Dancing down the drive to snow music

Snow music
 
Ice crust

My feet 
find a beat
on the drum-tight shell
of ice-topped snow;

a crisp rattle,
then a tinkling, skittering
whisper of melody.

And I dance –
to the song that I hear
and to hear the music
of my dance!

February 13, 2018

 

Yes, for the last two days I have been dancing joyfully down our drive, delighting in the crispness of the air and beneath my feet and the unfamiliar soundscape!

Flexing very stiff poetry muscles, exploring eternal life

In a still very tentative flexing of underused poetry muscles, the idea behind the poem below came to me so vividly that it had to be written, even if not well! It speaks to a sudden deep internal awareness that particles are more or less constant in the universe; so all of us, in a way, have an eternal existence.

Eternal Life

When my human days are done

and I walk the path of the long goodbye

I will not be gone.

 

Will some particle of me take form

in rock or stone,

ruby’s heart or emerald’s gleam?

 

Or will my flash of green and red,

touched with gold,

draw your eye to the blur of hummingbird wings?

 
Lake and sky
 
 
Within the flow, catching the light

of the lake’s constant changing –

Is it there I’ll be?

 

Perhaps, in the creaking of branches

and the susurration of leaves,

you’ll sense a trace of me still.

 

Or maybe I’ll be a sprinkling

of stardust on indigo

somewhere far out in the universe.

 

It’s somehow comforting to know

that the particles that make up ‘I’

may scatter, but they (almost) never die!

 

February 7, 2018

 

I wrote my first poem before I could actually transcribe the words onto paper.

Then, in my teens, poetry and my deep connection to the natural world saved my sanity in an era when no-one considered the impact of significant loss and grief on an adolescent.

Every now and again, amid the roller-coaster demands of just living a life, the poetic impulse has bubbled briefly to the surface.

Now it feels as if it is time once again to tap into this part of me. But oh how rusty I feel, how hard it is not to become self-conscious, to lose the flow, to try too hard or not enough – I’m not yet sure which!

 

What does nature mean to me? Why is it important?

I was ever a child of nature, integrally connected with the rhythm of the seasons and with a strong link between external and internal realities.

Nature’s place in my life is as a sweet familiar melody running through my living,
it speaks the language of my soul;

it connects my roots to the beating heart of Mother earth
and it centers me in ‘now’ and ‘am’;

it lifts me out of the mire of day to day concerns;
gifting me moments of deep knowing and insight;

even in my darkest days, it anchors me to wonder and joy,
lighting my way back home to my best self;

it roots me in awareness of the constancy of change, unafraid,
and threads the cycles of dying and rebirth within my being;

it enfolds me in a living silence, rich in mystery,
opens the door to realms of myth and magic;

it inspires me to watch, to note, to listen,
sating my senses;

it draws from me a life-affirming reverence,
a deep resounding ‘yes’!

 

Nature - a rhapsody in blue - jay and lake

 

I’m very excited to be embarking on an exploration into Nature’s Poetry. Even this afternoon’s first foray into the preparatory work for Session 1, beginning to look at my personal connection with nature, has been richly nourishing.

I have, over the last couple of years, felt the pull back to my writing roots, which started with poems before I could even put pen to paper (I was three years old). So this online course speaks both to my deep sense of return and re-connection to nature in living rurally and to rediscovering a mode of expression that faltered as I focused on career and family.

What a delicious luxury it is to be invited down a path along which poetry, both in the reading and the writing, can illuminate one’s inner landscape! 

I intend to do my best to follow Mary Oliver‘s instructions for living a life:

Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.

 

Enlightenment as letting go

I’ve always struggled with the term enlightenment.

For some reason, the idea of an individual as ‘enlightened’ has held for me a distinct tinge of superiority and speaks to a sense of a goal achieved, both of which leave me uncomfortable. I have also tended to interpret the word enlightenment in terms of the light of insight.

Recently I have arrived at a different understanding for myself that has a very different resonance and one that I can relate to much more easily.

I am ‘enlightened’, made lighter, by the experience of letting go of attachment to thoughts and feelings that net me in in the weight of habit and preconception.

This lightening of heart and soul can only happen through hard work and disciplined practice. It is an ongoing process, rooted in the way you respond to each moment – I cannot envision an end point.

Equanimity – what a wonderful place!

As I work to deepen my understanding and practice of meditation, I am delighting in increasing my experience of equanimity.

Equanimity is defined by Shinzen Young as the ability to allow sensory experience to come and go without push and pull. As you move through life, equanimity is a kind of ‘radical non-self interference’.

“When you apply equanimity to unpleasant sensations, they flow more readily and, as a result, cause less suffering. When you apply equanimity to pleasant sensations, they also flow more readily and consequently deliver deeper fulfillment.”
Shinzen Young

For me, at my present level of understanding, equanimity is to be able to let go of ‘want’ and ‘should’ enough simply to dwell in what is without any sense of conflict or friction. I can also see the potential for deepening my experience of pleasant sensations, even of joy.

Few of us would choose pain, physical or emotional, but it is part of our human existence. ‘Being with’ whatever is happening, embracing and ‘befriending’ it rather than fighting or resenting it, is not easy. Yet the ability to do this is very powerful.

“All kinds of energy are freed up when you stop fighting with yourself. As your capacity to accept what’s actually happening in your life increases, so does the amount of juice you have to actually be of service to the world.”
Jeff Warren