There were tiny bats aloft last night around the trees where the Mullum Mullum Creek path reaches Highland Avenue. I love the Italian term for these creatures, pipistrelli, which captures their petiteness and their jagged, fluttering flight. I watched them emerging from the shadow of the trees to appear and disappear against the dusk sky. I had just seen a red lit puff of cloud against dark greyness away to the west fade to dusty orange, then to grey. This is what I love about dusk and dawn; the possibility of transformation feels closer as we move between night and day, darkness and light. And I love these tiny pipistrelli celebrating vespers, the arrival of the night.
There is an exercise which a friend taught me using our observations of the natural world. Apparently it helps to strengthen our capacity to get hold of ourselves. Sometimes, I have trouble with that, keeping a grip on myself I mean, with my waxing and waning emotions, the doubts and fears which intrude and make it so very difficult to choose my deepest wishes. I don’t always find the strength and self-discipline to take myself in hand. But little practices like the one I’m about to share with you are said to be very helpful in developing that strength and self-discipline.
You observe some natural phenomenon, like the sky at dusk, and let yourself truly drink in the image. Then the next day you observe the sky again and recall the image that you pictured the day before. I tried it when I saw the red lit cloud, recalling the blue sky of the day before and imagining the shift between the two. This morning standing on the railway station, I watched pigeons wheeling over clouds gilded by dawn. With delight, I remembered the pipistrelli of the night before flying across the grey lit zenith between tall pines and gums.