Wednesday, February 29, 2012


A few daffodil buds are showing first gold. Drizzle and rain today, and now this evening fog. Let me all my life love the world just as the complicated, messy, treasure it is.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Yes, You.

Mary Oliver writes this poem in her book Red Bird:

So every day

I was surrounded by the beautiful crying forth
of the ideas of God,

one of which was you.

I've not seen lots of the red bird this winter, but I've seen two pairs of blue birds near Deer Creek each of the past three days, the males so brightly feathered.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Freude, schöner Götterfunken, Freude!

Saturday at Carl's funeral we sang Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" as the closing hymn. Beethoven was Carl's favorite composer, Carl's son Chris played the organ powerfully and beautifully, and the 300 or so attendees sang with heartfelt tunefulness. Could there be a better song to celebrate life? The wonder of uplifting sound continues to reverberate in me. We mourn alone and together and many there present will remember Carl and his life to the end of their own lives. At the burial site we stood together as the bitter wind blew with fierce power.

Warm and sunny today with a full bloom of crocuses and other spring bulbs too tall to deny. Another day of the world without Carl in it, tomorrow will be seven of them. I am fixing broiled flounder, broccoli salad and buttermilk biscuits for supper.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I light this evening candle--

*for the life of my brother who had more influence than he guessed;
*for lessons presented over and over to teach me that love is
not cute, not always easy, and always so worthy;
*for all things seen and unseen that carry us breath to breath;
*for the rich, insistent, continuing push of new life, growing.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Another walk in the fresh air.

Yesterday we were to get snow, instead we had clouds without rain until late afternoon, temperatures into the forties, and late-day clearing. Today, back into the fifties. Crocuses are in bloom everywhere around the property where there are planted. Hyacinth, tulip and daffodil foliage is pushing up fast. The resident geese make lots of noise, and the eagles come and go according to how recently food has been put out for them.

My sister Sarah knows, now, that she will never babysit again. Therefore, I now have boxes and bags and unwrapped, large pieces of baby supplies-- more books, a high chair, a darling little picnic table, musical instruments, soft, stuffed animals... Our sister Fay brought them Saturday. And yesterday I read some of my poetry to a small Eckhard Tolle study group, an interesting and affirming experience.

Today, as we celebrate Presidents, half the day is gone and I wish to go out under the brilliant blue and walk a while in the fresh-air world.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I have seen your beautiful face.

What would you do if you were told you probably had about a month to live? Of course, no one ever knows, really. But sometimes there are educated guesses.

I think I'd notice my breath still flowing--, in, out, in, out-- the tide underpinning all else. And then I hope I'd go about the magnificent, ordinary routines that support me, things I've known and loved to do for years. I believe I will always notice the enormous and miniscule natural details of this world, and find it all beautiful. Even the deer carcass in the field on which the eagles feed, even that ripped flesh, skin and sturdy, exposed bone seems to me harshly beautiful, to say nothing of your beloved face, and also mine in the mirror.

From inside, the sky today looks almost uniformly gray, but walking in the outdoors the significant details and variations become noticeable, and the uniformity is only an at-a-glance generalization.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pilgrim soul

In his poem "When You Are Old," William Butler Yeats wrote the lines,

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true;
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you...

And what does it mean to find, see, hear, love the pilgrim soul of another? I have an inkling that what I share with my closest friends and sisters is that kind of love. And every individual I've ever met at the soul level has proven to be a pilgrim soul. So I say to you (and you know who you are) I love the pilgrim soul in you.

From a gray morning, skies cleared and sunset is soft and pink in the sky. No burning edge to a gray, hard cloud this evening. Here is the young, agile cat, so supple, always precisely where she aims to be.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Awful and Awe-full

This following was written by Dana Knighten, who tells my story, too.

Last evening as I was walking, there was a moment, just at sunset, when the sky over Good Prospect Farm dimmed down under a diaphanous web of gray, and the breeze quieted, that I felt that troika of Rohr’s: open heart – open mind – receptive body. Just for a moment. And a herd of ten deer, does and yearlings, froze in the fallow field, whiffed the almost-night air, then threw their white flags up to the sky and loped off into the verge. So easy, so light… so physical. I wanted to be one of them. I wanted to feel the rimy earth hard beneath my hooves, to take the hillside in easy strides, to feel my sinews stretch and bunch and my senses all afire.

To be like that, like a deer, no filter of consciousness between me and the land I live on. Pure physical presence. And the terrible wonder of the natural world, grace and death, and that awful screech when something – owl, fox, hawk – caught and killed something else just as I arrived, and the thing that gave its life did so not-quietly, screaming its death agony into the metal-tasting air over and over again until all was quiet, and the quiet was more terrible still than the sound. I carried that scream all through my walk, tasted the copper sting of blood on my own tongue even as something in me dissolved into that moment of world presence.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Call it Life, Yes!

Over the weekend the temperature dipped into the low twenties. Nevertheless, my south-side crocusses are in full-bloom, and some little critter has nipped off all the yellow ones. Bless your hunger, little one.

My friend Dana Knighten tells today's story like this: What a glorious bright day it is! Patches of snow, blue-white in the shadows where they are tucked up into the roots of trees. Light shining from the silky green needles of the pines at the top of our neighbor's drive. A pool of meltwater atop the old picnic table on my side deck, shining like beach sand in the intertidal zone after a wave swashes back to the sea. I can hear a bird singing in the treetop outside my office. And oh, glory! the twigs of the maples in the old swamp on Good Prospect Farm are reddening up. Something is afoot, and I call it life.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin were both born on February 12, 1809.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Snowy morning, both-and

Gorgeous snow. Flakes fell overnight, and continue a slow, steady powdering this morning, and the wind is nearly calm. Therefore, the world is coated. Every twig and bramble trimmed. With thick clouds between me and the sun, the world is all black and white and shades of gray.

It is a deeply human tendency to become dualistic, either-or, black or white, right or wrong. A wider, more layered world view always shows me both-and: both black and white and all the shades of gray. Life, both human and non-, is both so sturdy and so fragile.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Love your neighbor as yourself

What does it mean to love yourself? If I deeply love myself, hear my inner, old song, what does that mean? Does it make me a self-centered naval gazer?

Or is my self recognition, as in self love— my awareness of my hunger to be heard, for example— a sort of heart tenderizer to make me a patient, active listener?

Does loving myself make me a better therapist for my own broken heart? Can I come from that gentle, self-accepting place (and largely by intuition and wholly from love) to be better at actively listening to and hearing another?

Even another with whom I, on the surface, may disagree?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Gentle Year

...since I started writing here, and this is post #230. It feels as though it should be momentous, yet life is ordinary, and momentous things may overwhelm and/or go unrecognized, either or both.

Ah, dear reader, let us learn over and over to be gentle with ourselves and each other, more and more gentle with ourselves and the world.

There's s skim of snow over meadows and fields but not lying on the roads. The large, purple and yellow and white crocuses on the south side of the house are in full bloom. Many of the horses sheltered from the cold wind this morning, basked in early full sun, and now they've all moved out into the meadows under the deep, blue sky, browsing. Another day full of all that never before was quite exactly like this.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


I looked at my husband this morning and said, "Oh my, you have more hair than I do."
He looked at me and said, "And you haven't even considered the rest of my body."

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Empty me of the bitterness and disappointment of being nothing but myself...
from the poem "Why is the Winter Light," by Franz Wright, in his book God's Silence.

Gathering gray in the sky, and the chance of snow. Halfway through winter today.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

All Good

Absent here, happily busy elsewhere. The groundhogs Punxatawney Phil and Maryland Murray have seen their shadows, I hear, predicting six more weeks of winter. Here today: warm again, and cloudy. The blanket that's airing on the deck railing will need to be run through the dryer.

These are some traditional translations of the Beatitudes, and then new translations from the most ancient known manuscripts by Aramaic Scholar Neil Douglas-Klotz, (Healing Breath):

First Mystery of the Holy Spirit

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

"Tuned to the Source are those who live by breathing Unity, their ‘I can’ is included in God’s."

Second Mystery of the Holy Spirit

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted

"Blessed are those in emotional turmoil; they shall be united inside by love"

Third Mystery of the Holy Spirit

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth

"Healthy are those who have softened what is rigid within; they shall receive vigor and strength from the universe."

Fourth Mystery of the Holy Spirit

Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy

"Healthy are those who extend grace; they shall find their own prayers answered."

Fifth Mystery of the Holy Spirit

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God

"Aligned with the One are those whose lives radiate from a core of love; they shall see God everywhere"

Sixth Mystery of the Holy Spirit

Blessed are the Peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God

"Aligned with the One are those who prepare the ground for all tranquil gatherings; they shall become the fountains of Livingness."


Seventh Mystery of the Holy Spirit

Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

"Drink a drop or drench yourself. No matter where you turn you will find the Name inscribed in light: it’s all the One Creation."