My father is gone. He’s not dead. He’s just gone to Cleveland.
Hard to believe my father and I lived together, in relative isolation, for 10 long months since the start of the virus outbreak. Early on a Friday morning, I hugged him goodbye and sent him off in a limo to the Toronto airport. Then I went inside and starting crying. It seemed like a lifetime of tears pouring out of my body.
Three days I spent cleaning and reorganizing and letting go of the swirl of emotions running through me. In between washing sheets and floors, packing up what wouldn’t fit in his carry on bag (the only bag he brought with him on the flight), I wept. So many tears and I can’t name the source of all of them.
They came out like a waterfall, all mingled together in the end. Sheer fatigue because of the consistent kindness, care, and patience I needed to pull from myself every day. Deep grief for what was and what wasn’t and what could have been. And an indefinable release of what was in me that was leaving in the face of what is before me now—also unknown. The atmosphere of silence was so thick in and around me in those three days of release and reclamation. Regeneration was still in the future.
Sunday night I sat in the reading chair in my dining room and had a look around. This is the room that four month into his visit I put everything he needed so he could do the things that gave him meaning and pleasure. It’s not a big room— about 12 x 14 with a dining room table in the centre. The room was in the middle of my little house and because my father is very hard of hearing, even with hearing aids, I needed to make the room workable for him and relatively sound proof for me.
Here is what was in this small space. The corner cupboard held his computer (attached to headphones so he could listen to mass and other things every day); a television (attached to headphones of course); a piano (with headphones) that he played every day; a comfortable chair with lots of additional lighting for reading. And the dining room table, which I like to leave as a blank space when I’m not in the middle of a project, was full of things he needed to see every day—his spirometer, his exercise sheet, the book or two he was in the middle of, recent correspondence he needed to see to do anything with, and a chair at the table that was not a dining room chair, but a more comfortable chair for watching television.
I sat in the reading chair in the corner of the room on Sunday night and, for the first time in 10 months, really inhabited the space. It was an almost surreal experience. The silence was so thick that I could feel into every molecule of “blank” space and every “object” in the room. For a few minutes I sat there absorbing this strange sensation of new found recognition for a place I passed through and worked in every day for the past 10 months.
A thought came to my mind: had I abandoned or neglected this space in my home? How could I have let this room down so badly? Was this recognition of the fullness of the room now an indication of my failure over the past months?
And then I heard, “You didn’t abandon the room. You gave it to him as a gift.” I sank into the feeling of comfort and truth in those words. And then, “And everything in this room—the piano, the rug, the paint, the cushions, the art—everything—gave itself to him as a gift, as well.” And then I cried some more because of the truth and the beauty and, actually, the majesty of that.
I live alone, and have for some years, and my home has always been a part of my family of communities. In that moment, sitting in the chair after hearing those words about gifts, I realized that I have always had a relationship with all of my “things.”
The blessing side of not having a lot of extra cash during my adult years, is that everything that has come into my home has been a gift—something nobody else wanted, something someone thought I might like, something I found on the street, something from a second hand shop that caught my attention. I have said that the “objects” in our homes can have the same positive effect on us as being in the woods because they, too, are made of nature. They, too, are alive with the intelligence of nature. As am I. As are we all. And so we can have a relationship with each other. Nature to nature. Human creation to human creation. If we choose.
But sitting in the room that night, with everything around me alive with intelligence and love, was the first time I felt the magnitude of that conviction.
In the following days, that experience unfolded to a new understanding of how I work with nature.
What I’ve learned… I am not, as I have always feared, a nature-loving wannabe (I do not hike or garden or have lots of encounters with the untamed world). I make flower essences, but like the things I bring into my home, I collected my essences as I was out and about, not in a garden I tended. I was fortunate to hear and respond to their invitations to me.
I see nature in everything and that is my playground, one that I have been exploring and cultivating my whole life. I am particularly interested in nature as it shows itself in nature-human collaborations. To me, nature is the doer, the builder, of our soul’s dreams. I do not think I’m unique. This may be the nature way for many people—and for people who are “nature people,” this way may expand their narrow vision of the role nature plays in our lives. Who knows?
This I do know: nature wants to partner with the human soul to create because that’s the nature of nature. And nature knows of the existence and creative power of the undamaged human soul more than most humans do. The invitation from nature is persistent and loving. Even more, the good we have created with nature, even in times of unawareness and disconnection, will astonish us as it is revealed to us.
I believe that just as nature is relentless in its pursuit of a relationship with the human soul, the human soul is relentless in its pursuit of a relationship with nature. Always has been. As the original star-crossed lovers, our souls and nature need us—our awareness of them—for reunification and marriage.
We have had a beautifully subversive relationship with one another up to now. Imagine what we can do together if we step out into the light. A new earth? A new humanity?
What tools of your trade, or elements in your life, do you already have a relationship with? There are many. Forging an intimate relationship with these can be fruitful for you. One of the best ways to strengthen your ability to have these conversations is to play with Canyon Sound’s Flower Essence Cards. You can do it here for free. Download the accompanying “Getting to Know your Cards” sheet and you’ll be well on your way.
Have fun and thanks for listening!