Something is breaking open in me, like the earth in spring in response to the thaw. Who can explain such wonders as this, the earth rock hard and buried in frozen layers one week, the nextkids, mullein and skunk cabbage unfolding.

For too long, I have not allowed for the possibility that Love might shine on me. Oh, I tried mightily to cultivate it from within, — building fires of self-blessing, practicing peace, being mindful of breath, body, thoughts, and so on.  But attention devoid of heart kept me cold.

Yes, I was occasionally capable of peering beyond that small circle of flame to behold the beauty of the inanimate landscape enfolding me.  But Nothing Beyond seemed to flow in to me from that Great Out There. Somehow in my desire to Be Love, to cultivate compassion and lovingkindness in myself, I lost the sense of Being  Loved.  It was as if I was asleep in a long dark winter. Nothing seemed able to pass through the frozen boundary of aloneness and denial.

So, instead I have been living a lot in my head, disconnected from the despair of my heart. Knowledge is a great defense against vulnerability and a great cover for emptiness. Cluttering the space with ideas, facts, and distractions, like too many saplings in a land that is in recovery from loss, the light is unable to reach the roots. I witnessed this truth today on that parcel of earth just over the ridge from my home – I have written of it before, this place devastated by the gypsy moth more than a decade ago?. I go there to witness the process of healing, to learn from the earth about how it is done.

Yesterday, I wrote about broken relationships. Today, I heard a woman, a botanist and professor of enviromental science, speak of the need for reciprocity in our relationships to the earth and her beings. We are not merely stewards here, we are benefactors of abundant wisdom and grace from intelligent, animate beings that love and nurture us. We are not merely asked to learn about the earth in order to sustain ‘it’, we are asked to attend and to learn from her in order that we all might thrive. Implicit in this language is the ability to receive from the other, which is so very different than taking from her.  The ability to receive requires humility, vulnerability, and letting go of control. It also requires a person to know that she matters..

Today, I also heard a man, an old monk, speak of Divine Love in a way I have not been able to hear for some time, in a way that cracked something open in me. I have not been in a true reciprocal relationship with the Divine in such a long time.  That relationship has been stuck in a one way flow (of wonder) like yesterday’s bulwarked waterway, draining me dry. Real relationship flows in both directions, one must be able to receive as well as give. It seems that Love is desiring to pour into me from all directions.

Have you felt a newly emerged mullein leaf lately? Such utter softness. I have heard you can apply the leaves to wounds for healing.

The land on the ridge looks so stark here at the edge of winter, with those skeletal trees standing like tombstones over an earth that appears to be scorched from the cold. But, the mullein is unfolding, and seeds have been dispersed. They are just below the surface, waiting. She will soon overcome this loss.

And the sun will reach her roots again.


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