I put out some new kind of seed today, called critter feed. Really, it’s not just seed, it’s the obligatory sunflower seeds (have I mentioned the lone sunflowers growing along various hillsides amidst the dry browns bold and bright as though the sun rose at night) along with bits of corn. It’s to keep the oft considered pests of bird feeders away, and mollify their creative hunger through blatant appeasement. But since all I generally have visit me are the steller’s jays and those oft considered pests, squirrels, my putting this seed out is more for their sheer benefit than other concerns.

And they do enjoy. Within a moment of my walking back inside one of the grey squirrels came quietly on the deck, a feat learned over these last many months. I turned and there he was. Little sounds of biting, corn clinking down upon the balcony, soft tapping, subtle sounds of a squirrel feasting drift into the room. She sits up every moment or so, holding a bit of corn in her hands, chewing it in small bites as her mother taught her to do. And now, a three foot leap to a rafter above, onto the roof and gone. Another squirrel wanders the driveway, likely to make its way over.

A week without written introspection has come and gone. Yet it’s still summer, so the source of the writing malaise has not been removed. There is benefit in space, giving room, letting an overwrought soul air out in a spiritual breeze.

I realize in pressing forward and onwards the essence of my inner life, and I realize this morning that while the accidents of my surroundings speak forth peace, the inner essence retains a forceful drive and unrelieved ambition. This is maybe why the present surroundings draw me and hold me so tightly, caressing my thoughts with gentle songs. Not because I am filled with the peace, but because the turmoil of my soul thirsts for it so. This drawing, this pushing, this internal urging towards the unknown, yanking me out of the typical path and hurling me offtrail into the brush, becomes unbearable when there is additional confusion flying about.

I am here not because I am filled with the peace of the forest, but because I constantly need to be surrounded with that mystical presence of life all around, where in quiet and beauty the Spirit sings.

It is balm, an emollient allowing me to traverse the hectic road with some measure of purpose, keeping me, barely, from falling by the wayside, and succumbing to the pressures of this contemporary life.

This is not the point in my life when I can sit back on the deck, glass of lemonade in my hand, and feel the complete ease of soul. My life has not the victory yet to make that a contented scene. Still I am driven, ambitious in invisible ways, seeking the spiritual path and higher roads, missing them far too often to let myself have rest and vacation.

It is a sabbath place, where ease is given with the assumption of duty, obligatory acts of worship and devotion are allowed to be alleviated at moments, in order to make the pursuit stronger. The sharper I get in pursuit of this ambition, the more I will feel the rest.

I press on, not knowing what I press on towards, feeling the weariness of a long march where only the general knows the battle awaiting. Peace and strain all together, leading me, I pray, farther and higher at each step.