On my daily walk by the river recently, I encountered a great blue heron and a merganser. Hidden behind the tall grass, I quietly watched as the heron stood, stoic and still, and the merganser floated slowly about eight feet away. You can't see them here in the photo, but they were there, peacefully coexisting in a simple, beautiful way. They are the mystery in this photo, hidden behind what's obvious at first glance.
"Where is the mystery now?" is a question I'm living right now as I settled into a new routine and place after much physical, emotional and spiritual movement over the last year.
"Living a question" comes from a Rilke quote that my mom introduced me to over a decade ago. I love it. I still have the card that she sent me back when I was in college:
Right now, I'm challenged and surrounded by mystery every day. I work at a small sourdough bread bakery as a baker's assistant, which is something totally new and different for me. Why is the dough different today than it was yesterday? Why, today, can't I replicate the skill I thought I'd mastered yesterday? How do I keep from eating all of the cinnamon brioche in sight?
I'm also compiling my mother's writing into a book to publish, which is allowing me to explore mystery in a different way. I'm deepening an ever-changing relationship with her. I'm learning even more about the person she was and the spirit she still is. It is a mystery-filled project and process that takes me in unknown directions and uncovers new layers of grief and healing in the process. Stay tuned for more about this project!
Back at the river, I tiptoed quietly away from the heron and the duck, trying not to disturb their solitude. I thanked them for reminding me about mystery. And I continued on my way, noticing and waiting patiently for the next mystery to unfold before me.