Isn’t it fascinating how life unfolds for us, often despite our own actions. I enjoy watching people, observing their reactions, choices and way of interacting with the world around them. I often wonder, “did they consciously choose?” or “did they just go through the motions?”.
Life can change within a moment. We forget that, which is a blessing and a curse, I suppose. I catch myself getting caught up at times in the blind behavior of believing that the world “happens to me,” while in truth, I am choosing how I interact with the world.
It was clammy and cool, causing goosebumps to rise. The walls were a blend of rocks, dirt and moisture. The floor had hardened over time, an uninviting place to sit. My “little grandpa,” who was actually my great grandpa, had to duck to get down in there with me, but, he was always willing to humor me for a while. It was one of my favorite places on the farm, for it was home to the squishy little salamanders I enjoyed befriending. Early summer was the best time to be in there, for it was refreshing and the root vegetables from the last harvest were gone. The tiny little dark root cellar was just one of the wonders that remains tucked in my childhood memory bank.
As a toddler I frolicked around my great grandpa’s farm. I called him my “little grandpa”, for his son, who was much taller and broader, got nick-named “big grandpa”. In my little mind the names made total sense and became the endeared titles for them as my siblings arrived one by one.
I absolutely loved my little grandpa’s farm. It sat in a small community in southern Michigan. A miniature piece of land that felt gigantic to my young adventurous spirit. It was full of wonders and places to explore. Thankfully my little grandpa humored my tagging along, even though it was hard for my stubby legs to keep up.
Like the seeds my great grandma would plant every spring in the garden, the farm memory rooted itself in me. I can still feel the gentle flow of life there, the seasons and the wonders of the land in its gracious life giving abundance.
Dear ole Rastis was my easy-going four legged best friend. He was a striking mix of black and white soft fur and just the right height for me to use as a balancing tool. Best of all he let me take care of him, kindly receiving my offered meal of rocks. It was a good thing I did not know until years later, that when I was not looking he would spit them out.
The other day as I reviewed the COVID-19 numbers around the world, it struck me again, how the hotbeds for the virus seem to be the densely populated areas. This led me to thinking about the human’s movement from living on the land, to occupying high rises. The shift from an agricultural species to an industrialized machine. As the years have flown by, we become even more disconnected from our roots with the land. For me, this recent world situation poignantly shares the ripple effect of our choices in so many ways.
The small farmer that has survived the onslaught of monster mono-crop farming, can still go out his/her door today to co-create an existence with the land. If necessary, they can generate a way to survive and get by during challenging times. Whereas, the individual sitting on the 39th floor of a high rise is limited with their ability to provide for themselves or their family. They are dependent upon the interwoven “advanced” lifestyle we have established over time.
Business as usual is non-existent as I type these words. We are being offered a magnified view of the infrastructure we have chosen to co-create. The closing of daily business as we know it has created a tsunami effect on the unemployment lines. What will the long term impacts be? How have our priorities and choices impacted us and the future?
I don’t know about you, but, thoughts of the small farm life prick my curiosity. The ability to wisely provide for my family, share bounty with others and create a community that ebbs and flows with the land, seems very inviting. A few years ago, I enjoyed the opportunity to work on a local organic farm, it was a sweet time that re-ignited my childhood memories. I never slept better than during that time, my body physically tired, my spirit full with a solid sense of important accomplishment. Ironically, I could not feed my family on the income I received, thus, I found myself back in the city working behind a desk. Personally, I find this backwards, for providing healthy nourishing food seems to be one of the most important life giving professions that exist.
Many years ago I discovered a book that really stirred my thoughts about sustainable living – “Solviva – How To Grow $500,000 On One Acre & Peace On Earth,” by Anna Edey. Here was a single woman, like myself, going for it, trusting in herself and the land. She presented some interesting images for a “livable future” that really piqued my imagination (see above image), what if, we actually became that smart. Recently, I found myself exploring another sustainable way of living, Earthships. What if we actually started to think about our quality of life and how to create a better future for our children and the generations to come after that. We are creative, perseverant, compassionate, resilient beings when we decide that’s how we want to be… Like Edison, Einstein, the Wright Brothers, and any one else who had an idea, anything is possible if we believe, keep trying, learn from our mistakes and stay open to new ideas. After all, you are reading this on a tool that certainly did not exist when I was young.
I continue to wonder will we use this COVID-19 world experience to make changes that honor our inter-relationship with the land?
Or pretend nothing happened?
Will we wish to respect and cultivate a new way of being upon the planet?
Or ignore all the valuable insights we have gained?
What if, we did not “return to normal,” instead we decide to co-create a “fresh new start.” A way of living upon this planet which sets it up to thrive for generations to come…
I sat straight up in the small wooden chair. It reminded me an old childhood school chair. The room was empty, could I actually call it a room, for there were no walls and it went on forever. The space was just vast endless blue gray light. Only me and my chair. “Where was I? Why was I here? How do I escape?” I felt weighted down in the chair, my legs unresponsive to my minds tingling panic. I encouraged myself to calm down, to breathe, to trust and let go of fear.
Like a gigantic movie screen the space in front of me lit up with a life sized scene. It was me. Dressed in my favorite blue and red jeans with flowing light blue blouse speckled with daisies. My hair was blowing in every direction, encircling my young face and my feet as always were dirty with no shoes. The six year old me stepped closer, I was transfixed by her gaze and unable to look away.
She stopped in front of me, reaching out her small little hands to stroke my cheek. Our eyes stayed locked together, a mirror of soft sky blue. In her eyes I saw such deep love, compassion, and spirited joy. They begged me to relax, to let go, to trust and be present. I felt the emotions welling up in me, a tear slid down my face as I leaned into her tiny hand, so warm, soft and gentle. The fear slid out of my body, disappearing like mist in the infinite space.
“My dear Fawn, do you remember?” she asked. Her young voice broke the still silence. Her gentle caress continued to wipe the moist tears from my face. My eyes answered her question with confusion. “What was I to remember? Had I made a promise I forgot? Then it struck me, was I dead? Had I left my physical body and now was stuck in this random space with my young self.” Her vague question had jolted my mind into high drive, which started the generator of fear again.
“Shhhhh…, it’s okay”,she soothed, continuing to touch my forehead and gray hair. I took a deep breath and relaxed back into her presence. I tried to move my lips, but they seemed paralyzed as I processed this experience. “Do you remember the dreams we used to have, the adventures we were going to go on, the books we were going to write, the places we were going to see and photograph?” a giggle filled her body as she asked the questions. Before I could answer she placed her tiny finger on my lips to stop me, softly cooing, “Watch with me“. The space lit up with a panoramic scene, the young me running barefoot down my favorite path towards our small little house tucked in the woods.
I was singing as I bounced along the trail. I looked so healthy and vibrantly alive. Free and wild in my mind, heart and soul. I completely believed that anything was possible, I could go where ever I wanted, do what I dreamed and see all the places I could imagine. The world was the frontier, full of adventures, people and new experiences.
Everything froze, washing the image away. Then suddenly there I was again, this time in my late teens. I sat under my thinking tree, a magnificent red pine that stoically held me perched above the gurgling river below. A smile crossed my face as I remembered. Warm salty tears kissed the edges of my eyes, tears of gratitude, love, joy, sadness, loss, and regret. The weight of her small hand on my shoulder kept me present, despite the urge to slip into the quiet space of a time gone by.
“Go there” she pleaded . “Feel into what we were thinking, dreaming, feeling, wanting. Remember”, her words drifted off.
I felt myself remembering, my spirited body became filled with a blend of loss, desire and ignited hope. The sobs escaped through smiling lips and undecipherable laughter. The dreams of yesterday, of the little girl and young woman permeated my very essence. In my minds eye and hearts page, I saw the books I dreamed to write, I witnessed the exploration of new places, the connection with people around the globe, learning, sharing, bridging humanity with humanity and humanity with nature.
A gasp rose up and escaped my emotionally racked body. Like a bursting comet it hit me, “I still dreamed to connect humanity, to awaken people to their unique magnificence, to bring them home to their inner state of being, awakening them to their heart and souls desires.”
It all flushed through me, the remembered awareness that nature connected us, healed and reminded us of our true inner essence.
Bridge building, that’s what I felt called to share. The bridge between human and nature, the bridge between the inner self and outer being, the bridge between all humanity, exposing our similarities no matter our walk of life or place of existence.
I looked up into the innocent wise face of my younger self, she smiled, running her velvety hand down my cheek. She leaned in, kissed my forehead and disappeared. I sat frozen, uncertain what to feel or do. My being was digesting, absorbing the intense experience. In my ear I heard her softly whisper, “Thank you for remembering, take gentle care of you and I will see you again soon.”
I sat there mesmerized by my own vibrant memories. Rekindling the wild child, the wild woman in me. Closing my eyes, I took in a tender quiet breath. As I released the cleansing air from my lungs, I blinked my tired eyes to life, uncertain in the moment what was “real” or a “dream”. I laid there, feeling into the gift from my younger self.
To be continued…
Until then, what if –
You sat in an empty room with your younger self, viewing the cinema of your youth, what would you witness, learn, remember?
What would your younger self show you, tell you, share with you?
As a young girl I loved to sit at my small dark wood desk, resting underneath the solo window of my bedroom. A breeze spiraling in with sounds of the outside world. I would sit in that quiet reverie contemplating life, listening to the birds, the trees, the layers of silence. Feeling safe and held by the home which had stood strong since its construction during the great depression. I often wondered about the hands and hearts that built the large log cabin I lived in. They were on the road, away from family, working physically hard every day to send money home to those they loved. The Civilian Conservation Corps set up during the depression by President Franklin D. Roosevelt left a trail of crumbs across this nation in the form of log cabins, tree plantings, bridge building, forest fire fighting and so much more. I was gifted at age nine to move into one of these historic homes, it cradled me with stoic wisdom. In my heart, I shall always feel, hear, smell and resonate with the home and land that “built me”.
Today as I sit upon my fifteen dollar wicker garage sale chair, I am blessed to feel the soft caress of a spring breeze, watch the ripples on the pond and hear the song of birds intermixed with the distant buzz of traffic. This sweet little sanctuary is tucked in the center of a busy city, a diamond hidden in the hard concrete that swaddles it. I watch and listen as people walk by on the nature trail across the pond, they meander a path sandwiched between the Boise River and the planned suburban neighborhood. I wonder what they are thinking at this interesting time in our world. The dogs with them merrily celebrate the chance to play with their human being, living completely in the present moment as always in joyful glee and curiosity.
I get to sit here doing what I love, putting word to page, because the world is on “lockdown”, a time of shutting away to protect ourselves and each other from the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a sad and scary time and yet it is also an opportunity to slow down, reflect, feel and notice what is most important.
In the last few days I have noticed more families than ever before on the nature path. I have actually observed teenagers and young people, a rare sighting in the wooded arena. The natural world has become the safe zone, a place we can stretch our legs and allow movement to soothe the inner nagging fears. In the last few days I have watched my own children who are now young adults, play games, create art, read books, and for my son, prepare to finish his junior year of college online.
Personally I have found myself deeply searching what truly matters to me. While I am blessed to be off the treadmill of daily expectations and busy-ness, I tour what beckons my heart and soul? What do I dream to live and experience before I leave this planet? What makes me smile and feel vibrantly alive?
I have chuckled at the answers to these questions, for they are not a surprise. Instead they return full circle to the same dreams as that young girl sitting beneath her windowsill at her little wooden desk. I am still a simple person, a content introspective quiet soul. I find great joy in noticing the subtle changes in a flower that has started its blooming journey. Peace rises and percolates within me for the consistent grace and flow of nature, its tenacity and on going perseverance. Its exudes courage and strength as it bends and furls in response to the impacts of humans and mother nature. Like us, it is often at the mercy of what gets hurled upon it. The ebb and flow of tides perpetuate across the globe despite the human struggles at this time. Nature endures, we endure…
Nature mirrors for me what is possible.
To sprout and become in adversity.
To radiate beauty in the midst of chaos.
To serenade in perfect harmony amid the onslaught of man’s machines.
To acquiesce with perseverance and complete faith…
Like a fallen leave floating in forced surrender upon the turbulent waters of a fast moving river…
In time it shall eddy in quiet stillness, catching it’s breath, taking in the view…
Rising, falling, twisting, flipping, floating, where and when shall its journey end..?
Only to begin again…
~ Fawn Caveney
In this unexpected challenging time, what are you noticing about yourself and the life you live?
I am curious what you might be discovering as you are forced to slow down and BE?
Are you able to feel into gratitude for the hidden blessings?
Has your compassion expanded or contracted?
How can you use this time to reconnect to the self, ignite dreams?
What are the creative ways you can connect with others?
In the surrender can you find the inner peace that resides within?
For me, in this moment, I have been allowed the time to remember. To come home to the quiet little girl dreams. Sure, I could go down the path of fear, it is there tapping on my door. How would that serve me, or those I love? As I breathe in deeply, feeling the truth that each moment is pure grace, never to return again, I choose to hear, listen, feel and notice. How do I wish to spend the next moment? As always we are at choice to BE or react.