I've had a lot on my mind lately, and many things have happened over the past few weeks. Writing has been a helpful way for me to document and find patterns in the moments that I want to share and/or look back on. Why do I feel compelled to keep record? I suppose it comes back to the concept of impermanence. Documentation can help to preserve memories and experiences. Although I haven't written in several months, neither in a blog nor in a journal, I am happy to say that I have maintained a routine of morning walks/hikes in the woods a few days a week. Each of these activities allows me to reflect. It also helps me slow down and stay in the moment, similarly to meditation. If it wasn't already obvious, I think a lot.. sometimes to a point that written, visual, and/or verbal expression is necessary.
Last Thursday, the day before my birthday, I was walking in the woods, listening to music, and felt a strong spiritual energy present. My friend's sister, who passed away four years ago, came to mind. I sought a visual sign. Shortly after, I saw a flash of blue, and then two dragonflies came into view. They playfully flew from leaf to leaf, only resting briefly. I believe this was not just a mere coincidence. Dragonflies have a wide range of symbolic and spiritual meanings behind them, and I believe that she was there that day for a reason. My friend texted me later that day saying that she had been thinking of me, and I told her about this occurrence. She also told me some interesting news in her life. We live across the country from one another, so we catch up every few weeks. As I continue to reflect on these series of events, I can't help but wonder about the significance of energy, intuition, and symbolism.
I turned 35 last Friday, and celebrated over the weekend with friends on Saturday. It was refreshing to be with different groups of friends whom I've met throughout various times in my life, all gathered in one place at one time. In many ways it was like a reunion, since I hadn't seen some of them (in-person) in over a year. I had been craving a social occasion like this for so long! Just a week prior, a different gathering took place to celebrate the life of my husband's grandfather who passed away in early June. The stories, photos, and books that were shared at the service allowed his memory to live on.
On Monday I learned about the passing of two people I knew, both my age. Despite not keeping in touch over time, it had only been about five years since I had seen each of them. Death has a way of putting things into perspective. It's hard not to get caught up in the day-to-day experiences, but when someone dies, it's like a reset to focus on the things that matter most. Perhaps it's just another reason and reminder to continue documenting life.
Tuesday marked the last day of a seemingly endless school year. We returned to the school building in March, teaching students both in-person and online simultaneously. The hybrid model of teaching and learning was challenging for many people, myself included. Usually the end of the school year is celebratory, with lots of energy and excitement. This year just seemed so anticlimatic (as has been described by numerous fellow educators) for some reason. It was a cooler, rainy afternoon, and maybe it was just that everyone was so ready to be done that they had little to no energy left. I also didn't see any of my students on the last day because none of them showed up.
I went walking in the woods again yesterday, reflecting on life and death, and the cycles that surround our existence. These mushrooms were growing from a tree that had fallen over and was presumably dead. The butterfly wing lay among the mushrooms, as if it had been placed there... a juxtaposition of life and death.
Just a few weeks ago, the first cicadas of Brood X were emerging. Now, just a short time later, their life span is coming to an end, and there are fewer around. Until we meet again in 17 years...