The last day of July. I will never complain about weather (at least, I hope that's the truth); it's a waste of time, of energy, and a poor use of our profound capacity for observation.
But I will tell you this: out of all the months in all the year, July ranks twelfth in my top ten. It is a long month, a still month, and there is probably reason for that. But here, we have climbed into the midway point between summer and autumn, and it's a different season entirely.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, this is the fifth season--late summer. Our pagan roots call it Lammas (August 2nd), and here, finally, is the harvest, the time to move again, the stillness and heat and weightiness of all that green fecundity is gently lifted away, day by shortening day.
The beautiful thing about the simple belief that you are depth is that, by definition (my definition), there is nothing you cannot access. Perhaps you need to train your breath, your skin for the change in temperature, your mind for the temporary absence of light, but it can all be done, easily, a minute, a second at a time.
When we move from the heart (and how is it that this is so easy to forget?), then there's never a question, never a fork in the path we can't navigate, rarely a choice that doesn't come easily.
It's a matter of moving the habitual center of thought (perched way up there, tottering on the top of a tired and overworked spine) down into the heart center. Into the center. Into the airy chamber of ribs and heat, blood and pattern. This is the space of knowing, of known, of remembering.
That top part, the part with all the cold seeing, hearing, thin air, well that's still good for some things. Math. Verb conjugations. Grammar.
Even when we have nowhere to go, nothing to gain, nothing to flee from, nothing to race to, we still insist on, if not swimming hard and fast in circles, then treading water, looking around, trying not to be noticed not being busy.
Just writing that was tiring. On those days, we float. And on the days we don't have time or breath or peace of mind not to swim, well, on those days we float, too. If just for a breath. A minute. Then an hour.
Buoyancy is a life skill, a survival skill, swiftly receding from generational memory.
It's incredible when you have those windows, those moments of clarity--the low-humidity, cool fall-like day in the midst of July--and you remember that it won't always be summer. It won't always be so hot, so humid, so still. You remember that relief does come and that this day was a gift--a small reminder to keep you here, to remind you that you do have the breath and the time and the resources to welcome the relief of fall when it comes.
It all passes. It's all temporary. But without these small respites, these little reminders, it's impossible to remember, to believe, to have faith that it won't always be this hard.
It's funny, really, what seems obvious after it's pointed out, that the stories we tell ourselves by rote aren't in any way reality. These are projections and, more often than not, dire predictions. Maybe it's not everyone; maybe there really are optimists out there, born that way, who, when a thing goes wrong, they assume it's a one-off, they'll get past it and things will get better.
Whether or not that's true, in the long run, doesn't matter. What matters is that energy, that easy, assumed ability to believe. It must be a wonderful place. And, like everything else, it must be something the rest of us, with habitual, mindful practice, can learn.
"Wait" can be just another evil four-letter word, for sure. I hear that. I'm absolutely pinned to the spokes, waiting for this particular wheel of time to pass, and it's slow-going. Sometimes it seems as if it would be more expedient to get off this ride and just push the bloody cart up the hill. But as soon as you try it? Dang, that sucker's heavy. No wonder it's so maddeningly slow.
So you get back on and you breathe. And you grumble about the scenery until the sound of your own voice bores you to tears, and you decide that silence isn't all that bad; that tree and that hill over there aren't that bad either. And so you watch the scenery change until you're pulled back to the discomfort of your perch, get up a good grumble, then look around and realize just how far you've come.
I like secrets and I'm good at keeping them. I don't like lies, but then, I'm a terrible liar. I'm also none too adept at hiding my feelings, at least for very long.
But I do like holding things back, harmless things, just for myself. Perhaps it's a habit leftover from a childhood of telling myself stories at night, or under (or in) a tree in the woods on one of my frequent quests for solitude, for hidden places. Maybe secrets just come with the territory of a personality that craves being alone--imaginary walls when no actual ones are at hand.
At any rate, there's nothing wrong with a comforting insulation of information you keep to yourself, not unlike the small shoebox I still carry, rattling around with objects from my travels, collected over years.