Between Each Breath

Between Each Breath
 ©2021 Louise Gallagher 
 
Between each breath
 there is a stillness
 within the stillness
 there is the space
 to breathe
 deeply
 into the beauty
 of all that is present
 in this moment
 embodied
 in all you are
 when you breathe
 within the stillness
between each breath. 

Beaumont the Sheepadoodle and I have a new routine. Instead of taking him outside every morning via the lower deck, I put my longest coat on over my pyjamas, don my boots and hat and gloves to ward off the chill of these winter mornings. I drape his harness over Beaumont’s head and attach the retractable leash and off we go into the darkness that is still morning this first week of January.

We walk out of our cul de sac, turn right onto the street that leads from the top of the hill down to the main road and, at the corner where it meets the main road, we turn right again and walk along the well-litpath leading to the pedestrian bridge over the river.

There is a spot about halfway across where someone has affixed a red plastic wreath. Inside it is a photo. It is of a man smiling. His smile is frozen in time. His body lost to the rushing waters some months ago when he leapt from the bridge and disappeared.

Every morning since I began this new routine just before Christmas Day, I stand below the wreath, close my eyes and take a breath. A deep one.

Beaumont sniffs in the snow that covers the pathway, pulling on the leash as long as I let him. And then he stops and stands watching me. Patiently waiting. As if he knows this is a moment of reverence.

I listen to the river. Its flow is fast and furious in the winter. The ice island keeps growing larger between the two buttresses sunk deep into the water to support the bridgedeck. Between the buttresses, where an ice island has formed in the centre of the river, the flow is blocked, forcing it to either side. It pushes and shoves its way through the narrower waterway, slipping off the ice where it grows outward from the shore towards the centre and from the centre of the river out. Ice locked.

I stand, eyes closed, heart open, breath stirring deep in my belly and listen to the river. I stand and say a silent prayer for this man for whom life became too great a burden.

I stand and say a prayer for all those who will today let go of the burden of their lives and fall into the everlasting.

I stand and say a prayer for all those fighting to cling to life with every breath they take and for those who stand by their bedsides giving aid and comfort. They are standing in for the ones who cannot be there. They carry their pain.

I stand and say a prayer for this world. So hurting. So bruised and battered. Battle weary. For the leafless trees standing sentinel in the dark along the river banks. For the geese honking and flapping their wings somewhere out on the ice island. And for the river and the ice and the mountains and the sands, the oceans and the seas. I stand and say a prayer.

I stand and say a prayer for those who are sick or for whom the separation of these days sits like a heavy cloak upon their shoulders, bending their backs.

I stand and say a prayer for those who are struggling, who are feeling lost and alone. Frightened or confused by these days of solitude.

And then, I bring my prayers back home to my heart.

I stand and say a silent prayer for those close to me and far away, I stand and say a prayer for my mother and my father and brother, his wife, my family members who are gone and my cousin who lost the battle to Covid and all those who will lose the battle today.

I stand in the stillness between each breath and say a prayer.

My mother taught me the power of prayer.

It is teaching me how to be present in the grace of stillness.

I am grateful.

In Years To Come…

In years to come, when time has passed and the edges of memory have softened and mellowed with age, we will sit close together around a table, or snuggle up in front of a fire or walk arm in arm under a clear blue sky and tell stories of these days. We’ll laugh and sometimes shed a tear or two. We’ll raise a toast to those who did not make it through and we will remember.

We’ll remember how we stood on balconies and front porches and clanged pots at 6pm every day for weeks on end to honour the heroes of these days. The nurses and doctors and lab techs and hospital porters and emergency responders and schedulers and cleaners and so many more who risked their lives so we could live ours without fearing each breath would be our last. And the researchers, labouring long days and nights, weeks and months garbed in hazmat suits and protective shields just to find a vaccine to help preserve lives for years to come.

We’’ll talk about how heroes didn’t wear red cloaks and carry golden shields but donned brown and blue and tan coats as they drove all over the country to ensure we received the things we needed. Things to eat. To read. To listen to. To play with. To keep us amused. And laughing. And feeling alive and less alone.

How there were heroes who stood behind plexiglass screens and sanitized counter tops again and again after we visited stores where we bought our necessities and smiled with only our eyes visible through our masks.

How we greeted each other with a wave, careful to keep our distance and how the distance between us felt so foreign. Lonely. Far. Even when we stood six feet apart.

How hugs became a rare commodity, so precious some would risk their lives just to get one. And how some did risk their lives, not just for hugs but to ease the loneliness, the pain of being separate from the rest of their human family.

And how some chose to stand united against the things they could not stand for — Wearing masks. Social distance. Stay-at-home orders. Like all of us, they wanted their voices to be heard. It’s just their way was different.

And hopefully, we’ll talk about how those of us who did our best to abide by stay-at-home and wearing-mask orders struggled to understand how others could not grasp the severity of our situation. And how, our condemnation and judgement of those who suffered these times in different ways than us became a greater distance to traverse than the loneliness we all felt during these days of sheltering-in-place.

There will come a time when we will tell stories of these days and while we may not remember them fondly, let us remember how we each did our best to weather this storm. And how, while someone’s way may have been different, they too were doing their best to make sense of it all and to make a difference in whatever way they knew how.

And as we remember, let us let go of our human tendency to condemn those who think differently, believe differently, express themselves differently. Instead, let us cross the divide of our differences so that we can celebrate having come through these days of a global pandemic sweeping the globe, together.

Let us not remember our differences but instead, let us share our memories of love for the millions of lives lost, the millions of lives fallen ill, the millions of lives forever changed.

Let us remember our loved ones not with the regret of not being by their bedsides as they struggled to take their last breath, but rather, of all the times we sat by their sides laughing and sharing in the love that binds us in life, and in death.

Let us remember we were all struggling. Believers and non-believers. Mask wearers and non-mask wearers. Instead of making outcasts of those who did it differently, let us say a prayer. For one another. And in our prayers let us hold onto what connects us, what makes us who we are, what makes this human condition so remarkable.

Our humanity is not one colour, one belief, one common roadmap. It is diverse. Colourful. Multi-faceted. We stand on deserts and mountaintops. We walk on gravel paths and paved roads. We swim in salty oceans and freshwater lakes.

And still, we breathe air into our lungs. We flow blood through our veins. Our bodies are supported by skeletons made up of bones, 206 in every adult body. Our body is covered with the epidermis, no matter the colour of our skin.

In years to come, when we look back on these times and tell our stories of grief and hardship, of great feats of heroism and simple acts of kindness, let us remember to speak with gratitude and grace and kindness in every word we share about one another.

Because, in times to come, when we speak of these days, we will be speaking of ourselves. Of we, the people.

All of us. Coming through this. Together.

Let us carry with us the memories of how, no matter how dark the day or long the night, we never lost sight of the Love that binds us. The Love that brings us into this world and carries us through every day of our lives. For we each come into this world in the same way. Crying. Kicking. Gasping for breath. And we all leave it on one final breath.

And in between, though our lives may be different, let us remember that it is our capacity to love one another that connects us. Through good times and bad. Dark and light. Life and death.

In years to come, let us tell our stories. Let us remember. And let us hold onto Love.

It Is. Enough.

This morning, when I visited David Kanigan’s blog before coming here to write, the sight of his photos married to the quote he shared brought tears to my eyes. (to experience the quote with the photos click HERE – you won’t be disappointed)

The quote that stirred my emotions (though to be honest, it was his photos of clouds drifting in a rose-drenched morning sky that got me first) was Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change, by Maggi Smith.

David offers up this quote from the book,

Remember when you would have been over-the-moon thrilled to have just a fraction of your life as it is now?

Look around you: it is enough.

KEEP MOVING

And the tears wash over me as I write a response…

I want to rail against the notion, that if I look around me, I will see it is enough.

I want to cry out in strident opposition, No. It Is Not Enough.

And then I smile (wistfully and a bit sheepishly perhaps) as I remember, whether I think it is enough or not, what is around me right now is all there is. It is what is.

I do as Maggie Smith suggests. I look around me.

The house sleeps in the quiet of the darkness before dawn. The white Christmas lights that I spent an afternoon festooning along the glass railings of the deck, in an effort to bring me into the Christmas spirit, glow softly like candles in the dark. Inside, on my desk, the light of a candle flickers on the photo taken at my mother’s 95th birthday two years ago. I am with my 2 sisters, my 2 daughters, my then 6-month-old grandson and my mother.

4 generations that now live on in 3.

It wasn’t a Covid loss. My mother’s passing in February was just time having had its fill of her life.

And perhaps that is where the tears come from. Not only will my mother not be amongst us this Christmas, we will all be in our separate houses. Alone.

And my heart aches in the reality of what is.

I want to say, it’s not enough.

And must breathe into the reality — It is what it is.

______________________

We are all facing that reality – a global experience of loss, change, aloneness, separateness.

Perhaps, out of all of this, what will truly be known is how we are all connected. How we need one another. How it is our relationships that make our life rich and beautiful and oh so vibrant.

Perhaps, when Covid has had its way and we are on our way to healing these months of sequestered solitude, we will find ourselves together again and in that togetherness, will let go of the squabbles and differences that keep us apart.

Perhaps, when we are together again, we will celebrate our human condition in all its billions of unique expressions and let the gazillion things that we tell ourselves about why we must maintain our separateness, go.

Perhaps, we will relate through our magnificence and not our mediocrity.

Perhaps, we will all remember that we are all on this one earth, this one giant ball spinning its way around the sun year after year, together. That it is not our differences that separate us, but our thoughts and ideas and notions of what is right and wrong, possible and impossible, mine and yours.

And perhaps, in discovering how much we need one another, in realizing how connected we are, we will find the courage, strength and compassion to invite everyone into our hearts so that no matter where in the world we are, no matter how fragile or fabulous our human condition or how tiny or large our square footage, we will remember, We Are One.

And perhaps, in that oneness, we will know, once and for all, that we do not own this earth we call our home. We are its inhabitants, its guests and above all its guardians.

For what I do to the earth, I do to you.

Let me only do Love with all my heart, all my being, all my magnificence shining on yours.

And so it shall be.

And so it is. Enough.

Namaste.

March Woman – Transformation in Action

March Woman – 2021 #ShePersisted Calendar (click on photo to purchase yours!)

There is much in this world I do not accept.

War. Famine. Poverty. Injustice. Discrimination to name a few, including economic and social policies that leave some feeling they are ‘less than’ while others believe they have a right to consider themselves ‘greater than’ because of an inherent bias in what they consider to be their privileged status.

And there is much in this world that I feel I have no power to change or affect.

Yet, when I take care of my own world, when I create better in the emotional, physical and spiritual environment around me, my world changes. And, while it is easy to say, those changes are infinitesimal in the big picture, the ripple effect of millions of small changes can create transformation of a grand scale.

We are all one humanity. One people on this one planet called earth. We are all connected. Through the air we breathe. To the trees and the sky and the water and the animals and the flora. We are all connected.

What we do to eachother and to our planet matters.

But how can I change what others do?

In the simplest of forms, I can’t. I am not that powerful. Nor is it my ‘job’ to change another.

What I do have the power to do is inspire change in the world around me by ensuring how I am, what I do, say, create, share creates better for everyone in the world around me. Holding space for better, my ripple becomes a constant ebbing outward of peace, harmony, joy, Love.

In that rippling effect, the things that annoy me abate, the feelings that keep me playing small diminish and the fear of making waves or being different washes away.

In their place, transformation within my world happens. And if there are millions upon millions of us transforming our own worlds, our collective ripple can become a tsunami of hope, possibility, change leading to transformation on a grand scale.

And never has that been truer than today.

Yes, Covid 19 is running amuck. Yes, there is political, economical and environmental strife everywhere.

And everywhere, there are human beings doing their best, giving their all to create lasting change that will, and must, transform our world for the better.

The March #ShePersisted Woman is a reminder to no longer accept you don’t have the power to change. To never give up on believing transformation is possible.

It is.

We just need to keep doing small things with great heart that change our worlds so that ripple by ripple by ripple the entire planet is transformed through each of us creating a better world for everyone and everything on earth.

Namaste.

Just hanging On!

Hang on! Hang on! The leaves cry frantically to one another. The fall is coming. The falling is coming. Resist! Resist!

Let’s stick together, they tell one another as they huddle closer to the branch. There’s strength in numbers.

In time, none of it matters. Resistance is futile. Defiance unnecessary.

As predictable as the earth’s orbit around the sun, the fall beckons. The leaves fall. Winter descends. Spring follows.

Nature always has its way.

Let’s face it, hanging on is sometimes the only way we know to avoid the thing we fear even more than speaking in public or dying — change.

Change is in the air. It always is. Change is here to stay.

Have you ever…

Stayed in a job you hate? A relationship that made you unhappy?

Are there clothes in your closet that no longer fit? Shoes that hurt your feet? Sweaters with holes and pulled threads that you no longer wear but just can’t get rid of?

And, what about memories?

Do you keep a reel of unhappy stories on repeat in your mind? Do you replay them and replay them so that your ‘poor me’ story becomes the only story you know how to tell?

Do you wish you could change the past? Redirect the movie of your life into someone else’s story?

Well, here’s the deal. No one is powerful enough to change the past. And someone else’s story will never fit you.

All you’ve got to work with to create the life you dream of is this moment right now and your willingness to bet your life on your heart’s desires, whatever they may be.

So… what’s holding you back? What are you hanging on to?

Ask yourself,

“What am I feeling right now? Do I want to be feeling these same feelings I’m feeling right now in a week, a month, a year, five years time?”

“Is there a burning desire deep within me to make a dream come true and I am doing nothing to make it happen because I’m afraid to let go of… [name your poison] Fear of failure. Looking silly. Falling down. Being laughed at. Being right. Having to learn something new. My story of why it isn’t possible. My deeply buried belief my dreams are not worth fighting for…”

“Am I holding onto past hurts and pain because I tell myself at least I can count on the past? Nothing changes there. And anyway, I’m not ready to let go of them yet.”

Once you’ve examined your feelings and thoughts around those questions, ask yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen if I let go of [fill in the blank] and my fear of change and the stories I tell myself and decide to just do it anyway?”

Fact is. You might fall.

Then again. You might soar too.

You’ll never know until you let go of what is holding you back…

_____________

About this post:

When I took this photo yesterday on one of my walks with Beaumont, I was fascinated by how this one bush was still covered in leaves when all through the forest the trees stood bare, stripped of their autumn finery by wind and snow and the changing of the seasons.

I wonder why this one tree hasn’t lost its leaves yet, I wondered… and then, the parallel to my life began to form.

What am I holding onto that I need to let go of? I wondered.

I think it’s a great question to begin my day.

Namaste

Love Finds Me. Here.

On the kitchen island, sunflowers stand in a white vase. Their yellow heads are beginning to droop. Time is passing on.

In my studio, two cacti blossom. Life’s natural impulse to grow and flower is on display in riotous pink pressed against winter’s presence lying in pristine white outside the window.

In the trees that line the bank between our yard and the river, a squirrel scurries down. Winter is coming. There are preparations to be made.

It scurries towards the birdfeeder hanging along the fence at the back of our yard. It has become a squirrel seed depot.

The squirrel grabs at the tiny lip of the feeder and hangs on. Its body swings precariously from side to side. It steadies itself and opens its mouth ready to catch the seeds as they spill out.

Pouches full, it leaps back to the fence onto a tree branch, scurries up the trunk, sailing effortlessly from one branch to the next until, high up, it reaches a hole in the tree and disappears.

Another squirrel replaces it at the feeder.

I wonder if squirrels have a sound for gratitude?

Do I?

Is gratitude heard in the deep sigh of contentment as I sit in the darkness at my desk breathing in the beauty and wonder of the world around me?

Is it heard in the quiet hum of the furnace blowing warm air into the house?

Is it in the rustle of Beaumont’s body as he moves against the hardwood floor where he sleeps beside me?

Is it felt in the quiet, slow lightening of the day seeping across a nighttime sky ebbing into dawn?

Is it known in the halo of the lamp that lights my fingers as I type or the glowing of the candle on the desk beside me?

Is it tasted in the sip of my latte, foamy milk flowing warm and silky across my lips, down my throat and into my body?

Is it seen in the silent shimmery dark silhouettes of the trees dancing in the morning breeze outside my window, their not yet fallen leaves black against a not quite morning sky?

It is all here.

Filling me with gratitude.

This beauty.

It does not wait for the right season. Better weather. For time to flow from one moment to the next.

This beauty is here. Now.

And so am I.

And so is Love.

Namaste

.

How To Nourish Body. Mind. Spirit.

If they can make penicillin out of mouldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.  — Muhammad Ali

It appears that Covid has created some psychic mould. You know, those spaces where rather than nourish my body, mind, spirit, I fall prey to activities that leech away my creative essence and dry up my inner peace.

Like falling into binge-watching past seasons of shows I’ve never watched before on Prime and wouldn’t be watching now if it weren’t for Covid’s insidious presence. Because, you know — it’s not my fault. It’s these ‘uncertain times’ and sometimes the only way a girl can cope is by losing herself in mindless images parading across her laptop screen.

It seems that with Covid’s presence, I can easily be lured from my path of daily self-care day after day. Because, you know, if I let it go one day doesn’t it make sense to repeat it so I don’t feel so bad about doing it in the first place? Yeah. I know. Repetition of what’s not good for me just makes what’s not good for me a habit I’ll live to regret.

Being in a place of the peaceful unfolding of my day, especially with the feeling that Covid’s presence is just waiting to pounce every time I step out my door, can be challenging.

There are times when all I want to do is bury my head in the sand. Because, I tell myself, burying my head in sand will probably be just as effective or even better than wearing a mask.

There are times when I want to throw caution to the wind and just pretend Covid never happened, isn’t happening, will never happen. Because, when I was a child, pretend was such a wonderful game, why not play it now?

Houston. We have a problem.

Self-care is spinning off its axis and I am falling out of control.

Time for some straight talk and radical loving-kindness to fill the empty spaces where peace, harmony, joy… created my beautiful life.

Which brings me to the things I can do today to create more of what I want in my life every day. — Peace. Harmony. Joy.

The practices and things that connect me to joy, harmony, loving-kindness are well-known by my body, mind, spirit. It’s just sometimes, my mind wants to fool my body into thinking it’s okay being left alone. And sometimes, my body wants to divorce spirit so it doesn’t have to be accountable for keeping it moving, uplifted and connected to its essential nature.

Ah… the games we play when first we try to deceive ourselves into believing life is just a game that only needs to be played when we feel in the mood for a little light workout.

Life is not a game. It is in us. Outside of us. All of us. All of all that is within and around us.

Life matters and what we do in and with life matters every moment.

So…. here’s the thing. I’ve fallen prey to the ennui of these times. I’ve given too much mindspace to the notion, “I’m so tired of all this Covid stuff. Make it go away. Now.”

Fact is, now more than ever, I need to turn up for me and all the world around me to ensure, together and apart, we have the well-being to make Covid go away. Not with death but with beautiful, healing, sparkling LIFE.

So… I’ve committed myself to a 21 Day Plan to Embrace All that Is Present when I turn up in Peace, Harmony and Joy.

That means, along with daily practice of writing here, time spent in my studio, my twice-daily walks with Beaumont the Sheepadoodle and my daily skincare routine (Absolutely essential!) I shall be consciously connecting my mind, body, spirit to the essential nature of my human condition through daily repetition of five key practices I know are good for my body, mind, spirit.

Fact is, I seem to have fallen out of the regular committed practice of these vital components of creating more of what I want in my life today through falling prey to critter-mind thinking that… it all doesn’t matter anyway because Covid is stealing my peace of mind and clouding up my harmony and diminishing joy in my world.

Fact is, Covid can’t steal any of my peace, harmony and joy unless I give into the belief I am not accountable for or worthy of peace, harmony and joy in the first place.

So, to keep myself accountable, especially for the next 21 days as I reform the habit of doing these things every day, I am sharing my five daily commitments here:

  1. Meditate for a minimum of 20 minutes every morning.  
  2. Spend half an hour reading something inspirational every day.
  3. Write in my journal at bedtime for 20 minutes.
  4. Take my vitamins. Eat more veggies every day. Cut back on carbs and sugars.
  5. Do something for my community (and that includes writing my blogs as you are part of my community).

Oh! And there’s a few other things that are essential I consciously add into my life every single day.

  • Laugh lots daily
  • Dance
  • Breathe and release. Breathe and release
  • Practice loving-kindness with myself and all the world around me

And, along with the things I will do, there are some things I also need to publicly commit to not doing. The biggest one being… STOP WATCHING SO MUCH NETFLIX and PRIME!!!!

And yes, I’m yelling that to myself because sometimes… I need to shout to be heard above the critter’s insistence it’s okay to lose myself in mindless activities.

It’s not.

And I’m not okay with and within me when I do it.

And to get okay with me again, I need to practice loving-kindness with myself. Stopping doing things that are unhealthy for me is the greatest gift of loving-kindness I can give myself today to create more peace, harmony and joy in myself and all the world around me.

Namaste.

An Ode To Summer Solstice

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, the days have begun their journey back towards the darkness.

The long lazy days of summer beckon. Blossoms burst forth and grain fields grow plenty. The days begin to give up their light to the dark. Imperceptibly. Moment by moment. The lengthening of shadows begins.

On a far and distant horizon, cool days of autumn slumber, oblivious to the promised heat of summer yet to come. Beyond the promise of autumn days coruscating in the golden light of falling leaves, winter sleeps, its dreams full of frosty days and snow-covered nights sparkling under the light of a full moon rising.

And the world continues to spin.

And life continues to unfold in all its mystery, magic and wonder.

May the Solstice be with you.

______________________

Confession: The word ‘coruscate’ appeared in an article I was reading this morning.

Coruscate? Hmmm…

Curiosity slipped in. What does that mean? So did my father’s voice. “Go look it up.”

It was his way. Growing up, whenever I’d ask, “What does that mean?” he’d reply, “Go look it up.”

And so, I did.

And just as a child when he’d make me use my latest ‘coruscated’ addition to my vocabulary in a sentence, I followed my father’s voice into the mystery of discovery, and used it a sentence in my blog today.

Thanks Dad!

(And don’t tell him… but just in case you too, like me, do not know its meaning, I gave you a hint. — or you can go look it up, HERE.)

I think it might just be my favourite new word. It’s so yummy and juicy on the tongue.

It sparkles!

A Morning Meditation

A Morning Meditation (turn sound on)

Dust motes dance with the lissome grace of fairy dancers swathed in shimmering gowns of sunbeams streaming through the window. I stand in the light and open my arms, welcoming the sun in. I feel it. Warm. Against my skin. My face. My hands. My body. Effortlessly, it warms me with its grace.

I sit at my desk and watch white fluff drift lazily through the air. A delicate dance of grace floating down towards the ground. The poplar trees are casting off their spring buds. Snow falls in June.

Pink honeysuckle scents the air. The glossy green leaves of the poplars that dance above their blossoms rustle and whisper, redolent with the stories of the wind as it moves effortlessly through their branches.

The river flows past. The wind drifts through. I sit and soak up the beauty of this morning, my body embraced in the sacredness of the world around me.

Here. I am.

I breathe. Deep. Soul-nourishing breaths that ground me here, in this moment.

I imagine my toes digging into the rich soil that nourishes the grass and shrubs and flowers and trees. I imagine the soles of my feet sinking. Down. Down into the bedrock. Deep. Deep within the earth.

I keep breathing. Slowly. Deeply.

I sense myself coming to rest deep within the core of the earth. Connected. Supported. Grounded in Mother Nature. Mother Earth.

Here. I am.

The morning breaks itself open to day.

The sun casts light into infinite space.

The river flows past.

I sit at my desk. Silently embraced in the grace of morning’s awakening.

I am the temple girl carrying water from the well to wash the feet of the holy women gathered to sing the praises of Mother Earth. To dance in honour of the sun rising, the moon setting, the dawn breaking.

I am the initiate dancing in the light of dawn bathing her naked body in early morning light.

I am the priestess supine, body stretched out in supplication before the altar of Mother Earth’s beauty.

Here. I am. I whisper.

And Mother Earth wraps her being around my body and gently, lovingly pries me open. I am broken open and I weep in gratitude, joy, Love.

My heart sighs. I take a sip of morning’s glory bursting with the promise of this day. I take another and another and am filled with the wonder and awe of being here, where I am.

Here. I am. I whisper to the morning and the sun and the trees and the flowers and the birds and the river and the grass whisper back. Here. We are.

Namaste.

Oh The Times They Are A-Changin’

The sky is very different today than when I took this photo last week. It is grey and lowering. Heavily pregnant grey clouds release their bounty upon the earth, nourishing plants and trees and soil. A prayer of hope for all life on earth.

The forest outside my window is different today than it was a week ago. The forest canopy is lusher. Full of spring’s delicate breath. Green leaves dance in the wind upon branches that sway with hypnotic grace, like a thousand Sufi mystics spinning in prayer.

The river too is different. Spring runoff in the mountains has begun in earnest. Snowbound slopes have given way to spring’s promise, releasing their burden of snow to the streams and rivers below. Outside my window, the river waters are swollen. They run high and fast. Their rushing waters flow with the secrets of time gathered from mountaintops and valley bottoms leading them to the mystery of a distant, unseen sea. Listen. The waters are chanting. They are pregnant with a luminous prayer echoing through time. May the river never stop flowing, they whisper. May time always pass.

The world is different today than just a few short days and weeks ago. Not just because of Covid 19’s sinister presence that still cautions us to slow down, to stay sheltered. It is different because the voices of the people are rising up as one voice, clamouring for change, marching for justice, kneeling on bended knee in unified prayer for the sake of our humanity.

Bob Dylan’s 1964 iconic song says it best:

Oh the times they are a-changin’.