THE TIDE BENEATH MY FEET

I had the pleasure of a day at a beach in Stratford the other day with two friends.
We talked light talk, ate a picnic lunch, and, since the clouds were towering in their
summer glory, we spoke of dreams.
And all the while, without noticing, we kept moving our chairs back, the blanket back,
the food covered, as the tide was coming in.

Unnoticed.

When the time came to pack up and go, we noticed that the line of pebbles and sea
weed had stayed with us! How had that happened? The same line of about a foot
of pebbles and sea weed were now under my feet that had been before us
at water’s edge.

How could this have happened right beneath my feet, and I not have been aware of
the gentle push of those pebbles, so gradual had been the transition? Amazing.
It brought to mind just now a poem I had put in a folder in ’04 to look at again:

“LITTLE SUMMER POEM TOUCHING
THE SUBJECT OF FAITH

Every summer
I listen and look
under the sun’s brass and even
into the moonlight, but I can’t hear

anything. I can’t see anything–
not the pale roots digging down, nor the green stalks muscling up,
nor the leaves
deepening their damp pleats,

nor the the tassels making,
nor the shucks, nor the cobs.
And still,
every day,

the leafy fields
grow taller and thicker —
green gowns lofting up in the night,
showered with silk.

And so, every summer,
I fail as a witness, seeing nothing___
I am dead too
to the tick of the leaves,

the tapping of downwardness from the banyan feet ___
all of it
happening
beyond amy seeable proof, or bearable hum.

And, therefor, let the immeasurable come.
Let the unknowable touch the buckle of my spine.
Let the wind turn in the trees,
and the mystery hidden in the dirt

swing through the air.
How could I look at anything in this world
and tremble, and grip my hands over my heart?
What should I fear?

One morning
in the leafy green ocean
the honeycomb of the corn’s beautiful body
is sure to be there.”

………………… MARY OLIVER

with love …
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

ON YOUR BOOKSHELF

You may have a book sitting on your bookshelf, just patiently
waiting for you to live into the moment that you might be ready for it.
Just such a book has been sitting on my bookshelf, since Mother’s
Day, 2005, a gift from one of my daughters.

It’s ‘Giving Their Word, Conversations with Contemporary Poets.’
Steven Ratiner interviewed 13 poets, and in this book, I can be
a fly on the wall, enjoying their conversations.

One of you recently asked me why I had not quoted Walt Whitman,
a favorite of hers. So, I’ll begin the sharing with 3 lines of his,
from this book:

“I celebrate myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”

………WALT WHITMAN, ‘Song of Myself’

What a generosity of being!
I see that I look to poetry to inspire in me a stretch
from the daily ‘grind’. I even may look for permission
to let go of holding on to moments that are delicious. I may even
look for a clue, a way to move out of a mood that imprisons me,
or possibly, as I see it, the poet.
…………………………………………..

Shifting gears, I noted an exchange Ratiner had with the
poet, Maxine Kumin:

“SR: Then, what steers your poetry? How can you know where
the writing should take you or what must be preserved?

MK: That’s probably the single hardest question to answer
… Just that inner compass that you’re probably not conscious of.
You know, I don’t really see the direction that something has
taken until it takes it. ”
……………………………………….

No comment on that. I like the open-endedness of that thought
…allowing a direction to take its own way. Oh, even that starts
another conversation. Enough for now, the weekend awaits us.

with love …
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

ABUNDANCE STRIPPED DOWN

Summer is full upon us, and for several days I have awakened to
golden light falling across my room. I can stretch in its warmth.

How luscious!

“In lush abundance how relieving it is to be stripped
down to essentials, to the bare truth that we are small,
insignificant, and precious. This is what is real.
To this essential poverty all is given.”

……..GUNILLA NORRIS, from A Mystic Garden,
Working with Soil, Attending to Soul.

I want to edit that quote, to eliminate words like
small,
poverty,
insignificant.

I will keep stripped,
precious,
bare truth,
because it is easy to accept those words,
that concept, in a season when each day
we can wear a different, washable THING!

When each day, we slip bare feet in sandals,
and the flip-flap sound is music.

It’s full summer. Very quietly, after days and weeks
of rain and cold fog, summer is here, really here.

I can be in awe of all that is alive.

I can be in natural wonder.

I can know the pace of peace.

Ah, summer.

with love …
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

BORROWED IS GOOD

From some deep place of inner peace and wonder,
energy passed on moments ago by a dear friend to me.,
I sat down to share it with you.

However, as luck would have it, I can never resist preliminary trips to family blogs when I open
up this venue, and I got lost in reading posts on “them procreating elves”, the Blau’s.

This one contained a fascinating story of Jim Blau’s mom Fran who had recently moved to up-state California.
The story handled Fran and John’s remodeling changes and a wonderful awareness of the native creatures
whose habitat they have joined.

Another link took me to my daughter Lizzie’s blog ( most of it still from 2008) and there I found this gem:

“PLANT – so that your own

heart will grow.

LOVE – So God will think

“Ahhh, I got kin in that

body! I should start inviting

that soul over – for coffee

and rolls.

SING – because this is the food

our starving world – needs.

LAUGH – because that is the

purest – sound.”

………..HAFIZ
……………………………………

This is a typical Saturday morning, nothing at all as planned, a few moments stolen
to delay all the busy stuff to follow, and a whole world colored and tinted with golden light.

So glad you got here in time.

with love …
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

A SUBTLE HOMAGE

… and in my next breath, all I can think is, “I”m desolate!”

Desolate at finishing a novel of 290 pages of a book that could be termed
‘a woman’s book’? I will not keep you waiting, the book is:

“THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY.”

My friend Caroline brought the book over to me, with the remark that she had
finished the last page that very morning, and I just might like it.
Which calls for honoring the bond forged by literature.
Time now for me to thank so many of you who have emailed me referrals to
books they had enjoyed and that might suit me, too, during these weeks
of recovery.

Back to TGL&PPS, written by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

People magazine said, “… a small masterpiece about love, war and the
immeasurable sustenance to be found in good books and good friends.”

Aha! I knew there was another reason why this was pushing at me this
morning: it IS about that forging bond that prompts us to share with others
something moving and special. Yes, the book, too, is compelling.
And so is the fact that Caroline and I now not only have friends in common
from that book, but memories, too.

Not a lot more to say, just thank you, Shaffer and Barrows, for writing this
book, and thank you, Caroline, for adding to our mutual memories.

with love …
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

EMPHATICALLY EMERSON

I awoke, did my ‘bed exercises’, made coffee and did my ‘sink exercises’,
then picked up this book on notes that Ralph Waldo Emerson made to
himself in his various journals.

Some kind of order there, isn’t there?

Almost as if I had to confirm that I’m right on track, doing the intelligent
and restorative actions to carry me into full recovery from surgery.

Let’s follow this trail a bit and see what’s really going on:

“June, 1838 (age 35):

A man
must have aunts and cousins,
must buy carrots and turnips,
must have barn and woodshed,
must go to market
and to the blacksmith’s shop,
must saunter and sleep
and
be inferior and silly.”

….. still in summertime mode, Emerson goes on
to note:

“July, 1841 (age 38)

Do not
waste yourself
in rejection:
do not
bark against the bad,
but chant
the beauty
of the good.”

Emerson was the scholar who urged us to listen to
our inner conscience through the sober intuition
of the heart as a way to find the noble path.

My noble path today is to make a really good
list of grocery and other needs so that grand-daughter
Carol can give me a helping hand.

AND, following the second quote,
to turn on some music, shuffle a few possible steps,
and know how good it is to learn how to walk again.

I wonder if Emerson had any idea how modern he was
all those years, more than a century, ago, mixing the “silly”
(not so inferior) with making a joyful sound for the “good”.

with love …
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

MY OWN FLEETING AND MOMENTARY HAPPINESS

That line from a poem popped out of the page and I found I was able
to see that happiness could be fleeting and could be momentary
and still feel solid and real and mine.

Gosh, do you hear the thud of that word, “mine”?

Let’s go back to the poem and see why it carries such weight:

“AT HOME

At home amidst
the bees
wandering
the garden
in the summer
light
the sky
a broad roof
for the house
of contentment
where I wish
to
live forever
in the eternity
of my own
fleeting
and momentary
happiness.”

(Ah, look how eternity cupped and made possible the
fleeting and momentary happiness)

“I walk toward
the kitchen
door as if walking
toward the
door of a recognized
heaven

and see the
simplicity
of shelves and
the blue dishes
and the
vaporing
steam rising
from the kettle
that called me in.

Not just this
aromatic cup
from which to drink
but the flavor
of a life made whole
and lovely
through the
imagination
seeking its way.

Not just this
home around me
but the arms
of a fierce
but healing world.

Not just this line
I write
but the innocence
of an earned
forgiveness
flowing again
through hands
made new with
writing.

And a man
with no company
but his house,
his garden,
and his own
well peopled solitude,

entering
the silences
and the chambers
of the heart
to start again.”

……..DAVID WHYTE,
from River Flow, New and Selected
Poems, 1984-2007

FOUR PERFECT AVOCADOS

I love the simple, nutty flavor of a good avocado.
Almost a week ago, a wonderful friend came by and ,
knowing I love the simple,
nutty flavor of a good avocado, brought me four avocados.

Since that time, we have had several thunder storms, some
mornings when the fog burned off, and countless TV stories
of famous people.

Now, three of those avocados were tied up in a firm mesh bag.
Since the lone fourth was free, I began to eat that first, and it
was properly soft, yet firm.(I can only eat half an avocado at a
time.) As it stands, as I write this morning, there are two still left.

The mesh bag has been cut and has served to cup the remaining
avocados on the shelf between my kitchen and my other parts of
the room. The reason I’m sharing this with you is that I have also
spent almost an hour just now, looking through a book of 180 poems,
in the hope of finding one to savor for this morning’s “daily”.

Disappointingly enough, not one of those poems could top the fact
that each one of these avocados has been perfect, flawless and
delicious. In my experience,
this has never happened before.

So, poetry will have to await its turn as I marvel at the experience
of four perfect avocados, even if I never open the remaining two.

with love …
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

ON THE BRINK

Remember those last five pounds you couldn’t lose?

Remember that last 100 yards you couldn’t make across the finish line?

What? Not familiar? think again, you’ll find that memory. And, with it, the
kindness to laugh with me at how human that bleakness before the dawn
can be, where you have almost ‘reached your goal’.

It’s been a bit more than two months since surgery, and I have been
lickety-splitting back to health. Leaps and bounds says it truly. Then,
yesterday, Wednesday, we had some crazy weather, and I totally missed
a thunder storm and lightning by falling asleep across my bed, no cover,
to awake to the quiet after the storm, feeling cold and weak.

Nothing had prepared me for this.
As luck would have it, I was truly taken care of, a friend showed up and
I was warmed by her presence and the miracle of accompaniment. A cup
of tea and some laughter bridged the gap, a gap I’d had no idea existed.

So, dear ones, give yourself a break, should you find yourself cold and
weak unexpectedly. It’s only that small gap, where we’re almost there.
I searched my poetry books this morning, and could not find its echo.
So, prose will have to patch us over until it shows up.

It always shows up as long as there’s the willingness to show up.

with love …
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette