Monday, January 26, 2015

Meditating with Elvis and Sycamores

When we're home Carol and I spend most of our waking hours in our 'dining room'.  It does in fact have a dining table that can comfortably seat eight, that is often, as now, covered with various stacks of papers (a state typical of the dining tables of all the Curry women, I've observed.)  But 'dining room' does nothing to describe the sixteen by twenty-four foot space lit during the day by seven large windows.  A free-standing fireplace on blocks in the center of the room divides the dining area from the cozy sitting area, which is furnished with four rockers bought at barn sales and craft fairs and two wooden school desks complete with student graffiti, from a second hand shop in Millerton.

What has this got to do with the title of the post, you ask?  Nothing, other than to locate me in space as I sit in my rocker bracketed by the windows and glance over my shoulder to admire the six inches of new snow outside.

I realized several mornings ago that when my cat, Elvis, jumps into my lap demanding my attention, the act of stroking his soft fur clears my mind of everything else.  I am only aware of that softness, the warmth, and the sound of his contented purr.  Most mornings begin that way, with us sitting in my rocker and Carol in hers.  When the morning sun finally joins us, I continue my meditations by closing my eyes. Those first few seconds after I do, I see a red-orange field with a set of lips and a suggestion of a small nose.  As the lips move they fade and the nose becomes not a nose but an animal’s face, a fox perhaps, then it too disappears, and the red-orange field shifts and morphs into shapes like clouds in a wind.  Some shapes I can name while others are just forms that are gone too quickly to identify, if identification is even possible.  When finally I open my eyes after some unmeasured interval, I feel alert, awake, alive to the day.

I also wanted to talk about my favorite tree, the Sycamore.  The tree is especially visible in winter when hardwoods shed their foliage to gird themselves for the weight of coming snow and rest up for a new growth spurt in spring.  It's dappled gray, green, brown trunk and substantial height make it immediately visible among its brethren (I've always wanted to use that word.)  Since it likes wetlands, it is often a signal for the presence of water in otherwise dry environments.  There is one just a mile away on the bank of a creek.  It is alone in the pasture and so beautiful in the setting that I've photographed it often, in fact it appears on the cover of my book Wishbone Creek and Other Stories.