I've discovered and rediscovered life paradoxes during my travels this week, which have left me circling around my mixed thoughts and feelings which have remained unspoken.....unwritten because I don't really know how to describe it.
I want to paint a picture with broad strokes and light handed wisps at the same time.
I want to create an abstract montage on top of a canvas of stark realism.
With my brush I will attempt to uncover blurried impressionist lines accompanied by black etched scoring smeared by tears of dewdrops under a canopy of marginalized sentiments.......or is it the sentiments of the marginalized?
I want to tap into the echos of long ago voices seeping through the cracks of old homesteads where their silent ancesters are lost and lonely......
I want to describe deep pit hunger feeding on fear of the coming winter cold, stoked by wet wood that smolders and forgets to give off heat.
I need to share the soul eating frustration of living within an impatient and judgemental system that controls the every movement and daily decisions.......so much so that one hides small truths in order to keep their tired spirit sparked under a moth eaten fisherman knit.
Distrusting, disconnected, disabled......where basic needs......the FUNDAMENTAL needs we take for granted are often tossed in a garbage heap of mangled pick-ups, rusty metal, stuffing strewed sofas discarded and unnoticed anymore because somehow it has become part of the backyard landscapes camoflauged by grassy vetch........and sap sucking alders.
I want to paint all of those sentiments to bring them out of the margins and into the centre of our collective Body. Where it belongs. Where brokenness is healed by our hymns.
And yet........... at this time of year, when the trees emerge wearing their Sunday best and take firm control over the wilting flowers, my drives into the country are like entering a endless cathedral of sun glistening colour, where light dances through the mist floating up off the harvested fields, where the leaves look as tastefully inviting as a roll of lifesavers. It's like the hymn turns into a gospel hallelujah and it doesn't feel quite right........
I want to share this hallelujah too!!
The beauty of the season sometimes took my breath away as I drove up to the crest of a hill only to find an expansive vista of old rolling hills covered in green pine and autumn colours as far as I can see. Like a colourful patchwork quilt, it blanketed the earth with such warmth and humour. Undulating roads winding through the countryside offered me snapshots upon snapshots kept in my memory. Sometimes I stopped to try to capture the essence of the scene, as it was much too bountiful to fit within the circumference of my lens, and the colours were so vividly alive that a photo just couldn't match it.
I did stop on occasion to capture one particular majestic tree, or the end of an abandoned dock stripped of summer, or some driftwood at my feet where I was standing to try to capture the illusive vista photo. And I shook my head in wonder at how blessed I am to be living in such a magnificent setting. And yet..........and yet.................
My music, sweet background lilts kept me company and fed my thoughts of the paradox I was witnessing. Knowing I was headed to meet with different people living in dire poverty, who are struggling with serious health issues and yet can't afford the proper nutritional sustenance to help alleviate some of the symptoms, I felt guilty for having a life that allows me to stop and appreciate the freedom of the beauty. It's like I wasn't supposed to feel so good about what I was witnessing in between home visits.
Ah, but......as I reflect on my countryside travels I am beginning to see that the paradoxes are somewhat of a facade, for they are only in my own thinking. Yes the living conditions in the rundown houses hidden by the canopy of orange leaves are deplorable. No doubt about it.
Am I thinking that just because one is living such an existance doesn't marvel at the beauty all around them as well? Of course they do............and we talk about how wonderful this autumn has been.......that it has been warm longer than most years, and drier too so the wood can ripen so it will crackle in late November. In fact, it is the beauty of the season............the shared stories of deer sightings and Canada Geese......of favourite places to visit in the area, the fresh cool breeze which fills lungs much more easily than hot muggy air...that allows us to connect. Every single conversation I had began where we both admitted to feeling blessed for the quilted rolling hills, the sharp blue sky, and the canopy of lush colours.
Distressingly, we live under very different circumstances......which is a black etched scoring that digs deep into the pit of our stomachs. Its a sad reality, which I believe is erasable. Where we come together always, however is when we can acknowledge that the hymns we sing are the same.........some are quiet and sad and some are open hearted hallelujahs........we all know the hymns.
Be Thou my battle-shield, sword for my fight,
Be Thou my dignity, Thou my delight.
Thou my soul's shelter, Thou my high tower.
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.
It is at that place.......where we begin to work together to get rid of the paradoxes and to replace it with harmony.
the beautiful imperfections of fallen leaves....in harmony together