Ebb as Flow

When I lived in Maine where seasons merged at nature’s whim, I was often devastated by the sudden and profound advent of the equinox. In thirty-two sets of seasons, I can honestly say I was never fully prepared. Perhaps as a result of my birth and upbringing on warmer shores, I lacked the intuitive sensitivity to tinges of morning frost. Too energized by the thin air and wafts of wood smoke in my nostrils; too enthralled by the variety of wildlife scurrying about, readying for the inevitable. Too enchanted with the labors of loons launching overhead, furiously flapping wings to offset the density of solid bones, their lilting cries piercing the stillness of morning. Often and one time too many, I was too distracted by beauty to repair to the warmth of hearth and home; just another sack full of leaves, one more armload thrown on the brush pile, ignoring the frigid hand of impending winter wrapping itself sinuously around the back of my bare neck.

Keeping pace with nature’s rhythms seems easier when living close to the heart of the land. Observing birds on the wing seems coded in my DNA. Gazing as a vista of landscape changes hues sets off a chain of invisible events as image hits retina. Just because I might not be aware of this happening does not make it any less stupendous. If I consider the million sensory impressions assaulting my body every day, there is no filter that can effectively cancel them all. And even if that were possible, I would not wish it into being. Changed and charged currents waft on breezes tinged with a still-damp winterchill. Dogs pick up their ears, cock their heads. The full-time simplicity of their lives grants them a necessary rhythm in acutely attuning to minutiae.

Life on Hawaii island may be simpler in many ways, but thirty-two years of syncing my body to the rhythm of four distinct seasons and it doesn’t easily give up the memory. I must fight this laconic feeling, this sense of endings, or I must flow with it as my ancestors have for generations, before the advent of technology which keeps us well wired but ill-grounded. Perhaps I shall leverage this leaden feeling to anchor myself more fully to the planet. Perhaps I will, with a certain muster of grace, embrace the warmth of this Hawaiian winter like a wraith gaining a bye on life; one final round before yielding to the great Unknown.


17 thoughts on “Ebb as Flow

  1. Nice reflections on life and seasons. Ah! Seasons…how they connect us with our inner self, unfolding what we long for…how they define our perceptions as they change! If the blossoms of spring spread fragrance to captivate us, fall is equally fascinating with its hues of golden and orange spattered all around and the wind, singing a different song takes us along into the frozen delight of tranquil terrains, which we try to avoid! I could never love summers as extreme heat kept us indoors and the only retreat was the hills, if one could afford to escape into their loving lap!
    Wonderful post Bela, bringing along many memories of the bygone times.

    1. Aloha, Balroop – you know I didn’t resist winter when I lived on the east coast – I delighted in the changing of the seasons. They just always took me by surprise – I never did learn to dress ‘correctly,’ for one thing – never quite embraced layering. I’m seriously meant to wear as little as possible and definitely most comfortable in flip-flops rather than shoes!

      I love your description of weather and agree with you when it comes to extreme heat, though we are subtropical here and it doesn’t get as hot as parts of India. But I don’t want to diminish the fact that it Does get hot and humid, and we have ceiling fans going constantly, even year-round. Air circulation is key. I’ve also planted many trees and shrubs so that it increases the amount of shade, lowering the summer temps by about 10 degrees. Which can be enough.

      Glad to pique your memories, Balroop! Thanks for your thoughts! ❤

    1. I think you are brilliant to recognize this in yourself. Most people who feel as you do seem betrayed by the fates, though I sense you are content to be discontented. The old Artist archetype? Aloha, Pink! And Mahalo for your 2 cents worth ❤

  2. Beautifully expressed, and it echoes my own feeling towards seasons, and why I think I would have trouble being in the tropics more than just for vacation. I spent 6 weeks in Malaysia, which I think is even worse in terms of heat and humidity than Hawaii, and it wore thin on me after awhile Of course I was in a big city, which probably did not help. Also as a meteorologist the variety of weather is more thrilling to me and so I would certainly crave a good snow storm or crisp sunny morn in the fall, the joy of seeing life vault forth into spring. I’d like to believe I could appreciate the beauty no matter what, but there would certainly be an aching in my soul from time to time I think.

    1. Yes, dear Swarn, we are in the Sub-tropics, however; not tropical Malaysia, for certain. That place is far hotter than here. Hawaii Does have a winter, and we snuggle up under a wool blanket and quilt, sometimes wearing wool socks to bed (and Chris wears a hat over his bald head 😉 ) . We are at 300 ft elevation, but we are, erm, in the Northeast again, albeit this time on a Pacific island! So we do get winters, for sure. The cool rains drive that cold and damp into the bones, and it is indeed chilly. Even at the beach, especially with an onshore wind, it feels so frigid – and tourists patter around in bathing suits, which we all find amusing – though I do remember how warm anything felt compared to 20 below, back when I’d take my girls and head for warmth during their Feb vacation in Maine – ah … yes.

      I do miss snow and winter, the sheer beauty of white/white and the sounds of ice expanding on the lake (groan, boom!) – but not enough to return to the lifestyle. We fit well with island living, Chris and I. And neither of us has ever lived in a city, so there’s that.

      Thanks for comments as always; enjoy the rest of your week and the remainder of winter, such as it is in your part of the world. Springtime is just around the corner! Aloha ❤

      1. We are just experiencing our 6th day in a row with temperatures in the 60s…and we have a couple more left, include a forecasted 74 on Friday. I know it’s all from global warming, so part of me is enjoying, the other part of me is thinking…we’re all in a lot of trouble!

      2. Yes, trouble is the reality of it, for certain. I used to have a bumper sticker on my car that said, “Some things exist, whether you believe in them or not.” Good one, that 😉 Meanwhile, enjoy the warmth, I guess, as we are enjoying our own version of roller coaster weather on the islands. What times we live in …! Aloha 🙂

  3. As always, a densely rich feast of evoked imagery, dear Bela — peerless as you are within this sphere. You set me thinking about something Nisargadatta once said, to the effect that the deeper we go into perceiving (I think he called it:) Reality, the more indistinct the world becomes. I think he was talking about attention and the focusing of it. We pick up that armful of leaves you mentioned, and that becomes, that IS, Reality, so we don’t notice the changes going on around us. It’s kind of about the ‘this moment-ness’ of everything, yes? Still, the ‘this moment-ness’ can equally be that cold chill on the back of the bare neck as we throw the leaves upon the bonfire. If we want a global ‘this moment-ness’, then as far as I can tell, the only thing to do is to switch attention to awareness itself, and as something utterly devoid of thingness and features — but it’s an unfocused attention, yes? The seasons of change play out in consciousness still (and in Nisargadatta’s slightly indistinct way), whilst all the while they’re embraced in stillness, an uncontained and non-delineated space that is just awareness (for want of another term). I suppose none of that is strictly relevant to your piece, and I apologise for having gone tangential. So what’s up, you’re hankering for a move back to the heart of the country? H ❤

  4. Hariod, this is not at all tangential; in fact, it is the essence of which I speak. This is the beauty of what each of us embodies; I get to express (somewhat encrypted) formless feelings while you distill them from the ethers and offer them in a way many more can understand. This is the dance, ltself, in my opinion. This is what each of us has come to embody, and it’s a beautiful thing.

    As for global ‘this moment-ness,’ I’m not sure it is possible, are you? I mean, given the sheer volume of willful distraction, the surging desire to dominate, to own, all illusory, flying in the face of what Is, yet desire nonetheless to engage all other illusions that seem collectively preferable to peace and acceptance of said Isness, the miracle of existence on this amazing sphere. A couple of years ago, we had visitors from mainland China originally, now living in the states, and the delightful young woman who married our friend could hardly sleep for fear of the night, the stars, the unremitting quiet surrounding us. (Heck, we don’t even have TV hookup.) It about drove her mad – she wanted people, crowds, noise. Many are this way, I wonder if ‘most,’ I don’t think she is at all alone. Anyroad (love this expression in its literal sense), this is perhaps for another conversation.

    And no, no desire to return to our beloved New England. Life in Paradise suits us well. We can likewise feel removed from the madness that has become the US, as well. Meanwhile, I remain in deep love and respect for you, dear friend. ❤

  5. I hope you are acclimatizing in the ebb and flow of the Seasons.. I loved your descriptive narration Bela..
    I am acclimatizing to this Season of Winter in my winter years, where the bones ache more and the cold penetrates deeper lol
    Spring however is On its WAY..

    I loved this paragraph where you began with “Keeping pace with nature’s rhythms seems easier when living close to the heart of the land. Observing birds on the wing seems coded in my DNA. ”

    I so resonate with those thoughts.. I love nothing better than sitting watching the birds in my garden and out in nature.. I am watching Robins I have three.. They are supposed to be territorial Yet they fly and feed on my feeders each one recognizable as different.. One fatter one thin and one who is scruffy..

    May we keep on keeping on.. in the ebb and flow of Natures rhythms ..

    Love and Hugs to you Bela.. xxxx ❤

    1. I love bird watching – we humans ‘study’ birds, yet each being is unique unto itself and the personalities Are so different!

      Yes, winter of our lives, for sure. And wintertime seems more poignant somehow. As our bodies prepare to return to the earth, the heaviness in limbs reminds us these lovely shells are only on loan. Like hermit crabs, we scramble and duck for cover, only to realize we are vulnerable and defenseless in the face of the inevitable. The only solution is to embrace it all, knowing everything has its season.

      Many blessings to you, dear Sue, so far away yet near to my heart. Mahalo for your kind sentiments, as ever. ❤

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