When I first got my two horses and I was seeking to learn how to best build a relationship with them I ended up in Denmark learning from a master horseman and teacher. English was his “third language”. He had some wonderful ways of describing how to be with a horse that would instill trust and build rapport. One of the main phrases he used was the idea of “no hastings”- you can never be in a hurry when you go to spend time with a horse. I have loved this phrase ever since and it comes to my mind often when I am doing all manner of things. Today it came clearly to mind as I was walking in the early morning cool through a meadow we have where the horses graze.
There is “no hastings” in the way that spring comes to New England ~ this year it was even more leisurely than many with cooler temperatures and overcast skies. But come it does in unfolding waves of beauty, the invisible river of life bursting into view on all sides. First the bluebirds, a sure sign the black flies are getting ready to arrive. Then the phoebe’s and the swallows right on schedule with the first wave of black flies. Each morning as my husband and I sit quietly on our porch drinking our morning pots of tea there is a new bird song. I try to learn one or two new songs a year – this spring it was the oriole and the song sparrow. I remember coming to visit my grandmother. Sitting on the back porch in the afternoon for her “sherry hour” she would hear the various songs and say “There is the veery. Oh, I love that wood thrush…”. I would hear her delight and think to myself, ‘I cannot hear anything different’, to my ear all the songs sounded the exact same. Not now ~ not since I have taken the time to stop and actually listen to the music being sung everyday on this land. Listen carefully and listen often so that my ear and heart have time to tune to the very clear differences between every song. Now I hear the incredible variety and beauty of each song, some of which I can identify with the birds that sing it and others I simply enjoy as a gift in the moment. In the spring when all the birds are nesting, there is a veritable symphony of sound each day.
It is a slow and ongoing unfolding of beauty as all forms of life around me shift from winter into spring going from brown and looking lifeless to all manner of shades of green. And in the midst of it all there is “no hastings”. Each tree, shrub, flower and bush comes to life whenever it is ready, when the conditions are ripe and the time is theirs. Thus, is the unfolding here in the northern hemisphere.
In the southern hemisphere, the same inexorable flow is moving in the opposite direction, all things letting go, slowing down and coming to rest for a season in the same unhurried fashion. No fanfare, no “clinging”, only the steady shedding of the last season and waiting until the next impulse to blossom and grow is sensed.
I am filled with awe at the effortlessness with which all this comes to pass. It reminds me that there is the same possibility within myself ~ the possibility to live deeply and fully in sync with this invisible river of life and let my life unfold with the same patience, resilience, beauty and flow. My days of silence are one of times where I listen with care and feel this rhythm deep in my bones.
In the spirt of a spring day in New England, may you find your way to a more steady and graceful unfolding of your own life through “no hastings” and rhythmically living.