Showing posts from August, 2008

Weekend Snapshot: Art is Life

I have wondered whether art imitates life and whether life imitates art. I think the answer is yes always, that life is a work of art.

Weekend Snapshot

One Single Impression: Spectacle

I make a spectacle of myself
In the rain.

The neighbors tell me so
Whenever they see me
And they feel like saying something.

"You're the woman who walks
In the pouring rain,"
They say to me
Even if rain hasn't fallen for weeks.

"You walk in the rain. All the time."

As if I didn't know, they tell me
And they smile that smile.

"That's me," I say. "That's me you see."

They never ask why
And I never tell them
I walk in the pouring rain.

I will tell you, though:

I like the cool sting of the water
As it penetrates my clothes
And soaks me through.

I feel invisible and light and miles away then.

And I like the taste
Of rain that finds its way
To my mouth as it slides down my face.
The taste is sweet.

Their smiles tell me I have nothing to say.
They are right.
There is no explaining
The complete joy
Of being overwhelmed

By something so beautiful
And so very ordinary
As a down pour.

One Single Impression

Blog Your Blessings: Baby Blanket

This week's blessing is my 9-year-old daughter's baby blanket that my father's mother made for her when I was her age--32 years ago.

When we arrived at the camp where she had spent the week, we gathered up her luggage to stow it in the car while we waited for camp to close. I grabbed a pillowcase that I had not recalled packing and peeked inside to see the soft, faded old knitted bit of comfort with its holes in all the corners.

I glimpsed her when we had arrived; I was struck by her older, more independent, very confident posture and the ease with which she interacted with the other girls. She was in her element. She was older. And I was pleased and proud and glad she had made the most of her adventure in the wilds of New Hampshire.

When I saw the blanket, I thought of the words of an old friend: "Wise people take everything with them; they leave nothing behind." Of course, Alice was talking about bringing every lesson learned from every experience into the present…

Skywatch Friday: The Electric and Blue Catskills

This is a view of the Catskills in New York State. I caught this glimpse as I made my way down Meads Mountain Road after visiting the Tibetan Buddhist monastery Karma Triyana Dharmachakra at the very top.

Skywatch Friday

Thursday Thirteen 48: Nothing

An affirmation is a strong, positive statement that something is already so. (Shakti Gawain)

Last weekend, I spent a few days in Woodstock, New York, visiting a friend but otherwise doing exactly nothing.

1. Doing nothing is a fine art that involves being neither productive nor useful in any way or form.

2. It requires accepting that the world will do just fine without me. This is not a had fact for me to swallow. I have suspected it all along.

3. Sure enough, the sky stayed up and the earth stayed down in my absence.

4. In fact, nobody noticed I was gone.

5. At one point, nothing took the shape of a rigorous uphill walk to visit a Tibetan Buddhist monastery. (To the untrained eye, nothing can look like something, but it isn't.) After this adventure, I sat myself on a park bench on the green and did some more nothing. Just looked around and loved it all.

6. A very nice older man asked me what I was doing in town for the weekend. "Nothing," I said. "Nothing at all."

Wordless Wednesday: Sunshiney Day in Woodstock, New York


Weekend Snapshot: Tibetan Buddhist Temple in the Catskills

Over the weekend, I visited the Karma Triyana Dharmachakra in Woodstock, New York. This Tibetan Buddhist monastery at the top of a very long hill is very beautiful. The woman who walked a group of us through the shrine room said that the colors of the room reflected the Buddhist belief that our minds are beautiful and rich in color.

Weekend Snapshot

One Single Impression: Resolve

This week's prompt at One Single Impression is resolve, so I had a look at this word's meaning at Etymology Online and found: "resolve (v.) c.1374, from L. resolvere "to loosen, undo, settle," from re-, intensive prefix, + solvere "loosen" (see solve). Same sense evolution as in resolution. The noun meaning "determination" is first recorded 1592."

Not what I expected. Here are two poems that express my new understanding of this old word.

Each day
The life you have lived
Is filtered through your soul
Like light that moves so gently
Through soft mountains of clouds
And streams dawn onto the day,
Turning and yielding to the breath of dawn
And being shaped anew in each moment.

It is good.

Love your life well.
Be resolved;
Be happy.

My resolutionIs not the last word but the first:
Breathe. Dear one, you are free.

You are free. So breathe;
Fly into the universe
That bears your name.

One Single Impression

Blog Your Blessings: Help

Perfect as the wing of a bird may be,
it will never enable the bird to fly
if unsupported by the air.
(Ivan Pavlov)

This week's blessing: the help of friends and family. I've come to a fork in the road and have needed the insights of the people I trust as I make my way forward. Good people that they are, my friends and family have offered me what they know, what they have seen happen, and what they think. They have made gifts of their caring and wisdom, leaving them at the table for me to make of what I will. They can't live my life; they can only help me live mine as well as possible.

They let me do that with a few careful words and just enough time and distance for me to make of them what I can and will.

Being loved is a beautiful thing; so is loving back. And oh, so necessary.

Hold on to what is good even if it is a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe even if it is a tree which stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do even if it is a long way from here.
Hold on t…

Skywatch Friday: Rest and Sweet Dreams


Thursday Thirteen No. 47: Late Summer? Early Autumn?

1. Late summer? Early autumn? Which?
2. Call it August, September....It doesn't matter.
3. I call it today
4. When the sun rises later and with langor
5. Slowly streaming through the leaves the window and into my coffee cup.
6. The steam of the coffee is visible this cool morning
7. On which the insects continue their conversation. They have scarcely noticed dawn.
8. Have they noticed that the birches are turning and dropping their yellow leaves
9. That they are dry and tired and letting go without any fanfare, without a calendar?
10. My fingers feel the cool of the morning and I draw them into my sweatshirt.
11. I will swim later, I think, and the water will feel very warm.
12. And that will be that for the swimsuit stretched and frayed by a long hot summer and the sea.
13. The dust and heat remind me of the smell of paper, a returning to indoor work and solitude, in a way--
In just a few days. For now it is late summer.

Thursday Thirteen

Wordless Wednesday: Row That Boat Ashore


Weekend Snapshot: Following the Sun

This sunflower grew up in my parents' backyard compliments of some bird or other interloper who dropped the seeds there. It grew to about eight feet tall, and we could watch the blossom follow the sun the way flowers magically do. Now, as summer fades into the cool of September, the flower stands with its head bowed; the work is done. Next year there will likely be many a sunflower in the backyard, thanks to the mysterious first sower of seeds and this one blossom. It really doesn't take a lot to make the world beautiful. Just have to let it be.

Weekend Snapshot

One Single Impression: Homecoming

Every morning is a
The dew soft earth,
Open and receptive
As the heart of any mother,
Embraces me
As I step into the
Warm light of a sun
That rises strong and steady
As the heart of any father,
As I watch grace itself graze the water
In the person of that old heron
Who will not notice the turtles and fish,
As I listen to the noisy children
In the trees announcing,
As if we did not know,
That morning has come,
So come out, come out, come out
And live in the new light of
An earth that is soft and new every morning
And opens herself to you.
Lift your eyes to the blue sky;
The distant fragrances of invisible wild flowers--
They are your long-lost cousins, and they
Will drench your life in perfume.
Wake up, beautiful one,
Be anointed by the dawn.

One Single Impression

Blog Your Blessings: One Line That Says Everything

This week's blessing is an image I saw on Michelle's blog. It is a picture of an unkempt, bearded, barefoot man sleeping on a park bench with a cardboard sign in front of him that says, "Traded everything for love."

I love everything about this image: the romantic spirit, the peace, the freedom.

I like the idea that trading everything for love is worth doing even if it costs you the socks and shoes on your feet.

I found myself wondering who, aside from the sleeping hippie in the picture, does this. I thought of the people I know: my parents, who bend over backwards to help with their three grandchildren and to enjoy their company; the parents of terminally ill children who have invested their own lives into the well-being of these kids; parents who set aside personal goals to raise their kids; a friend who invests all her resources into the well-being of sick and abandoned animals; military personnel who lay it on the line all over the world and do good in ways we never…

Please Pray for Elise

A little girl named Elise who suffers from Tay-Sachs Disease is becoming very tired after five years of struggle, her mom says. Please pray for this child and her family as they together walk this difficult road. Click here to read her story.

Skywatch Friday: Carolina Sunset


Thursday Thirteen 46: Swimming in the Sea

1. I have always loved the beach.

2. I find nothing more beautiful than the movement of the tides,

3. the music of the surf,

4. the play of light on the surface,

5. the magic of the push and pull of each wave.

6. On Topsail Island, North Carolina, last week, I found perfect peace swimming out to each new wave

7. And, when I came back to the beach, timing each step with the movement of the water.

8. I showed my daughter how to jump into the waves rather than be overwhelmed by them. Sometimes we got it right; sometimes we drank water.

9. Missing the beat can feel very much like being the only bit of laundry in a very large washing machine. Better to pay attention.

10. We did that until we were completely caught up in the flow of the water--until there was nothing but water

11. And no thought but to be a part of it.

12. That is the beauty and mystery of the sea.

13. Home again, I have been reading the Tao. The sixteenth verse captures the experience of the sea, I think. Here is part of it:


Wordless Wednesday: Sea Oats on the Topsail Dunes


Weekend Snapshot: A Couple of Mustangs

On Saturday, we stopped at an antique car show at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Waterbury, Connecticut, so my daughter could visit her friend, who was working at the event. While she visited, I came across a few Mustangs, a Chevelle, and some other thing along with the church and heaven itself right here.

Weekend Snapshot

One Single Impression: Stairways

No Stairs
No stairs for me.
I'd leap through the window and fly
And pull my dreams and maddening schemes
From the dancing light of the sky

Before I'd stay a course on a single path
That begins and ends in a single, still place--
Better to follow the light and dance with the breeze--
Anywhere at all--
Than to begin and end standing in place.

One Single Impression

Blog Your Blessings: Walking the Beach

I walked the beach alone each evening while we were on vacation at Topsail Island, North Carolina. I walk every day, and I like to walk alone and take in what's around me. This is especially rewarding at the beach.

The relentless, thundering surf drowns out every other sound. It is music enough.

I enjoyed the patterns in the sand the water drew as it retreated from the shore. These patterns reminded me of the push and pull of the waves when I swam during the day. To work with these forces rather than fight them is a joyful, relaxing thing and sometimes a challenge. But always good.

On my last day at the beach, I enjoyed these clouds--after my father and daughter pointed them out to me. At first I saw only the silver lining.

Walking away, though, I saw an angel. As I walked, the angel spread across the sky, becoming very thin at the center until the sun fell through to light the evening one last time. "What is an angel?" I thought. A product of the imagination, maybe? A divin…

Skywatch Friday: Carolina


Thursday Thirteen 45: Topsail Island

I had the good fortune of spending the past week at my parents' vacation home on Topsail Island, North Carolina. What a place.

1. Their home is on a beautiful stretch of sand down the road and around the corner from Camp Lejeune, so the Ospreys fly with the ospreys.

2. This stretch of sand was once a proving ground for some of the United States' first rocketry efforts during the 1940s.

3. The principle of the ram jet engine (the mainstay of today's supersonic flight) was developed and proved on Topsail Island.

4. The Navy labeled this endeavor "Operation Bumblebee."

5. Beside a relic from those days in the museum is a poster with a few lines bumble bees: they should not be able to fly, given their weight and proportions, but they do; they do not know they can't. The homely innocence of this is somewhat startling alongside munitions.

6. The Assembly Building and the observation towers remain on Topsail Island and have survived the hurricanes without fail year after …

Wordless Wednesday: The Waterway


Weekend Snapshot: A bit of North Carolina

We are in North Carolina this week with my parents.

We are enjoying the beach by day,

the beautiful skies by night, the warm breezes all day long.

Weekend Snapshot

One Single Impression: Folly

Is it folly
To soar, swift and sudden, into the sky
On waxen wings
To melt and burn, fall and die

Trying to satisfy an ache you cannot name?

I think so.

Better to drift into warm air
Look into the face of the sun
And kiss it long and slow

Trying to satisfy an ache you cannot name.

Melt if you must.
Burn if you must.
Fall if you must.
Die if you must.

That may be your folly.

Or kiss. Long and slow.
Then dissolve if you must
Into the ache and mystery
That longs for your love.
Love it and name it

If you must.

The name is your own.

One Single Impression

Blog Your Blessings: Corn

Corn. Miles and miles of corn. Tall green corn lining the roadways marked the transition from Connecticut to New York and its strange route numbers, endless winding roads, expansive vistas, large, unpeopled farmhouses, and more corn. Corn glowed in the grey light of a mid-summer afternoon that was for me as lonely as it was warm and quiet and endless.

And it was beautiful. I would roll along and admire a terraced hilltop of corn and wonder what it was like to be up there and then I would find myself exactly there and wondering where I was.

I had printed the Google Maps directions from Woodbury to Woodstock in the faraway other world of New York, and I kept them, crumpled, in my hand the whole way. I followed them to the T, yet I was always sure I had missed a turn, misread a turn as a curve, overlooked a junction, forgotten something. The roads were so long.

Cars would roll by, and I would think, "You know where you are going...and I wish I knew where I were going...and I wish you …

To Honor a Beloved Friend

Today, August 3, would have been Craig Lundwall's 42nd birthday. He was a beloved friend who blessed my life in many ways. I think of him every day and wish he were still on the road with me. If you stop here today, please say a prayer for all the friends who help you make your life. Love them well. And never let go.