Thursday, September 18, 2014

A break in our routine

I oversleep, and, rising, wake you early.
I tiptoe out, and you roll over,
each hoping for return to our routine,
but as I sit, nursing my book and coffee,
you stumble down the stairs,
and soon --
another departure from routine --
the conversation turns to flexibility,
and now you read to me:
Frost's Birches,
which I'd never heard before,
and so I read to you:
Blackwater Pond, from Mary Oliver.

Now that you've left, in search of coffee,
I'll try routine again,
and settle in my chair to breathe.

Breathe in the love, I think,
and hear The Presence in the seagull's cry,
the neighbor's dogs,
the bandsaw as the farmer builds his barn...

Breathe out some love, and panic, for I cannot seem
to tap into that space, but then I see
that love (today, at any rate)'s the ache I feel
for newly widowed friends, for brushes with mortality,
for dear ones in transition,

And now, the hardest one of all:
to rest between the out-breath and the in--
So eager I always am to push on forward into next--
but here our cat,
who doesn't know he's dying,
curls down into my lap
and purrs himself to sleep.
I tenderly curl my hand against the soft fur of his back
and that connection, though it doesn't seem to heal him,
(each day I touch his swollen cheek
in hopes the tumor's shrunk,
but still it grows)
that connection,
though it doesn't seem to heal him,
makes me whole.

-- for Leigh; and for Abra, Steve and Robin

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Becoming a boat

At 3 am this morning I woke to find the bed shaking and the paintings on the wall above the dresser rattling.  Yes, it was an earthquake, though relatively mild (4.0) and several miles away, in the little town of Seabeck.

And my first thought, once things settled down, was "we need to make sure we have earthquake insurance." It was something that I'd thought briefly the last time our homeowners insurance docs came through -- for all my supposed intelligence, I couldn't tell, reading through them, if we were covered or not: something about exclusions...

Anyway -- it occurred to me this morning, as I looked at this wonderful image I'd already planned to post today, that boats are built to rock and roll and houses are not.  And though I prefer living in a house to living on a boat -- I do like the sense of steadiness and safety a home provides -- it seems to me that the way to survive life's ups and downs is to BE a boat, not a house: to be flexible, easy; to be willing and ready to roll with the waves rather than cracking and falling when your foundations start to shift.

But perhaps it's really the fact that my foundations have already shifted -- with some of the traumatic events of my life -- and that's helped teach me to become more of a boat? Which means it may be a bit of a chicken and egg problem. I do remember feeling, though I'm now quite firmly anchored, as if I'd been set adrift.  Things were certainly rocky for a while there; it took a while to get my sea legs in this new theological adventure...   

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The leap into wonder

At the edges of things,
where land and water meet,
or sea and sky,
or ecstasy and fear --
that's where the tension and the beauty live.
Give me courage
to step up to that edge
that I may take that last bright leap 
into wonder.

Monday, September 15, 2014

In times of stress

My former sister-in-law  once gave me a plaque that said "Certain thoughts are prayers.  There are moments when, whatever the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees."

Sometimes there's so much pain in the world, it seems that all we can do to help is pray.  And so, for friends and family who find themselves in difficult transitions, for friends who are newly widowed, for others who've recently lost someone near and dear, for those who struggle with illness -- their own or someone else's -- for all the difficulties life can bring, I offer up this symbol, discovered at the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival last weekend.

My heart goes out, my prayers go up, and my thoughts are tuned to you.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Coloring the world

You say there is no color in your world?
Look more closely:
even the dull gray bark of the tree
may have some gift to offer.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A better job of sharing

We all understand the importance
of saving for a rainy day, preparing for winter,
storing up for harder times to come.
But where do we draw the line between practicality
and accumulation for accumulation's sake?
How can we do a better job of sharing?

Friday, September 12, 2014

The ocean of light

Rest in the silence at the end of the day.
Watch the peace glow in the faces beside you;
let all cares dissolve in an ocean of light...