Spirituality is like a half-frozen pond in late October.
Where does the pond start and end?
What is the pond really?
Is it simply the icy water? Or do the leaves count as they lie littered on the snowy ground around the pond?
When I raise my eyes to gaze at the Eagle Pond at the end of our road–where does the pond begin and end?
The cattails are part of the pond, aren’t they? Green slender rods tilted upward at the edge of water and earth. They are part of the pond experience, the ponding spirituality.
What’s really separate anyway?
Here we see the pond from a second view. Such a tiny inland lake, barely a hiccup two minutes from Lake Superior.
Is the pond separate from the lake, truly? Did the waters that lie in the pond once lap in the Huron Bay?
Seeds and spores and fauna–part of the pond aura. Without these, would the pond even exist?
Rain drips from the sky, creating circles in the pond’s reflection. Are rain and pond separate? What is the moment the rain becomes the pond?
And is everything really One pond-happening? The water, ice, evergreens, cattails, snow, autumn leaves. Yes, they appear as separate things. But if we soften our gaze across the entire scene of the pond, can we see that it’s impossible to separate pond from the surroundings?
Our gaze encompasses it all. One gaze. One pond-Being filled with a multitude of pond-beings.
See the old fencepost? Years ago a family from downstate worked around the Eagle Pond building fences and rock walls. Can the family who labored here ever be separate from this place? Or can more and more be included in this pond: history, grazing deer, wandering bear, fishing children, frogs, drunk teenagers, hot summer sun, skinned knees, young lovers?
My children once played around this pond. Aren’t they still part of it, even though they now live to the East and West? Doesn’t their laughter still resound? Aren’t they pond children still?
Green leaves make up the pond-world, and they turn red and orange and yellow. They rot brown into the earth, nourishing next year’s crop. Can you separate leaf from pond? I can’t.
Part and parcel, pond stretches around in endless spirals of ecosystems.
I once asked a neighbor about the Eagle Pond. He said, “Eagle Pond? Oh no, you mean Timmy’s pond?”
Eagle Pond, Timmy’s Pond…different names for water, leaf, cattail, wind, calling ravens, minnows. Uranium lies somewhere beneath, so I’ve been told. Can you separate uranium from the pond? They’re holding hands, inseparable, all of it. Beyond the labels of good and bad–the pond just IS.
Snow hangs on roots near the pond. Ancient tendrils uprooted from the soil. Would a pond be a pond without the land around it? I think not.
For years I have visited this pond, picked thimbleberries, found eagle feathers, meditated, prayed, watched, listened. Can you separate me from this pond even in my physical absence?
Spirituality is like a pond in late October. Or in deep winter. Or in melting spring. Or hot mosquito summer.
It moves in upon itself like a spiral, connecting all of life. It sings to include everything. What can be left out of the pond?
The whole world is like a big pond filled with blogs and cities and moose and wood ticks and pandemics and elections and apples.
Spirituality is like the biggest possible view, encompassing your fingers, toes, roots, branches, soft belly, grief, laughter, wide gray sky.
It doesn’t leave anything out–it can’t.
It delights in its expressions, even as it hold the world in the biggest imaginable embrace.
Spirituality is both the pond and the reflection in the pond. It’s the branch hanging over while raindrops fall.
It’s the rain dripping on the camera.
It’s you sitting on your computer or iPad or phone looking at the pictures and reading these words.
Are YOU separate from the pond? How could you be separate from it–ever? Once you know or see a thing your spirit lives there forever. I brought all of you down here and now you’re rain-splattered and snowy-booted, even if you’re invisible. You started reading and you came willingly and now this pond is part of you–and you are part of it–forevermore.
That’s what spirituality is here at the pond. Endless spirals of a Oneness delighting in its infinite parts.
Day 12 of a seventy-five day journey to more deeply connect with God, Spirit, Holy, Love…to explore “What the Heart Knows” during the waning days of 2020.