Learning to Dance

Explorations in the Spiritual Life

Date: June 4, 2004


For whatever reason there are the occasional moments when I smell the forest just like when I first came. Most of the time my appreciative continues, but my senses are accustomed to the locale. Maybe it was the warm day, maybe it was my activity today getting my senses more sharp. I don’t know. Whatever it was, it came as I was walking back into the house, with a freshly barbequed cob of corn, and a couple of hamburgers (yes, I know, not typical monastic fare). I was near the door, and the aroma of trees, of nature, of dirt, of the wild lands came wafting by, the same exact strong scent I noticed when ever I come here after long times away.

It was wonderful, it was a moment, unbidden, of appreciation. The stars above shine bright, and I stopped to notice them again as well, the dead pines in front making the deck a beautiful place to gaze upwards.

I felt groggy all day. Though, to my credit I didn’t let it affect me, indeed I pressed onward, for the most part, seeking to do what was positive throughout.

Beginning the other day my entire mood turned, from a wistful depression to a more industrious active state. I can mark the change, the moment some books came which are helping me learn new fields. New fields which I never had interest in before, yet see some measure of light.

I hold on to the goal, despite the shaking and whipping about it causes.

Now, though, my grogginess turns to a mild headache, my eyes are sore, and my skin is a little red (from sun that is). I pressed on, and now is the time for rest. Yet I am bothered by the fact that I had a whole thought I was wanting to pursue. Some other time. The Sabbath has come, and I’m for bed.


Jays eat the seed poured out upon the rail, squirrels line up to drink from the bird bath. The sun shone bright into my room, blinding me with its glare as I typed. Now it is higher, more to the west, blocked by the trees and roof.

I woke up extremely groggy, and realized after drinking a glass of water I wanted another, and another. My hours in the sun yesterday exercising and working were not balanced by drinking anything. I find myself unable to focus, muscles sore, my contacts dry. I’m dehydrated, and have been responding to it all morning.

They say that thirst is a bad indicator. It’s not accurate because it raises the alert too late. By the time a person feels thirsty they are already dehydrated. Hunger is much more prompt.

I drink water to focus, to have energy and alertness, and have learned that I drink more water than most people (of course being six feet, two hundred pounds means I have more to fill). I forget, however. In fact I forgot for most of my life, realizing at some point in college I had been suffering low level dehyration my whole life. It was amazing to see the effects of drinking water regularly, or knowing the signs that told me water was the simple solution.

Thirst never told me right. I say this because the Spirit works much the same way, the Living water not all that different from regular water in many respects.

Living only to satisfy the cravings of thirst leaves a person continually in need of more, never reaching to what is really required.

An object lesson for myself this morning. I think I’ll put some saline solution in my eyes now.

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