Not ‘still’ winter – perhaps the deepest transformation

When I look out at the white expanse of frozen lake, I no longer see winter as a small death, a time of darkness, a pause for breath.

I see a continual and wondrous process of transformation!

Ice is not static, but constantly changing.

In early winter’s deep cold, it was confusing that, this year, the ice seemed slower to come in. But with the cold came blankets of snow.

Each rock or dock intruding into the ice creates its own disruption.

Sometimes there is just whiteness, sometimes pools of lavender; sometimes the smoke that isn’t smoke billows around the islands. There are times of diamond brightness. Sometimes the world disappears.

Even in the heart of winter, somewhere, unseen, life goes on beneath the surface, even if I only know this by the presence in spring of turtles, frogs and fish.

The slow seeping of water bubbling out of the ground seeks its way through the ice creating a path – or a fault line?

A fallen oak leaf, absorbing light rather than reflecting it like the white surface that surrounds it, carves out space around itself.

 

What astonishes me is not just the overt shift from the fluidity of water to the apparent solidity of ice; nor is it the the purity and clarity of unbroken white, the illusion of stillness.

It is the awareness of a profound process of constantly occurring change.

Perhaps winter’s is the deepest transformation of all.

 
Snow-down

Snow Meditation 

Snow falls silently as large crystals,
each, unimaginably, different, unique;
remains like goose-down,
softly blowing.

With thaw, the feathers congeal.

Freeze creates of them
a crisp shell,
hard and resonant.

Then, nothing.

March 2018

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!

 

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

Uniquely human . . .

A comment on my earlier post ‘The Word’ suggests that, whilst words enable us

. . . to be uniquely human by allowing us to carve off pieces of what is in order to bring it into ourselves, they also dissect. Once we’ve created that division – identified what is, and thus what isn’t, there is always that rift…

I wonder, do the words create the rift or simply allow us to live with and explore it?

Continue reading “Uniquely human . . .”