Jean Marie Gunner

Jean Marie Gunner
We are all basically good.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Summer Morning in June

The tail of June is not only just the beginning of summer and the children dipping into long hot, sunny summer days, but it offers a fresh new chance to touch the miracle of life, its growing abundance and slower pace; and as a mother with two adolescent children still under my roof, I revel in the time and space that folds out before us. A whole summer to go – what fun, what freshness, what spaciousness!

My oldest son is officially a ninth grader this September; my youngest a sixth grader. Both had rites of passage as they left elementary school and middle school behind. Now a wider view opens before them of ever greater landscapes to explore and connections to make. Chance meetings of people that will enrich their lives, fertile environments that will challenge and strengthen them as young men; there is so much richness and basic goodness. They can touch down in new places this coming year but before all that we have one long summer ahead of us and it begins with this summer morning.

This morning as my boys sleep lazily and peacefully, I sit here with a mug of dark roast coffee and cream in my pleasant small backyard space writing about summer and all its magic. Birds and small insects chirp and buzz, every so often a tiny fly lands on my typing hand or a bird alights on the fence post nearby. Once I lived near a thousand acre forest teeming with life and now I am a Villager and am still awed by the life that circles on around us despite all this humanity.

A few nights ago I had the delightful opportunity to be amazed and delighted by a lightning storm. My youngest son and I were reading in my bed when the wind whipped up and bursts of light began filling an empty, quiet sky. Immediately Aidan went to the windows and drew open the Roman Shades so we could watch the spectacle. The thunder grew uproarious followed by streaks of lightning that majestically and momentarily created daylight of the night.

Kailen also joined us and we moved our seating to the front of the house on the porch which offers the best seats for these stormy performances. There we sat all in a row on a new loveseat I had recently purchased last fall. It was the loveseat’s maiden voyage with three human beings watching and being held captive by the giant powerful and loud light show. Some of my most memorable mom moments are from that vantage point -- just making room for what moves through our collective lives.

Space like this opens up and time seems to completely disappear. There is only this moment, past and future is irrelevant, and we are a hundred percent present. Storms, emergencies, deaths, tragedies, falling in love, births – they all create these moments of now and complete presence. Sometimes even my dreams feel that way to me to, the big important significant dreams.

We sat together and big thoughts seemed to bubble up wanting out of our minds. To be expressed and shared with no agenda or attachment to response or outcome. My big thought was if everything on earth came from earth, even if it was chemically manufactured by altering and rearranging atoms to make such inorganic material as plastic or other polymer, is it not still natural since it was made from processes and materials on our planet. And, what if we humans suddenly perished at this moment would the seemingly big mess we made with all our toys, creations, buildings and dumps go back to some state of natural? Kailen just knows and confidently responds that all things, including tall Manhattan skyscrapers, will, if not maintained, fall in upon themselves and crumble returning all to a natural state within about 500 years’ time. In fact, he said it is estimated if human life ended today that within 500 years all would return to a state of equilibrium in nature, a relatively short time span in the scheme of our planet’s life. There is apparently a show that attempts to answer this very question. I liked that answer, whether completely accurate or not, as it somehow reassured me that our collective human mess could be put right, but it would probably take our disappearance to make it so...quite a high price to pay for cleaning up our human bedroom so to speak.

The light has changed in my backyard office; the clouds have moved in to block the sun’s intensity and warmth. I feel relief, and the wind has picked up refreshing my skin with its breath. The birds sing and chirp and clamor in the trees above. A Norway Maple in my backyard offers some respite during hot summer days and home to birds and a playground to squirrels; a Dawn Redwood towers high behind me and grows at least a half a foot a year waving its billowing arms in the morning breeze and scratching on my neighbor’s windows. The birds continue their morning chorus and the beauty of the day spreads out before me. In the soft Maple and Cedars of my neighbors’ yards, I am serenaded by the chirp of the chickadee, the metered trill of some songbird, the unmistakable seesaw sound of the cardinal.

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