“Somewhere around the corner of your mind there is a place
where Angels and Dolphins dance.”
~ Hannah Swain
Spring in the New Mexico high desert is a subtle thing. Swings from 40° highs to 60s. Big wind. Flowers in full bloom against warm adobe walls that are barely buds elsewhere.
This year we had a ton of snow. Every week, water-soaked ground. Melt from the mountain filling the reservoirs above town. The junipers got happy early, donning their thick brown coats of pollen begging a breeze to carry the little beasts off. And boy, did it. We’re a town snarfling, clawing eyes that feel on fire, walking foggy brained from lost sleep. The store shelves wiped clean of all remedies, natural or pharma, that promise relief. And still, I headed out for dawn walks as soon as it warmed above 34°.
Spring brings changes that seem to happen overnight, but oh, not true. The best stuff is as it unfurls. What’s changed. What’s not.
The bunnies are still at the house I’ve found them the past two years. I’m comforted to know they’re still around, haven’t fallen prey to a hawk. Like saying things continue.
Tree branches covered in tiny leaf buds have turned to lace, no longer look like long skinny fingers. The cluster of leaf buds on a tree in my yard looks like moss today. I know the moss’ll turn into tight fists before the baby leaves push to open, when those fists will into small turbans.
Even the sky’s changed. Winter’s overcast softening, breaking up like arctic ice. Clouds like islands on flat blue plains. Like giant longboats or submarines sailing by. Puffy, soft gray & palest yellow billows rising from one side, as if dust from wheels of chariots just passed. I can almost see another world up there. I know how all those pictures of a heaven in the clouds came to be.
The light is different, too. It hits the world sooner, softer, rounder, looking warmer. The other day a tree stopped me short. It was so different from anything around I could think it from a parallel dimension. Flat looking, ethereal, suspended in air, as if cut from fragile gold gilt. I recalled once hearing the Navajo/Dine word for dawn means yellow light. In that moment I didn’t think sunlight, I thought gilt.
Right after that big wonder and awe of the gilt tree, I noticed the birds had quieted. I thought how I once actively sought birdsong each morning in an act that felt like saving my Soul.
We were in Florida, pushed on short notice from our home in a historic neighborhood I loved. Where I walked 9 blocks each dawn to stand on the edge of Tampa Bay, watch light & color on water, a profusion of birds, mullets and dolphins, the sky shift as the sun rose. My path on brick streets lined with oaks, jacarandas, and palms, an eclectic mix of homes and vintage apartment buildings built 1910-1950, in and out of rich fragrance of gardenia, jasmine, fruit blossoms. Sometimes I strode in the dark when bats fly and possums venture across streets. And though our rented home was way far from ideal, I’d often wind thru ten extra blocks on the way home, in love with the magic of palms and the beauty, human and nature.
The place we moved to was very different. It was a circular complex of two-story condos, immaculately landscaped with lawns and lovely palms, three blocks off a continually lit commercial district that wiped night from the sky. Our condo was pristine, completely redone, everything far higher than average. We rejoiced once more having a large kitchen. Every view out the big windows was pleasant.
I often worked at the dining table where I could glance out double glass doors to a narrow lawn that sloped 12 ft. to a strip pond. It was a tad wider than a car lane, and ran the length between two rows of freshly painted units. Tiny flocks of ducks swam onto the bank, napped in the sun. Egrets and a half dozen kinds of herons slow-stepped on stick legs, hunting fish. Dragonflies buzzed, and occasionally the snout of a turtle poked the water’s surface.
Mornings I could walk laps around the circle within the short stucco walls of the complex, see the sky and clouds reflected on the big round lake at the entrance. Or I could escape the forever lit garage and porch lights, go out into the hood.
The neighborhood was nothing like my complex. Small, simple one story houses, many still with sandy yards. What we’d call ‘old Florida.’ Nothing like the gentrified neighborhood I left. There were big trees, tho, where birds gathered to sing their hearts out. And regular spots mockingbirds stood singing a full-throated chorus to someone on high. I found them all. I found dark places on roads where I could see stars, too. Birdsong and stars were like finding Home for me, and healed me for a day.
What followed that memory was a comment made at the time by someone I thought a friend: Her husband said we moved where we belong. I was confused which he meant, the complex or neighborhood. It didn’t matter I got no answer. Because it felt like a slight, and hurt. Neither were Me.
Walking the last block home, I pondered why this memory settled on me now, after my moment of wonder and awe. It took a while to understand…. it was a gift.
That friendship dissolved with never a visit to my new home. I could surmise my assessment right. And what I need to get is my response at the time reflected my feelings. How I saw myself. Which was…out of place, inside and out. Alone. Wondering if who I am is okay.
That memory was a reminder we learn as much about ourselves by our response to what others say as we learn about the people who utter the words. And it was a nudge to notice what’s changed.
Spring and that memory, both saying ‘Be Present. Notice.’
Home is still up for me. Perhaps in some way it always will be. What’s isn’t up is my question ‘am I okay.’ I know my insights some call weird are Superpowers. That they’re why I work like Bruce Lee, with a sixth-sense clarity, presence, direct to the heart. With results. I am more than okay.
You may also enjoy reading my very short first blog, Born Today, about the wonder I felt walking that historic neighborhood. How I answered why I do it when someone asked.
Like what you read? Sign up for updates in your inbox.
Like to listen in your car or on your phone? CLICK HERE
for Your Guide to the creative life that keeps you writing