Learning to Dance

Explorations in the Spiritual Life

Date: May 25, 2004


All day it was sunny, windy as well. Blue sky was mingled with a bare mist, more a scene of northern California than southern.

Then evening came, and the fog rolled in, billowed in, streamed in. Long before the sun set, one’s breath became visible. Not something one would expect so near the Solstice. I do love the mountains, there is a respect for what weather should be. At night it becomes cloudy, the seasons make themselves known, cool breezes accompany a warm sun, there is surprise in what will come.

The frantic feeling continued, a new nuance revealed itself. It was present, but I hadn’t put my finger on it. Something sinister. I don’t know what. That was the feeling, the trepidation of expectation, on guard, alert for what will come. Either something here or something near, I don’t know why, only I know the feeling. It was the feeling in which I would have been surprised to have anything happen to family or friends, but not at all surprised to see something tragic on the news.

There was nothing, though this doesn’t mean there was really nothing. All the day I felt a burden to pray, to stop, even if for a moment, and say a few words.

I remain the same, the same watchfulness, awareness that not all is at it seems. I could be wrong, it could be a bit of high blood pressure, or differently expressed depression.

I remember feeling like this the night LA erupted in riots back in ’92. I had a good youth group then, I was a student leader of sorts. I left the group in a bit of a fog, disturbed in mind and soul, when I found out what was going on, what confirmed my inner self, I came back, and asked a few others to pray with me for a while. We did, about five of us, for a very long while.

If I had a group tonight, one I could trust, I would do the same. And I don’t know why. The news says nothing.

And I know that in my more recent contexts this would have been an impossible task, community in name only, not when it shows itself to be real.

So, I sit here, type, and distract myself. There are no fires creeping over the edges of the hills, nor panicked citizens fleeing downtown. I could easily doubt, and dismiss. Or I could sit and pray a while, letting myself feel what it is all around, and responded to what I know even if I can’t see.

The latter is really the only worthwhile choice.

And curiously, again I find the internet connection to be broke. I write this tonight, and will post it tomorrow.

If this is the sinister event, then that’s nice, only I feel the vibe has gone a little overboard.


A chipmunk scurried over the woodpile, through the branches of fir and cedar saplings bunched together, down to the ground, over by the stairs. He scurried along, out of my view, looking intent, purposeful. I wondered what he was up to. So, I got up, scurried away from my desk, by my bed, to the my stairs. I continued down, past the couch, looking out the front window, to see if maybe he was getting a drink. He wasn’t. So, I continued on, into the kitchen, and looked out. There he was, gamboling with two friends. The three darted about, up and down stairs, to the deck, off the deck, by a cedar, away, nibbled on some grass, dug in the ground, chased each other, paused to eat some seed. Three, maybe a family, small chipmunks, thin tails swishing when they stopped in the sun, their black and white stripes easily seen. Good fun.

I woke up feeling frantic. Not terribly so, just a little darting around myself, much like the chipmunks. The internet connection wasn’t working, an early bother I did not bother with, letting me focus more exclusively on the present tasks. Which I did, most effectively.

I don’t know why I feel this way, driven to move forward, driven to attack the present issues, come what may. It is like a fire has lit, and I’m pressed forward, with or without my accession.

So, that is my present state as well, moments of consideration interrupted by other tasks, such as overdue yard maintenance , drive me back. Coffee, thickly made, also encourages the state. Ah, but it will be a day of progress, methinks.

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