Spring came to Vermont this week. It’s been in the 70’s most days, with full sun; the landscape is dry and wildfires are increasingly common. Monday the trees leafed out. No, really. Many of the maples leafed out completely in one day! Then, the wildflowers popped up and bloomed.The Green World literally burst into activity. Twice we had maple creemies; once we biked to the creemie stand down on the waterfront! From the shaman’s point of view, we are all beneficiaries of this livening. How do you connect with the rushing into being that is Spring?
Last night we went to UVM to catch a Lane Series concert by the fabulous Chris Smither. The program describes him as a “resilient troubadour.” That seems about right. His music is in turns bluesy, political, playful, funny, and philosophical; his guitar playing is simply awe-inspiring. Chris was born in 1944, which makes him a few years my senior. As we listened, I was struck by the many shared life themes and concerns that emerged. We are, I guess, of a certain generation.
I’ve been reading The Peach Keeper, by Sarah Addison Allen, author of the lovely and engaging Garden Spells. I read the entire book, even though I found myself wondering where the soul was. Oddly, even though the book reads like a quick knockoff by a NYT best-selling author, the themes touched me. Maybe there lies the rub: there is deep resonance without substance, magic realism without soul. The themes: long-delayed love, economic and cultural displacement, friendships put in abeyance, the choices we make in desperate times, and the healing or harming power of family and home, are deep stuff. Her treatment of them fails to engage that depth.
Engaging deep stories at their level is a very demanding task indeed. Ceremony and story seek such engagement, yet they require a concerted effort to reach those depths. Therapy, too, at its best, journeys towards those places, for often it is in the deep and the dark that healing waits. We cannot descend in diving bells or submersibles. Rather, we travel cloaked in ritual, ceremony, and community.
Who are your diving companions?