Thursday, October 27, 2011


"Creekside Morning", oil, by Don Gray
This week has worked some small currents of disarray into my life, and it’s been fortunate for me that I’ve remembered how it was, years ago, when I watched a stream near my house settle after I had stirred it up with a stick. I recall being astonished, again and again, when I waited beside the stream and watched it slowly settle and become clear again. Even at seven, I saw that there was some sort of law at work – that the stream always sorted itself out and re-established a kind of peaceful transparency. No matter how many times or how vigorously I swirled the water and the sand, the stream – a small, shiny one I considered mine alone – always went back to its basic clearness and composure. What was most wonderful was that I didn’t have to do anything. The settling happened by itself, while I did nothing but sit silently by and notice sand and water quietly clearing itself up. These memories made this fairly confused week a little quieter, and thus somewhat easier to accept. Somewhere around midweek, I decided to give up getting frustrated and full of unease, and just began to be still and watch the waters of my life slowly settle -- as they did, over and over again. Something would happen to stir things up, but always, if I stood aside and simply observed, all would soon enough come back to quietness. Once, in fact, after I messed up a 9th grade English class fairly completely, I stood outside and simply waited. I saw myself beside my special stream as a boy, and soon I saw the waters, and my seemingly disordered teaching, settling into their inborn and beautiful stillness.

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