Tag Archives: Nature

Celebrating nature.

Ode to Upper Las Virgenes Canyon

On Tuesday, I stood on the ridge.  Wind whipping across her curves and mesas; wind lifting my spirits beyond weight of concerns, or the 4 million busy souls of L.A.

I saw the long view of her horizons; contours of dull and golden-brown hills against gradients of grays, layers of inversion and atmospheric blues.

I focused on the daring pose of a lone, dying tree.

I breathed in dust and sage; it smelled to me like precious incense intended as prayers to the gods.

I imagined, as if I were a child again on the Midwestern prairie; pretending that I was a trail hand, working for Gil Favor, eating beans on a banged-up tin plate. Or hero in Dodge City, not as Kitty, but as a dark and mysterious cowboy riding into town on her (I mean his) bike (I mean horse).

I brought my thinking and gratitude back to where my boots are.

Buffered by the canyon’s earthy shield from a racing 101, I stood and listened for a while to the quiet, more quiet than home. Stillness is spiced by the shy song of a California Towhee’s “cheep”, or slight rustle of wind that makes the brown grasses dance, or my own sigh as I breathe deeply the luxury of these languid moments in open spaces.

The wind. The wind. The wind.

By Friday I hear that the wind is ripping fire across the grass-bearded face of these hills. It knows no boundaries. It casts embers and sparks far beyond itself because it has no regard for its effect; no respect or prejudice for land, or home, or life, or dream. My heart hurts, sinks, flips around in my chest as I hear of the horrific losses of life. And the wind and the fires go on. It is not done yet. Not contained. People try their hardest, but people have to wait for the Santa Ana winds to die down. To wait for the other side of the wind.

The wind. The wind. The wind.

I pray. For the land. For the creatures. And most of all, for the people. And, with an eerie resolve, I know I will walk this canyon again no matter the extent of blackened char or scar of her hills. I will not wait until her growth is new and restored. I will walk when the season takes me there, and I will listen for the lessons she has for me then.

In the wind. From the wind. With the wind.

Being loved, timelessly.

Lower Antelope Canyon, AZ

Our trip west, through our nation’s national parks in Utah and Arizona’s landscapes, continues to exceed my expectations! Those pesky expectations are being left, quite literally, in the dust.

On our hikes, or traveling on black ribbons of asphalt through other-world-like spaces, I’m noticing, and thinking of Mom and Dad alot. Missing them in a sweet way.

They liked traveling in our states. They would have loved to hear about our adventures. I miss not sharing this with them, and I miss their interests in us.

I am grateful this morning for this tender awareness. It gets lost, or misplaced; drowned out in the hub-bub of city and chores. I like to think that they and Trudy are watching and smiling from their place of sublime wonder and love. Lofty ideals grounded in this almost-hurt in my chest for being their daughter and sister still here.

I drift.

There are not many things we know for sure about how life and death and before or after life and death works, but this is one thing I do know.

My family loved and loves me, and wanted and wants goodness for me. Not everyone is left with such a gift when left here.  I have come to know this by listening.  That this knowing of being loved by a parent or sibling, even when there is strife and struggles, is not a given; not always the case.

But here in these wide open spaces I am found knowing my reality of being loved, timelessly.  It creeps up out of the rocks with its tender yet powerful truth. Almost overwhelms me with its reminder.

Love is eternal.

Older than these millions-of-years-old formations, deeper than the canyons that I get to see and hike, love endures.  Lasts.

I am still loved, and, so are you.

The Arrogance Of My Belief

Many of us are searching; wrangling our faith and reason against the pain and suffering cast by nature’s net over our, or loved one’s lives. Entire lives have been changed, and taken. Homes and precious memories have been made into seemingly meaningless, soggy piles of rubble on the side of the road.

Then I come across this. Yet another reference to Job, the possible poster-child of suffering, and one most perfect paragraph that reflects and reminds me, in words and ways that I could no better express, both the arrogance and grounding comfort of my belief.

In case this writing may also meet and lift you where you are today, I share it here, with love.

“Ordinary Mysticism”, Dennis Tamburello, O.F.M

Fragile Made Strong

Maddie has been pretty upset. Not eating. I think she knows many are in peril’s way. Today as the rain let up and it’s looking like we are spared, she ate. I found her here in front of a box I had moved to higher ground.

It seems a striking reminder that we and our pets and our earth are fragile. And in need of gentle care. But, as I see the courageous hearts and hands of Houston come out in droves I am reminded that we are strong too. Made strong by our inherent sense of community and love, and a God of our understanding.

I pray in this time of rescue and recovery that we listen and allow the gentle and the strong in us to guide our pace and service. With love.

Posted August 29, 2017; the first break in Hurricane Harvey’s rains.

Saved by the Sparkle

I am saved by the sparkle.

In a far-off tree
one flash of light invites me to look longer than a random glance.
I pause.
The sparkle continues just outside of my east window,
here on Chevy Chase.
Here in the city.

I watch in wonder as one small glint of shiny becomes a series,
a mid-morning twinkle;
a giggle of sunlight against massive yet lazy swaying limbs.

Thought suggests that these survivalist drops just might be
what remains from last night’s promise of rain.
That disappointing spit of random ounces finding redemption in the morning dew?

I am soothed by the sparkle.

It invites me.
Holds me.
Entertains my soul just long enough to make staring-out more appealing than staring-within;
derailing the train of reason as the more valued code;
offering Nature as the prayer and translator that She is.

Deeply, richly, simply and truly calling me to the quiet and wonder of fireflies in the summer,
smooth-as glass bay waters at dusk,
baby bunny rabbits near the edge of the meadow,
seamless vistas of pudgy clouds tinted in Payne’s Grey tones
against 180 degree backdrops of indigo skies;
and standing in Texas twilight;
being a witness to last light’s fade so subtle
as to denounce defining the lazy day’s end.

I look again.
By evaporation or angle, leaves are again flat green fringes on large limbs of our oaks.
The sparkle is gone but not it’s effect.

I have been shifted by the sparkle.

Her spark reminded me of the beauty I see now, and have experienced this year in Galveston, Pecos, Abiquiu, and Brenham;
and here.
Yes, God is in the City.


Rockport Fishing © twyatt 2014A few moments on the balcony looking out to the edge of sky and water.  Water and earth.

Bob is fishing off the bank and has signaled that he already has snagged two good sized trout.

Settling back into my water-scape view, tears swell as naturally as the persistent, gentle lapping of waves against the concrete bulkhead.

These are the good days.

In hindsight we’ll see more of the incredible gift of these easy times, even as we know in these moments their delicate joys.