Sometimes it is good to take a break even from the things you love. Sometimes it is good to know when to be silent, when to be still, when to listen more than speak, when to step back from the things that pull at your heart. In the Book of Ecclesiastes, the wisdom writer says it well…”to everything there is a season”. The last several months have found me in a season of withdrawal from this world of words I so dearly love.
Instead, I have found myself in a season of silence. It has been a season that has taken me to places of deep listening. It is a season that has also taken me to places of letting go and simply being. Without the need to interpret or make meaning. Without the need to share musings with anyone other than my most inward self. In many ways it has been a season of confusion even numbness. But it is a season I can feel is ending or at least changing. As someone who puts the world together and makes sense of its experiences through the gift of words this feels like a homecoming.
This past week I saw the first flock of geese headed to their next season. I was driving by the airport hoping for the experience I so love of having a plane fly directly over my car as I drive by. Feeling the sheer weight of one of those massive machines fly over your toy-sized vehicle, hearing the pounding power of it as it makes its way up into the air or back to Earth again, always thrills me. I try to time my driving with the plane’s take off or landing, so I am situated in a connecting tunnel of energy not only with the flying machine but also with those who are doing their own travel. It is a quirky little thing I do.
But that morning it was not a plane that rose off the runway. Instead it was six amazing geese making their own kind of energy, their own kind of flight. As they approached their take-off to fly directly over the road, I watched them and something shifted in me. And I knew a season was changing…for the winged ones…for me…for the landscape and place I call home. I smiled at the noticing and its promise.
Our lives are made of so many seasons. There are the life stages that define our living. There are seasons that create the space for our work, our learning, our playing. There are the seasons of creativity and fallowness. There are the seasons of being a child, being a caregiver and the way those seasons seem to fall back into themselves over the years. They are seasons in our relationships. There are the seasons of the year, their gifts and challenges, the beauty they offer and the sometimes boredom they lay at our doorstep. So many seasons…
The season I have been in has been a season of silence and suspension above some of the creative acts that bring me life. But just like the geese who have been pecking at the earth, filling their bellies with food-fuel that will allow them to do the hard work of getting to the home of their next season, I, too, have been storing up. It is something we all must do at times. Because life is filled with many seasons.
Of course, in seeing those geese rise into the clear blue sky of the impending autumn I immediately thought of my soul-teacher Mary Oliver’s words:
“Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.”
Whatever season you are in, may you rest gently in its wisdom. May you listen and learn its lessons. And may we all rise up and hear the call, announcing our place in the family of things.