Thomas Lawrence Toscano
Something that we are quite confronted with during this time of year are the changes which occur all around us. As the days grow, now distinguishably shorter and the weather turns colder, it's almost impossible to ignore the cyclic changes as they indeed and in atmosphere effect our comings and goings. I should say - your comings and goings because I live with the rhythms of the sun and the weather. So for me there is no shock, no disappointment, no compliant. There's only acceptance and anticipation of "what will be" as I watch it become "what is".
For the longest time, starting certainly while I was living in Greenpoint, Brooklyn with 10 windows and 5 skylights - a 259º view of the Manhattan skyline, I was inundated by the light, and took my cues from it. Further, of course, as a humble gardener, most years I had at least, a basil plant and at most an entire garden, which of course, forced me to see the cues that the plants took from the sun as it changes during the growing season. I was thrilled at times to be able to keep a cherry tomato o plant alive and bearing fruit well into December, ( indoors of course). In fact, last season, I kept a basil plant growing throughout the winter and early spring. To me these were fun capricious realities which I had the deep pleasure of experiencing and were, again, outside of the ordinary realm of their common behavior.
This past week, Tues found us beginning to move 4 chords of wood for the seasons heating later in the afternoon. There was a rumor that it was to rain on Wednesday which was not to be. That said - it was a gargantuan amount of work and luckily it was clear that Wednesday would be rain free. On Wednesday for the longest amount of work ,from 8am till 7pm, more or less was done by two people. I was one of them. During the mid morning two very energetic young men helped mostly to feed me wood for the house across the street. Helping me to do the job in quite a short period of time. The rest of the time myself and Alice were working non stop on the bulk of the cords. Thursday morning saw rain - and some small clean up. The rain had come that night as did the winds and it was rather dramatic. Many places lost power, but, oddly enough neither where I am living 11 or so miles south of Chester, nor Chester itself lost power. At a certain point, on a break, I took a walk down to the Middle Branch Williams River. It was clear to me that in its own way it was raging for - the sound of the rivers movement had changed dramatically. Further, Alice reported that a great slide had taken place and although they are not that apparent in the photos above, many new trees, sadly to my way of looking at things, were uprooted. You see I've come to be very connected to this ridge, which I have nicknamed "Dragon Spine Ridge" for it reminds me of just that. A giant sleeping giant which rests and provides a directing structure for the river.
As one looks at the river, one can see that it is quite rugged and also see that the ridge itself is damaged. Hurricane Irene created all of this - and the magnificent gardens and fruit trees were inundated with water as the river rose right up to the barn. Gladly and happily the host was not damaged and in fact, the river was changed in such a way as to give a bit more land to this property lot.
The slightly longer view of the left of the picture demonstrates how the enormous destructive power of the river with the overwhelming volume of water from the realities of Hurricane Irene - brought a new sense and reality of expansion, rocky as it may be. While the Dragon Spine Ridge was ripped scoured and scarred ripping out the great trees, many hemlocks and pines which were either left where they fell or carried down river with great boulders.
My small excursion down to the river brought me the visual which corresponded to the reality of the more voluminous sound which I heard as I worked on the organization of the four cords. its power and exuberance are not well represented by these photos, you'll have to take my word for it. It was much expanded from its normal course and the remnants left behind from the slide allowed me a greater respect for the process of destruction as it continues. At the same time of course, this process clearly has a mind and a mission of its own. It does not have anything to do with my small minded viewpoint but is connected undoubtedly to the earth plan as it sculpts and reforms itself whenever it chooses utilizing the forces of the natural world around us.
Constant Changes indeed. They are all around us. I have experience a constancy in change as you all know and it struck me as I breathed in these changes just how easily my changes took place, these past months. So much so that now I trust and grow into the reality which is so forcefully avoided by so many. Changes are. Live with them. Trust them. And if you find yourself seeking to buck them and resist them, there is still hope. It's a symbolic message for you. Which is seeking to instruct you simply to TRUST your SELF.
Yes, I've said this before and will most likely say it again. The idea of waiting for the "other shoe to drop" or expecting the worse, or bad things come in threes are all actually under your sway. Let go of such ideas - allow yourself to live above such energies and find yourself floating down the river on a magical leaf which will bring you on an enormously inspiring trip.
My dear friend Joseph, tells a story of a duck. He was on vacation after a deep life changing experience in Scotland. He was in front of a river and spied a duck swimming upstream, against current. The duck was, of course, pushed back. And, so, he would, when allowed, try again and again each time experiencing the same result. Finally the duck stopped and simply allowed the current to take him back where he came from. He told me, it completely changed his internal reality as his deep pain and sadness began to dissipate, the more the reality of the duck repeated the scene within his mind eye.
I utilized a lyric in one of my recent blogposts and now I use it again. PLEASE - ponder these words, say them slowly. Apparently, this nursery rhyme was first published in the early 1850's however, I have no illusion as to the great probability that it existed quite a bit before that time. In any case, it has effected many of us and our rote repetition of this as children, contrary to popular understanding does not necessarily guarantee that the true effect is to be absorbed. Therefore, say them slowly, allow them to effect you and embed themselves in your consciousness.
Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.
Consider this - just because this comes out of your childhood doesn't mean it's not true. Not real. Not profound.
Each time you confront or encounter a change - think of this - let go - and allow.
Thank you all for being here with me today. Thomas