This morning dawned gray, cold, and wet. Neal and I took the famous dog Isabel out for a walk in the drizzle. The weather -- which is cooling -- was in stark contrast to the near 60° temperatures of about a week ago, when we actually heard a frog croaking -- yes, a frog, in late December --in the swampy woods of the old ice making operation in Tallman State Park.
That was a pretty optimistic frog, I'd say.
Last night, unusually, I woke up only once; more correctly stated, at 4:30 this morning. As I often do, I lay there awake studying my inner conditions from three different points of view.
Beginning with the activity of the mind, I questioned the exact state, in so far as I could assess it, of the energy around the solar plexus.
First, there was a physical sensation of the region.
Second, there was an emotional content within the body there, a wish to be in contact with what is true.
Third, this morning, there was a tension, an emotional element of stress that it seemed I might go against and try to relax.
Working together, in this specific study of the energy in the body -- the inner impressions of the inner state, localized-- the mind, body, and emotions became involved in the condition and produced a more whole effort that one could call awareness. Even as this effort took place, there was also the understanding that while an attempt was made to form a more whole impression of the inner state, and to bring an intentional relaxation to it, there was also an effort to let go of everything and fall back asleep.
There is an intimacy to working this way in the dark hours. The breathing becomes more immediate; sensation of the sheets offers a kind of food that cannot be obtained at other times. Sensation in general is deeper; the cells seem more receptive to the condition of life.
At the same time, an inescapable sense of mortality always accompanies these early morning experiences. Even having known the touch of Mary, in Her august and indescribable astral presence, I am left with many questions about the soul; about incarnation, our physical frailty, and death. Knowing that there are both Beings and forces much larger than us as a Truth, rather than a belief, does not excuse us from doubt in the end--nor does it make our faith invulnerable.
The signature of our inadequacy is writ in the ink of uncertainty.
The morning brought more news that reminds me of the human condition. A very dear friend, who was a staunch personal and financial supporter of mine in my early years as an artist, is in his 70s and has recently been diagnosed with a serious debilitating disease that is causing his language function to degenerate. Communication has become extraordinarily difficult for him, so that an e-mail of a few paragraphs takes him many hours to write and edit.
I was touched by his New Year's greeting, and deeply saddened to realize that he is facing questions that, quite literally, no longer have words to define them.
Perhaps he is the lucky one -- I don't know. Words always pose as the bearers of Truth, but they can just as easily become its betrayer.
My friend is a visual artist of considerable skill, who has for his entire lifetime surrounded himself with masks, exuberant geometries, and archetypal imagery, all in the bright colors that primitive, more essential societies use to celebrate the intense vibrations of life.
Now he begins to enter a time when there is no need for the language to explain his impulses, which always had a purity of their own anyway. The e mail that he sent me contains a photograph of his art that sings silently of joy, of affirmation, and of life. In fact, I intend to ask him for permission to publish it here in the near future.
This friend, in nearing the end of his life, is truly coming from the heart.
In the midst of our questions, perhaps that is the only real alternative worth considering.
Yes, we all walk in the valley- yet let us, collectively, fear no evil as we begin this new year.
May your roots find water, and your leaves know sun.