Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Standing in Awe of the World

For the past couple of weeks, I've been feeling a call to spend even more time in the quiet of life, thinking less, reading less, speaking less. I even told a friend, while visiting on the phone, "I'm tired of hearing my own voice. I find myself wanting to be still, to just listen and witness, to simply be present to the beauty of this world."

Last Sunday morning, as I was walking to the kitchen to put the coffee on, I paused at the living room window to look out and see what new tracks had been left in the freshly-fallen snow. Every day I'm rewarded with a variety of fresh animal tracks showing me they've been here, but have become rather surreptitious in their timing. Which is to say, when Buddy's sleeping. In that moment, I was able to condense this wish for quiet witnessing of the world into a simple phrase or two, asking for more opportunities.

A short while later, I could hear something calling in the distance. Knowing there was no time to waste, I flew out the front door and quickly rounded the corner of my house. There they were, coming towards me, right above the treetops: six trumpeter swans, moving as one, trumpeting as they passed. Their beautiful white wings, against the deep blue sky, seemed to be moving to the rhythm of life itself.  I stood in the snow, watching.  As they flew past me and down the driveway, I could see their black bills, a flicker or two of an orange tongue as they called out, their black feet tucked in and held steady. And then, those luminous wings banked to the left and followed the river, in a perfect triangle of light.



Friend, you have read enough.
If you desire still more,
Then be the poem yourself,
And all that it stands for. 

~ Angelus Silesius  (1624-1677),  from The Cherubinic Wanderer




The photograph, taken yesterday, is of the river that runs along the edge of my home here at Lonewolf.


70 comments:

  1. Oh, beautiful! and Trumpeter Swans?! sigh

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    1. Hi Carolyn, Trumpeter swans aren't usually seen this time of year, in this neck of the woods, which made this doubly exciting! They usually only winter on the river about two and a half hours south of here. It was so wonderful to see. Thanks for commenting.

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  2. Hello Teresa:
    Through your beautifully vivid description, we could see for ourselves what must have been a truly magical sight of the swans flying in formation. They must have made an impressive sight made even more memorable, we are sure, by the herald of trumpets!

    Sometimes when life is so very full and busy, it is good to just be. Then Nature in all its glory is revealed as fresh as the day!

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  3. This is truly a magical post. There's something about swans that stills the restless soul.

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    1. Their grace in flight is something to behold. Thank you, Kittie.

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  4. What a wonderful post! Sometimes I am envious of the wild things that people see when they live outside of town. Then I remember that there are lovely things in town as well, if I get myself up and out at the right time of day to experience them. ... You've been reading and studying and marrying visuals to words quite intensely for a while now. It makes sense that you are ready for quiet time, to let all of the ideas settle in, recombine, suggest new things to you. All the best, Teresa. I love your blog.

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    1. There really is beauty everywhere, yes, even in a city. Besides the natural spots most cities have, and the garden spots many cultivate, like your own, the architecture can also be lovely to look at. Thank you, Nancy.

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  5. I felt my breath come to a quick catch when you noticed the Trumpeter Swans, Teresa. Your words painted a picture far finer than any camera could and I could almost hear them call. We don't see them here, that I know of, but can sometimes here the Sandhill Cranes calling, up so high in the sky if you don't know their call you can miss them. Don't you just praise those perfect moments in time such as this?

    I've had those times of needing the stillness. Heed its call and enjoy your award. Congratulations! I did visit Jack Matthews site and have bookmarked it from when I have a little more time. Well done, Teresa.

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    1. I've heard those Sandhill cranes, but rarely seen them. Yes, they always seem to be too high and out of sight. This really was a perfect moment. I'm so grateful for it.

      Thanks, Penny.

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  6. That must have been a wonderful experience.

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    1. It was, Sandy. Those white wings against that blue sky was so elegant.

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  7. It's a wonderful gift - and, I feel, becoming a lost skill - to just be still, outwardly and inwardly. Hope it has refreshed you :-)

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    1. The more time I spend in quiet, the more I want to. It's such a feeling of peace.
      It's so nice to hear from you, Li.

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  8. How wonderful for you! How wonderful that you could be there for that special moment.

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  9. That incredibly well written post brought me right there next to you, Teresa, but I was busy fumbling with my camera trying to catch the moment and it slipped away. Thank you for drawing the picture of what I would have otherwise missed. :-)

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    1. I've lost a few moments to the camera myself. Sometimes it's nice to just stay in the moment and leave the camera alone. My memories of those times seem richer than those I "captured."
      Thanks, Jan.

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  10. I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed lately by blogging and emails and just being online too much. Not that I don't love my blog family and the time I spend with them, but I have felt such a longing for more quiet time to read and paint and draw...only have so many good hours a day...feel like I am being torn between the two. This was a post that struck a deep chord...lifting me with its vibration. Thank you. :)

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    1. I so understand, sweetie. Read, and paint, and draw. Blog only when you feel drawn in that direction.

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  11. Nice photo, you still have snow I see. I love those swans, a real nice sight to have seen.

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    1. Yes, we got snow two different days recently, but warm temps coming in a couple of days and lots of melting. They sure were a sight.

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  12. Oh yes.. I know the longing for stillness Teresa E. Your experience of the trumpeter swans is exquiste. Beauty everywhere.. when we have time to see. Thank you!

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    1. It was, Joan. Poetry in motion, as they say. Thank you.

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  13. I'm grateful for words and a camera.

    I'm not too good at silence yet, but it's a hope of mine.

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    1. Well, It's the place I seem to be finding myself. I won't be abandoning words and my camera entirely, but right now, less is more. :)

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  14. We see Cranes both leaving for the Winter, then returning in Spring. I don't know why, but I find it the most emotional sight (and sound).

    We have two dogs. One, a Lab', would sleep through a train crash, the other, a Border Collie X, is a very light sleeper and always lets us know if there are animals wandering about.

    Greetings from S W France.

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    1. Hello! Both cranes and swans seem to be the epitome of grace. And the sounds they make are almost otherworldly.

      Our dogs are good pals, aren't they?

      SW France. That sounds very nice. I'm glad you've paid a visit to my site. Thank you.

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  15. When you look and are aware, your own poetry will come to you.

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    1. To me, this was poetry itself. Life offers us infinite poetry, when we pay attention.

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  16. To yearn for the silence in the quietude of mind, is indeed a blessing. When peace dawns within, serenity reigns all around. Nature's act of selflessness is carried out quietly, and from there stems this yearning within.
    When animals leave their tracks along the trail, nature communicates with us. When Trumpeter swans fly across the sky, there too nature tries to reach us, for I believe no one and nothing comes to our attention without a purpose, however trivial it may seem.

    And, I really admire your ability to speak the depth which is hardly imagined by many. Excellent write. God bless.

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    1. So nice to hear from you cyclopseven. Your words are the perfect balm this morning. As you so beautifully stated, it all comes to us with a purpose.

      A friend, Diane, emailed some thoughts she found about six swans. I will forward it on to you. It was perfect!

      Thank you for your kind words about my writing. It's deeply appreciated.

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  17. I can just imagine you running outside to see the trumpeter swans, so glad you got there in time, nature is a thing of wonderment and beauty every day. Congrats on the award, it is well deserved. If it's anything I feel deeply it's the beauty nature provides to those who look and this post says so much about nature and about how I feel better than I could express myself.

    Whenever I hear the sandhill cranes I run outside as quick as I can hoping to catch a glimpse of them, they are difficult to see since they fly so high but just hearing the sound and knowing they are there is enough.

    I know what you mean about needing the quietness, with Gary not working he sometimes gets under my hair as I try to think or rest or relax; just walking by sometimes is an interference to my wants or needs. I was used to working alone for so much of my life, so we have had some adjustments to make at being together more than we were in the past.

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    1. Thank you so much, Linda. "...just hearing the sound and knowing they are there is enough." Yes, even the sounds are a gift.

      I can certainly commiserate with you on your last paragraph. I have my house to myself, but there was a time when I had trouble finding that place of absolute quiet. Buddy is here, but he's petty good about my writing time. Creative work needs sustained quiet in order for the ideas to start to flow. Perhaps have a room where you can have a sign on the door letting him know you are in that place/space? :)

      Thank you for your comments, Linda. I appreciate them.

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  18. I have never seen such a sight, but today feel as if I have. Thank you for sharing the swans and the moment and your inspiration. Lovely.

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  19. Hello Teresa! I understand your wish of being quiet and thinking less.
    I love the sound of swan wings. They are magic birds.

    It's a beautiful river where you live.

    Grethe ´)

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    1. Yes, even the wings make a nice sound. Their movement is a thing of true beauty. I do love having the river near.

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  20. Sorry Teresa! of course I forgot something. One of the DK swans is mute, the other is called a songswan, so it has this strange throat sound while it is flying, but the swans also have this strange sounds of the wings, which is fascinating. And you can hear it from afar when a flock comes. Five swans are a symbol of the Scandinavian countries, one swan for each country - and a painting with five swans (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Denmark) was very popular in a period! A swan is the Danish national bird, so that's why I got so enthusiastic, Teresa.
    Cheers to Buddy.
    Grethe ´)

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    1. I love the ideas behind these wonderful birds. The Danish national bird! I'm So glad for that additional grace. Buddy sends greetings. He's outside keeping watch. The wind is blowing somewhat enthusiastically!

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  21. I know what you mean about being tired of hearing your own voice. Some years back, I was stuck in the retelling of my then tale of woe. Finally one day, I realized that I was boring myself to pieces. I'm sure I had been boring my patient friends for months!

    How thrilling to see the swans!

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    1. Galen Pearl, Yes, it's interesting when we get to that point... :)

      It really was a thrill.

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  22. I'm still up. Can't sleep!! I have read up on your posts, they are magnifique! You are good!

    I'll now take a cup of Camomile-tea. Goodnight!
    See you later....~~~~~~~~

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    1. What a lovely image for me, to know that you were up, reading my posts. But, I hope that as I'm writing this, you're sleeping peacefully. :) Thank you so much, Grethe.

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  23. Perfect synchronicity -- the poem and your words. You write with feeling and thoughtfulness. Such a pleasure to read your posts. Lovely river photo -- barbara

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  24. Dear Teresa,
    Today I will "be the poem itself." Thank you. And may you live within the moment of peace and contentment that arcs from our souls to all creation.

    Peace.

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    1. Yes. The poem itself. Thank you. And may your day unfold with grace.

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  25. The awe comes from our perception of the world. I am in awe of the cosmos. It is much more then the Earth.

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    1. My world has always included the cosmos. I have posted many times on my thoughts around this, the universe, as we perceive it, and beyond.

      Thank you for commenting, Paul.

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  26. Love that poem and your thoughs. Yes. Sometimes, we're called to be still, to absorb life, to just be.

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    1. Hi Mary, Thank you so much. It's feeling good to be more still. The time is perfect, of course. :)

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  27. Poetry In The Sky!X
    P.S. I just found out this afternoon.....Look who I see in June!

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    1. Absolutely! :)

      I suppose it wouldn't be appropriate at all for me to be even a wee bit jealous. :) What a good thing to be a part of. Very cool.

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  28. I've never seen or heard a trumpeter swan, it must have been quite an experience! Here in New England we have mute swans, an invasive species, but beautiful nonetheless.

    Congratulations on the Prairie Sage Award. Your writing, as I have often said, is exquisite and amongst the best anywhere.

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    1. It was almost transformational, Bill.

      Thanks for the kind words. They're very much appreciated. And congratulations to you, as well. I think you've actually helped me enjoy the cold of winter.

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  29. No swans for me, but I did note the comment above about the sandhill cranes. Their are here in the winter, and can be delightful to watch when I come across a group of them - usually feeding in a field.

    The osprey is the real star of our silence. Their song is so beautiful, and carries for such a distance, it can be quite a chore to find one. They fly high, too, circling up and up, always singing.

    That's the way we should live - circling up, always singing.

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    1. Good Morning, The first time I heard a sandhill crane, a pair was in the field near my house. I thought it sounded like a pterodactyl might have. When I saw one of them standing with its head above the tall grass, I was sure of it. Odd creatures, and I'm so glad they're in the world.

      I will keep my eyes and ears out for the osprey.

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  30. I also stand in awe of the world, however, I am currently sitting on my ass in awe of your talent. "...in a perfect triangle of light." Dang, lady, that's big league imagery right there. I would have written, "...them birds looked a mite like a 747 up there in the sky." Really, really beautiful imagery, Teresa.

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    1. Why, thank you, Cletis. I'm glad you like it. It's a beautiful world, isn't it?

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  31. ahhh Teresa, much can be learned from silence if we only listen. I love your thoughts and the poem is interesting...

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    1. So true. a lesson I seem to need to learn again and again.

      Thank you, Tracy.

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  32. Both listening and seeing go hand-in-hand, and is necessary for inner reflection and enjoyment of the world around us.

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    1. Yes, absolutely essential. Thanks, Kate.

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  33. "And then, those luminous wings banked to the left and followed the river, in a perfect triangle of light."

    You're awesome.

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    1. Will, Thank you so much. It's always a pleasure hearing from you.

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