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Archive for March, 2007

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YOU READING THIS, BE READY

Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sounds from outside fill the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life—

what can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?

WILLIAM STAFFORD

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In between clients and the dailyness of life, I’ve been painting a “spare” room. This concept is barely within my grasp. After close to seventeen years of being married and raising a blended family with five children, we have an almost empty nest.

I spent a considerable amount of time with paint chips. Looking at them in the store; taking them outside into natural light; bringing them home and taping them to the wall. I bought a sample jar and painted a small patch of color…made my decision and invested in two gallons of Benjamin Moore “Camouflage.” My husband, who is an army brat, grew up with white and off white walls. Little by little, I’ve been adding color, but “camouflage?”

The first coat, was a bit scary…I was painting flat paint over eggshell–it looked splotchy. I have to admit, I had the momentary thought that maybe this was a MISTAKE. The second coat changed everything…I love it! My husband’s comment? “I don’t think I would have picked it in the store…it’s growing on me.”

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LIVING WITH MISTAKES

They won’t wear boots.
They march ahead of us
into our rooms, dripping.

Give them a chair.
Where they sit,
the fabric will be wet
for days.
We have to talk about
everything else
in their presence.

NAOMI SHIHAB NYE

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LIVING

The fire in leaf and grass
so green it seems
each summer the last summer.

The wind blowing, the leaves
shivering in the sun,
each day the last day.

A red salamander
so cold and so
easy to catch, dreamily

moves his delicate feet
and long tail. I hold
my hand open for him to go.

Each minute the last minute.

DENISE LEVERTOV

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Can we live this way? With awareness of impermanence…awareness of just this moment…completely present to the green, the wind, the sun, the leaves, the salamander, the season?

Lately, people I love are facing illness, surgery, the possibility of full recovery, the possibility of compromised recovery, the possibility of no recovery. This is not a new state of affairs in my life. It just seems to be escalating. It makes this moment very precious.

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This afternoon, I took forty pictures of one rose. I couldn’t help myself. It was just an extraordinary experience. Looking deeply…filled with gratitude…watching how the light and the angle of light transformed each moment.

Whether I am looking through the lens, or thinking about looking through the lens, or wishing I had my camera as I did this afternoon when I saw a spectacular sycamore tree on my way to the paint store…I realize that I am much more aware of and delighted by my surroundings these days. I might have to think a bit if you ask me what I had for breakfast yesterday…yet, I can easily recall the way the air smelled, the black velvet butterflies, the ice on the reservoir.

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Writing, taking pictures…it’s becoming my way of remembering…waking up my nervous system…bringing life into focus…

REMEMBER

Remember the sky you were born under,
know each of the star’s stories.
Remember the moon, Know who she is.
Remember the sun’s birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth, how you mother struggled
to give you form and breath, You are evidence of
her life, and her mother’s, and hers.
Remember you father, He is your life, also,
Remember the earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them, They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember the voice, She knows the
origin of this universe.
Remember you are all people and all people
are you.
Remember you are this universe and this
universe is you.
Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember language comes from this.
Remember the dance language is, that life is,
Remember.

JOY HARJO

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It was 78 degrees this afternoon. I drove up Reservoir Road and took a walk in Black Rock Forest. Suddenly, it’s spring. The seasons have collided head-on. Reservoirs are still icy; moss is greening; streams are gushing. I saw seven black velvet butterflies with yellow fringe and a young red-tailed hawk.

There are tiny flowers, tiny, tiny flowers hiding in last year’s oak leaves. I am filled with awe, delight and gratitude…privileged, really, to be enjoying such beauty. To have the luxury of doing work that I love, the joy and good fortune of a healthy family, the pleasure of a late afternoon walk…

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“Spring begins”
just saying it…
green everywhere

ISSA

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If I keep a green bough in my heart, the singing bird will come.
– Chinese Proverb –

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Amazing. Thirty days straight of “blogging.” I didn’t promise to do this every day–and yet, somehow I am more whole, gratified, complete when I do. I can’t NOT do it. I guess it is, in fact, a matter of wholeness. I seem to have the idea that “you” are out there…waiting…expecting the next installment and this, among other things, keeps me going.

Short of the usual matters of daily hygiene (I am especially fond of brushing and flossing my teeth…maybe a little obsessed with it), I can’t think of anything that I have done deliberately for thirty days straight. I go to yoga almost religiously–aiming for four or five days out of seven. I also roll out my mat at home, and if I miss a day…well, I’ll practice tomorrow. Years ago I did “morning pages” a la Julia Cameron. I managed to fill a lot of notebooks–mostly with mindless drivel until I got bored. I sometimes give up chocolate or coffee for thirty days or more…sooner or later I drift back into the habit.

Something about blogging brings me great joy. Some days are easier than others…I never know what will come and I don’t know if I’ll keep going daily…Here’s to another thirty days of joy and discovery!

WELCOME MORNING
There is joy
in all:
in the hair I brush each morning,
in the Cannon towel, newly washed,
that I rub my body with each morning,
in the chapel of eggs I cook
each morning,
in the outcry from the kettle
that heats my coffee
each morning,
in the spoon and the chair
that cry “hello there, Anne”
each morning,
in the godhead of the table
that I set my silver, plate, cup upon
each morning.

All this is God,
right here in my pea-green house
each morning
and I mean,
though often forget,
to give thanks,
to faint down by the kitchen table
in a prayer of rejoicing
as the holy birds at the kitchen window
peck into their marriage of seeds.

So while I think of it,
let me paint a thank-you on my palm
for this God, this laughter of the morning
lest it go unspoken.

The Joy that isn’t shared, I’ve heard,
dies young.

ANNE SEXTON

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It’s almost 2 am. I’ve started and scrapped three posts. My mind’s a blank. I yearn for brilliance…I yearn for bed.

I had dinner with my father at The Bull’s Head Inn. We sat in the Gazebo, delighted by “daylight savings” evening light; surrounded by patches of snow and hints of spring. His mind was fluid…rangy…lumbering. Time frames colliding and collapsing. He thinks we’re in Fearrington Village...he thinks we’re in Garden City…he thinks we’re in his home…he thinks we’re in a restaurant where he conducts interviews.

Before leaving his room at the nursing home, I notice that there is a message on his answering maching. I press PLAY. It’s Bob. His voice is distant, slow, deliberate. “Ken, I wanted you to know that the Bradford pear trees you planted are blooming–they’re in full bloom…so are the cherry trees and the crab apples.”

Spring is full-blown in Fearrington, NC where we planted six beautiful Bradford pears in memory of my mother 16 years ago. They’re tall and full now–so symmetrical. Dad is befuddled–not sure what Bob is talking about. I explain, “Dad, you remember…the trees we planted by The Gathering Place where we had Mom’s memorial service…” I see a glimmer of recognition.

He orders steamers and lamb chops for dinner. He is happy and as always, it’s the best meal he’s ever eaten. I savor his enthusiasm for small pleasures. He remembers to ask about my daughters, Sara and Grace. “Now when is Gracie’s wedding?” he wonders. I tell him that Sara got married last fall and that I don’t know whether Grace is quite ready yet. I remind him that she wants him to walk her down the aisle. “Oh,” he says, “I’ll have to get some roller skates for that, or a sidecar for my scooter.”

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Grace & Grampie

ANTIMATTER

On the other side of a mirror there’s an inverse world,
where the insane go sane; where bones climb out of the
earth and recede to the first slime of love.

And in the evening the sun is just rising.

Lovers cry because they are a day younger, and soon
childhood robs them of their pleasure.

In such a world there is much sadness which, of course,
is joy.

RUSSELL EDSON

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