I’m home again and as I consider what poem beckons me today, it’s the sound of hot water dripping through coffee grounds. That sound passes into taste.
Yesterday morning I had breakfast at the Residence Inn in Menlo Park. For some strange and unknown reason a TV was on in the breakfast room blaring out the morning news. Two little boys, around eight years old, stood there aghast as they watched a video showing two young children being dropped over a border wall in New Mexico. Then the trial of the murderer of George Floyd came on.
I hate to be an “in my day” sort of person but my parents read the newspaper and probably watched the 6:00 news. We read the newspaper when our children were young. Now, of course, we read the news from a variety of sources on-line. I’m sure there was awareness, as there should be, in both generations of the horrors that occurred, but certainly not an onslaught as the first meal of the day is consumed.
We’ve had a heat wave which today draws the fog onto the ridge. It’s a new day and I’m grateful for my home and a month that celebrates poetry in a myriad of ways.
It’s poetry month and I’m reading ways to celebrate. One way is to choose a poem and read it outdoors. I think of what the trees and birds might want to hear today and come to balancing on weaving waves of silence. I listen to the leaves unfold as the birds draw them outwards with their notes.
The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes — ah, that is where the art resides.
– Artur Schnabel
The only thing we have to bring to community is ourselves, so the contemplative process of recovering our true selves in solitude is never selfish. It is ultimately the best gift we can give to others.
I’m spending time in Menlo Park to be with my 17 month old grandson who is pure delight. Yesterday he fell asleep against my heart and we were that way together until I turned him to watch his sleeping face and then put him in bed to sleep. One wonders how one can hold a child, any child, and not want everything possible for each one.
May we all look upon this trickster sort of day as a way to know what is true and what matters in this world we share.Each one of us is precious and fragile in our nourished strength.
On a day that is exquisite with trees filling space with buds and leaves, and birds singing and sweeping through the air, I read this from Heather Cox Richardson:
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed his state’s new voter suppression law last night in a carefully staged photo op. As journalist Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Inquirer pointed out, Kemp sat at a polished table, with six white men around him, under a painting of the Callaway Plantation on which more than 100 Black people had been enslaved. As the men bore witness to the signing, Representative Park Cannon, a Black female lawmaker, was arrested and dragged away from the governor’s office.
I put it with the news of a week or so ago. in a decree approved by Pope Francis, the Vatican said that priests cannot bless same-sex unions, describing such relationships as “not ordered to the Creator’s plan.”
The church said, “The blessing of homosexual unions cannot be considered licit”.
In my lifetime, I’ve seen change, and then, these two things happen and I’m caught in a collision of what seems to be so obvious, evident and true – the need for equality and freedom for all, and then there’s these broken and disintegrating steps unaligned with what I believe the majority of people think and feel.
We can know this is a last gasp effort to leave control in the hands of a few, and still it’s hard, and yet, people are gathering in vigils of solidarity and peace. I focus there and on opening leaves and birds calling and building nests.
A friend who’s been busy and productive, incredibly giving and productive, says she’s finding herself needing to rest. How wonderful, I respond. Perhaps because I was raised to stop and savor, rest and appreciation come easily for me. I’m trying to better bring that reservation of renewal into more visibility so today I find myself resting on a ball moving this way and that.
I read that a container ship, the Ever Given is stuck blocking the Suez Canal, an essential travel link. There’s something funny to me in the tragedy. Perhaps it’s the name as though first the pandemic, and now, this, says there’s a place to stop and recalibrate this world we share.
Ebi and Ginger have come to my son and his wife from a racetrack in Florida. They are rescue greyhounds,, rescued through the love, work, and care of volunteers. They’ve lived in separate crates, and now, though there are beds throughout the house, they share a bed, a home, and intertwined legs, and it’s only been a few weeks.
I’ve been with the image of tacking on a sailboat, of “coming about”. A boat can’t sail directly into the wind so the skipper turns the boat one way and then the other by moving the sails, by bringing the boat about. Back and forth it goes to move forward, to reach a goal.
It feels like that right now to me as we’re moving forward with combating the virus, and yet it’s a back and forth. Meanwhile there’s tragedy with vigils to follow.
Yesterday a friend and I walked to Tennessee Valley beach. The colors were so vibrant, they hardly seemed real.
Last night when I finished reading Kazuo Ishiguro’s new book, Klara and the Sun, I was so affected I couldn’t sleep. This morning I watched this video to better understand the origin and how it was conceived.
I also realized I’ve been marking time, and now I’m setting goals. I’m going back into my third book to integrate it for myself, to claim more fully and clearly my intention with it. I got side-tracked with too much editorial advice. I want to make it wholly mine and perhaps that goes along with this book which intrigues in so many ways.It doesn’t answer every question, and yet, it does.
May this opening into spring bring clarity, vision, and renewed passion to us all.
The sun has officially announced that it’s spring thanks to our planet’s revolving and tilt on its axis. Though it’s spring, it’s 39 degrees here this morning and yet the birds are happily singing and looking for mates and places to build their nests. The shift is clear.
Yesterday I was on a Zoom call where the woman leading was alone in a beautiful landscape in Canada. She sat by a wood fire she kept feeding with sticks of wood. Wrapped in a parka, she was next to a snow-covered frozen lake that was lined with evergreen trees. I, and others, felt we smelled the smoke as it wafted up into the air, and I thought what is imagination and memory in our lives. I felt cold as though I, too, was in a frozen landscape. People mentioned hot chocolate and s’mores.I wondered what signals the smoke was sending, what message the logs were giving as they gave warmth and light and changed form.
I found myself with trees and space. I wondered how it was for the trees to watch a wood fire, and then, I wondered if that’s what we’re always doing as we see others and ourselves age. I shifted into a different landscape of transformation and change.
There was, and is, a oneness to the feel, trees, landscape, frozen lake, wood, snow, and sun that gives burning energy and warm assurance to our lives. Now, today, I look out on the sun-kissed sky as I welcome what this new day offers and brings.
I’ve been entranced with Maya Lin’s sensitivity and talent since I first learned of her when she, at the age of 21, designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C.
If you’ve been there, you know how tears come as you’re touched by the strength, power, and honoring in her design.
Now, in reading about her redesign of the Neilson Library at Smith College, I learn this.
“I owe my existence to Smith,” she answered bluntly. “I owe them everything.”
She related the story of her mother, Julia Lin, who was attending college in Shanghai in May 1949 as Mao Zedong’s Communist army besieged the city. The day Mao’s forces marched into Shanghai, Julia received a scholarship to transfer to Smith in the fall — if she could get there. That August, with two $10 bills and her acceptance letter sewn inside a dress collar, her father had her smuggled out of the country on a fishing boat, even as bombs were falling overhead and pirates cruised the harbor looking to rob seaborne escapees. It took a month for her to finally make it through Nationalist Army lines, sail south to Hong Kong, and eventually arrive here in Northampton. But once on campus, Lin said, her mother thrived, graduating in 1951 and then going on to earn a Ph.D. in Chinese language and literature at the University of Washington. There she met and married a fellow Chinese refugee grad student. Both became professors at Ohio University.
Today I read more on the shootings in Atlanta, the deaths, the lives of those who were murdered. I don’t know how we begin to understand.
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote:
Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning, and under every deep a lower deep opens.
May this be evident and true with all that’s happening now, a time of one bombardment after another.
The life pouring through us, pumping our heart and breathing through our lungs, did not begin at our birth or conception. Like every particle in every atom and molecule of our bodies, it goes back through time to the first splitting and spinning of that stars.