March 16 – Nature’s Sway – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

When the wind stops, the trees still move, the way my heart creaks, long after it bends. 

I am always surprised at the aftereffect of being moved deeply by something. I can be hurt or disappointed or feel the warmth of being loved or the gentle sway of being temporarily left, and then I’m ready to chew on something else, seldom allowing for the feelings to digest completely. In fact, I’ve come to see that much of my confusion in life comes from giving my attention to the next thing too soon, and then wrapping new experience into the remnants of feeling that are not finished with me.

For example, the other day I felt sad because an old friend is ill. I addressed my sadness directly and thought I’d been with this mood enough, so I continued on my way.  The next day I found myself in the usual frustration of traffic and shopping, and the indifferent reactions of waitresses and clerks were suddenly making me sad. Or so I thought. Though it seems obvious here in the telling, it wasn’t in the happening, and I spent a good deal of misguided energy wondering if it was time to change my lifestyle. But really I was feeling ripples of sadness about my friend’s illness.

The deeper lesson involves nature’s sway: its approach, its impact, and, especially its echo.  Everything living encounters it, especially us in the unseeable ripples of what we think and feel. Being alive takes time.

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