Wisdom Without Words

Birthday celebrations over, and I’ve got one foot in the other out of the season. April in Alberta is like that. So warm and dry this past week that the county opened all the outdoor pickleball courts last week, but snow is forecast early this week. Buds and blossoms are slowly making their appearance through skiffs of snow and mounds of dried and dead leaves. Yet with one or two sunny, warm days and like the Easter miracle, they are risen. I’ve laundered and stored my winter down and blanket coats, those super warm Hestra mitts, and winter Blundstones, but still have wool toques ready to wear during the morning chill and nippy northern winds. Too, I washed Annie’s coats and mitts as her natural coat is plenty warm, too much so during our nearly 10,000 step walk today. Despite an old pattern of switching over my clothes closet from fall-winter to spring-summer Easter weekend, my bones are saying wait at least another week.

“I’m coming, but be patient,” Spring scolded. “You know Winter
likes to take her sweet, snowy time leaving. A bit slow and sluggish.
Likes to dig in her heels when she feels my push to get
going and growing.”

excerpt from my poem, “Call Me Caprice”

I wish I’d heeded that visceral nudge last week, when finally overcoming what I thought was inertia, I went to replace the outdoor winter wreath – a faded resplendence of red amaryllis, holly berries and evergreen – with the similarly faded spring circle of forsythia and willow. Laying the winter version on the carpet in the hallway while I placed the spring wreath on the door, I noticed Annie sniffing intently and gently nosing into it. Putting it inside its storage bag, I noticed on the carpet an egg, exactly the size and colour of those Easter mini eggs. At first glance and baffled I thought it was one, but where would a mini egg have come from? Then, taking the wreath outside and exploring, I discovered hidden within a masterfully constructed sparrow’s nest, camouflaged with sprigs of cedar just like the wreath’s own. No sooner had I carefully pried it out, when I replaced it, and the egg, hoping against hope for an Easter miracle. In hindsight, I had noticed two birds in the nearby tree paying close attention to me, but hadn’t put together that my actions around the wreath were worrying them. And Sig said he’d seen on the security cam, sparrows flying by the door for several days prior. While not the wisest place to build a nest – on the door that is our main entrance – I felt sad for having interfered. And several days later, when the temperature dropped below freezing, and I’d not seen the parent birds since, I ventured a look and found the egg cold, beyond hope. It now rests on my alter, inside its nest, with other found nests, sea glass and stones, dragonflies…each reminders of nature and the elements and seaons, and this time, the price paid for over-riding that visceral nudge.

Last night, the reverse. Pulling into our driveway, I noticed in the dark a neighborhood cat skulking in the hedge in front of my car. I got out, shooo’d and out it came with something in its mouth, whimpering softly. Not a mouse, but perhaps a baby rabbit? This time I didn’t interfere, knowing even if the cat had dropped it, given another cold night, where would I put the tiny being to ensure its survival? I felt sad.

Interfering. Not interfering. Who’s to say? Just as there is a wisdom deep in my bones that says “Too soon your spring-summer clothes (granted a small thing),” I trust there is deep and old wisdom among those more than human that asks of me to pay attention, to witness, and yes, to feel sad.

Earlier today I read “Spring Renewal, Rebirth, and the Purifying Activity of Grief,” this week’s e letter from oft cited therapist-contemplative, Matt Licata. I had actually finished this post when I felt the nudge to re-read his words:

…”There is no lasting, embodied, visionary renewal without passing through the portal of grief, which requires us to slow down, come into the earth and the ground, and honor all that we’ve lost. It requires that we provide a home for shattered ones and for the integration of the dying pieces of an old dream. 

…It’s a process where we collect the shattered pieces into a holy place and place them onto an altar in front of us, where we can enter into relationship with the shards of soul that must move on without us. And we can participate with a whole heart with the death of an old dream, and the way we were so sure that it was all going to turn out. 

The nature of this altar and this vase will be different for each of us, with calligraphy, engravings, colors, and in a shape that is crafted for our unique soulprint. We don’t design the vase ourselves, at least not by way of ordinary ego-consciousness. The vase is outside our deepest hopes, fears, desires, and unfolds apart from our personal sense of will. 

It is given to us by the transpersonal Self, by the Divine, however we come to conceive of that and is ours and ours alone – no one else can perceive or apprehend it, or design the vase on our behalf.

…The vase, the altar, and any aspect of the soul wanting to come into our conscious experience will present itself in unexpected ways, through our dreams, out in nature, in a moment of intuitive knowing, or even through a disturbance in our mood or emotional activation.”

Something about altar and vase… coming to us in unexpected ways… out in nature… through a disturbance in our mood… resonates deeply, and inexplicably for the time being. That old and deep wisdom within my human bones and the more than human. A wisdom without words.

altar and nest-vases, heart stones, dreams and peace

Much love and kindest regards, dear friends.

Author: Katharine Weinmann

attending to the inner life to live and lead with kindness, clarity and wisdom; writing to claim the beauty in her wabi sabi life

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