Again, it’s dark and gray with rain.  This January offers stillness and reflective time.

I’ve been immersed in Tracy K. Smith’s memoir Ordinary Light.  The book ends with the passing/passage of her mother.  

Lately I’ve felt my mother close though she passed 15 years ago.  Perhaps it’s the birth of my grandchild, her great grandchild that connects the cords.

Tracy ends the book with a poem by Seamus Heaney from his book, The Haw Lantern.  The sonnet sequence called “Clearances” is an elegy for his mother.  It closes with this. 


I thought of walking round and round a space

Utterly empty, utterly a source

Where the decked chestnut tree had lost its place

In our front hedge above the wallflowers.

The white chips jumped and jumped and skited high.

I heard the hatchet’s differentiated

Accurate cut, the crack, the sigh

And collapse of what luxuriated 

Through the shocked tips and wreckage of it all.

Deep-planted and long gone, my coeval

Chestnut from a jam jar in a hole,

Its heft and hush become a bright nowhere,

A soul ramifying and forever

Silent, beyond silence listened for 

Morning Glow

I love a three day weekend, the pause to reflect.  This weekend offers the Women’s March and the honoring of the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.

I sit with both, with the honoring of dreams and the cost.  Days after Dr. King was assassinated, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1968.  

Now we have an administration that separates children from their parents.  I watch my grandchild and how he interacts, and receives our admiration, love, laughter, and consolation for his tears.  Imagine not having that. Imagine every child on this planet being carried with such love. That is my dream, that each child is carried with love until the little legs straighten and he, she, or they stand on their own.  

The sky was rose-pink again this morning.  The glow moves through me, caresses me, as I stand outside looking up through branches still bare.

May each of us honor this day as fully as movement allows, as broadly as breath spreads, breath carried, shared, and passed among us all.

Morning Light

Looking Up

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

Day Comes to Light

Crows give notice, caw the first call.  Then, smaller birds begin to tweet.  It’s a new day, a new moment, and I’m with the words of William Blake.

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing which stands in the way… As a man is, so he sees.” 

Notice how you’re seeing today.  Hone perception and Be!

Early Morning Light

Proportion and Symmetry

Our cat Tiger loves to sit and look at the moon.  Last night he was watching the sun set behind the ridge.  I called him in off the deck so I could close the door as it was cold but he looked at me with his big eyes, and said, “Look at what is happening”, so I, too, went outside and watched light come to dark. Then, together, refreshed, we came inside.

This morning I lay in bed waiting for the moment that invites me to rise.

I felt my heart like a diamond cut into facets to invite even more shine, or so I thought, but then I began to wonder about facets and if my imagery was quite right. From the Cape Town Diamond Museum I learned that though it might be considered desirable to have more facets, “in most cases, it depends on the perfect proportion and symmetry of the facets rather than the amount of facets”. 

So, now I’m back to balance, balancing the proportion and symmetry of the facets in my heart. 

I’m still cleaning out my house. The carpet cleaner comes today, and so again making way, it’s a wonderful opportunity to see that I have more facets than I need. Working with proportion and symmetry, I slice carefully into what is here to further increase sparkle, clarity, depth, and shine.

Winter Light

I love the flickering of candlelight this time of year.  Winter in the Northern hemisphere offers reflective space.

John O’Donohue wrote: Candlelight perception is the most respectful and appropriate form of light with which to approach the inner world. It does not force our tormented transparency upon the mystery. 

 I’m still in clean-out mode.  The Mill Valley library is thrilled with the condition and range of the books I’ve donated, and there’s more to go, though it’s not easy. I love books and want them to have good homes, so I scatter pieces of myself out in the world, my choices, shared.  

This poem by Marci Calabretta Dancio-Bello speaks to me as I read of animals fleeing from fire in Australia.  How do we stroke the bones of fear and open out and share the spinal hum?

Ode to this Small Joy

Someone discovered

the giraffe hums

at a harmonic rate

of 92 Hertz,

voice thrumming

the tower of spine

and trachea once

thought to be silent,

and her humming is

like monks chanting

holy and ascetic,

the vibrations rolling 

up the vertebrae

gentle and slow,

a long-lashed

face lifting

from water to sky,

taut dark sides

veined with light

ready to crack 

open the body. 

  • Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello 

The Weight of Things

As a long-time student of Sensory Awareness, and practitioner of Somatic work, I’m aware of weight and working with, playing with, gravity, but in this plunge to purge, I’m even more aware of the weight of things, of the energy objects hold.  In the case of books, wisdom is stored, wisdom into which I can sink when I’m ready, but what I’m seeing in poring through shelves, and then, piles of books is this is a trip down memory lane. I see what I’ve learned.

When I came to somatic work in 1993, I opened into a whole new world. Intrigued, motivated, and curious, I delved into classes and books, my way to anchor what I was learning.  I couldn’t know enough, but now, as I go through this accumulation of stuff, I know I know enough. It doesn’t mean there isn’t more to learn, but there’s an embodiment and acknowledgment I feel and sense.  

The books can go onto others in search.

What’s puzzling though is the weight and work of moving this stuff along.  It’s physical, unlike the luxurious sitting in a chair with a new book, a new opening of space in the body/mind.

Right now, I sit here surrounded by books in boxes, and books on the floor, and shelves asking what now, for perhaps even a shelf has some affinity with weight and substance, and wonders what meaning opens for it now. 

I balance in the honoring of Feng Shui, the movement and shifting of energy and weight. I feel the change, even in the mess.

I think of a tree, water and nutrients flowing up and down, communication with other trees, and then, the tree is cut down, and sliced into planks.

Now I’m reminded of the story The Fir Tree by Hans Christian Anderson which has a sad ending rather than a celebration of transformation and change as we move, explore, weigh down, and release both time and space again and again.

I revel in this pause that allows my back to realign and then I return to the task of bending, shifting, and lifting to give books and shelves new places and ways to be, and me too.

What comes now? The invitation is sent.