I have become to him more cat now. When we
have cuddles, he will lick my fingers assiduously, much more than he used to —
then will suddenly give a sharp little nibble. There would be more, but at that
point I yelp and push him away. He goes, sulkily. I am still the Alpha.
I open my kitchen drawer, and leap back. It’s full of tiny
ants. They can't be looking for water — it’s gently raining outside. So it must be going
to be a hard summer. Usually we think of a hard winter; usually the ants come
indoors looking for food in a hard winter. What is global warming doing?
As if it senses my unease and responds, it rises from hovering near the jade plant at the edge of my front veranda and heads over to the bushes by the fence. I sip my coffee and read about writing haibun.
A little later it returns. It lands on a jade leaf, walks underneath it, and strokes the upside with its fine front legs.
'I'm glad to see you, bee,' I think this time.
I know they are said to be dying out. If they do, it is further said, we shall all be doomed.
I contemplate the tree growing tall by my fence. I know it's a weed — one I didn't catch and pull out while it was still a baby, and look at it now! It's beautiful. It's hard to know how to serve Nature best.
The wind freshens, the thunder revs up. It's time to go inside. The rain will be humid.
Slowing down and taking time to observe my life, I notice and
savour the comforts of the body; I dwell in them — the cushions at my back and
behind my head, the warmth of the shoes on my feet, the aftertaste ofmy dinner, my breath moving easily out and in.
My northern hemisphere
friends write of snow and the last leaves falling. Here the trees are thick
with leaves, full of flowers; some already have berries. The threat is from sudden summer storms, which can tear them off in a few minutes. Quite by accident, we time our river walk perfectly today, and are sitting in a cafe when the thunder and pelting rain descend out of nowhere.
I realise that work is not in preparation for my retreat, but part of it. The good, honest, physical work of cleaning house. Much is needed. I neglected it all winter and spring. It feels good to give it a little time each day, incorporating it into my daily schedule of reading, writing, meditation, self-healing sessions, exercise and relaxation. Now, '... exercise, relaxation and work.' Not exactly in that order, and none of them at only one time all day. It is only the 3rd of December. I am still working out the routines that serve best. Already I am becoming more peaceful.
The first day of my
home vacation.I clean the outdoor
chairs and coffee tables on both my back and front verandas, wiping them down repeatedly with a microfibre cloth.With my yard broom I catch and remove
the thick, old, uninhabited cobwebs binding the vines to my shelf of garden
tools. I take the trowel and dig up my new French lavender, put it in a pot and
place the pot on the front veranda where it will get the full sun I now know it
needs.I wash the frames of my front
and back doors and dust the flywires. My holiday can begin. (To be honest, it's not so much a vacation, though it will function that way too, as a spiritual retreat.)