Footprints

Remember sixteen – when all the world was new and a lifetime stretched before you like fresh snow just waiting for your footprints? ~ Peggy Toney Horton

dogprintsI haven’t been leaving many footprints here lately. Life took a decidedly inward turn in December as I began to treasure the last few weeks of my sabbatical, reluctant to share the quiet and solitary days left to me before I returned to the whirlwind of another semester. Punctuated only by a happy crowd of family and friends on Christmas Day, I spent those days reading, thinking, writing and walking and sometimes snuggled up to the fireplace with Angel in my lap. (She may be large but she considers herself a lap dog!)

Snow has been plentiful this winter, nature sharing her winter mulch in a generous way. And so I have been able to track the rabbit that sneaks through the fence into my garden to chew on the rose bushes, leaving my own steps behind. Angel tracks the rabbit’s movements with great interest but we never catch a glimpse of it, only the traces of its path in the snow. I have been feeling like that rabbit lately, making quiet visits to favorite blogs but rarely leaving a footprint. It was a bit of a shock to return to work after seven months of quietly pursuing my own path, but I have found my inner and outer balance again and suddenly find that I want to leave a few more footprints in my wake. A special thanks to those of you who stopped by here to say hello while I was on vacation.

A few footprints in my life. (All images © Lynn Emberg Purse, 2014)

A musical version of Footprints, with composer and saxophonist Wayne Shorter performing live with Esperanza Spalding on the Tavis Smiley Show. Enjoy!

“I think that’s what we all want, in the end. To know that we left footprints when we passed by, however briefly. We want to be remembered.” ~ Mike E. Lancaster

Quiet, not Silence

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all ~ Emily Dickinson

moonThe silence this morning was deafening. The dark days are upon us in the northern hemisphere – each bright day shrinking, each dark night expanding, until the solstice shifts the tide in a few weeks.  A full moon and its subsequent reduced appearances have awakened me each morning long before daylight.  I admit to a modest glass of chardonnay sipped yesterday morning at 5:30 A.M. – the moon was so bright that I couldn’t sleep, it seemed more like night than morning, and so I paid homage to its lingering light. Balanced on the edge of night and morning on an unseasonably warm night, the moon and stars ruled the pre-dawn sky.

This morning, however, the moon had already set and I stood in the dark before dawn, with no dawn “chorus.” A moist and silent cloud of dampness filled the air – no birds, no insects, no creature noises filled the void, only a distant hum of traffic.  Who is up and about at 5:30 A.M.?  And so a damp cloak of emptiness became a shroud of sorts.  I can do without sunlight but can I live in a silent world?  Isn’t that the real nightmare of the imagined apocalypse? Not the visual destruction but the absence of sound?

Now, at noon, a dozen birds have added their voices to the world.  Bluejays, cardinals, sparrows, woodpeckers, and hawks all spin their songs around me as Angel and I venture into the woods.  It is a comfort, to know that stillness and silence may dwell within but the murmur of the natural world goes on, each voice in its perfect place in nature’s orchestra. I sigh and something inside, a tight kernel of fear and tension, relaxes and dissolves.  I take a deep breath and enjoy the quiet murmur of nature’s world around me, every sound, every voice, every song present and accounted for.  All is well, and if it is quiet, that is the way of things in nature in this season.

Why most birds don’t sing in winter

And birds singing in winter.