Breaking Open at Break Up

It was magic. In the morning my labyrinth was covered in snow. In the afternoon it had appeared. It was the first day that felt like warmth in the air again, a warmth that stopped me, and willed me to stop and turn around in all directions to see from whence it had come. It was as if someone had broken into winter and with great stealth and in rich stillness, the earth reappeared. The solid ground was still there under the months of heavy snow cover. The sodden leaves strewn across the labyrinth spoke of the distant fall. The broken branches littering its circuits bore testimony of winter storms. Yet now the spiraling paths in the labyrinth were appearing again, the paths unchanged as I expected, yet NEW.

I hear anew each night the toll that the COVID19 virus is taking on the world. More deaths, more hospitalizations, more cases, more frustration, more anger to open up business again (busy-ness) again, more doubt, more grief. And each night I hear of more kindnesses; food deliveries, drive-by parties, donations of masks, medical personnel volunteering to return to work, artwork on sidewalks, donated online sessions of music and spiritual and social healing. A willingness to close down, to shelter in, to not fly, to stay 6 feet apart to save lives. All so new to a ways of life now, all part of what is here now.

The ground is soggy with the melt and the snow that still clings outside the edges of the labyrinth is mushy and soft, just like my heart these days. I pull on my breakup boots, feeling the ritual of that act that marks spring in Alaska. Stepping into the labyrinth, new questions arise as I walk the loopy spirals to the center. Do I risk getting the virus by staying in contact with my children and grandchildren? Or do I savor this time with them when they are out of school and wanting to be with me, even though it could possibly be the “death of me”? Am I afraid of death? Or afraid of the idea of it? Better safe than sorry? Or take care with good precautions and not let my life be run by fear? Is this a time to face the challenge of taking better care of self than of others? Yet isn’t this a time for love as its never been before in the world? Won’t I be protected and held? Aren’t I healthy enough to withstand the virus if it does come?

Amid the churning, churning, churning of these questions in my mind, there is something else here. A rising sense of being quiet comes as I walk and turn and wind to the center of this sacred path. It takes its time, it slowly reveals itself. It is a quiet that is greater than the questions or the fear or the doubt or confusion. It’s not the satisfaction of getting clear answers. It is simply stillness again.. as another way of being. The psalmist said it simply as “Be still and know that I am God.” As psalmist, I write,

You ask me to be still, O Beloved as the world weeps.

You ask me to trust when I cannot know if the virus will strike me down.

You ask me to be and not to do.

To stay home, go within, shelter myself, and simply be still.

That simple.

Be still.

I listen as you wish me spring,

as you bring me spring again.

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