Sometimes, 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.
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.