Sunday, April 14, 2013
Have I lived enough?
Have I loved enough?
Have I considered Right Action enough, have I come to any conclusion?
Have I experienced happiness with sufficient gratitude?
Have I endured loneliness with grace?
I say this, or perhaps I'm just thinking it.
Actually I probably think too much.
Then I step out into the garden,
where the gardener, who is said to be a simple man,
is tending his children, the roses.
Does everything, all our struggles, doubts, and seeking come down to this - tending life? Tenderly?
Tending to what is present gives birth to life in every moment. But I suppose we must also attend to death. Every step, no matter how reluctant or gimpy, is in the garden of earth. It is as simple as that.
In the 1997 animated film, Princess Mononoke, the Great Forest Spirit is feared and awaited, for the spirit's footsteps are origins of life and death. Attuning to this universal divine wisdom, we too know that with every step we seed new growth and say good bye to old life. Step, life death - step, life, death.
What steps will you take today for the children of this earth?
Saturday, April 6, 2013
Sometimes I spend all day trying to count the leaves on a single tree. To do this I have to climb branch by branch and write down the numbers in a little book. So I suppose, from their point of view, it's reasonable that my friends say: what foolishness! She's got her head in the clouds again.
But it's not. Of course I have to give up, but by then I'm half crazy with the wonder of it - the abundance of the leaves, the quietness of the branches, the hopelessness of my effort. And I am in that delicious an important place, roaring with laughter, full of earth-praise.
As I lay slumbering in bed, I peek out of the covers to see how the sun attempts to come through the countless leaves of the trees. But perhaps you like me project - the sun is shining whether there are leaves to block the light just as you are shining whether you come out from the covers at a decent hour.
There are countless ways to be useless, beautiful useless.
How about counting the ants?
Hugging every tree in the yard or park?
Reciting poetry to a tortoise?
Saving the parrots or some other endangered species?
May you do something foolish today as a prayer for praise - for yourself and the many others, which are really just you come out of your skin into exoskelton, bark, shell, and feather.
How have you been a fool full of earth praise today?
Monday, March 18, 2013
I don’t know where prayers go,
or what they do.
Do cats pray, while they sleep
half-asleep in the sun?
Does the opossum pray as it
crosses the street?
The sunflower? The old black oak
growing older every year?
I know I can walk through the world,
along the shore or under the trees,
With my mind filled with things
of little importance, in full
self-attendance. A condition I can’t really
call being alive.
Is a prayer a gift, or a petition,
or does it matter?
The sunflowers blaze, maybe that’s their way.
Maybe the cats are sound asleep. Maybe not.
While I was thinking this I happened to be standing
Just outside my door, with my notebook open,
Which is the way I begin every moning.
Then a wren in the privet began to sing.
He was positively drenched in enthusiasm,
I don’t why. And yet, why not.
I wouldn’t persuade you from whatever you believe
Or whatever you don’t. That’s your business.
But I thought, of the wren’s singing, what could this be
if it isn’t a prayer?
So I just listened, my pen in the air.
Beautiful useless is Mary with her pen in the air.
Isn’t this who we are, all of us, all the time?
Isn’t this what a prayer is? A cat? A wren?
The triumphant trees?
My fingers are typing out a prayer, as is my breathing, my being, my being – every act a gift and a petition for life to flow easily, fully, in me, which silly me, always does no matter what.
May it be so.
(Alas, another petition, silly me)
At last, hallelujah!
At last, hallelujah!
It is so.
What do you ask for with your very being?
How is your life a prayer?
Monday, March 11, 2013
I go down to the shore in the morning
and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in or moving out,
and I say, oh, I am miserable,
What should I do? And the sea says
in its lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do.
What is the longest amount of days in a row you have been miserable? I am thinking that I might for myself say 400, and am currently just now finishing that long stretch where it has been hard to work, and wondering if I could even return to work.
Silly me. Silly humans. We are always working - like a hummingbird flying around a flower, eating, surviving, fighting, dying.
I think God knows no particulars of this and that work. That is a box we humans create, and into which we attempt to stuff as much activity as possible. What's the use of damning the river, caging the bird, or boxing ourselves into this or that?
We are here to be beautiful useless.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
This - I said to Percy when I had left our bed and gone out onto the living room couch where he found me apparently doing nothing – this is called thinking. It’s something people do, not being entirely children of the earth, like a dog or a tree or a flower. His eyes questioned such an activity…Actually I like kissing better.
A Year's Rising with Mary Oliver's Poems
January 1, 2010 - April 23, 2011
Oh Mary and readers, we are at our last poem together and it is one where I resist her words. This happens so rarely. For I feel that people are entirely children of this earth. Our thinking is as the sap rising in the tree and a dog drooling. Maybe if I had the gift of genius of words that Mary had, I too would feel a separation from life around me. For how can words capture the kiss of the morning sun upon one’s face and the caress of the wind or a feathered wing?
I suppose they can’t, but they do remind us where the path is.
So I thank you Mary for this time together, for keeping me on the path to see beauty, tragedy, interconnection - reality - in all moments.
And now I think I will lay down my pen, and go and kiss the ground and hug a tree - my future and always daily nature meditation.
What might you share with others here about your experience of Mary’s poems and our shared reflections?
What is your daily nature meditation?
8. Mary Oliver-5/15/10. The Egret.They are gone,having tasted sheer terror.Look!Look!What is this dark death that opens like a white door?Sat May 15 2010 08:32:20 (Eastern Daylight Time) via web
25. Mary Oliver-5/7/2010.Hawk.This morning the hawk rose up, heaven's fistful of death and destruction.It turned into a white blade, which fell.Sat May 08 2010 18:58:30 (Eastern Daylight Time) via web
39. MO...they are nothing?To love this world, the macaw, the marsh lily, the sunset is to love one's self, wild and perfect.Growing, changing,Fri Apr 30 2010 09:00:12 (Eastern Daylight Time) via web
55. The sun doesn't wait for deliberations, her morning invitation sent upon still waters lingers not beyond the moment waiting forSun Apr 25 2010 12:23:01 (Eastern Daylight Time) via web
71. Mary Oliver-4/20/2010.Wed Apr 21 2010 08:31:18 (Eastern Daylight Time) via web
Some Herons - April 12 in Regular Blog
Indonesia - April 11 in Regular Blog
The Swan - April 10 in Regular Blog
Lilies – April 9, 2010
In a few days I will be traveling around Central America with marginal capacity to connect to the internet. My hope is to use a mobile phone to tweet into this blog to keep in touch as I continue to read daily one Mary Oliver poem and reflect upon it. I will only be taking one book with me as I dive into La Moskitia area in Honduras, and it will be Mary's poems. If the reception is there, check into this blog and look down to the right and below to see the text messages that come through from twitter. I tried to do this today as an example for the poem - Lilies. I don't actually leave the country until Monday, so let me know if you have any feedback on how this works for you on the comment section below.
Lily loving liberal bleeding heart and proud of it,
§ What do you do when you get lonely? about 14 hours ago
§ If I were a lily to be eaten by a cow, tell me, would I know any more how, to bow before the winds and wings of loneliness? about 14 hours ago
§ Lilies-mary oliver.iI have been thinking about living like the lilies that blow in the field. about 14 hours ago