Monday, January 26, 2015

Hurricane


It didn't behave
like anything you had

ever imagined. The wind

tore at the trees, the rain

fell for days slant and hard.
The back of the hand
to everything. I watched 
the trees bow and their leaves fall
and crawl back into the earth.
As though, that was that.
This was one hurricane
I lived through, the other one
was of a different sort, and
lasted longer. Then 
I felt my own leaves giving up and 
falling. The back of the hand to 
everything. But listen now to what happened
to the actual trees;
toward the end of that summer they
pushed new leaves from their stubbed limbs.
It was the wrong season, yes,
but they couldn't stop. They 
looked like telephone poles and didn't
care. And after the leaves came
blossoms. For some things
there are no wrong seasons.
which is what I dream of for me.


Today there is a nor'easter bearing down on where I live in New York. The wind will blow and the few leaves that still cling to our trees and bushes I imagine will be slapped down by the back hand of a winter storm.  To stay safe, the region's residents will take shelter for the next 24 hours, staying out of harm's way. 
 I remember once when I was 15 by father backhanded me, bloodying my nose, and I wonder how this and other assaults, perceived and otherwise, cause me to hunker down still, withdrawing so as to keep safe.   Each of us has cause to blame human kind for being wrong and inflicting so much pain upon one another and this world.  We have reason to despair. We also have choice to invite in love and life's crazy and erratic possibilities. Alas we cannot stay out of harm's way, but we put ourselves in beauty's way.
As leaves uncurl in thanks to the sun's gift of light, we too can shift.  There are no wrong seasons for life, love, joy, and peace.  Just when you thought the world before you was painted with one heart killing color, a splash comes or a drop, the canvass of your conceptions now ruined. 
Why do our minds seek unilateral thinking?  I am sure it is for some evolved survival reasons this judging we do when we call one thing good and another bad. Our subconscious minds evolved so we can react quickly to threats without. This survival orientation though paints over the interdependent reality where beauty brushes up against the cruelest act.  We imagine ourselves too busy avoiding tigers, angry fathers, and murderous tribes to see the whole - no separation between this one snow storm and leaves that die, and new ones to surprise and surpass us all.

*******
Questions to journal by:

Where have you felt slapped down in life?
Has healing come to you?  How?
What have you learned from the storms in your life? 
Is it possible to see beauty in tragedy?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Three Things to Remember





As long as you're dancing, you can
   break the rules.

Sometimes breaking the rules is just
   extending the rules.

Sometimes there are no rules.

This reminds me so much of a posting we had on our refrigerator when I was a child.

Household Rules
Rule #1: Dad is always right
Rule #2:  Refer to rule #1

Today it brings a chuckle, and also a caution:  Be wary of rules, especially if they report to be simple or give power over to oppressive schemes, such as patriarchy.

Yet we humans live with rules.  Might we also find a way to live with the constant breaking of rules as a way to double check on institutionalized rigor mortis that restricts flourishing, joy, and love?

Make rules, then break them by letting your heart break.

Here are some of my rules:

Earth Rules
Kindness first
Love fast
Joy not last
Forget the past
Live with thirst


What rules would you make if you could have just one, or what one thing will you strive to remember today?  Then how will you let your heart break?


Monday, July 1, 2013

And Bob Dylan Too





Anything worth thinking about is worth singing about.

Which is why we have songs of praise, songs of love, songs of sorrow.

Songs to the gods, who have so many names.

Songs of the shepherds sing, on the lonely mountains, while the sheep are honoring the grass, by eating it.

The dance-songs of the bees, to tell where the flowers, suddenly, in the morning light, have opened.

A chorus of many, shouting to heaven, or at it, or pleading

Or that greatest of love affairs, a violin and a human body.

And a composer, maybe hundreds of years dead.

I think of Schubert, scribbling on a cafe napkin.

Thank you, thank you.

It is July 1st - the beginning of Bob Dylan month in our household.  This is really just one family member's idea and the rest of us groan and roll our eyes.  "How is this music exactly?" we ask, and have been asking for years. 

Something has shifted over the years, however. On my Leonard Cohen Pandora Radio Station, frequently pop up songs by Bob Dylan, and to my surprise, I do not change the channel. As both Bob and Leonard croak, I hear beauty and life. They both are singing, thank you, as so scribbles Schubert on a napkin.

Our thoughts are but a few notes, and our lives but a bar of the infinite measures that make up the song of the universe.

Come, you, whoever you are, let us go where no two notes have gone before.

May we open ourselves across the universe.


Sounds of laughter, shades of life

Are ringing through my opened ears 
Inciting and inviting me.
Limitless undying love, which
Shines around me like a million suns,
It calls me on and on across the universe
- From "Across the Universe" by the Beatles


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Poem of the One World


 
Great White Heron (photo by William Majaros)

This morning
the beautiful white heron
was floating along above the water

and then into the sky of this
the one world
we all belong to

where everything
sooner or later
is a part of everything else

which thought made me feel
for a little while
quite beautiful myself


It's easy to feel beautiful when the pileated wood pecker flashes by with enormous wings in pretentious hurry.  Who cannot imagine feeling smashing with such a colorful red hat?

When a chimpanzees kills another chimpanzee, is he beautiful?
How about when a white heron spears a fish?
Is this not tragic for the fish?
How then do we hold both beauty and tragedy?

Answer: Silly, we hold always both in our heart, for we are of the same mix as they - beautiful, and harmful.


Request:  Remember that we all are a poem of the one world.  Breathe in beauty, but also breathe in suffering and tragedy. Then breathe out less harm.


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Good-bye Fox



He was lying under a tree, licking up the shade, 

Hello again, Fox, I said. 

 And hello to you too, said Fox, looking up and not bounding away. 

 You're not running away? I said. 

Well, I've heard of your conversation about us. News travels even among foxes, as you might know or not know. 

 What conversation do you mean? 

 Some lady said to you, "The hunt is good for the fox." And you said, "Which fox?" 

 Yes, I remember. She was huffed. 

 So you're okay in my book. 

 Your book! That was in my book, that's the difference between us. 

 Yes, I agree. You fuss over life with your clever words, mulling and chewing on its meaning, while we just live it. 

 Oh! 

Could anyone figure it out, to a finality? So why spend so much time trying. You fuss, we live. And he stood, slowly, for he was old now, and ambled away. 

When we fuss, is that not living as well? Unless in fussing, I suppose, we block life's potential? But doesn't fussing guide us into knowing life? I think of the squirrel in the back yard with her chatter squeals at the red-tailed hawk, and the parent wren's insistent call to their 4 nestlings to leave the shelter of the porch nest, and their whining response. 

Go away! Get out! Come here! Feed me! Do something! Are we ever saying much else to one another?

And what about a fox fussing at the hen house, trying to find a way in. I think he is writing in a book too -

Whiskers full of cobwebs, paw scratches in the sand, blood drops on boards and feathers exploding out into the air. That's quite a story Mr. Fox.

The hunt is good for the fox!


Sunday, June 2, 2013

If I Were


There are lots of ways to dance and to spin, sometimes it just starts my feet first then my entire body, I am spinning no one can see it but it is happening.  I am so glad to be alive, I am so glad to be loving and loved.  Even if I were close to the finish, even if I were at my final breath, I would be  here to take a stand, bereft of such astonishments, but for them.

If I were a Sufi for sure I would be one of the spinning kind.





Though we can't see it, we all spin, for we twirl as the earth dances it's daily rhythm and its yearly cycle around the sun.  If that's not astonishing enough. I don't know what is. Okay, maybe this - the human capacity to be loving and loved.  Now that is a force to be reckoned with, along with the other great forces of the universe:  centripetal, centrifugal, and gravity. Without all these forces we would lose our center and our grounding. Without them we would also lose the ability to fly off from the center to know something other than our more intimate circles. 


I'm glad we are of the spinning kind.



Saturday, May 25, 2013

After I fall Down the Stairs at the Golden Temple




For a while I could not remember some word

I was in need of,

and I was bereaved and said: where are you,

beloved friend?


Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab, India.


This is Mary's latest book after all, so I'm guessing she is speaking of age and losing words and the mind turns mushy.  So is she losing the medium of her art?

Aren't we all?

Are we always falling down in gracious awe of the sun bathed earth - the golden temple?  What if aging, decay, illness, were one large prayer to earth?

We were born to be bereft of the beloved, but the temple is always there - our bodies, earth bodies, one body!

So today let me fling my words away from me, my health, my walking, and let them tumble down the Maya temple, headless, without thought. Just heart and bones.

Oh yes, they may eat my heart too.

Depiction of Maya Sacrifice from Film Apocalypto