Saturday, August 28, 2010


What is the good life now? Why,

look here, consider

the moon's white crescent

rounding, slowly, over

the half month to still another

perfect circle-

the shining eye

that lightens the hills,

that lays down the shadows

of the branches of the trees,

that summons the flowers

to open their sleepy faces and look up

into the heavens.

I used to hurry everywhere,

and leaped over the running creeks.

There wasn't

time enough for all the wonderful things

I could think of to do

in a single day. Patience

comes to the bones

before it take root in the heart

as another good idea.

I say this

as I stand in the woods

and study the patterns

of the moon shadows,

or stroll down into the waters

that now, late summer, have also

caught the fever, and hardly move

from one eternity to another.

Here we go again, no answers as we teeter on the brink of relativism. Is there no absolute "good life" but only stages that we go through? The good for some is to hurry and do wonderful things in our earlier years, and for others a welcome idea is patience as we come to the edge of eternity's seduction in the form of decay, dying and death? I do believe that our experiences and our bodily sensations in our daily lives define how we may live the best that we may, offering us insight and wisdom.

I spent many months of my childhood on crutches with a knee gone bad and no current surgical techniques available to fix the injury. Rather abruptly I was forced to slow down in a big way, not able to run, catch balls, and jump over creeks with the other kids. It was in this time that I discovered reading and how much I loved my little parrot companion. Both kept me company during the painful healing and the reoccurring injuries. Eventually the doctors were able to stabilize the knee and I was able to run again, play sports, and take to the woods. I did not lose, however, the reading or the parrot companionship, and both are a big part of the good life for me today. My bones taught me in those years patience, and to accept what the body tells us is good for us, and what is painful. I pray today that I might be open to the very simple messages of my body, that this breath and this heart beat is what connects me to eternity and to you.

1 comment:

  1. This poem is mine for sure. I still struggle with patience. I don't want to slow down. My injuries have taught me what patience I do have. But the me inside still yearns to run. Perhaps this is my connection to children. When I needed help at school, I'd ask a youngster to take things to the office for me, or help carry supplies I was using to the classroom. I never broke myself of the tendency to say, " Please run this down to the office for me." Being young children they took me literally and began on a run. Sometimes I was lucky enough to have my voice yelling, "Walk" reach them before they turned the corner and were caught running instead of walking by the people in the office. My pace has slowed down a lot as I've aged. I did always find a way to sit and watch nature and notice such things as the shadows and how creatures lived. It gives me a feeling of belonging and being connected to the universe. I think Mary was referring to this in her poem. I find I can be very patient with a child. If learning is a slow process I can wait and not get upset about failed first attempts. With encouragement soon learning has become fun and success is it's own motivator. My young neighbor friends also appreciate my patience when listening to them share. I listen through the whole story no matter how long it takes to explain. Parents don't always have the time. I've discovered they save their stories, questions, discussion topics just for me. They even offer to ask Miss Sally on their parents behalf, too. Sometimes they just need knowlege about something. If I don't know, my house is full of reference field guides to every living animal or plant. And, my computer is available for researching any question. I often find they just need their feelings validated. I find myself agreeing with the, "It's not fair" statement a lot. When life isn't fair, what can you do about it? They explore their options and choose their response, but sometimes it takes a lot of patience to let them discover what that is and not just declare, "You should do this." Of course over analyzing my actions, perhaps each child is just one more creature to observe. I do find it fascinating to observe their thinking processes and watch them grow.