Heartland: Not Waiting to Exhale


| Utne Reader September / October 2007



Do you have the patience to wait
till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
till the right action arises by itself?
--Tao Te Ching, translated by Stephen Mitchell

I am lucky to have the luxury of a precious window of time for waiting and dreaming and letting life unfold. I listen to the birds, feel the wind on my cheek and watch it ruffle the leaves. These days it seems that everywhere I go I see hummingbirds, emblems of joy and transformation.

My journey into timelessness began with two weeks on the Colorado River, traveling through the Grand Canyon at the water's pace with a group of old and new friends. Dropping down into the eons of rock that stand witness to the transience of human life, we saw metaphors in the flow, the rapids, and the back eddies of the river. Days and nights of astonishing beauty blurred into each other, strung together by transcendent moments of contentment and delight.

We became a community of mystics, artists, and naturalists, each day further dissolving the boundaries dividing us from each other and from the natural world.

The area's oldest layer of rock, the Vishnu Schist, dates back some 1.7 billion years. It is called metamorphic rock because it was forced from the center of the earth to the surface by tectonic plate shifts and made solid by heat and pressure.

I'd like to think that I'm undergoing a similar metamorphosis. For the first time since my oldest son was born 25 years ago, I am remarkably free of external concerns. I'm no longer running a company; I have no agendas to advance; I am separated from my husband; and I have only one remarkably independent son, with whom I share an easy compatibility, still at home full time.