Being Present to the Beauty of Nature

For a long time, because of trying to heal PTSD, and opening up all the pain I have been dissociated from, I was unable to enjoy the beauty of Nature as I had when I was younger.  Things are changing.  I wrote this in my journal on Sunday, May 7

Crazy weather.  Wind and sun and rain, flying clouds and blue sky.  I watched a cloud, with its tendrils dissolving and reforming, as it passed below another cloud.  Up on GG with Mocha, there was wind and fog, glimpses of blue sky.  Coming back from Littleton there was a huge black cloudbank across the middle of the sky, odd tendrils flowing down the mountains.  At sunset there were bars of cloud behind the tall pines.  First the alternation of pale yellow and dark grey-blue layers, then the lower one turns to gold and the upper one to pink.  Sitting here on the couch, turning my head to look out the window and watch the colors change.  I turn my head now and there’s a brilliant rainbow bisecting the space between the tree trunks.

Read something on the internet about growth through trauma.  Stories of people who had been diagnosed with cancer or lost a spouse, and when they had got through their grieving process, they were better able to appreciate “the preciousness of life.”  I so envy them.  The beauty of yesterday’s wind and clouds touched my heart, but it was also painful, like a sharp dagger in an open wound.  Life does not feel “precious” to me.  It feels alien and difficult and painful.  Elizabeth talked about feeling “joy” when dancing paneurhythmy.  When did I last feel joy?  I can’t remember.  Maybe Winter Solstice at Stanstead.  I worry that I’m somehow refusing to feel joy.  Someone talking about different responses to trauma gave the example of two holocaust survivors.  One said how can you feel happy again when such terrible things can happen.  The other one said how can you not enjoy every little bit of good since such terrible things have happened.  The thing is, I can recognize things as good, and want to enjoy them, but am not able to experience the joy.  I remember how much better I felt when Dr. Rankin told me that the chemistry of depression destroys the ability to enjoy.

Well, there is enjoying Mocha’s joy when she’s free to run.  And pain that I can’t let her do it more often.

I saw the waxing gibbous moon looking almost transparent against the blue sky.  I heard a thrush recently, and of course the daffodils are blooming.  The shadbush are in flower along the Gale, both shad and cherry along the roadsides.  It’s a moment of great tenderness, this just beginning of spring.  It’s piercing, this moment.  In a few days, the moon will wane, the blossoms fall and the trees put on their wall of solid green.  The thrush song is rarer now, as their winter habitat is destroyed.  I remember at Bickford Hill, I had planted daffodils in a place Dana wanted bulldozed for the pond.  So I moved them.  I remember them coming up the next spring and feeling that painful joy “After the war, here you are!”  I remember Agatha Christie’s “O brave monkey puzzle” to the tree that was still living, in a cramped space, in the new subdivision that had been built in the place where she grew up.

Marie Howe: “It hurts to be present.”
Krista: “I experience poetry to hurt …  If I don’t feel strong enough or don’t feel vulnerable enough I can’t read it.”
Marie: “We’re afraid of silence.”  Silence at the heart of everything
“To live in the world transparently would be a relief.”
What art does is break our hearts open so they can’t stay closed.   [from interview at On Being]

For the moment of Moon, Thrush and Daffodil

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