"Coming Home to Westcliffe"

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Coming Home to Westcliffe

Walking Gently

The month of March has been both telling and tiring to my soul. We started our month unexpectedly losing our little white dog, Tundra. She was a happy little mite, tail always up and wagging, unassuming and eager to please. We are guessing she was nearly 14 years old, but we’d have thought (and hoped) she’d live forever. Then came the crushing reality of the covid19 virus.

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Spring is supposed to bring the kiss of hope. The rains came, the fields blushed green & the birds began to nest, the kiss of spring seemed fleeting and distant. I simply cannot fully comprehend the magnitude of the pain and suffering. I cannot fully grasp the stark reality facing so many, nor the heroic efforts made daily by the “helpers” and essential workers across our globe. It was easy to fall into a blur of dismay, uncertainty, grief and anger. It became something to resist, as well, not only to survive but to redeem by trying to make some sense of it in our lives, and in mine. I saw our little town turn inward, shut down. I saw our rural community resist by, on one hand, reaching out to help those who lost jobs with food vouchers, caravans featuring local musicians in truck beds & trailers drove through neighborhoods singing Peter, Paul and Mary tunes, little libraries turned to little food pantries and volunteers stepped up and out to help others less fortunate. On the other hand, folks polarized through speculation, doubt and woe. I suppose both are natural reactions, as is waffling between the two extremes. Grief is like that and each of us process it in our way.

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It has been said that these past few months is like a Greek tragedy playing out in real time. Others, indigenous to this land and wise to suffering, offer prayer and dance, as a way of healing and a powerful symbol of solidarity for ALL people. We are also seeing first hand of our natural world healing in the midst of slowed human activity, the pause of the pollution inherent in much of our modern-day activity, as well as evidence of the cumulative, sometimes latent, protective measures taken prior to the pandemic. I resonate with all these interpretations, and learn what I can from them.  I am grateful for Foxhaven farm, and the closeness I feel to our land and the rhythm of life here. It affords me peace and a place to think, live and thrive.

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Living the rural lifestyle we do, not a lot has personally changed for us. I do feel the shifts in my heart, as well as concern, as we try to educate ourselves with fact, reason and compassion.  We help neighbors where we can, reach out to friends far and near, and help with the community little pantry. I try to choose the path of love and take guidance from a quote recently shared by a friend from Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk, known for his spiritual teaching and mindfulness:

“When we walk like we are rushing, we print anxiety and sorrow on earth. We have to walk in a way that we print peace and serenity on the earth. Be aware of the contact between your feet and the earth. Walk as if you are the kissing the earth with your feet.”

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It is a time of reset and reflection. I think we survive a crisis by learning from it. The deepest part of ourselves is revealed. We develop strength we didn’t know we had and compassion that sustains not only others, but ourselves. I pray I walk gently – at least most of the time – leaving gentle footprints of grace, gratitude and hope.

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The blue sky is always present, even as the rain falls. Be gentle with yourself and others as we walk through this storm together.

Posted 145 weeks ago