Monday, October 31, 2011

Astonished and shivery...

On Saturday, the snow in my garden beds looked like cake icing, the pink impatiens blossoms peeping through being the most perfect decorative touches imaginable. Yesterday the snow all melted and this morning the land is white again, this time with heavy frost. How odd to have the first measurable snow before we have the first heavy, killing frost.

Dead impatience stems and leaves turn black. Today the impatience are wilted yet still green. How dead are they? This world astonishes me. It is a day to be astonished. Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Even the rocks cry out

"How indeed is it possible for one human being to be sorry for all the sadness that meets him on the face of the earth, for the pain that is endured not only by men, but by animals and plants, and perhaps by the stones." E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, quoted by
Diane Johnson in the epigraph to her spy novel Lulu in Marrakech.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Tomorrow, more changes

Yesterday I sat in this chair watching the sunrise world. From full dark, the first inklings of less-dark. Then first pinks tinting a few whispy clouds, and then the full-pink glow, the whole, colorful world alive under a kind, gauzy, indirect light. Then, minute by minute changing the view, the shadow of my hill withdrew and full sunshine spotlit the fall leaves on the hill across the valley, all the sky-blue-pinks transformed to the colors of full maturity, even the sky taking on its glinty, sapphire, seasonal shine.

Today rain falls, the sky gray, all the colors muted. Past experience allows me to predict that quiet reigns outdoors, the busy, rustly, chirpy creatures all in dry-ish, protected places. Even wild things seek protection from harsh weather. Snow in the forecast.

Friday, October 28, 2011


A crisp, bright, life-filled world greeted me as I stepped outside this morning. The horses calm and grazing across the way. The trees moving through their preparations for winter. The poor crushed turtle on Walter's Mill, (yes, I moved it to a bank space where at least it will be eaten, transformed to other than paving.) The grasses, those still green and those going sere. The harvested corn field, and the corn in the adjoining field that is too damaged by summer storms to harvest with a machine. On and on, all variety of life.

We're about to cross the threshold of seven billion human beings alive around the globe. Have you ever met your double? Ever observed any doubles? Even "identicals" exhibit subtle variations. Seven billion unique human beings.

And then, if we expand the definition of life, we have other mammals, birds, plants of all sorts, fungus, bacteria, virus... All variations on the theme of ways of being in this world. How can we doubt that the world is full of being, beyond our comprehension?

The multiplicity of being astonishes me.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Is There Something? For me... Yes!

Is there some Being in this world?
I say yes.
Some Sacredness that is unnameable, beyond comprehension, yet somehow known?
I say yes.
A Being whose sacred power is in force everywhere, like gravity is in force everywhere?
I say yes.

In Christian churches I was taught of a God who is
(the verb is referring to a state of Being),
All Powerful (Omnipotent),
All Seeing (Omniscient),
Everywhere Present (Omnipresent).

Now, isn't the place of God (Being) sacred?
Does it not follow, therefore, that the whole world is a sacred place?
Sacred space honored, ignored, desecrated... yet sacred...

What does it take to hold the whole world as sacred, to stand in constant relationship with the sacred presence, that presence being everywhere I could ever possibly be? Oh, how awake one must become to stay ever aware of the depth of such relationship. What conscious noticing, moment by moment, of every thought and intention and affect and effect. How is this possible? Faith. Here is my call to ever-deepening faith.

On October 22, 2011, in his online daily meditation, part of the series he titles "The Indwelling Presence," Fr. Richard Rohr writes:
"Faith is an end in itself.
Faith is not what we do in order to get to heaven.
To have faith is already to have come alive.
“Your faith has saved you” (Luke 18:42 [2])
is the way Jesus put it to the blind man.
Faith is the opposite of resentment, cynicism and negativity.
Faith is always, finally, a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Faith actually begins to create what it desires.
Faith always re-creates the good world.
Without faith, we can sink into despair.
Faith is a matter of having new eyes,
seeing everything, even our most painful suffering,
through and with the eyes of God."

(Adapted from The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See, p. 21)

(Rohr writes in paragraphs, I see in short pieces, I've added the line arrangement.)

Today, Rohr writes:
"...God becomes more a verb than a noun,
more a process than a conclusion,
more an experience than a dogma,
more a personal relationship than an idea.
There is Someone dancing with you now,
and you are not afraid of making mistakes."
(Adapted from The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See, p. 23)

A process, an experience, a personal relationship. This Being dancing with me, holding me so fully and lovingly and securely that I am no longer afraid of making mistakes. The beginners mind, the freedom to explore without answers already in place.

I say yes! Now here's an explanation of a freedom of Being within this entirely sacred world that I can experience, relate to, interact with, hold by faith.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Happy Little Girl

Little white dog, the terrified stray I fed for a little while this past summer, has found a home with Jimmy down at the horse barn near Kalmia. She's now named "Little Girl," and is so clearly, dearly loved. Now she has a good dog's life. Mother Nature's face can be harsh, but kindness also exists in the world.

My farmer neighbor down by Deer Creek had a wheel off his corn combine as I walked by this morning. "Oh, we have a bent axle, he went off into that hole there. The bolts were kinked in a way we had some trouble with, but we'll have 'er going again right quick, here, now." He and his friend who farms down the road another bit seem to often work together, making jobs easier and more fun for both, I believe. I want to call them two old guys, but I'm sure they're not much older than I. They're the two who found me sitting on the road berm resting at my normal turn-around place one day when I'd overestimated my strength. "The bus doesn't stop here anymore, " they told me when they stopped. And then they gave me a ride back home.

Today the sky waters look rippled in their bowl. Rain coming.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Conscious Recognition

Oh, let me put on my sweatshirt and shoes and go into today's fresh, circulating air. Let me experience the essence of Breath, this moment of my life, carried in my specific, vulnerable body. The leaves are spinning down so charmingly. Would that I might know in myself the essence of such grace.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Traveling Seeds

The handsome, long-haired, black and white cat, the one who looks like he's wearing a plush tuxedo, has taken to going outside in the past few days. He comes back with burs in his furs. None of us likes the removal process.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Calm on the Surface

Yesterday I stopped to rest beside Deer Creek at a place that looks mirror-smooth and quiet when viewed from several hundred feet downstream. Up close, I see leaves afloat on the surface like little boats, bobbling along at a spanking pace. This calm place is as full of energetic movement as the shallow, splashy, over-the-rocks place. Only the expression of its force varies.

When I was a small child I spent hours and hours playing beside and in a branch of Cross Kill Creek where it ran though the meadow beside our house. I created channels and dams, observed the flow, put little floating things-- sticks and leaves-- on the surface and paced them on their downstream journey until they sank or got stuck or my short legs couldn't keep up as I ran along the bank. For as long as I've had conscious thought I've been fascinated by water and its flow.

Water moves in subtle but consistent patterns. I suppose the formalized study is called fluid dynamics, which I didn't know about when I was choosing a course of formalized study. Yet overt, non-quantified, close observation has both physical world lessons and metaphorical lessons. I am a poet, I speak metaphor.

Watch a swan create a small wake on a calm lake and know it's paddling like mad underneath.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Scents of Autumn

From variations on the theme of green, the world moves to full pallet, flaunts its mature glory. Me too! My body is trying to resist infection (yeah! good body!-- it's my definition of "good body!") and so I was up early sneezing and coughing. And outdoors starlight gleamed through the thinning leaves, and the air smelled so musky and alive with fall.

You know how summer smells green?
Autumn smells rich, alluring, bewitching.
Every tree carries its unique scent, strong in ripe leaves.
Ripened, drying-in-the-field corn; fermented chopped forage; Osage Orange.
Indoors: mulling cider, baking bread, stew,
the first fire in the wood stove,
the evergreen joy of a shower with good smelling soaps...

What's on your list of Autumn smells? How does Autumn smell in the city?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Soar High

Deer Creek flows along, my steady, beloved Deer Creek. Today, as usual, I paused at the farthest-out point of my walk to absorb sensory details of this magical, real, natural world. Today, though, I turned around sooner than I often do. Standing on a raised part of the creek bank, looking straight ahead, I noticed dried grasses clinging to tree branches at my eye level, detritus left by the late summer's floods.

The steady, continuing flow, the detritus of endings, the chance for a new beginning inherent in every ending. "If you want to be reborn, let yourself die," says the Stephen Mitchell translation of the Tao Te Ching, chapter 22.

Two vultures hovered on the road near my lane as I approached on my way home. They only flew as far as the fence, not very fearful of me, a known one. They'd been feeding on a road-killed squirrel, its flesh raw and beautiful where the gray-furred skin had peeled back.

The vultures look fierce up close, and as glorious in flight as any eagle. Hard as it was to see the poor, mangled body on the road, yet I understood that the squirrel was becoming a bird. Soon those very birds will take flight, and soar. Soar high, fellow travelers, soar high.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Archimedes Palimpsest

“The rewriting of history is a fabulously wonderful and romantic thing.” said Walters Art Museum curator Will Noel, quoted in The Baltimore Sun, Sunday, October 16, 2011 in the article “Archimedes Decoded.” The article says that twelve years ago The Walters gained possession of a 174-page goatskin book, badly deteriorated and scraped and written over, but with ghostly images of a 10th-century scribe's copy of Archimedes' work “On Floating Islands,” and the only versions anywhere of his “Method of Mechanical Theorems,” and “The Stomachion.”

Do you ever wish you could know much more than you do? I wish I had energy and focus and ability and all the other resources to learn-learn-learn. I'd learn languages of all sorts, including mathematics, so I could translate for myself whatever I wished to read. I'd learn history, and and government, economics, medicine, physics, and all the -ology sciences. Then I'd go online and study the digitally imaged pages The Walters posted of Archimedes' writings, too. Wanna work together? Wouldn't that be fun?

Yesterday Bernie, Scott and Pippa did most of the work to rake the lawn, split (that was Scott, thank you) and stack the various cut wood, make everything around the property look tidy and finished, battened down, ready. Ready for what? Today I have a new to-do list, and colorful leaves decorate the lawn.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Eugene O'Neill said, "As long as you have a job on hand that absorbs all your mental energy, you haven't much worry to spare over other things. It serves as a suit of armor." (Quoted on The Writer's Almanac, October 16, 2011)

He said it about writing, which was his job. Have you found, defined, your place of absorption?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

After more days of rain

The breeze blows so nicely this morning as the sun rises in a clear sky. Leaves whirled in a wild air dance yesterday; today the ground is covered with a marvelous, colorful leaf quilt: chartreuse, gold, apricot, copper, primrose, flame... just look, just look.

None of those outdoor things seem to care even a little bit about me or you. We have to look deeply at the subtle effects we have on each other and hence on the world around us in order to notice that we have any effect at all. But cumulatively we are powerful.