boulder. We love them, watch them, make way for them, sometimes help them, and protect them as much as we can around here. They are a symbol of the natural balance we work so hard to achieve, a gentle remedy that cures us of our own human-ness for the few short moments we watch them pass by. If we are truly conscious, we understand these little moments are the precious ones we live for.

The following day …

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She was lying under our apple tree in our backyard, near the creek.  I was stunned when I saw her. The thick weight of sadness grew heavy in my chest, and I could feel myself sinking deeper into the soft earth. I have no idea how she died, but her body was without injury and as beautiful as it was the day she was born.

Life and death are not so far apart as we think. We tend to think in terms of years, when we need to be thinking in terms of moments–precious, fleeting, impermanent moments.

After finding her, I ran inside, found my smudge wand, then sat down quietly beside her. I offered love, prayer, and gratitude to the Mother for the short time we had with her. I was reminded that despite what we might think we are owed in this life, we are entitled to nothing. Birth does not entitle any of us to a long, healthy life, it never has. What we are given are chances, chances to discover that life is fully lived in the moments we are awake and paying attention, and each one is a gift not to be taken for granted.

It is difficult to remember this every day, to not get caught in the nettings of our human mind and to-dos, to not be so hard on ourselves, to want more than what we already have, to not judge each other, and assume we have time to make amends. To embrace death so close to the bosom, and sit with knowing we may be far closer to our last breath than we ever imagined is intense, and exhausting. But I believe it is this very intensity that allows us to wriggle free. It is this vulnerability that allows us to dance with abandon, belly laugh out loud, and see the wonder and awe in anything and everything. It is this wide-eyed wakefulness that allows us to roar “YES!!!!” and say thank you, thank you, thank you.…”

With love,
Misa

EPILOGUE:

I soon learned that the fawn beneath our apple tree was not the fawn I had seen the previous day. Shortly after sitting down with this fawn, I felt the presence of something to my right. I looked over and it was the mother, the same mother I had seen the day before. She stared at me intently as I slowly backed away from her fawn and walked back up onto the deck. I then saw another movement out of the corner of my eye. Another fawn, trotted over to the mother, the same fawn I had seen the day before, and sibling to the one that had died. This mother deer had two babes.

They had come back to check on the one that no longer lived. I cannot accurately describe the emotions I felt in those moments. A spiritual and emotional concoction of compassion, sadness, awe, elation, revelation, wonder, reality, gratitude, and gravity. What I witnessed was the beginning and the end all at once, life and death in full bloom. The three of us held each other’s gaze, in curiosity, intensity, and for me, complete and utter love, compassion and reverence. I could only hope that their higher developed senses could receive and feel all I was sending.

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A hundred wild blue yonders

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The Little Bee is smitten with colors–or more so, the names of them. She began devouring crayon names like inchworm, wild blue yonder, and purple mountain’s majesty. She will point out any color in a room, on a house, a car, on a sign, anywhere, and tell you it’s corresponding crayon name. We were corrected the other day that the car we saw was indeed goldenrod, not yellow. She has also expanded her repertoire to the names of the eye shadows I use, and will eagerly want to know if I’m wearing truffle, golden retriever, or black diamond. For her birthday she received, collectively, 22 nail polishes from her grandparents. She read through them all delighting in poodleskirt pink, make mine mango, crystal waters, cloud 9 and sea escape. Her enthusiasm alone has me musing on every color I see. I hesitate telling her about the paint swatch aisle at Home Depot, we could be there for hours and who knows, end up painting the entire house.

What I really wonder though is if she realizes that she is a walking magnet to the spectacular that is hidden in the everyday. She sees it, feels it and is drawn to it, and when I have the lucky chance to glimpse the world through her eyes, even for just a flash, I am there too, amidst all the magic and beauty. The way she marvels in the brightness of the world around her, the way otherwise ordinary words come to life and dance before her, all of this will be the magic carpet that elevates her to her calling one day. There is a caveat though for having this kind of vision and sensitivity. For as much poetry she can find, all the fear and darkness that also fills this world, seeps in just as readily, creating an anxious child, fearful and sometimes mistrusting. I wonder if she knows that all the anxiety and agony she is experiencing now, with math, with girl relationships, with just being a 9 year old, will get better some day. I pray earnestly that I am capable enough to help her climb through the muck and confusion that adolescence and early adulthood is sure to bring. I will try my best, I promise a hundred wild blue yonders that I will.

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I saw a White-Breasted Nuthatch on the naked trees in my backyard the other day. Beautiful little things with long beaks, white heads with a black strip running down the middle. Boy do I want need a great pair of binoculars. For the last several months though, I have spotted Red-Tailed Hawks everywhere. I saw one land in a field with it’s talons up, I’m sure it caught something. I saw one on a farm’s fencepost on the drive to the kids’ school, several at different times flying overhead, another land in a treetop off a highway while we sped by. I saw one recently while in Florida, perched high on a utility post, and last month a smaller one was atop a red rock formation at the Garden of the Gods. I know the Red-Tailed Hawk is a common bird, especially in Colorado, but what makes a typical experience atypical is the awareness that comes rushing in when we see the signs, like there is a particular and extraordinary message just waiting for us if we take a keener look, if we just cock our heads and tune in a little closer to what the universe is trying to say. Oh yes, I do believe in mountain meadow, in dreamscape blue, in midnight black ravens and yellow breasted warblers. I believe in the seers of this plane, the ones that live the magic and must walk through darkness to keep it. I believe in the atypical, the signs and the messages. I must, for what would we be, what would this world be without? No music, no art, no poets, no treehouses or Frank Lloyd Wright. What a boring, common world would that be?

with love from a sky blue Monday…