Today I awoke well before dawn. I looked out my window and thought I saw snow on the limbs and leaves of the mayday tree. It took several seconds to register it was the combination of predawn light and my focus on the spaces in between that conjured the image of snow.
Even though the formal arrival of fall is still two weeks away, sandals have given way to shoes and socks, capris have lengthened to jeans, and wool sweaters kept me and The Scientist cozy this week as we worked in our office. Given the extended forecast – wet, cloudy and cold – I wonder if the much anticipated Indian Summer will pass us by, much as summer did. Regardless, snow will fall soon enough. That is inevitable.
Living in Alberta, I’m always struck by the speed of the transition seasons, spring and autumn. Here one day, gone the next. Fruit blossoms explode over the course of a warm sunny day, held in buds as I drive to work in the morning, opened to their fullness as I drive back home. Leaves come into vibrant colour in a matter of days, only to be blown off and away by a powerful wind. I’ve learned to pay attention, anticipate and make time to capture the splendid intensity of these seasons.
I remember reading years ago in one of Carlos Castaneda’s books about his journeys into shamanism, an instruction from his teacher, Don Juan, to focus on the spaces in between the leaves of the tree he was gazing at. Just now, as I “googled” for its source, I came to one person’s compilation of Don Juan’s teachings from the Journey to Ixtlan volume:
“One must assume responsibility for being in a weird world. For you the world is weird because if you’re not bored with it you’re at odds with it. For me the world is weird because it is stupendous, awesome, mysterious, unfathomable; my interest has been to convince you that you must assume responsibility for being here, in this marvelous world, in this marvelous desert, in this marvelous time. I want to convince you that you must learn to make every act count, since you are going to be here for only a short while, in fact, too short for witnessing all the marvels of it.
Change! If you do not respond to that challenge you are as good as dead. You have never taken the responsibility for being in this unfathomable world. Therefore, you were never an artist, and perhaps you’ll never be a hunter. There is one simple thing wrong with you–you think you have plenty of time. You think your life is going to last forever.”
I’m awed by this marvelous synchronicity.