Oddly, the poem below is part of my response to a poem, “Oneness”, published in Call Me by My True Names, by Thich Nhat Hanh (1993). Showed up in my FB feed, today. The lovely and frightening aspect of quarantine during a pandemic is the abundance of unstructured time available. Also, I imagine, it is one of the benefits of growing older and thriving in the current physical environment. Not a lot of people, but lots of books and quiet and dogs that fall asleep in my lap.
created by choice
to love and be loved forever…
absent from my eyes
for just a little while
never absent from your heart
and you, ever with me—
in my mind and my arms,
your laughing voice on the wind
“Birds near a Mountain Stream by Herman Henstenburgh (c.1683-c.1726). Original from the Rijks Museum. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel.” by Free Public Domain Illustrations by rawpixel is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Looking back over the past few years — the suffocating wildfires and the Covid-19 pandemic — I marvel at the difference that has taken place in terms of my involvement in and passion for seeking out my feelings and creating poetry that might express what I think and feel. Concentrating on seeing the world from my own viewpoint, rather than leaning perhaps too often on the opinions of others.
clouds wander pulled and pushed by random winds sun and shadows
I think that I am changing. Finding a different focus? Feeling less threatened, perhaps, by the thought of running out of time to do what I have thought was important. But life isn’t like that. It ends when it ends, and what I have done is what I have accomplished. What I have not accomplished, no longer relevant. The world goes on without me, and my “space” fades and disappears as people whose lives I have shared adapt and continue…and the same for each of us in turn. I am not at the center of my world.
spring rill flows rearrange pebbles and carry them away
The ripples that are now in the stream fade away as the water flows on and mingles with other ripples and currents. Made by Nature or Other or competing forces. The present and the future make their own realities as they travel their own paths. And those paths will end. And it will not be because of anything I have said or done…or because of who or what I am, whoever that might have been or as perceived through others’ senses and minds.
The future will create itself. And I will be…whoever or whatever one becomes as the materials that now constitute myself become other and are remade into many other shapes and forms, living things or inert. Detached and reused in their turn. Erosion, regrowth, or nothing at all. Or from stardust to stardust once again.
I think I will take some photographs, tomorrow, and write more poems. A warm-up for National Haiku Writing Month, come February.
I have enjoyed these holiday weeks. The absence of structure. Meeting up on Zoom with folks from the Artist’s Way group we started in the ’90s. Sleeping late. Going to bed late or early or not until just before sunrise. Feeling more in touch with myself and the world around me. Made lovely vegetable salads with eggs and carrots and a bit of chopped ham. Played with the Scampers a lot. Even stay-at-home vacations can be renewing.
Next weekend, Natalie will return from her time away from hosting the #weekendcoffeeshare. Looking forward to the regathering and sharing stories and thoughts. I understand that after a brief break, the middle of the week, we will be back to below-zero temperatures and perhaps gale-force winds outside once again.
For many years, while I was an copy/style editor and writer, I made a practice of setting aside the weeks containing the Christmas and New Year holidays as vacation days for myself. When I retired, I let that go. However, I found that I missed those unstructured weeks that were interrupted only by the Christmas family gathering in the town just across the river from ours.
Welcome to my blog! I have just made more hot tea and am fixing lunch—Greek yogurt with thawed mango chunks and blueberries. There’s a fresh batch of homemade coffee concentrate in the refrigerator. Help yourself or bring your own munchies and brew!
Another week almost finished up! I have been taking time off from things this week, again. I have been sleeping more, exercising, rereading some favorite novels, and making some progress on cleaning and redoing the books on the front-room shelves. In my room, I still have boxes of books and electronics that we hauled out of the basement, a few summers.ago, when we got water seepage from heavy rains. I am now ruthlessly tossing things. Also, I need to get some of the picture frames back on the walls and out of harm’s way. I have one (framed) embroidery sampler from the late 1800s that I need to unframe and send to a relative on the east coast; her first name is the same the girl, a direct ancestor, who embroidered the sampler. I think that it should not have been kept under glass. My sister will know what to do with it to preserve it without more damage.
My last Artist’s Way session (13-week course through the U of Wisconsin-Platteville with Prof. Sean Shannon) was last weekend. To maintain the framework somewhat, I decided to continue on my own by rereading Julia Cameron’s book It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again. I also have on hand Naomi Wakan’s Write Away (prompts for a healthy life). (I ordered two copies , which are available from a business near her home, and both were autographed, which I had not expected, but much appreciate.) Naomi’s book is much more utilitarian, coming from experience without extraneous sidetracks. I may intersperse the exercises. I may find that I want to stick with Naomi’s. I logged onto B&N’s site and found three more books (available only as paperbacks) that I can add to my library. They should be arriving two and three weeks from now.
My mother left many completed quilt tops in her fabric arts room when she died. One of my sisters-in-law took them, along with the many shelves of Mother’s materials stash, to put to use as she could for various and worthwhile projects. I hope that much of it is donated to charities, whether as quilt tops or finished quilts. Before they left with the items that fell to them to distribute, I chose two quilt tops, which my sister-in-law has quilted for me. Finally, in the midst of the pandemic, she and my brother made the long drive to bring them to me/us, this week. They felt that shipping was too uncertain to trust them to. My sister-in-law does exquisite quilting, finishing them almost as fine as Mother would have.
The four of us enjoyed supper together at the local Denny’s Restaurant. It was interesting, being out and around people talking and enjoying one another’s company. I had missed fried eggs with hash browns and bacon. Something I do not make for myself. (That would be the potatoes, which I do not keep in the house. I do, however, have a frozen veggie pasta meal in the freezer. The stuff with the cheese sauce.) We three oldest siblings have gotten together on Zoom a few times, these past two years, but being together in one place is something we have not done for a very long time, other than the parents’ funerals, the winter of 2016-17.
when leaves fall they give themselves back to earth to rise again transfigured into flowers clothed in butterflies and dreams
Although I have been writing some poems in December, I am not focusing on writing. I very much enjoyed joining with other participants during February 2021 for the February National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo). I plan to write more haiku, tanka, and other (in English) Japanese poetic forms during January, leading up to the poem-a-day activities in February 2022. My reading has been mostly rereading favorite books. I found a number of them lost among the volumes that had accumulated on the front-room bookshelves. Found a favorite ebook that I had thought lost; a science fiction book by my friend Melisa Michaels, now deceased. Had a good cry. Missing her a lot. I am happy that she and her husband bought property and lived for a while in the same state we do, so we were able to get together more than once during that all too brief time.
Time has passed so quickly, and I must tend to the Scamper dogs and start in on the laundry, once Al is out of the shower. I am grateful that you have stopped by for a while.
If you visit the blog (link below) of Natalie the Explorer, you will find her weekly Weekend Coffee Share post and a Links app with links to the other Weekend Coffee Share participants. Enjoy! Natalie is taking a two-week break from the Weekend Coffee Share feature on her blog, and so the next will be on 7 January 2022.