Wednesday, May 10, 2017

limp

I saw a pigeon in a train station yesterday.  He had two functioning legs, but only one of those legs had a foot.  He didn't seem bothered by this, actually.  He still strutted his stuff, albeit with a bit of a limp.

I was captivated.  His actions were oddly inspiring to me, making me think of how often I feel handicapped in some regard (many regards) - a gimp with a limp.  But this pigeon was reminding me that we each have a choice in how we see these figurative injuries - we can let them dictate our sense of self, or we can envelope them in our own strut, embrace them as our signature walk.

He kept up his limping strut, pecking at invisible scraps of food, dodging pedestrians who weren't looking at him.  I wanted to shout out to everyone to pay attention.  Here was this small miracle, a feathered sermon, and they were missing it.  This remind me of how often I am likely missing messages from God, walking right under my nose.  This reminded me that I need to look, to see, and to pay attention.

While I was thinking all this, the pigeon suddenly remembered he could fly.  The sound of his flight, just over my head, was a plumage song - a wordless whisper of Overcoming.  It was a delicate, tentative shout of strength - a kiss on my ear drums.  The soft sound was somehow louder than the hum of frustrated waiting emanating from the crowd in the station.  It was an essay how we can be both broken and whole, both weak and strong, and how neither is right, and neither is wrong.

The music of his limping strut, and elegant flight, reverberated gumption into my ever-anxious heart.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

exhale



the trees are waiting to exhale
but color is slow to trickle into
their branch tips, into their skin
they are tentative to awake from sleep

their patchy shade does keep
the glade of daffodils in bloom
a whimsical, tiny forest
to which the sun drops have given way

and the geese have gone away
it was their unavoidable song
that prompted you to pause
called you to look Above

but now the dawn chorus of
robin, blue tit, and chaffinch
prompts you to look without
but also within

and now that the fruit-tree blossoms begin
their pedals soon dashed by the wind
making your walking route
decorated in nature’s confetti

you’re unsure that you’re ready
for the look within
for the awake from sleep
for the exhale

Sunday, March 12, 2017

gibbous



There was a ceiling of fractured clouds, with the moon full behind them.  Waxing Gibbous.   You could tell because it had that same sort of glow as sun when it knocks on closed eyelids as you awake to morning light.

Awake.  I want to be awake, and make no mistake - sometimes we find ourselves too long asleep.  I’m not trying to be overly deep.  But I sometimes find I’ve arrived somewhere and don’t remember how I got there.  I missed digesting the details of the journey.  And I don’t want to miss a thing.
The cloud ceiling beckoned my eyes upwards, beckoned me awake.  It seemed to be telling me “I’m just like you! I’m just like you! Fractured but defined by light too.”

The moonlight was doing its best to bleed through all the fractures in the cloud ceiling’s armour, finding every chink, finding the wounds to bleed its light through.

"The wound is the place where the Light enters you." (Rumi)

We try so hard to cover all the ways we are broken, haphazard stitching, hurried glue jobs.   But, try starring at the bleeding moonlight through all the cuts of clouds.  You’ll wonder: why do we hide? What is so very shameful about being fractured, about having crooked seams?  What is so very regretful about having places for the Light to enter in and shine out?

I’m not sure what I mean.  But it seemed something to say, anyway.

Because I’m just trying to make sense of myself.

(I’m just trying to make sense.)

Friday, February 3, 2017

wind

this morning was windy.  it is still that time of year here were the dark lingers into hours when you’d expect light - it is a prolonged sort of night.  it is still that time of year here where the wind makes the mornings colder than it should be.  it bites at your skin, finding the chinks in your layered armor.

out running this morning was a challenge.  not only for the head wind but because i felt strangely off balance.  i found myself thinking of how much i want to be centered, to find a center, but balance is always hidden from me.  i feel like i might have just been designed asymmetrically and this hunger for balance is going against my own wiring.  how do we fight such desiring?

this is the shape i’m in.  this is my shape - i’m always running a bit off step and out of rhythm.  but that is rhythmic to me.  can i call that a melody?  and what happens if i can’t seem to make a symphony of the harmonies i’m trying to add in?

struggling over this, i decided to take off my hood.  my ears complained of the temperature’s sting, but i just needed to think straight.  i needed to feel the wind’s message on my neck.  i had been trying to ignore the wind today, but it wouldn’t let me alone.  with my heart closed, it whispered into my bones, snaked down into the marrow instead.  it spoke to me of all the unknowns i dread.

i tried to avoid the wind today, but it found me on every path...imagine that, wind in every direction.  wind pushing with firm hands on my back, a gentle but uncompromising nudge both backwards and forwards.  usually i try to see a push as a sign that i’m going with or going against the “plan”.  but an unwavering push against the wind?  wind in every direction?  how do i make the required correction?

have you listened to the wind today? careful if you do, because it might just take you all the way through all those doors you’ve been leaving shut.  it might just force you to breathe.  it was then i realized i have been holding my breath, anxious about fresh air.  
because i’m not sure my lungs are ready for that strong dose of cold oxygen.  i don’t feel quite up to the challenge of being blown out, so maybe the wind is trying to blow me over, to force out the stale air.

i then felt i had fallen asleep somewhere without knowing.  i felt i had grown too fond of slumber, too attached to a quiet, windless atmosphere.  that vacuum where i can just avoid the promptings of fear.  my universe is sometimes so loud that i can’t hear what the wind has to say about this.

while trying to listen to the wind’s message on my neck, my eyes flitted to the birds overhead.  they don’t flee from the wind but they don’t fight it either.  they use it to their advantage.  the delight in the gusts, letting it give lift to their wings, some of which seem to be patchy, missing some feathers.  they rise up, gain a new perspective on things, and then return to pushing forward.  they don’t seem harried. they don’t seem hurried.  and they certainly don’t seem afraid.  in fact, if anything, they seem to me remade by this wind, excited and drawn into the challenge, but never giving up the fight, never giving into fright of what might prove their undoing.

i like to be such a bird, a winged thing.  

(i am not sure what i’m trying to say here, but thanks for listening).


Thursday, December 22, 2016

feathered

feathered wings
downy and doubting
lay folded
lay forgetful of flight
in the grey-skied day
seeking hallowed sounds
watching fallen leaves wind-bound
for yesterday's tomorrow.

the weak heartbeats are kindred
to half-tied strings
which are trying and not trying
to hold on
in the tune to a recurring song
of holding breath
of holding in a second wind
for some future moment.

the dance of dusty shadows
swaying with the dreams forgot
conversing in a voice scratching for sound
in the rhythm of movement grown still
all while asking:
where is the scale for "too late"?
& how long can we dwell
in the land of hesitation?

the heart is a haunted neighborhood
a ghost town
with everything in a state of last-minute
with everything too fair and too fine
like a snow flake that melts within seconds
like feathered wings
downy and doubting
laying folded & forgetful of flight.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

mottled

i’ve been thinking too much.

i’ve been thinking
i’d like to take a break from myself
or maybe just breakup
so i can break through
to get through.

so…
can i bother you for a ride?
i promise just to sit inside…
i just don’t to have to decide
anything anymore.

the thing is - i’ve found myself
so deep in a daydream
i’m little tempted by reality.
but it’s just my imagination
running away with me…
it’s just really
really
got a hold on me.

having reached my tethered end
having just learned to reach
i realize i now have to teach
myself how to fully breathe.
it’s hard to believe
difficult to conceive
how i can feel both running empty
and over-flowing
can i be both?

how is it possible to be both better & worse
at being what i am?
i feel regularly blown asunder
and i’m starting to wonder
what it is all for?
why is this pattern stuck
in a repetitious encore?
the chorus being a heart unsettled
a heart unknown to itself
its beating pattern irregular & lost.
perhaps this is just the necessary cost
of finding myself awake.

perhaps i just need to bleed,
in order to more clearly read
the map i’m following.
because this road less traveled
is still a traveled road
but one without easy orientation
giving a vertigo of blessed desperation.

i’ll admit –
it’s a little bit fun
to be out on the run
from my fears and doubts.
one whispers and the other shouts
but both cause me to take flight.
so maybe
just maybe
life is a long night
of a delightfully haunting daydream.

my lungs can’t take in
quite enough air
but maybe that means
i’m nearly there.
i’ve come so far
but also feel so far away.
and already nostalgic
for tomorrow’s yesterday

i know the truth is out there
but i’m afraid to find it too
…aren’t you?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

anemone


a tide pool is an ocean from a sea-anemone view


as a child, i loved going to the tide pools. my favorite part was finding a sea anemone.  i marveled at its many arms, reaching out eagerly but leisurely in all directions.  it seemed hungry to grasp at many somethings, but sought after things in a contemplative manner.

i could never keep myself from sticking my finger in the water, to join it in its slow motion dance. the sea anemone, however, was never keen to accept me as a dance partner however. when poked or prodded the sea anemone pulls all its arms into itself, closes itself off to the world.

perhaps this was for self-preservation. 

turns out its many arms are both a means of reaching out for what it wants and defending itself against what it fears.  the arms are armed with venom-filled cells capable of paralyzing prey and predator alike.  (fortunately, humans are immune to most sea anemone venom.)

but, the sea anemone can’t stay closed forever.  it slowly, almost with trepidation, risks to open up again.  it reaches out an arm or two to test the waters before blossoming in full.  and i gleefully waited to watch it re-bloom time and time again. 

i didn’t think much then about how taxing all this must be for the sea anemone.  i didn’t ponder at what stamina is required to reach out with hope and then close up in protection and then to risk to open again to reach out anew.

i wonder about this now because i’ve lately thought about how taxing it can be to open and close oneself up.  we each are eagerly, even hungrily, reaching out for nourishment in this world.  we find nourishment in life dreams, creative passions, and most of all in people we love.  this is our marvelous, eager dance – the reaching out in many such directions, much like the sea anemone. 

but all the reaching comes with risk.  the risk is this: to reach for is to find.  you find goals, passions, and people you love.  that love turns those things into a need for sustenance.  however, sometimes, if not most times, those things can’t all be grasped at once.

the reality of this comes like my finger reaching into the water: a foreign, hazily defined force touching into our life. we’re not so sure whether it is something to open up toward or something to close down against.  untrusting, and anticipating pain, we close in ourselves.  we pull in all our arms.  it is not a choice, really, it is instinctual.

perhaps this is for self-preservation. 

this is a necessary and heavy part of existence.  we sometimes must pull inwards and away from the nourishment that we long for.  maybe it is because we have to reach back towards ourselves.  maybe it is to prepare for the reaching out in next, uncertain, but unstoppable tide.  maybe we just have to rest awhile, get used to being a bit nutrient deficient, so that we can better treasure the things that nourish us.  maybe we just need a bit of time in the dark to see all things around us in a new and dazzling light when we bloom again. 

honestly – i am jealous of the sea anemone.  because he has many arms to reach out into many directions at once and i only have two.  i have so many places i want to keep an arm reaching out towards, so may people there i want to hold on to.  and sometimes the reality of not being able to have my arms in two vastly different seas at once is so disheartening, that exhaustion sets in, and i have to collapse the arms inward like the sea anemone.

according to the oxford english dictionary, anemone means “daughter of the wind.”  what a lovely and  tragic image.  the wind often flows in predictable patterns, returning regularly to favorite haunts, sauntering through and lingering there.  revisiting the same tree canopies, same grasslands, same mountain passes.  but the wind is, usually, in constant movement. it never lingers quite long enough to call one place home.  instead, it gets to live a bit of life in many places, and stays connected to the nooks it loves most - even if those favorite nooks are distant from each other, and even if the wind can only be a visitor to any of them.

in any case, the gumption of the sea anemone is worthy of admiration. it acknowledges its need to  close down out of a need for occassional conservation, but it never fails to bloom anew, arms eager to embrace what the tide brings.