We have been in the Floridian summer pattern: at some point in the day, thunder, lightening, wind and rain. Which reminds me of what Thomas Merton wrote about rain:
"rain . . . fills the woods with an immense and confused sound. It covers the flat roof of the cabin and its porch with insistent and controlled rhythms. And I listen, because it reminds me again and again that the whole world runs by rhythms I have not yet learned to recognize . . . What a thing it is to sit absolutely alone . . . cherished by this wonderful, unintelligible, perfectly innocent speech, the most comforting speech in the world, the talk that rain makes by itself . . . Nobody started it, nobody is going to stop it. It will talk as long as it wants, this rain. As long as it talks I am going to listen."
That passage reminded me of when I used to sit on my little porch with its metal roof, listening to, watching the rain, smelling it, feeling it . . . what peace!! Now I can't do that, living in a high rise; but there are compensations. Living on the fourth floor, I can watch it from a different vantage point; I see the massiveness, the complexity, the beauty of the clouds more fully; I live right among the lightening and the rain blowing in the wind. Powerful, powerful, importantly humbling. Good for the soul or spirit or self . . .
In between promises and bouts of rain yesterday, I walked downtown: the image above is an example of what presented itself for meditation then.
"People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child--our own two eyes. All is a miracle." Thich Nhat Hanh (Italics added.)
"Again and again as I walked on, some small occurrence, some detail, would delight me into stopping--the way a shadow fell on a rock, a feather fallen on to a rock and shining in the light, a calf lying in gold-green grass, kicking its spindly legs in the air, a break of clear, high, rapid birdsong, a patch of rose-bushes, gnarled, windswept, but with a few last roses still on them, marking the place where green ended and rock began." Andrew Harvey, A Journey in Ladakh
Three Thomas Merton quotes:
We can no longer rely on being supported by structures that may be destroyed at any moment by a political power or a political force. You cannot rely on structures. They are good and they should help us, and we should do the best we can with them. But they may be taken away, and if everything is taken away, what do you do next? Asian Journal
Do not depend on the hope of results . . . You may have to face the fact that your work will apparently be worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps the results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. The Hidden Ground of Love
(CN: this sounds a little bit like Krishna's advice to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita.)
There is in all visible things an invisible fecundity, a dimmed light, a meek namelessness, a hidden wholeness. This mysterious Unity and integrity is Wisdom, the Mother of all, Natura naturans.
No words; just a showing . . .
Andrew Harvey, A Journey in Ladakh: "Slowly I relaxed, gave up my sense of baffled and half-ironic detachment and began to delight in everything--in the faces of the old nuns . . . with their hands always folded in prayer, in the . . . sly unctuous movements of the dogs, in the way the monks poured the tea, in the turquoise and pearl earrings of the young women, swaying slightly above their shoulders as they prayed, in the noise, all the elements of it, the chanting, the singing, the talking, the muffled cries of the young children, the creak of the great monastery doors . . . I began to experience a little of what it might be like to live all one's life as a meditation, to feel every action spacious and delightful, every gesture part of a prayer that had no beginning and no end, that was older and fresher than any ritual, however elaborate and beautiful."
The first image is of Johns Pass and the bridge between Treasure Island and Madeira Beach; the second is of downtown St Petersburg.
More photos from Tampa. The interior is of the "Cube," the home of the Museum of Photographic Arts.
In contrast (perhaps) to the images, this is from Andrew Harvey: "To walk by a stream, watching the pebbles darken in the running water, is enough; to sit under the apricots is enough; to sit in a circle of great red rocks, watching them slowly begin to throb and dance as the silence of my mind deepens is enough: I do not think I can contain or feel any more . . . the great silent splendour that I was moving in, the sound of the stream, and the voices of the birds calling from rock to rock, ringing clearly off the rocks to rinse my mind of everything but calm."
Be praised, my Lord,
through Brothers Wind and Air,
and clouds and storms,
and all the weather Francis of Assisi