“Is the exploration of the natural world just a pleasant way to pass the golden hours of childhood or is there something deeper?

I am sure there is something much deeper, something lasting and significant. Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen, among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life. Whatever the vexation or concerns of their personal lives, their thoughts can find paths that lead to inner contentment and to renewed excitement in living. Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of the birds, the ebb and flow of the tides, the folded bud ready for the spring. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter.” (Rachel Carson, from The Sense of Wonder)

I reflect on 2013 with surprise, amazement and gratitude. The landscape behind me unfolds many growthful moments sustaining but not without the visitation of potent losses and some ridiculous scuffles with bullies in grown-up pose. Yet, an underpinning of daily love-wealth and a sense of wonder grows in the midst of it all, somehow not diminished by all that could potentially block the light of such a beautiful sun shining down on our fleeting lives. The blossoming of new ventures and friendships, the growth of my children and their ability to nurture the creative within, feltness of soul and the wisdom of authenticity, these realities settle all the questions posed by events impossible to control. The punctuation of some fractured bonds and tides of change suggesting something I should have done differently or might have foreseen if only I hadn’t trusted, loved, kept my heart open…had a pulse, passion, and vision…these moments whisper at me too. “If only” takes me nowhere. So I try not to go there. The alternative is to close off, shut down, refuse risk, assume it’s all caused by some fatal internal flaw. Those “laws of attraction” can pose some ugly possibilities and ignores how ironic it is when the narcissists presumably thrive while the givers receive loss and those who never had a chance take the blame. I’ve concluded popular beliefs are not validated by their popularity any more than when most preferred the flat earth theory. While it’s critical we stay aware of the wicked unconscious within, doing what we can to transform, or corral or oust the more destructive layers of self, I find myself nauseated by the assurances of so many platitudes and easy answers. There are times I want to barricade myself against the world, humanity’s confusion left to boil itself out.

But the sky.

But the hugs and sounds of three birthing the soul of the world in their own unique ways.

j. ruth kelly, 2013

j. ruth kelly, 2013

But love.

But the call of birds.

But the feel of softness against skin.

Rain on face.

Sun pouring vibrations vibrant.

So much wonder.

Here’s to letting go, leaping into the unknown and trusting love…

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