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Muttering, Scribbling

Walking this morning I saw two baby black bears. My dog, Song, spooked them in the underbrush and they quickly scaled a thick pine. You could hear the scratching as they scrambled awkwardly through tree limbs, not pausing to look back. Song returned to the trail surprisingly quick, though obviously a watchful sow wasn’t far away. Some encounters we aim to avoid. I watched a moment longer, then turned for the pond.

Black bear sightings are sacred to me, like heron or moose tracks. In the presence of those sleek, tumbling bodies thought ends and the divine – the given, what is – is all there is. As promised. I remain grateful for weeks, sometimes longer. Often, the gratitude itself will end thought. It’s hard to talk about, but I try. I promised I would, so . . .

We have begun harvesting rhubarb. Every year we say we will put some up and every year we don’t because it all ends up in pies. Don’t fight your hunger! In late winter Chrisoula bought me some old cookbooks – early twentieth century, one a collection of Shaker recipes – and summer baking is informed accordingly. Yesterday’s pies had a maple butter crumble topping. Gifts abound, always, but we must look. And create. I mean, pies, yes, but love, too. Maybe mostly love.

Later this morning I will drive to Vermont with the old dog’s ashes and scatter them on Mount Ascutney. He died in the living room on his favorite blanket. I sat quietly a few feet away, sad but accepting. We are ready when we are ready. Coming home I will buy bread and cheese at Baba A Louis. Jake was a good friend and that has always been a sacred mountain, one I often climbed with him, what seems like long ago. It makes me cry a little, thinking about it.

Thus the days pass. Want leads inevitably to disappointment and yet. The external satisfies none of us and yet. Like Emily Dickinson I walk a little further into the gorgeousness, inexplicably joyful, content entirely to be teased by the mystery for yet another day. Heaven waits. By the footstool of the lesser angels – muttering, scribbling – I say let it.

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Mary June 4, 2013, 9:38 am

    Beautiful essay, Sean. A welcome moment of respite in all already too busy day. Thank you for the reminder to step back and let Him lead the way! Love, Mary

    • Sean Reagan June 8, 2013, 10:32 am

      Thank you Mary! It’s nice to hear from you. I hope your summer is going well!


  • Emily June 4, 2013, 9:52 am

    Hi Sean,

    My first post to your blog. I just wanted to say that for me, pies are love, especially when they are homemade and rhubarb.

    Cheers, Emily

    • Sean Reagan June 8, 2013, 10:31 am

      Thanks, Emily. Rhubarb pies come in second to apple in my life but really, a pie is a pie and yes – pies are love! Really, all homemade cooking is loving. That does seem to be in the consensus in our home. Thanks for reading!

  • JayCee June 4, 2013, 10:50 am

    Thank U Sean
    Often gratitude will end thought………it is with a grateful heart and a thankful Mind that we remember God…….The Divine….The Sacred…

    • Sean Reagan June 8, 2013, 10:30 am

      You’re welcome, JayCee. Thank you for reading. Gratitude is so important! I forget that from time to time but it really is our channel to God.

  • zrinka* June 4, 2013, 11:41 am

    Beautiful story, very palpable, like sailing in the Sea∼Song of velvety dawn 🙂

    You are a great storyteller, it comes to my mind so often while I read your texts. There is something old and archaic in the way you write, in a good way:) Perhaps, with an emotion that is these days so often – forgotten. I was reading it, with my eyes wide open, with anticipation, like I was reading a novel. It has heart, really:) Walk in the dawn, bears, Song, harvesting the land, then story of Jake and the mountain. A true story:)
    Anyway, lovely!

    • Sean Reagan June 8, 2013, 10:29 am

      Thank you dearest Zrinka!

  • sally June 5, 2013, 1:13 am

    Even though I live in the AZ desert my childhood was in Ohio near forests; lily of the Valley, butterflies, birds, squirrles and these were sacred to me, alone in the forest Silence. I have not lost a pet for years BUT have lost a son-in-law and dear friend in the next door Apartment….and all of these do interrupt my Thoughts, and remind me that I do still have one foot in each of the worlds that I now know about…..so the next morning, after the tears stop, I am choosing to be ready to Step Back and let Him lead the way…..and I thank Him for giving my this Lesson TODAY to help transfer my thinking to another way of seeing. TYSean. 🙂

    • Sean Reagan June 8, 2013, 10:29 am

      You’re welcome, Sally. Thank you for reading. It is so nice to hear from you – I have been wondering how you are. All these changes that life throws at us – death, bad weather, shoes that don’t fit, whatever . . . it can be quite a ride. But you are right – so long as our focus is on stepping back in order to let God – what is – lead the way, then we are fine. Inner peace really comes not from perfecting the externals, but letting them be as they are. It is an interior process we are focused on – staying close to God, thinking with God, and ultimately going home.

  • Aleta June 5, 2013, 8:56 am

    Hi, Sean –
    What a beautiful essay!
    My Dad passed on May 29. I am amazed at how peaceful I felt and feel about it; sad, but accepting. I was able to say good-bye. Although he was unconscious, my family believes, as I do, that he waited for me to arrive before he left. I would not have thought, throughout the years, that I would be able to take it as well as I have because all of my life, losing my Dad was my worst nightmare. Yet – now, since knowing the Course, I know there IS no loss and I cannot be apart from him. I have surrendered to what IS and by doing so, my Dad’s passing has become an experience of spiritual enrichment and wonderment, a lesson God would have me learn in this world.

    • Sean Reagan June 8, 2013, 10:25 am

      Thank you Aleta. I hope you and your gardens and quilting are well.

      Thank you, too, for sharing about your father. It is nice to be able to feel sorrow – grief even – and not have it disrupt our peace. And what a blessing to look into the eyes of your worst nightmare and emerge whole and graceful! I remember you writing about this a few months back . . . I thought at the time you would be fine. You always seem so grounded and grateful to me. But it’s hard, I know. Life is always throwing changing circumstances at us.

      I’m glad you’re well, Aleta. It’s nice to hear from you – so nice to be reminded that we can pass through the illusion of loss and pain and suffering and come out joyful.

      Thanks again, Aleta.

  • Mary McCrink June 12, 2013, 5:25 pm

    hi sean;

    i too love to walk in the early mornings with my dog and have encountered so many beautiful bears, ( black i live in new jersey) It is a prayer that quiet time time. I feel sad about Jake. Dogs really know the meaning of love. They live it.
    thanks for sharing your beautiful thoughts with the world. peace and love

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