January 4th, 2006

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Morning -


To My Parents


My father died 37 years ago today.

My mother was 42.  I thought she was old at the time.

I knew she was beautiful in her competence and grief.

Each year I honor this day. 

This year is different though, because, now, she has joined him.

I see and feel them, flying and flitting,  in the most joyous of play.

I can enjoy this day now, no grieving,

only peace, and ease,  in knowing what awaits,

when I leave the boundaries of time,

and open the rim of space. 

The ocean falls through the sand,

and flows back out. 


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Jane witnessing this morning - and always - all ways -


I could not impel the darkness down
It would tear the shadow from my feet
shadow of havoc and grief, you hold me to this earth

or silence the soft sounds
of you turning against the bed clothes

or close my eyes
to the color red in all its startling forms
or the secret green of plants.   

I must believe that my noticing
holds the slow rising airplane in the air
and wraps itself around the one
crouching there perhaps in angst
perhaps tying the shoe of a young child.

All these I must do
with all my heart
as if my life depended on it.

by Jane Ann Flint
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Rilke -

From The Book of Hours - Rilke

How surely gravity's law,
strong as an ocean current,
takes hold of even the smallest thing
and pulls it toward the heart of the world.

Each thing -
each stone, blossom, child -
is held in place.
Only we, in our arrogance,
push out beyond what we each belong to
for some empty freedom.

If we surrendered
to earth's intelligence,
we could rise up rooted, like trees.

Instead we entangle ourselves
in knots of our own making
and struggle, lonely and confused.

So, like children, we begin again
to learn from the things
because they are in God's heart,
they have never left him.

That is what the things can teach us:
to fall,
patiently to trust our heaviness.
Even a bird has to do that
before he can fly.
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More Rilke and other quotes -

In the original version of the Tenth Duino Elegy - Rilke

    .....How dear you will be to me then, you nights of anguish.  Why didn't I kneel more deeply to accept you, inconsolable sisters, and, surrendering, lose myself in your loosened hair?  How we squander our hours of pain.  How we gaze beyond them into the bitter duration to see if they have an end.  Though they are really seasons of us, our winter-enduring foliage, ponds, meadows, our inborn landscape, where birds and reed-dwelling creatures are at home.

Eavan Boland - If I defer the grief I will diminish the gift.

Carola Speads - We live in a breathless culture.

From the book Lady of the Lotus by William Barrett: from the Vedas.

    I have a son,
    I owe a debt to my son,
    To the children of my son,
    And to their children.
    Each gift that I give,
    I give many times;
    To my son,
    To the children of my son,
    And to their children.
    I must take care,
    That I give no evil,
    For the evil will be multiplied.
    The seeds of my example,
    Shall grow into trees in their lives.
    I would give a fair forest,
    To my son,
    To the children of my son,
    And to their children,
    I pray that this may be. 
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The Sun Is Out!!

It is the most amazing thing. The sun is shining and gliding and prancing and warm. The world is singing response. I know it has been there the whole time, but it is also lovely to feel it dip right into my cells and my eyes, like the beak of a hummingbird probing a tubular flower.

I heard from some people about my comments on Jeff and Jan, and I have had a change of opinion on it all. I wanted a Pollyanna ending, a happy wedding, and it will be that, no matter how it is, but I, also, need to honor the people involved. Jan's parents want her to marry someone Chinese. If they are disappointed in her choice, then, they have a choice as to response. It is not up to me to influence their choice.

Suffering is wanting things to be different than they are. I know that Jeff and Jan will create a most wonderful wedding celebration. They are filled with ideas. It is their wedding. Those of us who choose to participate will be given a great gift. I appreciate the prayers I requested, and I realize now it might have been ego and/or arrogance to think this wedding should fulfill what I might want to see.

I know that Jan would love a relationship of acceptance with her parents, and perhaps that will occur. Perhaps, they will be nudged to see this differently, though they both seem to be in retreat right now, and they may just be contemplating the shock of it all. For me, it is another lesson in acceptance. Everything is just fine. Their wedding will be lovely. The people who are meant to be there will attend.

I am amazed to hear of the number of parents who disown their children for a time, or forever, because the children marry outside their religion, race, or choice. Often, grandchildren bring the family back together, but, sometimes death comes first. I am sitting with that, trying not to judge those who cannot lean into acceptance, and maybe it is a leaning, a curiosity to know. "How is this now? Hmmm!"

Can it be that curiosity is what is more fully needed? More questions? "Hmmm! How is this now?" Can we say that more and more each day, to the rays of the sun, and the weepings of the clouds? "How is this now? It's just wonderful this way. I'm so grateful it is just this way." It works for me. My world is contentment now. Thank you for following along as I more fully create and balance my night and my day.
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Robert Hass translates Japanese Haiku and makes this comment on one poem.

    Basho, A Departure

       Summer is over and
    we part, like eyelids,
       like clams opening. 

Hass says, "There is a buried metaphorical pun in the Japanese that all Buddhist teaching is rooted in: all being awake is saying good-bye.  Or, to put it another way, every time we say good-bye, we awake to the nature of things."

I feel today that I am saying good-bye to how I thought things "ought" to be, and accepting them more as they are, and perhaps, that, then, is being more "awake to the nature of things."  I hope so.  I'm hoping to more clearly let go of expectation and "should," and just accept the absolute beauty and unfolding of this world's flow.  There is peace there, comfort, and infinite smiles.  
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A little more winter -

Well, though it seems winter may have slipped our grasp today, I am still wanting to be there with this poem.  I should have tossed it out sooner, but I held onto it, and now it's moment may have passed, or perhaps not, depending where you are or when you read this.  The sun has set.  Perhaps, even tonight, brings again our winter light, our memory alive.  We, like Joy Harjo,  are "memory alive." 

Skeleton of Winter   by Joy Harjo

These winter days
I've remained silent
as a whiteman's watch
keeping time
                   an old bone
empty as a fish skeleton
at low tide.
It is almost too dark
                      for vision
these ebony mornings
but there is still memory,
the other-sight
and still I see.

Rabbits get torn under
cars that travel at night
but come out the other
side, not bruised
breathing soft
like no fear.

And sound is light, is
movement.  The sun revolves
and sings.

There are still ancient
I did dance with the prehistoric horse
years and births later
near a cave wall
late winter.

A tooth-hard rocking
in my belly comes back,
something echoes
all forgotten dreams,
                               in winter.

I am memory alive
                            not just a name
but an intricate part
of this web of motion,
meaning: earth, sky, stars circling
my heart

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Chirping -

As I read these words of Robert Hass, "Poetry is mortal breath that knows its mortal," a little bird sits outside on the planter,  chirping so fully that his whole body moves with each sound, his little tail tilts forward,  and his head bows. 

Ah, may I, too, be so in tune with I.  
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Quote -

I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather.

I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized.

If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1749-1832
German Philosopher, Novelist and Poet





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Emerson -

Emerson said, "The earth laughs in flowers." Isn't that a lovely thought to bring a sweet smile?

I receive a notice for jury duty today, to start January 23rd. Nothing like a little warning, so I can get out of it. I think I have a valid excuse. I will see. Otherwise, an additional little treat for me.