I am hemorrhaging money these days buying propane to heat my home. The weather has been windy, cold, and gray. Because the solar panels are producing less power, I am running the generator more than usual. The only saving grace is that gasoline prices are the lowest they’ve been in years. Even though I know this time will end, right now it feels like it will go on forever. This is always the most difficult time of the year. Past experience says it will be at least another month before the weather and the spending begin to moderate. Patient endurance is the name of the game.
I can see that the sun has already begun its annual northward journey; on the Winter Solstice—the shortest day of the year—the sun rises against a point on the horizon where the mountains form something that looks like a ledge. Now the sunrise has barely moved off the ledge. The days are becoming longer, but only slightly. It is enough, though, to assure me that my patience will one day be rewarded… but not yet.
Patience is a very hard thing to learn. With hindsight, I know that as a younger person patience was far more difficult for me than it is now. If I were isolated from the cues that nature provides each day beginning with the rising sun, I think patience would be a much harder thing for me, even now.
I cannot help but think about our incarcerated youth who are cut off from nature by the unchanging walls of their institutions. They need nature and its lesson of patience more than most, yet it is withheld from them.
I cannot help but be reminded by something that Derek King told me, that there was this one tree that he could see from his prison dorm that somehow gave him hope. When Derek was here at Estrella Vista, he spent hours each day surrounded by nature and its healing powers. Alex, on the other hand, barely ventured outside except to speak on the phone. Of the two brothers, Derek is experiencing the more successful recovery.
I know that it is unwise to base universal conclusions on a comparison of just two people. But my own experience endorses the positive benefits of being surrounded by nature and what it has to teach.
Groove of the Day