Fog and Owls

“Fear does not prevent death. It prevents life.” —Naguib Mahfouz
*
“Humans are vulnerable and rely on the kindnesses of the earth and the sun; we exist together in a sacred field of meaning.”
—Joy Harjo
*
“Everything I love most happens most every day.”
—Howard Norman
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“I was just thinking
one morning
during meditation
how much alike
hope
and baking powder are:
quietly
getting what is
best in me
to rise,
awakening
the hint of eternity
within.”  —Macrina Wiederkehr
*
The Wild Geese
by Wendell Berry

Horseback on Sunday morning,
harvest over, we taste persimmon
and wild grape, sharp sweet
of summer’s end. In time’s maze
over fall fields, we name names
that went west from here, names
that rest on graves. We open
a persimmon seed to find the tree
that stands in promise,
pale, in the seed’s marrow.
Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear,
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye
clear. What we need is here.
*
“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” —William Wordsworth


Gratitude List:
1. Morning fog
2. Crows flying through trees in the fog
3. The way fog nestles in the hollows, among the hills
4. Driving through morning fog–how it makes the mundane journey feel like an adventure
5. Great horned owl calling from the south. Screech owl calling from the north.

May we walk in Beauty!

Roses and Honey

Poetry First Song

Here is a revision of a poem I wrote last year. I don’t think it’s quite finished. It was pretty loose and free when I first wrote it, which doesn’t bother me, but I wanted to take it into a more mythic rhythm, if I could. I shaped it into something like a triversen, trying to keep the four-beat rhythm on each line–working with the four beats felt like the Kalevalla, and I want to try working more with that old Scandinavian feel.  I’m not sure yet whether it’s better than the original. I’ll post the original at the end of this post, and you can tell me what you think, if you want to. I’m open to critique–feel free to spill some blood upon the page.

Once upon a time, Child, when you were caught in the swirling fog–
remember how it held you, how it caught your arms and legs like brambles,
until you saw the wild rose bush beside the pathway in the woods–

remember how the roses dropped their scarlet petals on the ground,
how the tender centers swelled into ripe red berries,
a little sharp, a little sweet, and how they fed you, how they healed you–

remember how the golden bees swarmed around you as you wandered,
how you cried out in fear, how suddenly the wakeful sun
broke through the buzzing cloud: all was golden, all was sweetness–

remember how you heard the howling in the distance, closing in,
how the beast emerged from the wood, all teeth and claw, all hiss and fury,
how you quelled the urge to run, how you looked it in the eye,

how you spoke into its raging, “What is your name?”
I remember now, how you walked that day out of the mists,
a rose in your hair and honey dripping from your fingers.

Gratitude List:
1. Sorting sea glass, stones and shells with Josiah
2. Getting to bed early and only waking up twice before 5
3. Revising: poetry, plans, ideas
4. Wise people
5. Everything is going to be okay

May we walk in Beauty!

***
First Version of the poem:

Once upon a time, Child,
when you were caught in the fog–
remember how it held you, how it
caught at your arms and legs like brambles,
until you saw the rose bush
beside the path in the woods–

remember how the roses
dropped their tender petals on the ground,
how the center swelled
into those ripe red berries,
a little sharp, a little sweet,
and fed you, healed you–

remember how the bees
swarmed around you,
how you cried out in fear,
how the sun broke through the buzzing cloud
and all was golden,
all was sweetness–

remember how you heard the howling
off in the distance and closing in,
how the beast emerged from the wood,
all teeth and claw,
how you quelled the urge to run,
how you looked it in the eye
and said, “What is your name?”

I remember now,
how you walked that day
out of the mists,
a rose in your hair
and honey dripping
from your fingers.

How Do You Know?

How do you know,

when the River has told you
the stories of the ancestors,

that you will remember the tale
to tell to the wind,
after the snow has fallen,
after the grey fog has settled
deep into the valleys,

that you will remember the cadence
when the the small animals gather
to listen to you sing the River’s song,

that you will recall the bright watery threads
that weave through every story the River has told
since the beginning of time,
since the dawn of remembering?

Gratitude List:
1. The mist/fog yesterday morning that settled over the valley below Mt. Pisgah and above the River.  The highway skirted the edges of it for a time, and I would travel through patches of sunshine, with open space to one side and dense fog on the other.  At times the fog hovered above the road and pink shone through the layer of mist, so it looked like pink was caught on the underbelly of the fog, and it was difficult to determine the source of its illumination.
2. It happened again yesterday: I don’t often spend much thought on worrying about how I look, but occasionally the old voices pipe up: “Look at the frumpy teacher!”  On the very day that I have had such a thought (and I am very careful not to let personal things like that show in the classroom), there is always some girl who comes up and tells me she loves something about what I am wearing.  I used to think that teenage girls were like sharks–they could smell your discomfort with yourself a mile away, and they would circle in for the kill.  I now think that this was only my personal teenage self projecting my own anxiety onto others.  Still, I now think that they DO have radar.  They sense how and in what way you might need a boost, and they circle in and offer help.
3. I had an anxiety dream last night, and I managed to manipulate it to solve my problem.  So often I wake up from those feeling like I am at the mercy of the fates, but this morning, I feel like I have the tools to make my way through the things I was worried about.
4. The women who fought and protested to make it possible for women to vote.  “As we go marching, marching. . .”
5. I know I go on about this, but GOLDEN.  Everything is golden.
DSCN8751

May we walk in Beauty!

Waking Up

Today’s Writing Prompt from Auto Writing Prompt is to write a two sentence story with a mood change.

I have been walking through this fog, in this wood, since before there was a before.  Today I saw a shimmering silver light above the trees.

Gratitude List:
1. Deer on the hillside
2. Sharp-shinned hawk in a tree
3. Snowflakes
4. Baby wombats (google “baby wombat images”)
5. Mary Oliver’s “Starlings in Winter” (you can google that, too)

May we walk in Beauty!