Ripening Wisdom Shared

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


More and more I’m caught on simplicity.  Perhaps it’s simply overload. I sit entranced with my morning cup of coffee and all who were involved in its travel to me.  I listen to birds chirping in trees and see them building nests which they protect when I walk by.

I’m aware of climate change.  I check the tide table when I come and go, and yet, in this moment, looking out on green and gray and listening to birds singing, my heart is a beacon of trust, gratitude and the swelling trust in love.

Today I read Angeles Arrien on the Gold Gate we enter as we age. Tomorrow for my friend Elaine’s birthday celebration as she turns sixty, she’s requested we gather at Baker Beach and pick up trash, remove what doesn’t belong there on this beautiful beach.

We’ll look at the Golden Gate from the ocean side, and perhaps that’s what it is to age.  To look back and release what we no longer need so we can see more clearly the miracle of water meeting sand, both changing with the tides.

Elaine Chan-Scherer took this photo from Baker Beach and when we go tomorrow, it will be a different sort of day.