Learning to Wait... & to Recognize 'Dry Spells' as Periods of Growth


Meditating on those periods we consider dry spells and recognizing that often, they are secretly fertile stages of our development—when our entire souls are being rewritten and readied for fresh utterance.

Just as a fallow period is advised for the health of the soil, so it is with the soul. Dryland farming, for example, is made possible mainly by the fallow system of farming, a practice dating from ancient times. Basically, the term fallow refers to land that is plowed and tilled but left unseeded during a growing season.

The challenge then is to resist impatience and, instead, try to learn how to wait, purely, and without expectations...

As I attempt to surrender better and become more patient -- while trusting in the process and abundance of these mysterious times of our lives --I thought to share a couple of echoes from literature.

Even if at this time you are enduring through a time of bleakness...bleakness is never as bleak as it seems on the surface.
At the heart of the stripped down, in the rested cold stillness of winter, there is huge movement secretly at work.

—John O'Donohue


Veiling, barely, his dread
Beauty and its blaze,
An angel sets warm bread
and cool milk at my place.
His eyelids make the sign
Of prayer; I lower mine,
Words interleaving vision:
--Calm, calm, be ever calm!
Feel the whole weight a palm
Bears upright in profusion.

However its boughs yield
Beneath abundance, it
Is formally fulfilled
In bondage to thick fruit.
Wonder and see it grow!
One fiber, vibrant, slow,
Cleaving the hour fanwise,
Becomes a golden rule
To tell apart earth's pull
From heaven's gravities.

Svelte arbiter between
The shadow and the sun,
It takes much sibylline
Somnolent wisdom on.
Unstintingly to suffer
Hails and farewells, forever
Standing where it must stand . . .
How noble and how tender,
How worthy of surrender
To none but a god's hand!

The lightest gold-leaf murmur
Rings at a flick of air,
Invests with silken armor
The very desert. Here
This tree's undying voice
Upraised in the wind's hiss,
As fine sand sprays and stings,
To its own self is oracle
Complacent of the miracle
Whereby misfortune sings.

Held in an artless dream
Between blue sky and dune,
Secreting, dram by dram,
The honey of each noon,
What is this delectation
If not divine duration
That, without keeping time,
Can alter it, seduce
Into a steady juice
Love's volatile perfume?

At moments one despairs.
Should the adored duress
Ordain, despite your tears,
A spell of fruitlessness,
Do not call Wisdom cold
Who readies so much gold,
So much authority:
Rising in solemn pith
A green, eternal myth
Reaches maturity.

These days which, like yourself,
Seem empty and effaced
Have avid roots that delve
To work deep in the waste.
Their shaggy systems, fed
Where shade confers with shade,
Can never cease or tire,
At the world's heart are found
Still tracking that profound
Water the heights require.

Patience and still patience,
Patience beneath the blue!
Each atom of the silence
Knows what it ripens to.
The happy shock will come:
A dove alighting, some
Gentlest nudge, the breeze,
A woman's touch--before
You know it, the downpour
Has brought you to your knees!

Let populations be
Crumbled underfoot--
Palm, irresistibly--
Among celestial fruit!
Those hours were not in vain
So long as you retain
A lightness once they're lost;
Like one who, thinking, spends
His inmost dividends
To grow at any cost.

—Paul Valéry

palm tree.jpg

Photo of the drought in China, 2010

Picture of palm tree, taken by me, in Florida

Comments 3

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06.11.2019 00:02

Droughts are indeed part of our natural lives

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06.11.2019 01:09

Yes and, paradoxically, they are necessary for creativity 🙏🏼🌷

06.11.2019 01:41