The rain has played with the clouds and the peeping sun for days. Sometimes the forest glows lush and golden; then it drips and drips, the earth sucking at our galoshes. Nothing lasts for long.
Here spring is in full swing. Outside my window, bluebirds are nesting in the box fastened to the old smoke house. Brilliant blue and orange, they flash from tree to box, bearing a morsel of caterpillar, or sweet grasses for their nest. Back and forth they go, slipping again and again through the small, round opening, into the mysterious dark interior and back out again.
Meanwhile, we were visited not long ago by a swarming hive: electric, magnificent, of one mind, the bees landed in the old hackberry tree, setting the place atremble. For an afternoon and a night the bees stayed and the universe hummed; the next morning, suddenly, they took off, gone in a flash. Kate, Emma, Ana and I tried without success to follow them. More easily we might have chased a spirit.
Recently I reflected on doors and thresholds to open a meeting of the Shepherd Village community. I read a poem about the choices we make and the risks we take, and mused about the mysteries and possibilities that lie on the other side of the round holes and shifting clouds. The poet declared emphatically, “Either you will go through this door or you will not go through.” As if that were the end of it. But here’s the thing, as a friend pointed out: the door is always moving, and what got you over the last threshold, the steps and tricks you learned, are useless at the next. The weather changes constantly in this season; the creatures all around are restless, moving, on the go, hovering on the shifting edges of unseen worlds. Things are not cut and dried, nor so easily crossed.
It can be unsettling, even infuriating to watch the ever-receding horizon slip through door after door, every moment presenting a newer and more intransigent question, another unwanted lesson. This dance unfolds, though, in a multi-colored, luminous world, drenched just as much in sunlight as in shadow. After all, spring is the season of beginning again, of tenderness, and sweet, ripe berries on the stem. If the dance is maddening and a little treacherous, it is also redolent of vibrant possibility and new life.
I am reminded of another poem about thresholds and doors. This one by Anne Hillman:
We look with uncertainty
beyond the old choices for
to a softer, more permeable aliveness
which is every moment
at the brink of death;
for something new is being born in us
if we but let it.
We stand at a new doorway,
awaiting that which comes…
daring to be human creatures,
vulnerable to the beauty of existence.
Learning to love.