Up Close

When we are healthy

and traveling a familiar path

and accustomed pace

it is likely that we don’t

witness, don’t see

wonder peeking out

from almost

any place.

We won’t hear the breeze

singing through the trees.

We may miss the pungent pine-scent,

the waft-freshing of the trees.

Why must we hurry?

What makes us scatter

our attention to screens

and miss what

matters?

Here is one thing,

just one thing, today:

Treat your senses to a

three-minute feast.

Stop, and notice

the most minute

and the least.

Breathe and taste.

Savor and smell.

Touch and see.

It is a blessing

to be.

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Smiles

She handed me

my coffee with a smile

that warmed me

from me my toes.

This came shortly

after I left my gym

where I noticed

that women and men mostly

avoided eye contact

so that the smiles I offered

simply melted

back into my

heart, open

like unfolding pink

peony.

When you wake into

a day with bad news blaring,

remember that kindness

kindles goodwill and

smiles can heal.

We have the power

to do this

daily.

Honest Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day and today

I give thanks for my nation,

for the freedoms and wealth

that my loved ones and I

enjoy.

And yet, as soon as those

abundant blessings

come to mind,

I become aware of the privilege

that I was born to:

healthy birth in a time

of prosperity,

a white, Protestant Christian

in a majority setting,

blessed with two loving parents

who worked hard,

encouraged and

augmented my education.

Those blessings cleared a path

for much of what I have

today.

I am thankful.

I do not want my thanks

to come at the expense of

those younger than me,

or those in more vulnerable

places and

situations, those

who will inherit

a planet off-kilter and dangerous.

My gratitude should not bear

in it any indifference

to any who by birth

have inherited extra

hurdles to clear.

How may my thanksgiving

carry in it

humility and love?

“Life is short,

and we have but little time

to gladden the hearts

of those who travel the way

with us. ”

Could our honest thanksgiving

bring understanding, compassion

and healing to our nation

our world

our families?

Could we try?

Gray

When did time

accelerate and

launch me

and my peers

into gray middle-age?

We are more colorful than ever

with humor, insight

and sometimes small

glimmers of wisdom.

“You are old, Mom”

my teenage son intones

with depressingly little irony.

Disinterest in pop culture

seems to age us

but still curiosity

drives us to keep learning.

My energy vibrates

stronger than when

I was young

with the job of tending

toddlers.

Outwardly,

our eyebrows and hair

have faded

and

skin no longer holds that

smooth elastic beauty

of youth.

Gray holds in it

possibilities,

grounded home and

hope.

Wendell Berry: The Impeded Stream

There are, it seems, two muses: the Muse of Inspiration, who gives us inarticulate visions and desires, and the Muse of Realization, who returns again and again to say “It is yet more difficult than you thought.” This is the muse of form. It may be then that form serves us best when it works as an obstruction, to baffle us and deflect our intended course. It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.

Wendell Berry

Where?

This season of life

holds a harvest of memories

and hope for new beginnings.

Usually, my heart straddles the breadth

of that, though not comfortably.

At times

the poignancy of what has changed

startles with stark surprise.

Among the throng of yesterday’s

trick-or-treaters, the wonder-women,

ghouls, and super-heroes,

was a tiny young man,

proudly presented as ninja- mutant turtle

and his brown eyes wonder-wide.

His father waited on the steps below

“Trick or treat!”,

as he toddled in the front door.

He looked past the bowl of candy

I held and peered into the empty

dining and living rooms.

“Where IS everybody?” he asked

in his four year old soprano.

The father and I chuckled,

but

after they left and I shut the door

against the clear, black night

I thought of who is no longer in my home.

Teenage son out with friends and

more and more independent;

my other son living in another town;

my deceased husband and love of my life;

my former husband,

charting his own future path.

The house was once full of others.

And yes, sometimes I too ask,

Where is

everybody?

Windows and Walls


As the season darkens

in this hemisphere 

we are feeling the cold 

encroach. 

We are past midnight 

and building walls

to keep strangers out 

but strangely 

we put our trust 

in the hands of those

drunk with power and 

greed

and the lives are being stolen,

fast and slow. 

But even in the prison-of-our-making

light seeps through the cracks

and sun-motes dance 

in the autumn day. 

First, first, first:

see the humanity in every face. 

When we pause to really see

one another,

the light will melt some of the fear

and we will recognize 

ourself  in the 

Other.