It is the middle of the night and I am sound asleep, the dogs peacefully sleeping alongside me. Suddenly, there is a loud BOOM! against the side of the house, in fact, right against my bedroom. I sit bolt upright. Snowfire leaps onto the bed. Dreya rushes around the room. What just happened? It is totally quiet. Nothing else, except the soft sound of rain in the forest around me. Puzzled, the next day I look for branches or a fallentree. Nothing. Later a friend tells me I have most likely experienced a “Touch Down Wind,” or “microburst”—a blast of wind, extremely foreceful because of its focus, channeled down a narrow passage toward a target.
“Perhaps that will help,” I think, “a knock in the side of the head, a change of focus.” I had been stuck in depression and negativity for days and days. It came right along with the strange cold virus that grabbed me by the throat while I was still recovering from a health crisis in January. All I could do was bundle up to walk the dogs and then crawl back into bed and feel miserable. But the worst part was that wherever I looked seemed dismal. The forest, so saturated with rain, several big alder just tipped over. The grey endless rain…the political charade…the clearcut hills….even the little nicks in people’s comments to me…but worst of all, the way my mind magnetized self criticism—memories, thoughts of failing, of falling short….
I knew I was caught in a mind trap. I had been here before. It is when your mind only magnetizes the bleak, the dark, the hopeless, the depressing….and when this happens, you start making it larger, repeating it to others, emanating the hopelessness. I drove four hours South, along with my cold and the dogs, to a favorite place by the ocean. I spent two days listening to the ocean and watching it swell, and break on the rocks.
Then, a very simple thing happened: I remembered a practice I had forgotten for some time. Each day take a mental picture of moments of Beauty as they occur and then, at night replay them: the beauty of my dogs running free and wild on the beach, the first shaft of gold of a skunk cabbage pushing through the mud; the sun sparkling rainbows on needles of Hemlock, the welcoming smile of a waitress, first trilliums opening in their white purity…
An errand took me across the Nehalem River Valley, southwest toward the ocean. My journey took me through those dismal cow pastures, full of muck and smell. Then suddenly The Real World cracked open like an egg, and there was such Beauty all around me—a moment of sun, a burst of light, giant cumulous clouds backlit in gold, rimming the horizon like an etheric mountain range, full of radiant light. The earth glowed with the early gold/green of Spring. Within the hour, the grey blanket of clouds and drizzle had moved back in, but I was left with the gift. I think I am finally emerging. (I am sure it also helps that the virus that has been riding me has begun to let go!)