Nature’s so awesome. I never tire of watching the never-ending dance between dog and deer in our backyard. Nonchalant deer casually reaches for tiny green apples just barely swelling into roundness. Hyper-focused dog morphs into his most ancient hunter archetype. Grateful for the innate wisdom of nature: both know the fence signals safety and limits, and both know just how far to push those limits.
In the stark, bleak winter landscape, some trees stand out like beacons. In summer, it’s easy to miss them … but in winter, oh, in winter, these silver-haired elders simply pop. It makes me feel grateful for a lot of things: diversity, nature, and strange beauty. But I think seeing their starkness against the landscape stokes my gratitude for the immense wisdom and incredible depth that comes from aging well — gracefully, willingly, and embracing the inner strength and knowledge that bubble up.
I am reminded tonight that there is beauty around us at all times, even when it’s stormy. Beauty is always there, always near, if only we will take the time to see it and to allow new perspectives to enter.
While riding along in the golf cart with Charlie tonight, the storm clouds gathered, the thunder rolled and lightning lit the sky. As we zipped with some urgency down the fairway toward the flag on the 9th hole, this exquisite chestnut in full bloom positively glowed in the deepening darkness of the storm. It took my breath away and, despite the threat of rain and lightning, I asked (OK, forced) Charlie to stop so I could attempt to capture the image.
When we returned home, I began searching for quotations that might capture, in small part, what I was feeling. John Geddes’ quote seemed close.
So as I continued to think about this moment, I caught a glimpse of a correlation between my experience of beauty during a storm to something called “Deep Democracy.” In relationship and systems coaching, deep democracy is the principle that says every voice in a system matters. It’s important to hear them all, including the voices we marginalize, deny, ridicule. The voices we ignore, the ones we cannot stand to hear, the difficult, rough, terrible ones. As much as we need to hear the uplifting voices — the voices of hope and peace and calm — we also need to hear the voices that pull, that reek of despair and spin tales of war and storms.
I’m grateful, then, to the advent of a storm on the golf course tonight for reminding me that, yes, there is wisdom and even beauty in storms — beauty and wisdom in voices that clash with ours. There’s tremendous energy and understanding in hearing and seeing them.
And understanding in any world holds beauty in the cup of its hand.