Mira is betwixt and between, in a slowly unfolding time of idling, uncertain about what wants to be next, waiting for hints and clues.
It is a time that asks her to practice what she professes to know … pursuing the breadcrumb trails, using the collage opportunities as they fall in her path (they don't seem to be art related at the moment), following the breathing cycles as nature dances through her, practicing patience, getting out of the safe zone, allowing some edgy in.
And though it seemed to start in her own small life, she wonders if it's just a part of what also seems to be playing out on the larger stage of community and country.
Unlike butterfly metamorphic processes, she is not privy to the outcome that might emerge from the liquifying melange.
As she plumbs this place each day becomes more spacious and emptier. An upwelling of being fills the cracks previously occupied with activity as she relaxes her grip. This process of expanding and letting be reminds her of breathing.
One day after years of rowing, she noticed that her breathing perfectly matched the strokes, in on the release, out on the drive, and as strokes increased in intensity and speed breathing picked up in depth and rate then on stroke relaxation slowed and lessened. Water skimmer bug dancing, and all she had to do was notice it happening.
And then ... and then, the troubles are stirring around her, giving shape to the unknowing and willingness to let go of the old normal, as if it were a dress rehearsal for what she is waiting for.
Mira’s been enjoying living in a body for some time and this moment is providing opportunities that like the breathing are not necessarily obvious but can be subtle and interesting.
She can lie in bed with curiosity over the sensation of aching forefeet or tingling areas unnoticed during daytime activity, subtle tensing and relaxing of jaw muscles.
She is aware of the privilege of enjoying her experiences as she allows in the reality of so many who struggle just to feel safe in their bodies.
Is she willing to be vulnerable enough to invite in the horrors that stir her own crashing collage of emotion over institutionalized injustices? Is she willing to see her own stuff and deal with it as recommended by wise black women who know something about the myth of safety?
For Mira, a good day is often one where she doesn't step into a car or venture beyond walking distance.
Weeding the kale and strawberries, irrigating the fruit trees, lying on her back playing with hula hoop while watching birds passing overhead can be more than enough excitement for one day.
Following the conflagration of national turmoil cheered on by the president she attended a vigil for an African American student murdered in her community four months ago and watched as well spoken, strong students of color asked questions of the progressive white mayor who sunk deeper and deeper into defensiveness trying to cover the indefencable.
There is no escaping, not even in this small liberal community. She knows we are in this together and hopes that we can find our way to solidarity, and if not in this neighborhood, we are in big trouble.
Recent conversation with her husband of four decades has brought into focus the meaning of relationship at this time of life in a way she hasn’t previously considered.
She appreciates Margaret Mead’s descriptions of the three marriages most of us seek - the first for sex, second for child rearing, and third for companionship, and is grateful that hers is the three in one variety.
Companionship at this stage is larger than just the two of them. They’ve become aware of the threads of this web that reach in many directions and bind them through habits, family, friends, mutual pleasures and interests, community, history, shared experience, knowledge acquisition, threads of vertical and horizontal dimensional connecting. They even dance together on occasion.
She contemplates how to take this love for kin and broaden its horizon, find connection to those invisible to her who exist outside of her precious bubble.
In spite of the capaciousness Mira experiences in this time, there is a sense of the small and invisible that in an amusing way is enough, completely satisfying, not asking for recognition or significance, a butterfly dancing it’s dance in the breeze, unseen and content in the doing.
And all around the butterfly dancing, a storm is building, seemingly giving form to the unsettledness.
Mira finds she is watching the unraveling of this country in a way she imagined not possible. The racial festering left unattended for hundreds of years is oozing noxiousness even in her own town.
Now she is asked to abide really uncomfortable times, to listen deeply and patiently as she has rarely had to do, to give wide space to and learn from others not as privileged who are exhausted, in pain and danger in more ways than she can know, and to listen to her own fearful voices who'd rather plaster bandages over the mess.
She senses a permanent tearing of her fragile fabric of normalcy creating unknowns outside her imagination.
This Abiding is not what she had in mind at the outset of this chapter, and here we are. Does she have the courage to look at reality?