It’s October. My last post was in February. Does it seem to anyone else that the world has shifted on its axis between those two points in time?
Outwardly, the fall progresses as it always has. The cottonwoods blaze in their yellow glory of leaves. The mountains change from dark green to a soft, muted blue-gray. My garden dries and turns to seed. The sweaters in my closet begin to look appealing again. The last step will be donning jeans and beloved boots once more. Fall has always been my favorite time of year. I’m pleased and grateful to be experiencing it in my own home this year. The last three have been spent overseas. And though summer gives way to winter in a similar, melancholy spirit everywhere, its essence is never so beautiful to me as when it’s filled with the smell of roasting chiles, blooming chamisa and the last efforts to get out and walk in the woods before its floor is covered with snow.
But this year is different for far larger reasons than the fact that I’m home in the fall.
It’s hardly worth mentioning all that has taken place between this post and the last. Frankly, I’m tired of thinking about it all. The voices out there commenting are many and so very loud. I’ve never felt as hammered by the relentless offering of opinions. I haven’t had much to say. Who needs yet another voice yammering on at them? Not me. And I’m guessing not you.
When I write, it’s most often to share with you the experiences I’m having in a place that you are not. And right now, you’re very much in the same place I am. I don’t need to tell you a thing to share all this with you. We are all in the same struggle: relentlessly familiar places, people, endeavors all rendered new and strange by our precarious and contentious circumstances.
The most traveling I’ve done is instead in my own mind, my own psyche. The challenge has not been navigating signs in a foreign language or sifting through coins trying to gather the correct equivalents. Instead the challenge has been to navigate the normal in entirely un-normal circumstances. I would relay this journey and it’s many pitfalls, humorous moments, frustrations and triumphs… but you know the territory already! And we, each of us, is on a very singular set of travels – whether we live alone or with family, are madly dog-paddling to keep ourselves at work or are set adrift like a sailboat on a large, glittering lake of never-ending still air.
I see a lot of references to this being a terrible year. A vicious year. And one everyone would like to have over as soon as possible. But I know from experience that there are no hard and fast boundaries to a difficult time. The calendar does not drive it. Our willing hearts do not finish it, even as they long to. This time will pass in fits and starts. A step of progress. Another of hope. An off-balance veer to the side. Three bouncing, excited leaps forward. Two more reeling back from high winds. Sitting down to take a break. Then starting again. That’s been my experience of overcoming circumstances. I expect it to be no different this time.
But with all that might come something useful: better seeing. I’ve come to think of it as 20/20, or more accurately, 2020 vision. Will it prove to be a positive gain?
I look at things differently these days. Maybe you do, too. And despite not wanting to add my voice to those hammering on your ears, I do have a query for us all: Is it possible that the way we’re having to look at our lives, our world, our very day to day approach to the tasks at hand… could that all be improving our ability to see more clearly?
I’m not going to add to the chorus of “Now we recognize what’s most important in our lives!” or “Now we’re seeing the true fragility of our system!” or any of the other muckety-muck flung about these days. I have no answers. I’m not even sure I have an opinion. And if I did have an opinion, I’d be loathe to burden you with it.
But I do have that question. And an adventure that might just be supplanting my previous types of adventures. What might it be like to go forward with this new, 2020 vision? What will I see and how will I see it?
What do you see and how do you see it?
And how can we block out all the yammering voices around us in order to see and hear our own experiences as accurately as they present themselves to us each moment?
So, onward into the final months of 2020. And the months beyond that, which owe nothing to the names and numbers of the calendar which are so rigidly assigned to them.
It’s fall in New Mexico. And I’m going out to be in the golden afternoon, for as long as it lasts.