if your family were as important to me as my own, and my family were as important to you as your family — and everyone in the world felt the same — whom would any of us harm?

Abiding Gladly

maggie s davis
Jul 2, 2018 · 6 min read

Often, in this turnabout world, our children and our parents move from place to place or settle far from home.

As life would have it, our sister, alone in Georgia, could suffer a stroke the same week our father alone in Australia is diagnosed with cancer and must have surgery, the same week our daughter alone in New Mexico is hospitalized following a car accident.

We could find no peace in these situations without the kindness of strangers who abide gladly — and steadfastly — as if our loved ones were their own.

At One With All

In the late 1970s, I was sitting bone-deep lonely in my little tree-house apartment, not long after the divorce I, myself, had chosen. Suddenly, I looked up, spurred by nothing I can recall now.

The walls of my apartment seemed to be falling away. I felt I was suspended in space — rising, slowly, as if on a lift, up the side of the mountain to the mountain’s top, which was glazed with brilliant light.

Looking down, I saw earth abounding with life. In that moment I felt at one with all that lived. I clutched the joy I felt, wanting it to last. It did not last.

There has been no other mountain.

But, more and more, over these many years, life has seemed colored more brightly. The unity I experienced that night “on the mountain” has been what has meant most to me — more than any object I have owned or desired, more than any relationship I have thought I needed, more than any practice I have given my hours to.


Heaven is Everywhere.

When I manage to be still enough, when I am receptive enough, certain moments — even certain days — feel heavenly, as if during these times nothing could happen that isn’t splendid.

For years, “heavenly” revealed itself only on the face of a contented baby sleeping, in a waft of sweetness rising from a wild rose-–or in some like moment. Now I understand that heaven is everywhere.Times I’m in tune, I feel it shimmering around me. I have come to know it wants me, too.


The Night Magic Happened

After a concert one night, magic happened. The music playing then amazed those of us who had stayed to listen.

The first music we heard was the song of a yellow-throated warbler. This song had been entered on the synthesizer from a DAT tape.

Slowly the vibration of the warbler’s song was decreased. Suddenly, what we were listening to was the sound of a humpback whale.

Back-and-forth we were moved, whale to warbler, warbler to whale, whale to warbler, warbler to whale. Everything I had ever said, or written, or witnessed regarding the interconnectedness of life paled in those moments.


Forms Beyond My Own

Once, as Eisley walked through the city in a thick fog, groping in the dark for the path that would lead him to the railway station, a crow he knew very well flashed by his head. Usually this crow could only be seen at the limits of his eyesight, but now he and the crow were lost in the same fog, and the crow called frantically.

The cry rang in Eisley‘s ears. Eisley wrote of trying fiercely to understand what could have caused the great panic in the crow — certainly, the bird was not merely flustered.

The answer he came to was that the border between him and the crow had shifted, suddenly, and the crow had come face-to-face with a profoundly unnatural sight.

This bird that Eisley knew so well had never flown low near humans. Said Eisley of the crow, “He had thought he was high up and when he encountered . . . a man walking on air, desecrating the very heart of the crow kingdom . . . the encounter, he must have thought, had taken place a hundred feet over the roofs. . .

He caws now when he sees me leaving for the station . . . In that note, I fancy I catch the uncertainty of a mind that has come to know things are not always what they seem.

He has seen a marvel in his heights of air and is no longer as other crows . . . He and I share a viewpoint in common; our worlds have interpenetrated.”


Part of Everything

The movie Powder examines how people delude themselves they are separate when in truth they are part of everything.

The main character knows the inside of people. He knows there is a spot they cannot see beyond.

When a deputy sheriff is cruel to a deer, the protagonist makes the deputy one with the deer, as the deer lay dying.


When Ordinary Objects Had The Power To Make People Notice Them.

An ice storm in Maine left hundreds of thousands of people without power and many of those people without heat. Shelters were established in many towns.

On the radio, for hours each day, people told their stories and their needs. And listeners (who were fortunate enough to have auxiliary power for their radios) heard and helped them.

During the crisis, ordinary objects had the power to make people notice them. A match. A candle. A blanket. A bowl of soup. A jug of water. In many cases, these were life-saving.

If my husband and I had failed to prepare for the storm, or had been unable to prepare for it — if our phones had gone dead, or we had not been able to get out of our driveway — our lives might have depended on someone remembering us.

Pet snakes and birds, dogs and cats, not just people, found refuge in neighbors’ homes during the ice storm. People from one town delivered free wood to “neighbors” they didn’t know who lived fifty miles away from them — this, when roads were barely passable.

In our own little house, we had no power for six days, though we did have wood heat. Evenings, listening by candlelight to our battery-powered radio — hearing the stories — I felt that all of us ruled by the storm were seated together around one blazing fire . . . one family during ice time.


This post was inspired by a section from my book, Caring In Remembered Ways: The Fruit of Seeing Deeply.

Both Caring In Remembered Ways and my website celebrate the wonder and oneness of all life.

Other maggie s davis posts include:

Not Being Listened To Is A Loud Noise

Promises To Keep, All Our Trials

Howling For Our Lives

Thank you for clapping/sharing/responding/following when you’re moved to. Means much.

maggie s davis

Written by

Celebrating the Wonders and Oneness of All Life in Books/Videos/Service to benefit People and Animals in Need ~ CaringInRememberedWays.org ~ OpenWideTheDoor.org

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