Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Loud Quiet

It rained here on the mountain the other day.  Not the usual 10-minute summer downpour that coats the ground but does not filter very far into it.  Rather, this was one of those longer, deliciously sustained rains that goes all day long, interspersed with an occasional short pause to regenerate itself.  The kind that soaks into the ground and provides genuine nourishment to all that inhabits there.

We are fortunate to have guests and retreatants visit here on this remote, rural mountain.  Their question “Aren’t you bored here?” inevitably comes after a few hours of realizing there are no neighbors within sight, and virtually no human-generated sounds to detract from the continuous quiet.  (Even the birds chirp softly here.)  The answer is always No, because there is always something to do and experience here, and many fascinating people to interact with on those occasions when we seek each other out from our respective hideaways.  My life-long complaint about a lack of sufficient hours in the day is unchanged here.  It is just that removing the usual frenetic distractions and “to dos” of the urban “civilized” life allows one to be focused instead on the “worthwhiles to do.”  Worthwhiles that reclaim a more fundamental connection with the real essence of our being and the life we are truly meant to live.

Which brings me back to the rain.  I have always loved the rain.  There is a warmth and  comfort from being enveloped by it, a calmness from both the sight and the sounds of the rainfall.  Or, at other times, a reminder of the unrestrained power of God-through-Nature as the thunder announces its presence and the lightening illuminates the energy of the vast sky.

On this day, the rain fell like a continuous but gentle waterfall cascading down from the clouds.  I sat for hours under the protecting porch roof and watched the clouds gradually envelop all of my surroundings.  Sometimes starting in the valley, working its way up the mountainside before me, coming higher and higher until the tops of the distant multi-tiered ranges gradually disappeared into the arising mist, while simultaneously engulfing the house.  Other times, the clouds would start at the tops of the far ranges, gradually moving closer and dipping downwards to fill that same valley, now masked from view.  Then the clouds would slowly pull back, revealing the mountaintops and the valley floor once again, until the cycle would repeat itself.  

As the fog removed itself and revealed its hidden contents, linear strands of clouds would work their way in and out of the various ranges.  Sunlight would occasionally break through for brief moments, seemingly to remind us that there is always a brightness hidden behind the opaque veil typically in front of us, only to quickly disappear yet again.  Large solid clouds in the upper sky passed in review in changing light dark hues.  These clouds formed a parade of shapes and images, perfect representations of animals of every kind.  A side glance into the landscape of the endless trees below reveal a face, a person unknown, yet a spirit waiting to be acknowledged.  The fact that no one else looking at this scene sees these images does not diminish their very realness.

People travel distances and pay money to visit museums in order to see masterful landscape works of art.  And so they should, for they represent inspiring artistic forms.  Here on this mountain, I have the very good fortune to see in-person an ever-present gallery of landscapes.  And unlike a museum’s static display, Nature’s display is a constantly moving montage of visual imagery. A still life illuminated in movement.

When we remove the noise and distractions around us, and replace them with the natural sounds and visuals that come from Original Creation, then we are able to reconnect, however briefly, with our own Creation.  And ultimately to our own destiny.  Taking time and opportunity to lose our Self within such excursions into a larger Oneness creates the special moments that remind us of the truth of our spiritual existence, even in the reality of this human time.  Moments that nourish us, teach us deep meanings, direct us to our future.  And that is never boring.

©   2015   Randy Bell     

No comments: