Opening to a New Wind, the Sea Oat Nods

Sea Oat 1013Sometimes, it is merely a matter of bending with the breeze, opening up to what is available, allowing a new perspective. As Mark Twain said, “Loyalty to a petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.” Nor will it ever for “openness is like the wind. If you open your doors and windows, it is bound to come in” (Chogyam Trunpa).

Openness is the stuff of adventure, and if given a choice, some step back from it. It is the unknown, the uncertain, the unproven so unlike all the labels to which we cling. Yet, at one time or another, the air in our lives grows stale, and we open to a new wind.

Every year, fall is my fresh air. It has long been my favorite season. Even when I lived in the West, I preferred fall to spring, which was an infrequent visitor to the high plains desert. Yet, the rare Rocky Mountain springtime meant seemingly endless prairies of wildflowers.

Now living near the Gulf of Mexico, I find fall comes gradually, mostly, a cooling down to allow another crop of vegetables, another round of blooming bedding plants. This year, fall feels as if it arrived over night, perhaps an afterthought of Tropical Storm Karen who managed to puff herself up a bit but was too disorganized to do much other than blow in autumn. Or at least that’s when I first felt fall.

It is my first autumn without Cooper. We enjoyed every season but when fall temperatures became the norm, we took to the road, sometimes every day of the week.  I smile at the flood of memories, ever grateful for each one. They open me to the fall that is, and I am ready for an outing.

Cooper Going on a Bye-Bye

It is easy to see Cooper in my mind’s eye sitting in the passenger seat as I drive to Mashes Sands, one of the few places on the Gulf coast that Cooper and I did not explore, although I cannot think why.

A day of sun and blue, the Gulf sparkles at low tide. The breeze is slight as I admire the sea oats so long absent after previous years of hurricanes as well as some recent tropical storms. Breathing in the salted air, I open to the moment of sun, sea, and me.

Sitting on the sand, I close myself to the openness always available in the gap between thoughts, in the pause that awakens awareness. All around me there is sentient movement, coming and going, ebbing and flowing. The fragile but flexible sea oat nods, finding it not difficult to bend, to open completely to possibility.

I hold sand in the palm of my hand as I squint to “see the world in a grain of sand” for I know it to be true. Thoughts fall left and right, like the sand flowing through my fingers, until each grain of thought mingles with all the others to become one. And that, too, is impermanent.

Before this fall ends, there are more breezes, gusts and maybe even gales to come. It is a matter of throwing open the doors and windows for whatever way the wind may blow, and like the sea oat, nod in acceptance.

KMHuberImages

KMHuberImages

28 thoughts on “Opening to a New Wind, the Sea Oat Nods

  1. Oh yes, openness is the stuff of adventure. And fall is also my favorite season–I love the cooler air, the changing light, the darker, colder days to come. Nice ocean shots, Karen.

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    • Ah, thanks, Cynthia! For me, it is the colors of the fall that capture and allow me to anticipate the the coziness of a winter’s day. Always great to see you here.
      Karen

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  2. I agree that these photos are inspiring even without your lovely words. And what a terrific quote from Twain–he had a million of ’em, and this is another one I wasn’t familiar with.

    I’m struggling with acceptance on a few issues now, and turn to your posts for some… well, openness, I guess! Thanks.

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    • Yes, Twain was amazing, and I, too, keep coming across new words. The quote, as best I can tell, is from an 1887 speech/essay entitled “Consistency”; the quote is usually grouped with his views on slavery and imperialism. If there were but time enough, Twain is worth a complete read, at least for me. As for acceptance, I have found it to be a daily practice and sometimes a momentary one but being open to what is actually occurring provides more strength than I ever expected. I do my best to remember that. Thanks so much, Ann.
      Karen

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  3. Change often begins with the act of letting go–something I find hard to do, but one part of acceptance of the new I have down pat–and it resides in a mental image of myself with my arms at my sides, letting whatever will come to do so. The other response, facing change with fists at the ready is too tiring–and it never works. Change is unavoidable. Might as well turn into the wind and let it blow your hair back.

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  4. Loved this post, Karen and I too find myself eagerly awaiting the arrival of fall each year. What a wonderful picture of your handsome boy and I’m sure this time does bring a flood of memories for you. He is smiling down on you, wagging and walking right beside you. I suspect he may even be in those refreshing fall breezes you find so comforting. Best to you my friend and as always, a wonderful and heartfelt read.

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    • I had not thought of Cooper in the fall breezes but I think you have something there! He does seem to be more with me than not, and I have found that quite intriguing. Thanks, Stephanie!
      Karen

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  5. There is always a calmness about autumn, something that a young and very boisterous spring (which we are having here in New Zealand, right now) does not share. We are, of course, a product of the seasons around us; our own moods and turns of health rise and fall with them. I think we defy that to our peril. And, I think, autumn is indeed a time to contemplate, before the turn of the year.

    Thank you for another wonderful post – and for sharing your journey with us.

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  6. I’m grateful you’re writing again and exploring fall — and posting again. For a while, you were silent, and I missed your calm insights into simply being. I’m still in eastern Washington, enjoying the flush of color changing the trees to bright yellow. This reminds me of seeing the earth from a plane as we came home to Spokane. From above, the hills were covered with green pines and brilliant green grasses, the gift of rain. Where the deciduous trees were, a bright flare of yellow encircled each bare tree, the last gift of summer, and so much a part of the cycle of nature. I’m reading Natalie Goldberg’s classic Writing Down the Bones and enjoying how she brings meditation to the practice of writing. But your posts inspire me. Thank you.

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    • I fell in love with Writing Down The Bones in what seems like close to 30 years ago. As you say, it is a classic and did more for my writing than perhaps any other craft book. I also used in teaching writing. The meditation-writing connection fascinated me as well. I was just thinking of re-reading it the other day. Hmmm…. As always, thanks, Beth! Thanks for the lovely images from eastern Washington.

      Karen

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  7. I still struggle with staying in a place of openness, but the more I learn to do it, the more I do indeed find it to be an adventure worth taking. Thanks so much for this lovely reminder of the benefits of that openness!

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    • As you say, it is a struggle to remain open and not close ranks. It is an adventure worth taking, even when certain moments are scary. For me, openness is a measure of how much I trust my decisions.
      Thanks, Kenetha!
      Karen

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  8. Your beautiful words make me crave the ocean. Unfortunately, it’s 4 hours away and I’d need a place to stay. A plan is on order.
    I am so sorry for your loss of Cooper. Our furry companions leave a huge hole when they go.

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    • As you know, there is nothing quite like the ocean when a life review is in order. I remain amazed that my memories of Cooper are so joyful and so full of gratitude–every time. It has been this way since he left. In ways I cannot yet describe, that joy has kept him with me in a way that feels complete and new. Thanks, Robin!
      Karen

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    • I was a bit anxious about autumn but when I finally recognized it was here, gratitude took over. Again and again, memories are full of joy when remembering Cooper. To me, it makes sense because he loved life in a way I had not experienced. He left that with me. As always, thanks, Deb!
      Karen

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