In connecting with friends this year, I’m honoring the words of Georgia O’Keefe. “To see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.”

I’m honoring that going through what I’ve accumulated in 70 years of living is a process of seeing, mindfulness, absorbing, reflecting, and choosing what I need now.  In this I feel a deepening in my relationship with my friends, a deeper, clearer look at how we grow and what we share.

Last night I saw Gary Snyder and Jane Hirshfield speak at the Mill Valley library.  300 people had registered and were let in first. Then, about fifty of us waited to see if there was room for us.  Those who had registered but arrived past the 6:45 cut-off time were demanding to be let in. There was intense energy at the front door as Angie Brennan, the head librarian, explained over and over again the rules of access. You would have thought we were trying to get into a rock concert.  Finally room was made for us all though some of us stood.

Jane Hirshfield spoke first, and was wonderful as always, but Gary was a little more of a rambler since I last saw him. He began with remembering back to when he was 7 and came to the MV Library.  He said it hadn’t changed. The beautiful structure, though reinforced, is intact. 

 He then rambled through the decades, sometimes off by one or two, but what’s the difference between the 1950’s and 60’s  when you’re going to be 90 in May. His history is fantastic, and listening to him, I saw why the mandala is such a lovely image for the self, especially as we expand on decades.  With maturity, we are spinning in a circle, never quite sure where the dial will land with what we want to share.

Be patient with we elders, I say to the young.  Our wisdom is run through a blender, and we’re in the process of pureeing the chunks.

Moss outside the library – lush with rain

One thought on “Ripening Wisdom Shared

  1. Jane Hirshfield read this poem last night: On the Fifth Day

    On the fifth day
    the scientists who studied the rivers
    were forbidden to speak
    or to study the rivers.
    The scientists who studied the air
    were told not to speak of the air,
    and the ones who worked for the farmers
    were silenced,
    and the ones who worked for the bees.
    Someone, from deep in the Badlands,
    began posting facts.
    The facts were told not to speak
    and were taken away.
    The facts, surprised to be taken, were silent.
    Now it was only the rivers
    that spoke of the rivers,
    and only the wind that spoke of its bees,
    while the unpausing factual buds of the fruit trees
    continued to move toward their fruit.
    The silence spoke loudly of silence,
    and the rivers kept speaking,
    of rivers, of boulders and air.
    In gravity, tongueless,
    the untested rivers kept speaking.
    Bus drivers, shelf stockers,
    code writers, machinists, accountants,
    lab techs, cellists kept speaking.
    They spoke, the fifth day,
    of silence.

    This poem was read on the National Mall in Washington, DC, as part of the March for Science on Earth Day, April 22nd, 2017. Jane Hirshfield wrote it on January 25th, the fifth day of Donald Trump’s presidency, when information on climate change was removed from the White House website and scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency, National Park Service, department of agriculture and other federal agencies were ordered to release no further research information without permission. Scientists at Badlands National Park, in South Dakota, began unofficially tweeting factual information that day, and scientists at many governmental agencies and universities began copying research files on to back-up servers.


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