TAKEN FOR GRANTED

STANDING. I had not realized how much I take for granted.
This morning I picked up a small book of poetic prayer,
intending to send to family and friends something from home.

A small reminder, maybe.
Instead, I found this amazing, simple awareness:

“This morning as I put my feet on the floor
let me remember how many thousands of years
it took for this act to be possible —-
the slow and painstaking development
so that a human creature could rise,
could stand on two feet, and then walk.

From the very beginning, from the first explosion
Your precise and patient love has been creating us.

The wonder is that now my hands are free
even as I walk or run or stand or dance.
The wonder is that now while I am upright
my eyes can gaze at the ground,
along the ground, and beyond to the horizon ….

I know You have made me
and all creatures for freedom ….
an ever-increasing, evolving freedom.
I am filled with awe by this.
It requires that we face the unknown,
that we rise to it.
You are still exploding in us
and I am scared.
My trust is so puny.

But You are near. You are here
even as You have been from the very first.
You are the vast time and space
in which life is happening. You are Life itself
providing us with centuries to become
Your conscious image.

With wonder at what You have entrusted to us,
help me to know that You are both
the ground and the being
apart from which there is nothing.
Help me to stand up
in Your freedom.”

…………GUNILLA NORRIS, from her book,
Being Home, a book of meditations.

This time of year, the bright lights conceal the fact
that we get up and return home in the dark. a time
for me to get started singing along with Pete Seeger,
“… this little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine,
let it shine,
let it shine,
let it shine.”
with love …
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

HAIKU Beautiful Short-hand

Let’s start with the sound of water:

Heard, not seen,
the camellia poured rainwater
when it leaned.

*

The banana tree
blown by winds pours raindrops
into the bucket.

*

With plum blossoms scent,
this sudden sun emerges
along a mountain trail.

……..BASHO

……………………………………………

How free I feel after a rain when the sun
bursts through and a new sky opens up,
releasing all winds to my thoughts.

Any one of these might fit your present moment.
Be Basho’s guest.

always with love,
Mom/Mimi/Antoinette/Toni

UNCLE EMMANUEL

Composed on August 29th.

It’s a summer Sunday.
‘Deep’ can wait.
I found this Introduction to a spiritual book as it was
written by Ram Dass:

“Introduction: Uncle Emmanuel”

“When I was a child I had a wonderful uncle who
brought me ‘surprises’. Now, fifty years later, the
spiritual child within me that is just waking up still
delights in the thought of having a benevolent uncle
who would give me gifts. But now, rather than
material benefits, I would prefer that my special uncle
share certain qualities with me.

The uncle I might look for now would be wise and
compassionate, with a dry sense of humor;
tough yet tender;
someone who would keep me at the edge of
consciousness through
prodding,
titillating,
kidding,
and loving me;

someone who by constantly reframing my reality
would help me to see the theatre of illusion
in which I am acting, the shadows on the wall;

someone who would transform my ‘problem’ into
exciting possibilities, and when I took myself too
seriously would show me how poignant I am;
someone who could guide me through the minefield
of my mind with cavalier confidence and joie de
vivre;

someone who is not afraid. Such a being would
be an ‘elder’ whom I could properly honor,
and at the same time fully enjoy..”

………………..from the Introduction to
Emmanuel’s Book II, The Choice for Love.
compiled by Pat Rodegast & Judith Stanton.

My edition of that book (1989) is full of underlines,
corners notched, coffee stains. This morning was
the first time I’d read the Introduction!
Well, Uncle Emmanuel, it was worth the wait. These
messages come when I’m ready for them, ready for
the simplicity of just saying I love the gift of being
surprised. Each of you is always surprising me.

always with love,

Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

SUDDENLY BORROWED

IT’S Monday morning, sun is out, already warming, and I type with arms lifted to avoid lifting the paper as well, from the
moisture. I read Joe Riley’s Panhala this morning and I want to repeat the last lines,
as all I can say today as a beginning of a new week, of any other ‘new’ hanging around.

“May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.”

…………….JOHN O’DONOHUE
(from To Bless The Space Between)

always with love,
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

IN THE BEGINNING

On page 26, I quote:
“But first let us begin at the beginning, back there
in the Garden of Eden, and explore not where it all
went wrong, but what in fact was so right, so gloriously
right about Eve and that scrumptious apple. And why,
above all else, we are so fortunate to have the pleasure
of sitting here in a human body with all five senses up
and running.”
………………….ROGER HOUSDEN, from his book,
Seven Sins for a LIfe Worth Living.

Pleasure, indeed. We’ve had a July 4th weekend, for
some of us, three days away from the usual. That’s re-
newal. Curiously, there was not much traffic, not the
usual bumper-to-bumper, traveling thru 3 states.

And then there was the heat.

Have you noticed that we are very aware of our bodies
when it’s very hot or very cold? We call it ‘weather’ but
it’s a time we change pace and allow ourselves to meet
the weather where it is, either very active or simply slow,
your choice.

All my five senses are up and ready to be running, what
joy! Summer is here. Just that word, summer, brings up
the idea of easy pleasure, evenings still full of light, and
permission to ‘come aboard’.

I suggest you pick up that book I mentioned earlier, and
let that be your guide for the season.

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

DISTRACTION

Many of us put up with minor discomfort. Well, we’re getting on,
as they say. It’s generally at such a low level that we’ve forgotten it’s there!

And then, as in my life right now as I look forward to hip surgery in April,
the discomfort becomes more conscious, even including occasional pain
daily. Around 3 a.m. one morning I picked up a crossword puzzle, titled
Easy Crosswords. Scattered on the title page were these words:

SOLVE
FUN
CLUE
JUMBO
EASY

There was something mesmerizing about the common words that sprang up
like weeds as I worked across and down several of the puzzle pages.

… droplets, … snort, …iffy, … prods, …afternoon.

A half-hour later, I realized I was painless. I was relaxed. For a while I had
indeed been Alice-in-Wonderland, following the rabbit down the page. The
power of “distraction” is puzzling. Especially the familiarity of simple words
made a difference.

I’m going to stick with these EASY ones for quite a while. The NYTIMES
challenge is not for me. I’m weeding my garden of thoughts as I clear up
my body’s ills. I could say more, but I think you get what I mean.

I will have to find a haiku that says it in three lines!

with love …
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

4-LETTER WORD: SNOW

The whole experience of this recent snow from the South calls
for wonder. Has ‘snow’ become a four-letter word?

I went seeking perspective in haiku poems and found this:

“O Great Buddha,

your lap must be filling with

these flowers of snow.”

…………KIKAKU (1661-1707)

Did you notice that the first falls of the snow looked like petals?
The way they floated down with such grace and now pile up in
great mounds over the cars in a row outside my window.

Two by two, the untouched snow mounds on cars looked like
the lap of a giant Buddha.

In the distance I hear the groans of those hardy souls who have
dealt with feet of snow for many months now. I will let this be
my last ode to wintry weather.

with love …
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

HOW HIGH IS THE SKY ?

If I were to be snow-bound in New England for days at a time,,
the book that I’d want to have at hand is THE LIVES OF A CELL,
published in 1974 by Lewis Thomas, with a subtitle of
“Notes of a Biology Watcher”.

Here’s what Lewis Thomas had to say about the sky:

“The sky is a miraculous achievement.
It works.
And for what it was designed to accomplish it is as
infallible as anything in nature. I doubt whether any of us
could think of a way to improve on it, beyond maybe shifting
a local cloud from here to there on occasion.

We should credit it for what it is: for sheer size and
perfection of function, it is far and away the grandest product
of collaboration in all of nature.

It breathes for us.
And it does another thing for our pleasure: each day, millions
of meteorites fall against the outer limits of the membrane
and are burned to nothing by the friction.

Without this shelter, our surface would long since have
become the pounded powder of the moon. Even though our
receptors are not sensitive enough to hear it, there is
comfort in knowing that the sound is there overhead,
like the random noise of rain on the roof of night.”

Lewis Thomas was familiar with long words, scientific description
of anything he turned his eye toward. The tiniest atomic structure
became the immensity of a miracle. Yet, his story of our sky
contains no unfamiliar words, no impressive language.

I call that poetry.

It is still dark enough outside to feel like night. I listen.
There is a background rumble. Well, it’s the hum of I-95,
disguising the random noise of rain on the roof of night.

with love …
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

TITLE OR NOT?

RE is a poem which on first reading I simply enjoyed.
Then, I glanced up at the title, having already read the poem,
and wondered if not knowing the title had made any
difference in that enjoyment:

“I can feel my ship about to come in.
A white ship in a snowstorm
moving in.

The ship is made of gulls
huddled together
in the shape of a ship.

When it arrives, they will fly out into the storm,
leaving a space inside it
clear as reason.

I can tell there’s going to be a blizzard
of being somewhere else
any minute

because of time’s noise eating itself up
that is the noise of listening
that looks like a seething, florid whiteout of wings.”

( the title was: WRITING OR NOT WRITING )

…………..JACK MYERS, from Billy Collin’s Anthology
of Contemporary Poetry called “180 more EXTRAORDINARY
POEMS FOR EVERY DAY.

It might be different for you.

with love …
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette