Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I will remember

Towards the end of lap one around the park, I watched the elderly couple get out of their car, carrying a plastic bag and holding hands.  They placed the bag on the picnic table and began to pick up the fallen limbs from the weekend’s winds.  I quickened my pace as I passed them, to see what unfolded next somehow gave strength to my body which did not want to walk.  On lap two I saw a plastic jar of what looked like granola or cereal on the table and watched them as they sat with the birds, the grass and sun eating their breakfast.  I giggled to myself, even their chewing was in sync.  Seeing me, they nodded their heads and smiled, a gift I quickly returned.  Lap three found them sitting, hands folded in their laps, their heads barely turning to see all about them, their bowls, spoons and arms quiet like the morning.  Lap four left me breathless.  I could see her standing before a plastic pan and jug of water on the table.  She was washing their dishes beneath the trees.

And when their last season has passed, will anyone recall and honor the way they sat together and ate their breakfast?  Will anyone remember the sun and wind dancing in their gray hair and upon their weathered faces?  Will anyone stand breathless, save for the sound of a sweet tear falling upon their face, and remember how she gently washed their morning dishes beneath the trees…as he quietly watched her….with a smile?

Cup of Tao

The Tao says the function of a container is in its emptiness. I remember weeks ago, having just cleaned the kitchen and mopped, I made my treasured coffee.  When the beep sounded, saying it was ready, I entered a kitchen with coffee pooled on both the counter top and floor.  I had forgotten to empty the old.  The new had nowhere to go, no emptiness to fill.

Yesterday’s walks birthed the whisper to the trees of “I am completely stripped of all.”  This morning, Life whispers back, “I know.”  Carved, molded and baked in life’s kiln, the cup of my sweet life, in its emptiness, awaits her filling.  But in truth, it is not the longing for the filling, but the emptying of the sweet nectar to give others drink and then the return to readied emptiness…to be filled yet again.

I cannot pour what has not been filled.  I cannot be filled without being emptied.  Trust.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Morning sit

A morning’s sitting outside, with morning coffee, the birds and the rainbows created by the neighbor’s sprinklers dancing in the sun.  I turned to feel the sun’s warmth upon my face.  And for a few moments, with a wink of grace, the flower and I were one.

The doorway into the house is both an entry and an exit.  An entry into shade, things, solitude, chores and responsibilities.  An exit from the flutter of wings, sprinkled rainbows, and sunbathing with a flower.  But in the middle of the doorway lies a threshold, a point that is neither an exit nor entry.  A point suspended in between and questioning “Which way is your choice?”  Sweet Hands of Life, to see only thresholds, to trust their journey and gifts, and feel the sun’s warmth upon my petals and face.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Helping hand

The morning‘s walk against the wind, weakened body and shifting knees.  Bent over, with hands upon the knees, catching my breath and coaxing the knees to finish, a leaf went skipping by in front of me.  Like a child with arms waving in ecstatic glee the leaf skipped and hopped down the path.  The leaves and trees dancing and bending reminded me of the Flappers in the Roaring 20’s.  A caterpillar, with 16 legs, meandered slowly in front of me, oblivious to the wind and the potential speed of 16 legs.   

With a chuckle, smile and plea to finish, a small fingered stick blew to my feet.  Its texture weathered flowing with intricate movement of lines and shades.  Picking it up, I finished the walk, holding it gently in my tremored hand.  

Sometimes to finish, or simply to keep going, it helps to hold another’s hand.  Sometimes you need a skipping leaf, swaying dancing trees and leaves, and a caterpillar slowly meandering, to finish a leg of the journey. Remembering the hill yet to come, the reward accepted, hand in hand, and the prayer of my heart for all struggling to finish..."In lak ech" ...you are my other me, and my hand is in yours.

"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world." - John Muir

Chance look

Whether hawk or eagle, I do not know.  Despite my love of nature, the faces of her children I have not learned.  He was gliding upon the strong wind’s thermals while I walked in the same wind’s dust pecking at my skin and eyes. One soaring.  One fighting.  A chance look upward to see, perhaps, why I gather feathers.

Don't bother me.
I've just
been born.
The butterfly's loping flight
carries it through the country of the leaves...
for long delicious moments it is perfect
lazy, riding motionless in the breeze on the soft stalk
of some ordinary flower.
For years and years I struggled
just to love my life. And then
the butterfly
rose, weightless, in the wind.
"don't love your life
too much," it said,
and vanished into the world.
-Mary Oliver “Ample Rain”

Morning feather

I wait, and long to be wise enough to understand. A feathered reading has Buddha defining 'enlightenment' as "the heart's sure release." Rumi said "You have learned ways to make a living for your body. Now learn to support your soul. You wear fine clothing. How do you dress your spirit?"

I laugh at myself for having no sense of direction and forever mixing metaphors. I've done it again. Looking to the mind instead of the heart. Looking at clothes that no longer fit instead of the tapestry around my spirit. Sweet spirits, a feather to ponder.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tween time magic

I have never seen a feather shaped like this.  How my eyes, with legs stumbling in the tween light of shadows and sun, saw her I do not know. She is shaped like a petal,  a leaf. Oh I am sure others have seen such feathers. That's the point perhaps, I have not. 

And as I do, I had to ponder in the magic of the tween time of evening and day.  Do you think wings for flight began as leaves? A silly question I know, but one that creates such magical images. If so, if wings for flight begin as leaves, then, one could ask... In autumn, when we think of summer's end, approaching winter, a time of reflection as nature prepares to go into hibernation, just maybe that is when leaves fall, letting go, and become the wings of migrating birds.

Just a feather shaped like a leaf, a petal. Nature's gift of wings so eyes that cannot see could enjoy a magical flight of images.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bookmark 2

My spirit keeps pushing me to walk.  I seem to have to keep moving.  Searching?  I don’t know.  I just have to keep walking, no matter what the body says.  On my third walk, I watched a turtle sunbathing.  I watched dandelions puffs fly through the air like snow and felt them tickling my face.  I watched a single green leaf, caught in the breeze, turning and tumbling  like a pirouette in the air.  I thought of the words of a friend who wrote of her partner of nineteen years, slowly winding down, and the fight almost over.  Her partner’s body is still there, but her sweet spirit, her laughter, and the glimmer in her eyes are gone.  She thought herself prepared for when the time finally came, perhaps she is.  She was not, however, prepared for the in-between time, when all is there and yet not. 

And I heard myself whisper to Life, ‘Help me to forgive you.’  No, Life has done me no wrong.  I have told Life what I want, what I think is important and sacred, by the choices I have made and make, by the actions I take, by what I do and don’t do, by the fears I cling to, the priorities I set and don’t set, by what I allow myself to be vulnerable to or remain closed.  No, Life has done me no wrong.  The oars are in my hands.  Life is but the lake upon which I sail.

I do not know why I asked Life to help me forgive Her.  Was it to simply acknowledge disappointment?  Frustration?  An acknowledgement that I had thought things would be different?  A childish pout because I did not get my way?  Hurt for not being prepared for whatever task awaits?  An acknowledgement that I am human and “life” right now hurts, but maybe in forgiveness I can move on?  Damn if I know.  I know it was important.  I know the quiet request, for a brief moment, released the body’s pain and for a brief moment, I could feel my breath and heartbeat.  Another bookmark to return to when I am wise. 

“Forgiveness is giving up all hope of having had a better past.”  ― Anne Lamott
“Forgiveness is the answer to the child's dream of a miracle by which what is broken is made whole again, what is soiled is again made clean.”  -  Dag Hammarskjold
“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.”  – Mary Oliver

Monday, May 21, 2012

Accepting the reward

According to the Tao – “When the world knows beauty as beauty, ugliness arises.  When it knows good as good, evil arises.”  To focus only upon beauty, you will see the imperfections.  To focus only upon good, you will see the failings.  I can look with eyes that knew the trees before the fire.  To do so, somehow the scars seem darker.  Or I can look with eyes that see beauty as is.

I accept my leg that drags and catches upon roots and stones and knees that shift and give pause as to whether I will make it back.  I accept eyes that make it almost impossible to see, and even the camera lens is becoming blurry.  I accept the weakness and tremor in my hand that no longer wraps around the warmth of the coffee cup nor writes.  I accept the solitude and silence, the discoveries unshared.  I accept the seasons swiftly moving and the weariness of nonresistance.  Think not my acceptance of reality’s cold steel grip is passive.  To get to the house, after my long walk, pained and weakened, acceptance means the steep hill that bends my body and breath is my reward. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012


I am a truly simple woman.  Broken, perhaps by not so simple things and silence.  So where does one go when you have no place to go, don’t know where you are going and your heart’s GPS is stuck on “Recalculating”?  I do not know.  And so I walked.  The heron again took flight.  The morning breeze, sun and grassy whispies danced.  A tree offered her reflection in the lake.  A squirrel again stopped to chat.  A fish jumped out of the water and splashed.  And as I knelt to whisper to the whispies, there in the grass, a solid white feather surrendered herself.

So where do you go when you have no place to go, do not know where you are going?  I do not know.  If I get there, I’ll let you know.  Or perhaps, better yet, …. I’ll send a feather.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sand art

Stone worn by time, the seasons, sun and wind.  It reminds me of a wave upon the Gulf.  Not the kind of waves surfers look for, it is beyond the tide’s pull, it will not crest. 

Sorry, nothing profound.  A restless night without sleep. This image came back to me.  Stone weathered, worn, now a wave. Nature’s own sand art.  May I likewise trust Nature’s sweet hands of Life, to leave the same gentle beauty in me.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Different eyes

She seems so small.  How will she cover the sun on Sunday? Yet, there she waits, in the eastern sky, where the sun is already reaching.   The morning’s blush, the kiss, the touch awaiting the eclipsed embrace and dance.  She seems so small.

And yet, does not one tiny drop of rain cause ripples greater than the size of the drop? Nature’s reminder, the beauty of Life’s tapestry and dance requires different eyes.  Eyes that see without comparison.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Buddha laughing

The morning walk around the park lake.  The little iPod shuffling through soft music.  As I bent my body to encourage my knees to go up the slight incline, the shuffle embraced the Buddhist chant Om Mani Padme Hum (“Precious Jewel, Awakened Heart”) and Fisher’s Peak appeared on the horizon.  More breathless from the music and mountain, I paused to breathe the gifts.  Who could not join with the chant and sing aloud?  And so I continued walking, singing out loud to the mountain, the lake and to the trees, my heart renewing my knees with a tiny tiny little swagger.

As I approached the group of men walking, I continued to sing.  I did not want to silence my heart.  Still singing I bowed my head and we exchanged smiles.  And then I tripped over a rock.  I heard a giggle.  I assumed it was theirs.  Perhaps not, I mused, as I visualized the statue of Buddha laughing.  Mindfulness.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Beauty's handmaiden

I remembered I needed to cut the weed hiding the electric meter. With shears in hand I went to prune. I discovered the weed bush, growing up between the foundation and cement driveway, was in fact, filled with buds and two blooming rose-like flowers. What I intended to cast off embraced me. I did not, do not know what it is. Knowledge sometimes is but the handmaiden of beauty. 

“You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.

Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through. ....

Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.” 
― John O'Donohue

Monday, May 14, 2012


I confess I am a person of symbols.  Symbols are both the spokes in the wheel of life and the stick that slows the turning so we can see.  The ‘why’ is not important, just something I needed to do.

 So what do you write on a stone, to state your intention to life, before you return it to the water of life dancing in the lake?  

I could think of only one word and wrote it on the stone.  My eyes would not focus quickly enough to watch the stone fly but I did find the ripples.  

Gathering another, I wrote my intention and gathered small stones – one for each letter. 

In the fight, the surrender, and every breath in between, to be a stone that learned to fly and swim, carrying but one message to life….  I honor you.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Giving back

Nature has her own music.  I have heard her chorus of pine trees and ocean waves singing, the tympani of the wind, the baritone frogs and alto crickets, and of course, her birds. Even her silence resonates.  I do not need an iPod when walking in nature. 

Today, for some reason, I took my iPod.  Climbing the hill and walking between the rocks I spilled and the trees, twice the ear plugs were pulled from my ears.  I am slow sometimes.  With a wonder, I took the earphones off and let the soft music float between the pines and firs, the stumps and cactus, the purple bell flowers and the red blooms so soft nestled in the cactus thorns.  And like a painter with broad brush strokes, I weaved my way as the music floated and danced. 

Seems so little I have to offer,moments when I could give something back to nature.  And when my walk was done, the music silent, the birds returned to singing and nature returned the song upon the breeze.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Journey of loose threads

I realize my heart and spirit see the world in an odd and strange way.  The ponderings and ramblings are  like loose threads in search of a tapestry.  But somewhere- I don’t know where, I don’t know how, I don’t know when, I don’t even know if I will ever know- there is a loom waiting, empty of threads.  Maybe one day the healing will take place and I’ll find the loom.  Maybe the healing is done and this is, what is. 

It’s a long way from here to there.  But a loom is empty.  I’ve a heart pocket of loose threads.  And like the song that keeps running through my scattered brain…someone, something, keeps calling my name.

“My name is jenny and i am four fingers old
Mostly I just try to do the things that I am told
But when they say that I’m too young a girl to ride a bike
I may be just four fingers old but i know what I like

[Refrain] Someone keeps calling my name
Someone keeps calling my name
Or is it just the rustling of the wind
Or is it just that I need a friend
Someone keeps calling my name, my name

My name is Jason and I’m ten birthdays old
My parents had me years ago to have and to hold
But sometimes they don't talk too much or touch hardly at all
It's strange how two can share a life divided by a wall


My name is Jonathon, I’m fifty seasons old
I say it that way 'cause I love the changes each year holds
But as I look around I see some changes nature never planned
I guess it's time to change ourselves, at least while we still can


My name is Jaime, fifteen years I’ve been to young
Is it time to taste the truth and toss it off my tongue?
The world has come a-calling and it's bleeding at my door
Am i supposed to turn away, or is this what I’m here for?

Someone keeps calling my name
Someone keeps calling my name
Or is it just the rustling of the wind
Or is it just that i need a friend
Someone keeps calling my name, my name”

-Harry Chapin "Someone is Calling my Name"

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sound of flight

There's the silence of grief. The silence of alone. The silence of two people sharing words with only their presence. The silence of sunrise. The silence between verses of poetry or between the tympani's beat. The silence of snow falling at night or flowers blooming.

As I watched the silence of birds soaring, a swallow dropped from the sky and flew beside me, not once but twice, so I could hear the silence broken by the sound of wings rushing by me. The sound of flight. I descended the mountain, bound by gravity, looking upward to see again, the sound of flight.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Honored grief

I sat on a rock surrounded by nature’s trees and spring.  A grief I know too well returned.  Sunday is Mother’s Day.  For all mothers I bow both my neck and waist and honor your day, though I think one is not enough.  You give so much, and perhaps never realize the depth of your pouring.

A fifty eight, I know Sunday will never be for me.  And so, for those, like me, who know the ache that pierces even the marrow of your bones, who live in labor every day for what has not been gifted….  I bow as well both my neck and back in honor of you, and to gather your tears and hear your unspoken pain. 

I do not know why I write this, except to honor both.  You both are my other me.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


And if I truly believe that nature teaches me…what is the lesson these weak eyes see?  Clouds and a mountain.  In life, they are often symbols of that which either darkens and hides my path or makes the journey seem impassable. The clouds are hovered round the mountain peak. Obstacle upon obstacle?  “No,” I whisper, both an affirmation and confessed plea.  For cheering them on are waving spectators of spring and patches of blue. Do I not also see the caress, the embrace of softness around that so hardened?  Do I not also see the surrender of strength to that so ephemeral?  Maybe I have been guilty of mixed metaphors.  When clouds seem so heavy and I cannot find my way, maybe instead of an obstacle, life has gathered my hardened fear into her embrace.  Maybe when the mountains seem so steep for my weakened body and faith, instead of weakened maybe they are reaching towards the solid certainty of life’s embrace.  Darnit, I don’t know.  I was  just walking and something made me pause and look.  I think it is important, and leave the bookmark here.  No matter, really, a moment of beauty, a wink of grace.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Drizzle trust

A day of cannot do, do not have, cannot figure out, and what now.  I went for a walk in the drizzle.  Like a heating blanket on pre-heat the drizzle soaked my hair, skin and clothes.  Just a 15 minute walk.  Not much.  A squirrel peaked behind a tree, as wet as me, to say hello.  I walked through, not around, a puddle and created a splash.  Drops of rain played on my hair’s slip and slide and raced down my cheeks.  And when I returned, two small feathers, dwarfed by droplets of rain taking a nap, awaited me.  I still cannot do, do not have, cannot figure out, and do not know what next and the night still awaits.  I went for a walk in the rain.  A short walk.  Timid trust.  And two feathers drying beside me.  

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Gifted reminder

A storm is coming in.  I walked the yard in the in the wind of the clouds’ footsteps. The precious red flowers cling to their tissue petals. What the wind does not take the rain surely will.  Picking up one of the fallen its texture makes me gasp.  It is not like tissue or paper, they feel almost like rubber.  Nature delights in surprises and gifts.  So many await us, unopened  gifts beneath her Christmas trees and life.  I watch a few more fall, saddened, their beauty will be missed.  Moreso, now that I know their texture.  And then I see my feather, lying atop one of the fallen petals.  “And the bird, she still flies.”

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Q & A

Question: I need my eyes. I need to see, to read, to ..... When? Please.

Reply:  So much beauty in between. But who can deny the beauty of the pod containing the red flower waiting to explode in vibrant tissue like petals. Nor can the beauty of the empty cocoon, more fragile than the petals it nursed into life, be denied.  To see only the middle, is to miss the true beauty of softness and emptying.  

Friday, May 4, 2012

Life on the fly

The delicate dance of life.
Feathered bark upon a tree

New life waiting to unfold

Life on the fly, a momentary pause.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Life unfolding

I did not know what it was

It started to reveal

Not yet she said, but almost

And then she blossomed and unfolded

To not see a Robin

Looking out the window I saw a Robin sitting on top of the bird feeder.  That is odd, as Robins usually feed only on the ground.  The Robin hopped to the feeder and I laughed to see its wings as I told him he needed to avoid hopping beneath paint ladders since his wings were splotched with white.  My laughter made me realize the Robin was not a Robin.  The Internet can be a wonderful tool for a curious one such as me.  Using a web site I discovered my Robin was in fact, a Black-Headed Grosbeak. No easy task with my eyes. But I wanted to know, it was important enough to struggle to see.  It made me smile to have a different bird.  It made me smile to know his name. 

And, as I do, it made me ponder how I look at people.  Do I take the same time and energy to overcome to “know” their name, to know little things that reveal who they are? To see they are not just another Robin, to see what makes them unique?  Carl Rogers, a humanist psychologist believed there were only three things required to help an individual psychology heal- genuineness, deep sincere empathy and the utmost regard or acceptance.  If the counselor provided, was, and offered those three things to their client, the client would self-heal.  Note-advice and direction are not one of the three.  Imagine what the world would be like if, in our everyday lives, we approached others in the same way.  What if I felt and acted upon the same curiosity and pleasure about discovering who another is as I did with the Robin turned Black-Headed Grosbeak?  Ugh….what if I did the same with myself?

One of the most satisfying experiences I know is fully to appreciate an individual in the same way I appreciate a sunset. When I look at a sunset...I don't find myself saying, 'Soften the orange a little more on the right hand corner, and put a bit more purple along the base, and use a little more pink in the cloud color...' I don't try to control a sunset. I watch it with awe as it unfolds. – Carl Rogers

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Hello and simple song

As I have told my dearest friend, I often require supervision.

There is a tree, atop a small mountain hill, that greets me every time I go to walk.  I always honor her and then off I go elsewhere upon the flat land path.  Today, as I offered my thanks, it felt like waving to a friend across a crowded room.  I wanted to say hello and hear her voice.  [Insert inner dialogue: your blood sugar is iffy, your right leg drags, and by the way did you notice the rocks?] With a giggle off I went.  It wasn’t long before I met a barrier – barb wire fence.  The tree was on ‘no trespassing’ land. Rats.  [Insert inner dialogue: no you don’t!].  With yet another giggle, I laid my camera on the other side of the fence and bellied my way underneath…there’s an advantage of having lost weight and being small.  [Insert inner dialogue:  sigh].  Like a kid with a cookie, stolen from the forbidden cookie jar, I continued.  Rats.  Nature had created her own no trespassing fence – a ledge of rocks.  Rats.  [Insert inner dialogue: Ok, young lady, no one knows where you are, your blood sugar…your leg…your weakened body…you aren’t listening are you?] As my dearest friend has told me, I am stubborn.  Making my way back and forth I climbed and crawled up the ledge. Sitting to rest [Insert inner dialogue – Rest?  You can’t breathe!], as I was saying, sitting to rest I could see the tree so close, almost there.  [Insert inner dialogue – you know, you’re going to have to go down that ledge...hello?!].  Onward I went.

I said ‘Good morning’ to the tree.

As I sat next to her I listened to the wind swirling among the trees at the top of the mountain hill.  Quieting my mind I listened for what they might say.  Giggling, I realized they were just singing, no message required.  Sometimes, like Winnie the Pooh, you just have to sing a simple song.  The joy and singing is the message. 
I crawled, slid and tripped my way down.  More than once my bottom (with utmost or should I say bottom-most gratitude) kissed the earth.  And as I scampered and rearranged the rocks, I sang a simple song…
                                I bellied my way beneath a wire fence
                                And crawled my way up the rocky ledge
                                I forged a new path among the rocks
                                (The deer have a new trail to the top)
                                All, so I could introduce myself to a tree.

[Insert inner dialogue: C’mon, we need a second verse]. 

Circled dance

I confess my heart was excited. Two feathers this morning awaited me in my morning walk. Then three, four...and my shoulders sank. There should not be this many feathers. A side of nature I try not to think about. I know the lion hunts.  I know the Orca goes after sea lions. I know the eagle and hawk hunt.  I know they never take in greed. I just try not to think about it.

I gathered several in the palm of my hand. Sitting in the grass I admired their beauty, amazing precision and delicateness. I wanted so to cry but knew the tears would be for me, not my precious dove. "Acceptance. Acceptance not abdication." I will not abdicate my trust. I will be more vigilant, beyond that, I will trust nature. I will trust the amazing feathers of wings to keep the doves safe. Walking in, nature gifted me a re-visit of such a delicate flower. A tiny dance of petals and grace forming a circle of life and a portal inviting entry. 

I placed the feathers upon a rock the mountain gifted me. Returned to the earlier photo of the flower.  Now....now I could weep.