Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: CALENDAR (10/20/16)
TITLE: Times and Seasons
By Jennifer Woodley
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The chill wind whipping into Moulting Lagoon bites hard into Jack Parley’s hunched frame. His blue wind jacket flaps erratically. But he pushes on towards the jetty. A blustering gale doesn’t deter him. The tide is on the turn, the salmon are biting. It’s fishing time for Jack regardless of the big chill.
Most lives are ordered by the rhythm of the clock and the calendar; the unceasing movement of symbols that keep our lives in perpetual motion. These are the sacred structures that we pay homage to daily, ordaining where we go, when we arrive and depart.
Jack however, lives differently. He has no clock. He has no calendar. He lives by the slow movement of the seasons, not the symbols. I have temporarily taken up residence on the shores of Moulting Lagoon, a stone’s throw from the wilderness region of Freycinet National Park, Tasmania. And like Jack, I have come in quest of quietness, to find a place and a rhythm of life where the tyranny of 21st century urban life can not intrude. I have a fierce longing for stillness, silence and serenity. A place where I can escape the unrelenting agenda of clock and calendar that shatters the inner alignment between the Creator and His creation.
There is a cry for inner adjustment. I need to relearn nature’s rhythms. To listen to the sweet trill of the blackbird’s morning song heralding dawn’s arrival; to soak in warm sunshine splashing through expansive glass windows; to gaze absentmindedly at the ebb and flow of the tide gently lapping on pale yellow shores during the day; to admire the lengthening shadows stretching out from casuarina trees as the afternoon wanes; and to marvel at the kaleidoscope of muted colors dancing on still waters when the sun slips behind a curtain of clouds as dusk creeps in.
Each hour of the day is welcomed in by a new natural event: the tell-tale signs that signify the time of the day, the months of the year.
This is an unfamiliar way to keep track of time and days. And it is hard, very hard. It takes time to unlearn what is ingrained and habitual, then relearn the art of awareness through stillness. Now I am no longer anxious to have the clock or the calendar close by, but for a time I looked for them, even yearned for them. All that is needed now is to be attuned to a new way of being that enables the body, mind and soul to align with His rhythms. Rhythms that allow exploration of who I am and whose I am. This is the season to be still and develop a oneness with all things holy, wild and free.
Looking out from the deck of the shack, I see old Jack standing patiently on the jetty. His yellow lure spins in and out rhythmically running through deep waters. By living close to the land, Jack has learnt to listen to another clock, watch a different calendar. He knows intimately the movement of tides and moon, sun and stars, the migration of wildlife, the seasons of birth, growth, dying and death. Some say he is crazy, outdated. But I don’t think so. Jack has grown in wisdom, in understanding and in deep relationship with the whole of the outdoors and its magnificent Creator, through stopping.
There is a serene calmness that surrounds Jack and an inner peacefulness that determines his every action. No calendar or clock in our modern world can offer the tranquil presence Jack has acquired through his daily, intimate intercourse with the rhythms of nature.
I wonder how altered a person might become who lives attuned to the natural rhythm of God’s clock and calendar. Attuned right where they live. Reluctantly I take one last, long look towards the casuarinas lining the beach. They appear to bow gracefully towards me. If the calendar allowed, I would spread out water colors to capture the image on canvas. For now the man-made symbols dictate my world. Yet, I am grateful for a glimpse of a new possibility.
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