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ridiculous dog “stay down!” i say upon our first greeting coffee in hand there is an effortless morning rain dissipating into scattered white and pale blue while supervising crows issue orders surely the animals are in charge a hand-pulled espresso in a pottery mug from my 40th: girlfriends and wine a cold rocky beach crabcakes on the bookshelf there is a photo of the children 5, 3 tucked into a red tree with tevas so fiesty and sweet they were and are tomorrow my baby goes to college and again everything changes with intention – and not it does not matter… we do what we can to hold it at a distance until a cloudburst catches us unexpected machines die children grow up dogs learn not to eviscerate every computer cord you receive a phone call you know what comes next today the wall of change is a tidal wave i feel like i am holding my breath to say good-bye to what was and what i imagined both dreams and ideas and such gorgeous and treacherous realities today i know only three things i love deeper than i thought possible i have been loved so hard and even the wrong things can be done with love
is where you will find me
i slipped around it
through a vision
which revealed the other side
could be found
by refusing to
make myself any crazier than
what a relief!
step into the garden silence cedar trees and alders sentinels the greyed bench tipping back now needs to be righted my ½-weeded garden sweet woodruff and oregano larkspur and foxglove and horse tails that grow while I travel and work and attempt to make sense of the world of myself and of you you who tend to your gardens of love and belonging every single day i am weeping and weeding i feel it in the dirt the every day smile of my women/children grilling with family making music but mostly the amendments of laughter and nurture the afternoon sigh and yelling at the dog who just slurped my coffee we will never know what might have been or what good will come of anything we do what we do because we have to or need to and such a gift it is and will be we cannot know we are shadows until something heartbreaking shifts or how empty and lost and blessed we were and still are meanwhile the rosemary may be overwhelming the butterfly bush -one would never think it- the himalyan honeysuckle still thrills with trickling red flowers the hummers are warring for their sweetness and i am just here weeding and weeping in my garden
Some days a spiritual life resembles a sunrise hike through old growth forest. We stumble through the trees on intermittently illumined paths, stubbing our toes on roots, threatened by unruly underbrush, and evading fear of what creatures are nested in the old stumps and beside occasional creeks. It is beautiful, alive, and mysterious. And mostly dimly lighted. As we walk, our eyes take time to adjust to the glimpses of light diffused through blackberry bushes, spotted on lichen beards and falling through cedar trees.
In our fear we may fixate on the glimpses of light, sometimes focusing so much on it that we misstep or are pulled into a trail that seems safe but goes nowhere. The light is – sometimes – part of the problem with finding our way, we so crave it. When we quit peering soin tensely and allow ourselves to explore the obfuscated underbrush … the dark, the night itself lets go into dawn and we find it was manageable all alone.
At this moment I think that the purpose of “awakening” is not the pursuit of the light itself … nor the faithful trodding toward some clearing where we think “all will be well”. It is an illusion to think that we will – in time – sit in the sun for longer hours than it is light. It is not possible.
Perhaps the light is there so that we can open up the fear and blindness we experience, accept it, honor it, even befriend it. Perhaps we traverse through all this fear and mystery and hope in order to see what we have been walking through all along.
the air is singing the stories of summer oh – hear it! only interrupt the path of our arresting conversation and attend even a moment to the smell of the night the familiar way the lobster sticks to the soft smoke-grilled shell and the tendril of crab in butter you gave me the bite of mint floating in bourbon if we lean into our senses we will hear what underlies it all insect cymbals rattling, banging and then falling like a starling’s murmuration lyrical, other worldly and such a friend to the ear and heart this isn’t Puget Sound where the night hush sinks into the ground with the dew and only the “whash” and plop of the waves on the rocks these singing nights are heavy wool blankets and fire breath pull it in, blow it out and feel it rising and falling like labor and love-making and the changing embers glowing in new shape and form which is friendship last night we heard a whole song in and between soul-filling the glow of the fire the word of the ivory-fingered gospel and the picking of strings and story of mamas and look-out towers of failure and birth and the epiphanied treasures that are mystery we heard a whole song of songs and story in the treasury of music which is our lives each one soft to the touch to love and lyric and laughter such beauty and truth is almost too much to bear
a wild bouquet of 3-year-olds fling themselves into water jets and sit down before dissolving into a crowd of guardians and water play oh the racket! of 5-year-old boys who are deliriously happy being doused by buckets of water almost as gleeful as their dad who has a couple of them over his shoulder sopping wet and squealing it is into this calescent Kentucky Sunday the kind that could stifle conversation and divert every kind intent that we call for bloody marys maybe 2 no celery stalk but olives which shipwreck and sink to the bottom of the glass we sit in this summer field while you tell truth which spills out like the sweat on your brow uncaged stories as redolent and wounding as I’ve heard and this heartsong only a patch in the acres of your tender and interrupted pilgrimage you cry for the love of a friend and rehearse with me the binding and releasing of wonder and fear wonder and fear the tugging of discontent and the unexpected gardens where loneliness leads you are art such honesty I did not earn but you gave anyway i neglected to thank you we don’t know what weighs down the pockets of those we hold in our hearts or only in eyesight rocks or nails or a day old piece of leftover fish wrapped in a napkin who knows? the scripts written for and by you are with you and being harvested even now like those sprouting children ~~~ too soon the day collapsed into home grown carrots organic broccoli and cheese poems and the friction of insect legs that sing up the night much too soon as you left i thought “maybe this is what holy is: being trusted enough to hold the darkness and light of another in your heart and to love it all”
It is just enough to break open a midwest summer just add gossiping insects sultry walks embarrassingly disobedient hair and “The Ohio” I sink into a cool night with a slight breeze of cricket-song ~~~ I swish white sugar and water in the bottom of a glass muddle some mint plop ice then bourbon and bring on the guitar! It takes little, really, to be happy: home grown mint, a place to call safe and a voluptuous summer night Today I could kneel on the ground in praise