Friday, January 2, 2015

New Years into the Woods on the Hudson, from Anne Frank to Guardians of the Galaxy

We spent a few days in Garrison after  Christmas wandering outside and cocooning inside in our nests, stepping out for strolls through the hiking trails along the river, sang songs from the movie, loving romping into the woods.  Well, most of us love it.  Some of us do.  Well I do. 

“if it’s a hike, im not going,” explained number two.
“its not a hike, it’s a walk.  Its not a hike,” I explain.

Well, we went anyways.  We wandered, spending the last afternoon of 2014, the first day of 2015 journeying through the woods and trails up here, along a trail by the Hudson along the metro north train, stumbling upon some wrecked buildings being consumed back into the earth.

And meandered through Tivoli, New York, a town established in 1872, dating back another hundred years, visited Bard, and Rhinebeck, and Rhinecliff.  We had thought we were going to go cross country skiing.  But there’s no snow.  Plus, its more fun to explore the land of Rip Van Wincle and see what it shows us, what it reveals as our trip becomes a portable life museum.  Well, that’s the name of one of the books number one got for the holidays, “How to be an explorer of the world, portable life museum.”  I like to think we were already doing that. But this books a lovely reminder of how.

“Sometimes a tree can tell you more than can be read in a book,” noted Carl Jung on the inside.  My dad loved Jung before he read the book The Jung Cult.  He never really talked about him after he came to see the cruelties and vanities of his followers.  But his musings on the authentic life still remind us there is more to life than meets the eye, more mystery, more trouble, more synchronicity, if you scratch beneath the surface, or wander through the trees, away from our monoculture and the palaces of Moloch, even if they are showing great movies.   Yet, wondering is nothing to be sanctimonious about.    The Yoga instructors, who seem to imagine they have a better map of the path are just as bad as the others in the Jung Cult.  But we are all just wanderers.

The last few days, we’ve been reading Anne Frank’s diary again.  She reminds me so much of the possibilities of beauty we see, she sees when she looks out at the tree outside her window.
“in due time I quieted down and discovered the boundless desire for all that is beautiful and good,” she confessed on the seventh of March 1944, after over two years in hiding, and some five months before her demise, when we presume the Nazis discovered her “secret annex.”

The tree outside Anne's window.

Two weeks earlier she had written.  “The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God.  Because only then does one feel all as it should be and that god wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.  As long as this exists, and it certainly always will.  I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be.  And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all solace…  When I looked outside right into the depth of nature and God, then I was happy, really happy.   And Peter, so long as I have that happiness here, the joy  in nature, and a lot more besides, all the while one has that one can always recover happiness.  Richness can be lost, but that happiness in your heart can only be veiled, and it will still bring you happiness again, as long as you live.  As long as you can look fearlessly into the heavens, as long as you know that you are pure within, that you will still find happiness,” (p. 158-9).

I am in awe of Anne’s awareness and her gratitude.  But this is the same consciousness that grows out of so much suffering, finding meaning in struggle, growing, and connecting with everything again.  Its an amazing feeling.

Driving home from the country we all sang along to Guardians of the Galaxy  and Rocky Horror soundtracks, singing “I’m hooked on a feeling.” 

Happy New Years 2015.  Its good to be feeling, seeing you and greeting you again. I hope I can live and be aware just like Anne did. 

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