Happy New Year?

We returned on Thursday from meeting our kids in Oregon for Christmas. We spent a few days in Eugene and five days on the coast. While our reunion was sweet, parts of the trip were unusual: heavy rain, high winds and even hail a few times; colder than average temperatures; nearly unprecedented snow in Eugene for several days; and lots of challenges flying home.

Our re-entry to life here has been slow and subdued. Tired, and coping with sniffles and sneezes, we’ve been catching up with mail and trying to absorb the national news, as well as personal news—friends and relatives with Covid, others’ struggles with holiday travel, two deaths in our wider circle. And bitter cold.

I think I still need to review and make peace with 2021 before I feel ready to embrace 2022.

As I look over our pictures from the trip, I am drawn today to those we took on the beach at Washburne State Park. We have always loved the artistic designs made by tidal waters on sand, so we took several photos. More than an easel for nature’s artistry, today the beach strikes me as inspiration for how to live in these transformational times, how to enter 2022 with strength.

I am a lover of brilliant color and this beach is mostly shades of gray, yet I see great beauty in the nuanced patterns within that narrow palette.





Some of the forms look like roots or braided hair, shapes that recur elsewhere in nature.





I see how the flow pattern remains coherent even when “impeded” by stones or wood, or even footprints. The water simply moves around obstacles or incorporates them, creating a more complex and equally pleasing design. Sometimes these “obstacles” impel a lovely line of ripples, adding even more variety, energy and nuance to the scene.




Sometimes two or three individual flows meet, each retaining its own boundaries until eventually merging to form a larger flow, with its own new patterns.





And sometimes something completely different is born in the places that seem most jumbled and chaotic.

These designs change hour by hour all day long, day after day.

Ah, thank you Mother Nature, for your guidance. I now feel more grounded, sense some questions to lead me into 2022: Where is the freedom in limitation? Can I feel the unity within which we, and the entire cosmos, are held? How can I exercise my flexibility and adaptability every day? Where can I be fully myself and also collaborate with others/ Nature/Spirit? What “impossible” and unexpected expansion and growth is gestating right now? Can I accept that creativity is ongoing and infinite?

I wish us all luck at this threshold of the new year. May you find your own guiding questions and images to inspire your steps.

(Click on any photo for a larger, clearer image.)