Love and Hope

milkweed1  Love and Hope  eggses

“Where there is love, there is life.”  –Mahatma Gandhi

Today is US Independence Day:
May your celebrations today be filled with joyful moments with people you truly See you.

May we as a people live up to the ideals we set for ourselves, the dreams we claim to offer, and
the maturity that independence demands.

Here is your assignment for this morning, class: Set a timer for ten minutes.  Write a poem or an essay about what this day means to you without using the words freedom, values, ideals, dream, democracy, independence, liberty.  (Yes, I broke those rules in the little blessing I wrote up there–that’s what gave me this idea.)

Perhaps it is a function of the lazy rabbit-trail-filled brain-meanderings of summer, but a warning: Today’s gratitude list is rife with parenthetical notations.  I could not help myself, but I am not apologizing, nor am I amending.

Gratitude List:
1. I still haven’t seen one this season, but Jon keeps seeing them, and it makes me happy to know that they live here, too: black snakes.  They’re earnest and secretive, mysterious.
2. Yesterday I wrote about prayer, and a new and dear friend wrote to me of the Sufi concept of prayer as “opening to the divine radiance.” I looked it up, and my preliminary searches have found references to the phrase “Divine Radiance” in Muslim, Christian, and Jewish discussions of prayer.  This brings me great joy.  (And it was a lovely synchronicity, because I read her note just after a conversation with my parents, in which we had discussed Sufi mysticism, in which my father had been reading Hafiz poems to me. Am I not fortunate to have such parents? There’s a bonus gratitude thrown in for the morning.)
3. I love the charge in the air on a morning that is waiting for rain.
4. All the flowers.  In my parents’ (yes, there they are again) garden: deep red gloriosa lily with yellow tips, fluffy white hydrangea, deep purple and dusky rose lisianthus (because my name is Elizabeth Ann, I have this feeling that the Lizzy-Ann flower is personal to me), deep magenta rose, yellow day lily, violet clematis.  Along the roadsides, thousands of blue-eyed chicory (we used to call them cornflowers–I like both names), the elegant dusty green and golden-tipped heads of hag’s taper (mullein, but I like the common name), shaggy pink balls of milkweed that haven’t yet been mowed down (please let them stay!), bright orange day lilies, the delicate lace of Queen Anne, violet carpets of vetch, bright golden patches of buttercup.
5. Community conversations

May we walk–like the snakes, like the flowers, like the birds–in Beauty, in Wisdom, in Prayer.

This is How It Begins

This is how it begins:
each year, each week, each day,
each golden shining drop of moment
approaches,
full of expectancy,
dawning,
ready for our use.

How will I inhabit the house
of the now that approaches?
How will I wear the cloth
of the day that is given?
How will I wander the story
of the year that has just now
leapt into shining view
through the gray clouds of winter?

I will face this year with resolution
(this week, this day, this moment)
not to wait until this whirling planet
has danced around the sun
to make the new thing new,
but to step into each freshly-birthed now
with eyes that see the golden shine of possibility
and ears that hear the note of each plucked strand of moment.

DSCN8884
Dew on Mullein.

Gratitude List:
1. Yesterday, the family together celebrating a woman of wisdom and compassion.  Some families celebrate the New Year.  We celebrate a birthday.
2. More conversations with the beloved community, with wise parents and in-laws and out-laws.  How listening well and sharing ideas becomes more than the sum of all the conversational bits that appear. How ideas build upon ideas, and shape the ones that came before, and open up spaces for new thoughts to appear.  How iron sharpens iron.  How certain conversations at certain moments prepare me to do the Work that approaches.
3. Three golden rays of sun yesterday before the sun set, shooting through a rift in the grey cloud.  The sun, the sun, the sun: I saw the sun!  And now, here in the crisp morning, nothing but blue above, and golden shine now slipping over the ridge and into the hollow.
4. I have been listening this week to Mindy Nolt’s Movers and Lovers, deeply and intensely, grateful for each phrase.  Move. Love. Listen.
5. The Work.  I am learning, slowly and in tiny little ways, to stop asking myself what I can get from each moment, but instead what my Work is here in the moment.  And realizing, ever so dimly, that when I am really doing my Work (really doing my Work), I am also receiving what I need.

May we–in each dawning moment of this coming year and week and day–walk in Beauty!

The Revision

This is the poem/fish I wrote about yesterday, the one that just jumped out of the water and into my net, but then needed some serious wrangling to get it to shore. Perhaps it still needs some tweaking, but I need to let it cook a bit now.

When the story has been revised
the ending will read:
We won.

We were the liberators,
it will read above the (overstrike) conquerors.

We
(the revision will read)
were noble.

In the revision:
(notice now my use of the future perfect tense, negative):
There will have been no starving children.
There will have been no raped women.
There will have been no collateral damage with a name
that sounds like your sister’s.

Mission
(you will say)
Accomplished.
(Notice, there, the use of the simple past.)
Done.
Full stop.

Your president
(shifting now to a simple future)
will appear in warrior’s garb declaring victory.
Your president will make it clear that all the strikes were surgical.
Your president will announce that the man killed by that last drone bomb
was The Terrorist in Question,
and not somebody’s gentle Uncle Abdul,
the one with the laughing eyes.

When the revision is complete,
there will no longer be desperate refugee children
seeking safety at your borders.
Instead, you will be protecting your boundaries from ravaging illegals.

When the revision is complete,
your enemies will have committed brutal murders,
while your own side will have taken just revenge.

The words invasion and genocide will have left your lexicon,
replaced by freedom fighters and patriots.

When the revision is complete,
you will sit alone on your little island
and sing your victory songs

to a moon who has turned her face away,
to stars that no longer understand your language.

 

Gratitude List:
1.  Mullein tapers and dogbane on the roadsides.
2.  The idea of rain.  The hint of it in the air.  The weather report for tomorrow (80% chance),
3.  Summertime dinners always have fresh vegetables.
4.  Visiting with old friends.
5.  Envisioning.

May we walk in Beauty!