Stillness at the Center: The Rhythm of Wild Things

I’ll soon be closing The Daily Round’s first journey around the year’s circle. The thing about closing a circle is that you arrive at the place you began, and though life seems more a spiraling helix than a circle, there are the rhythms of the wild things, my signposts and psalms calling me to stillness and reflection as I spin once again around the sun and notice the angles of light that tell me autumn is nearing.

Last October, I wrote about my friend, Jane, the writing spider. I’ve been keeping my eyes open for her progeny as I wander through the gardens that are nearest the place I set her egg sac to rest last year. We were surprised to find one of her daughters had chosen an exterior window of Phillip’s workshop for her home. She graciously allowed me to photograph her, and the elegantly inscribed web she’d woven.

In return, I shared stories about her mother and our friendship, which seemed to create a bond between us. Last evening, she was gone, but her own  extravagantly secured egg sac remains as a sign that another cycle is beginning.

Sometimes it seems ironic to seek stillness on a planet spinning about its axis while orbiting a whirling star in a pin-wheeling galaxy, but I seek it nonetheless, and am still learning how to better meet its geography at my center, whether I’m wheeling through local space on my bicycle, walking the trail, or taking the morning’s turn through the gardens. Ancora imparo, wrote Michelangelo in the margins of a late-life sketch: “I am still learning.”

I am learning stillness. I am still.

The Canada geese, blue and green herons and sandhill cranes, faithful signposts, have been teaching me about stillness in the circle journey, as they stand serene, gently planted in flowing rivers and tall grass. Soon they’ll be joining thousands of their species in staging areas located in our marshes and wetlands, before flying south for the winter.

The hickory nuts have matured and fallen, and the squirrels are storing them in my gardens and pausing, it seems, to make merry while the sun shines.

The insects are mating, planting new life on leaves and sticks, under logs and grasses, so that revolutions of metamorphosis will enable their emergence as adults in the next circle’s turn. Last weekend, the soldier beetles and common grass yellow butterflies were mating, while the diligent bumblebee and skipper went about their feeding undisturbed, drinking nectar and distributing the pollen that ensures another circle for the gardens as well.

My camera often seems to be the eye and my walks the anchor of my stillness, in every season. They allow me to focus on one thing at a time and decelerate my energy to the calming waves of “now” and “just this.” Solvitur ambulando: It is solved by walking; although, in this lovely circling labyrinth we call life, I don’t know that solving questions is nearly as important as asking them and living within their possibilities, turning them through the year, and noticing where they lead.

This morning I discovered a second daughter of Jane’s, in medias res, resting at her story’s center, or beginning its telling there, in stillness. I thanked her for her presence and grace, and shared again that I knew her mother…

Our lives revolve, connect and circle round, but spiral outward as well, through the relationships we form and the stories they create. The rhythm of wild things sings the truth of this, round and round.

Hush. Be still. The signposts are everywhere.

Notice.

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12 thoughts on “Stillness at the Center: The Rhythm of Wild Things

  1. Blessings K…. Wonderful descriptions as always and yes, we learn from the creatures of God so much if we just are quiet and still so we can see and learn. Jane is quite the queen. Do you know what the zigzag ladder type webbing is for that they make? I never figured that out. She is most elegant indeed. Enjoy the approaching fall and all it brings as it tucks the earth to bed for winter…..Happy weekend….VK

  2. It is good to learn stillness, if just because the world is in constant ferment. There is no escaping the excitement… but sometimes we get carried away, and miss the stillness. Your pictures are eloquent, and give me pleasure often. And since our new year is fast approaching, I have been thinking similar thoughts of the circle, and how different it is each year. Beautiful post.

  3. For years, my mother kept a story on the refrigerator about Ukatangi. I felt drawn to the story, felt it working on my heart. For a long time I didn’t understand it…until I finally went still…hushed. Tonight, the story flashed into my mind, and I felt motivated to find the words, and found your blog. I’m so glad I did. The words and photos you share are beautiful. Thank you.

  4. I am learning stillness, still. Thanks for the much-needed reminder, teacher.
    I would love to take a walk with you and your camera. Instead, I will take your eye for each bit of nature to stroll in our backyard.

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