Thursday, April 3, 2014

Joy for this world, just as it is

Here in this enchanted land known as the greater Bay Area of northern California, rain has been falling intermittently but quite heavily and blessedly during the last week. While the state snow survey that took place just a couple of days ago showed that we are still at only 32% of the average snow pack that we rely on to get us through our largely precipitation free summers, the storms brought along an incredible, sweeping energy, complete with a type of powerful thunder and lightning which are often elusive here. After a dry winter spent live tweeting a drought, I find myself making evening pilgrimages to our newly green hills almost daily. It is inevitable that I return home full of a type of deep joy that comes only from being in the world in this particular way.

There is no doubt that this landscape is shaped by people. That speck of blue off in the distance is a reservoir, beyond that is the contentiously engineered Bay Delta. Hidden nearby in the brush are a couple of cattle ponds. To get here you walk through a grove of non-native eucalyptus, a cathedral of trees that I can't help but love, but which are being thinned as we speak to curb wildfire danger. This place is not pristine, and it's beautiful and full of life.

Right now there are poppies everywhere. The small lizards sunning themselves on the path during warm fall afternoons have given way to juvenile rabbits that dart out from the brambles every few minutes in the evenings. Not long ago I was lucky enough to have a bobcat meander not ten feet away, no doubt hunting those rabbits. I regularly see owls and always scrub jays. Giant muddy wallows are signs of the enormous feral pigs that seem both everywhere and nowhere. Coyotes howl nearby at dusk. And currently a small frog chorus provides this lovely soundtrack:

I find myself so often wanting to bring to the surface the unacknowledged and unconscious, and many times that comes down to the "dark emotions" like grief. But, there are also so many times when what is hidden is a deep joy for this world, exactly as it is.

All photos by me.

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