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Come meander with me on the pathless path of the Heart
in these anecdotal,
sometimes inspiring, sometimes personal meanderings of the Heart's opening in the every-day-ness of Life...

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Life's Eerie Glow...

Muted golden sunlight came through the living room window Monday evening just before 6pm with the strong smell of smoke filling the air. I looked out the window and saw an eerie glow in the sky. A forest fire was burning out of control in the foothills only about 30 miles from here, as the wind blows. And it was blowing in our direction. I saw the red ball of the sun just above the roof top across the street and went for the camera. As soon as I stepped out the front door I gulped in smoke filled air. I snapped a few pictures and went back inside and closed up the house. Unbeknownst to me, DH had gone down the street to the park to see if he could get some pictures with his cell phone. Those are the ones that came out here. The bright yellow globe and bright light is the sun in a yellow sky. Filtered through the smoke it cast an eerie light on the landscape. Sitting at dinner we could see the smoke wafting through the trees, as the smell of smoke continued to seep through house.

The fire still burns. Two people have died, one is missing. 24 homes were burned to the ground. Homeless in an instant. I can’t imagine. And it wasn’t an act of Nature. It started from a prescribed burn… Some knuckle head in the government allowed a planned burn to take place in the driest, windiest March on record… Go figure.

March is usually our snowiest month, but we haven’t gotten any precipitation at all. We are already breaking temperature records. Summer has arrived, apparently skipping Spring. Today they say we will reach 84 degrees and break a record. The wind has been relentless. Everything is already parched, and everything is blooming. The Maple tree leaves are already out, small as they are. Cottonwoods have budded out. Crab Apple trees are beginning to bloom. Beauty is happening despite the desert-like conditions. Everything is two months ahead of schedule. I’ve been noticing this for 10 years now - this slowly creeping shift in seasonal time, as if the earth itself has shifted to a new rhythm – ever so slowly.

It’s also hard to believe that something so devastating could create such an eerie beauty – from a distance. In an instant it became clear how I often take life for granted, always counting on it being the same – day after day. We, in the “spiritual community” often give lip service to the inevitability of change and suffering, (as long as it’s not happening to us), as we get comfortable with the life we think we have created for ourselves. Or we become ensconced in our “spiritual” search for “enlightenment” (as I have – meandering as it is), only wanting to see beyond: beyond duality, beyond the here and now, beyond life as it is. And it is sometimes hard to come "back to earth" so-to-speak, and surrender to what is, to the immediacy of the moment, to “just this” - seeing life as it is in its rawness. Or some only see this world, and the people in it, as an illusion, a dream – and shut themselves off from life. And some focus only on beauty and what gives pleasure, overlooking the pain of the mundane all around us – and in themselves. In some instances denying that there is a “self” that suffers, that hurts, that grieves… But, if we are paying attention at all, we are reminded by life that the structures (and illusions) that we have built for ourselves – physically, conceptually and spiritually - crumble, and the life (and beliefs) we *think* we have earned and achieved, that we subconsciously feel in control of and entitled to, can go up in smoke.

So what is left when our illusions and beliefs about life and self burn away and we are left standing – naked – in the eerie glow of life…? The Heart of Compassion - for the nakedness of life… That’s all that really matters…



“Only when we know our own darkness well
can we be present with the darkness of others.
Compassion becomes real
when we recognize our shared humanity.”

“To be fully alive, fully human
and completely awake
is to be continually
thrown out of the nest.”

“Life’s painful aspects soften us up.
Gloriousness and pain...
One inspires us, the other softens us.”

Pema Chodron
From The Places That Scare You



16 comments:

  1. wow, those are some pix! reminds me of Edward Burtynsky's photos of devastations like open pit mining and how he somehow manages to make them look beautiful. I recommend the movie about him taking pix in China called "Manufactured Landscapes".

    Yes that burn was probably pre-scheduled for the "usual" weather conditions and no one thought to cancel it due to "present" weather aberations. ah, the things we humans get up to when we refuse to be with "what is"!

    We cold send you some rain from these parts where we are having an extra wet and cool Spring!

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    1. I think I have seen Burtynsky's work and film on line. Yes, it was a "planned" burn, and now they are apologizing to those whose homes were burned. But because it is a gov't agency, the home owners can't get compensation... Ignorance at work.

      Oh gentle rain would be delightful! :)

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    2. ha, ha, I see the Freudian slip , we "cold" send you.... Yes we are cold here!

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  2. Wow, that color is intense! The sunset reminds me of your purple painting from yesterday's post only in bright yellow! We had weather in the 80's here one week but snow yesterday. That's New England for you...

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    1. Yes it was very intense. Sounds like we're in the same weather pattern... Colorado weather changes quickly too. More snow here would be very helpful... You could bring it out in your little tear drop trailer :)

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    2. But somehow I don't think a "teardrop" full will be enough :)

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  3. amazing photos. the colors are incredible. so glad the fire did not come your way. i have heard about it on the news. here's a rain storm to you. blessings, suki

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    1. Receiving those raindrops! :) Thank you! We are far enough away that we weren't in any danger. But have never experienced the smoke as heavy and pungent as it was.

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  4. I have just discovered your blog and your beautiful pics...So sad about the senseless loss of life...
    Looking forward to your future postings.
    Heidi

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    1. Welcome Heidi! Thank you for leaving your comment! I see from your blog that you are a photographer. I'm just an amateur having fun with a Kodak Easy Share :) And the pics here were from my husband's cell phone. Amazing that they came out so well!

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  5. The photos are compelling and repelling simultaneously...
    Pema always comes through...
    “Life’s painful aspects soften us up.
    Gloriousness and pain...
    One inspires us, the other softens us.”

    One of my favorites from her is the reminder of the "gloriously wretched and the wretchedly glorious" aspects of life ...fire is like this...is that in a scene like this.

    Om mani padme hung

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    1. Thank you Dear D... Yes, I understand the compelling and repelling in it. We were drawn to it, yet understood the tragedy that was going on behind it...

      It's always the paradoxes of life - as read in Pema's quotes - that have such power.

      Bows and gratitude for your presence...

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  6. Beautiful shots despite the cause.

    Thanks for visiting our blog. You are right the Peyton Randolph house was a different color until a few years ago; now it is red.

    Darryl and Ruth :)

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    1. Welcome Darryl and Ruth! And thank you for coming by and leaving your comment! I *thought* something looked different there :) I really need to get out the old historic maps - and photo albums... I do miss it!

      Christine

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  7. "It’s also hard to believe that something so devastating could create such an eerie beauty – from a distance. In an instant it became clear how I often take life for granted, always counting on it being the same – day after day."

    So true. . . Thank you for recording your ever-changing awareness.

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    1. Yeah, it's easy to get into that rut of sameness, not really being aware, and yet nothing is ever the same, as you know :)

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