Thursday, October 3, 2013

On the Back Patio

Every morning I spend about 30 minutes on our back patio, no matter what the weather. It has become a sanctuary for communing with nature and my soul. It has not only been a personal sanctuary, but my wife Esther and I have used this space more in the past year than at any time since we had it built nearly 20 years ago. It has become our favorite place for spending evenings reading and talking, eating meals together, or just hanging out from early spring to late fall.

Esther has worked on making this sanctuary a garden of delights. Swiss window boxes bursting with the colors of red geraniums and unnamed white counterparts, pots with hanging ferns and ivy crawling up some lattice work grace the brick and concrete mason work.

For about 35 years I spent my mornings either jogging or walking, but age and arthritis caught up with my knees. For 13 of those years my walks included a dog, and for three of them a paper route. My walks not only helped me commune with nature, but also helped me learn to know my neighborhood. Along with some walking meditatively, I also positioned myself as part of a larger community. Rain, sleet and snow, hurricane force winds and extreme hot and cold couldn’t prevent me from seeing the changes and routines of my neighbors.

Now I sit alone, looking out across a back yard to a full moon playing tag with the cumulus clouds while slowly disappearing under the western horizon. My presence doesn’t seem to bother my neighbors’ three sleeping dogs. But let a cat walk between us and they quickly rise to their purpose in the universe. My physical body may not receive the benefit of necessary exercise, but by soul has often been filled with harmony with the rest of myself and the cosmos.

While walking and jogging my meditations were too often interrupted by distractions; some wanted and others not. Sitting, on the other hand, allows time for true solitude and stillness. Sitting, especially when surrounded by the beauty of the coming and going of the seasons, allows my soul to catch up with the rest of me.

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