Now

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These days, I am grateful for the blessed, passing moments when I am immersed in beauty.  I am grateful for the whole green-lit window in my living room, greened by the beautiful birch that shimmers each day, morning and evening, and when the wind blows, in-between.

Life is filled with so much of importance.  Or so it seems.    What was important is not important at all, I am learning.  Thankfully, I began the journey, long ago, of letting go of all of those things, and day by day, often with tears, I shed the brittle, worried me that was not real.  Now, this:  Life is filled with so much of importance:  the light, a certain light, at just the moment I awake, the cat, purring on the bed, a child’s curiosity, touching my face, a moment when I know this moment, only, is what is.  And gratefulness, a moment of gratefulness, complete.

All of my life, I have yearned for the ancestors, my ancestors.  I miss them.  I love them.  I hope they have loved me.   Perhaps my longing for them is just another attempt to not die, to live forever, to be connected, larger, to something greater than myself.  And so, some day, I will have to let go of the ancestors, too.  Another shedding, another sorrow, perhaps, another moment of wholeness.

 

Reflections on the ancestors..

Perhaps this anger has a gem hidden in it.  Here is to the ancestors:  I hear you, beloved ones!

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Anger sifts onto me
from the ancestors;
into me, like a blessing.

Mom’s sparked over through holes she thought she had buried, by lust.
Grandma’s sparked, too, her eyes filled with tears and dust.

Those who went before are buried in unmarked graves:
Some died with the anger burning – seared hearts.
Some cried themselves to sleep and never woke up.
Some drank from the bottle of vodka forever (still…).

Anger churned: they tried to shake it out, or wash it out over steaming suds.
Some had stiff faces, took the beatings, never cried:
died with it, churning, burning, yearning for salvation.

Their yearning longs to make the foe a friend.
-meb/05/2017

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On Writing

Sometimes I get anxious because I will die with the poetry in me. I know it’s there. I think the “One Who Wants it Perfect” gets her way.
She blocks the light in the doorway, her hands on her hips, moist – she’s rubbed them on her damp apron. She looks at me: “you’ll never get it right,” she says. Having done her work, she turns and walks away, one thick leg ahead of the other. I hear her call from the kitchen: “Come and clean the sink!” she says, loudly. “I hear you!,” I should say, loud enough for her to hear (I never said it to Mom, but I should have, grunted, at least).

I trudge off to the kitchen, join her in the narrow space, where she rattles everything she touches and moves her hefty body in my way, every time. Her legs bump against me, as if I need a reminder of her girth, the space she takes. I sullenly do the work – fast! “Get me out of here!” I think. Then, there are more mugs in the sink and I see the dust on the shelf under the window, right at eye level. “That needs cleaning, too,” I think, and wipe it down. I arrange bright things on the shelf, beauty, for a moment.

Squirrel

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I called you Holy when you stared into the room. Your bushy tail unrolled behind you and your small, dark eyes darted as you watched me through the glass. You’re a scrapper: when I moved, you climbed up the wall and onto the roof next door, where you surveyed your land. I am Holy, too: I named you, and I saw my own reflection in the glass.
–Mary Elyn Bahlert, 2/12/2017

IMG_0667    The longest night of darkness has passed, and we begin again the cycle of new light that begins at winter solstice.  The seasons pass quickly: leaves falling in autumn, cold and rainy days, and then the spring will come, quickly, also.  When summer, that season of the longest days, is here, I love the light and I love to sit on the green grass, to feel my body part of the earth, to smell the fresh green of my carpet and the blossoms encircling.  Each season is beautiful in its own way.

Now that I have entered the wisdom years, I remember other times of my life.  I remember those days and months, and even years, of young uncertainty.  I remember those beloved ones who have been gone, a long, long time.  I remember the dark years of midlife, when the uncertainty returned.  I remember, and still, I have the foolish mind to long for times that are gone, that have gone, a long, long – long – time ago.  I remember events that have shaped my life.  Sometimes I choose to look into those events and times again, looking more carefully, from a distance, a distance in time.  I can see my life as seasons, also.

Life passes like the clouds that drift across the sky.  One summer afternoon when I was 20, my boyfriend and I lay on the grass on a hill in a city park, and we watched the cumulus clouds of the Midwest move across the sky.  We named the creatures we saw in the clouds.  We laughed.  We imagined.  Still, the clouds moved across the sky, driven by winds that could not be seen, yet creating the images we were graced with seeing, then disappearing as new images appeared on our sky-screen.

Our consciousness is the sky – never ending, without end.  Events, people, even the clouds drift across our consciousness.  Sometimes, we stick to an event or a person, or they stick to us, and we are not as free as we drift across consciousness.  We know ourselves to be dragged down by the weight – the weight of old emotions, the weight of tears that have not yet been cried, the weight of anger that will not go away.  Still, consciousness stands as a backdrop to these passing emotions, the tears, anger.  Consciousness holds it all.

My hope for you, in this season of darkness that is already, in this moment, giving way to longer days, warmer days, is that you will see the sky.  My hope is that, as heavy and as grief-stricken as this moment may be for you, you know its passing quality.  See the space between one thought and another, listen for the silence.