Thursday, January 21, 2010

Taking "Darshan"

Before putting this blog together, Michael and I had many discussions about “space” and “sense of place” and other related themes we had run across. When applying some of these terms to Beaver Creek Marsh, I think of how residents and visitors alike respond to this place and speak of it longingly. As one spends a little time here, the shedding of worries and busyness and tension visibly relaxes a person, allowing a space, a rest stop, a “breather.” Those who live near here pass through and enjoy it every day. Others seek it out recreationally for weekend bike rides, hikes, kayaking, birding, and other activities.

My brother, Erik, comes to visit from crowded, fast-paced, urban areas. Even though we try to stay up late talking to maximize the (usually) short time we have together, he gets overcome with sleep. There are no street lights, so the nights get very dark. If we are lucky to have a clear sky, we can see the light of the moon and stars. It is quiet and calm. The house is well-insulated from the damp and cool, sometimes stormy weather, but the thuds and rumbles of the ocean waves still penetrate the walls. We are one-half mile from the beach, and still the sound can be loud enough to vibrate the glass in the windows.

Being between ocean and marsh makes for an interesting mix of flora and fauna. Something different is happening every day. New sights and sounds and smells.

I am reminded of an autobiography of a British woman who grew up in India called, “A Time to Dance, No Time to Weep,” by Rumer Godden. She describes “taking darshan”:

“Indians have a custom of taking ‘darshan’ which means, with a temple, a palace, a holy cave or a renowned view such as the sight of the Himalayan snow peaks, Everest or Kanchenjunga, or a notable person--for instance Gandhi or the President--they will travel miles, make pilgrimages simply to take ‘darshan’ of that person or place, not trying to make contact or speak--certainly not taking photographs as we do--but, simply by looking, to let a little of the personality, sainthood, holiness or beauty, come into their souls. They go away, usually without speaking and so keep it for the rest of their lives. Innately, from the time we were children, we had done the same thing; it was perhaps our deepest delight.”

A visit to Beaver Creek Marsh is one such place to experience in that way.

Posted by jackie.

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