Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Emergence: An Apology

 I wanted to apologize to all the readers of my blog for my disappearance and lack of posting anything at all about the natural and unnatural, even supernatural, encounters with Mid-Atlantic environments. I've been overwhelmed with life, and while the holidays hit particularly hard this year, I stopped writing, exploring, and researching pretty much since then. 

I tried to retire but I failed spectacularly at it. I discovered I am not built to navigate the retired life successfully but I did not want to go back to the crazy-making life of toxic work culture. I discovered that being bored is just as toxic. Not even long walks in the woods helped. 

Still processing the loss of beloved family members, and the immensity of the empty spaces they leave behind, I took time to think and pray and remember. Months of  time. The loss of my spiritual director, a beloved elder Franciscan contemplative from the mountains of central PA, made the emptiness profoundly unbearable. I took on a new full time job. I went back to teaching as well. 

All this to say that I just couldn't throw things into this blog for the sake of having it take up content space. It was best to give it a rest, too. Mid-Atlantic "nature" is complex and rooted deeply in our history. It needs to be experienced in a way that calls for our presence and reflection and honest assessment of what is natural and what is not and why it matters. 

My sister and I recently talked about ancestors and memory and why someday we may move back to the mountains that contain our childhoods and family stories and all the familiar places that raised generations of Scots-Irish immigrants and their offspring. I have distinct memories of those people who raised me and even of ancestors I never met but who were important in how we related to our environment and each other. Lots to contemplate when faced, too, with the loss of landscapes forever changed by "progress" or climate change or neglect or ignorance. 

I wasn't surprised the other day to find that I was fly-casting next to a Franciscan brother, up from seminary to enjoy some outdoor time. Who better to fly fish with than a monk?  I asked him about sorrow and nature and whether he was using nymphs or flies. It was just conversation I needed and it  made me remember readers who have been in the dark about what happened to me. Brother Mike said that we all need time in the dark, nymph-like, to contemplate our emergence. We were both using nymphs. 

So that's it. My list of excuses and reasons not to have gotten out in this winter of no winter. Thanks for understanding that my absence here is by no means an abandonment but a reconsideration of the purposes of this blog and the time and care it takes to keep it going. Maybe a book would be better? Maybe some essays or poems? An academic paper? We'll see. I'll keep you posted.