It’s another beautiful late summer day, and I am emerging from a weekend spent with Bill Mahony, author of Exquisite Love, and my teacher Sara Davidson Flanders, at All That Matters in Wakefield, RI, reflecting on the Nārada Bhakti Sūtras in a workshop entitled “Return to Love.”
Among other things, I appreciated that Bill thanked those who were not present, especially those who enabled us to be there to steep in these deep teachings. I thought to my beloved congregation, and the activities in which they were engaging: fall cleanup, a presence at town day, and a Sunday service in appreciation of the “Days of Awe.”
I don’t quite yet know what to say about the weekend, except that I feel very full. It is interesting that Bill closed the session, according to tradition, with a mantra I included here recently (“A Place of Profound Individuality” 6/7/12), about fullness. Coincidentally, it had been a sense of “place” that was for me salient feature of the weekend. I had been to Narragansett once before, with a group discussing Bill’s book. I was again struck by the beauty of the landscape, tucked up against the sea, and the way it opened my heart.
How different this feeling is from the last such seasonal shift I marked. I’m sorry, but I kept meaning to record this Summer Solstice poem here.
This time of year I
Like a bit of dry tinder
Easily woken by the birds
Crackle in a blaze of
I’m not alone among those who felt the natural beauty of the fine New England weekend, not just among the weekend’s participants, nor only in the activities I missed back home, nor even only in noting a friend’s worry about a hard frost coming to Western Maine. We are descending toward the Autumnal Equinox, and even the slightest alignment to it causes a shift, a pause, a reverence, and perhaps even a delight, lurking under the sadness autumn may bring. Something settled out of my morning walk today. I was excited to write it in my new Moleskine® journal, a purchase in which I indulged with teacher training aforethought.
Tumbling toward Mabon
It was 43 degrees here this morning
in this former farming town.
Qualitatively colder than one day
last week I went for my morning walk.
I traded the old microfiber fleece
cycling jacket for
A baggy old fleece golf sweater my
Dad gave me.
My hands were red and raw until
I balled my fists up over the drawn down sleeves.
As we tumble toward Mabon, the
And Orion boldly crosses
the threshold between
Late summer and fall,
we scurry like the small mammals we are,
Stumbling over our plans as
we lay them in store
For the coming quiet.
Mabon is a time to celebrate that which we have reaped, that which (and whom) we gather. It is a time of gratitude, and equipoise between dark and light. It is a time we stand at a threshold, in awe of nature and its source, between past and future, using the former to form our choices in the latter. In the midst of the busyness this season may bring, may we pause on its threshold to reflect well.