Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Dogen: "Time goes from Present to Past"

I'm revisiting an "old friend" this week--the Zen Master Dogen of 12th century Japan.

I was arrested by the phrase, "Time goes from present to past." The first time I heard those words--see it already is true--I was about 28 years old and attending Aquinas College.  They were "interesting" in an intellectual sort of way.

But sitting here today, I see time constantly moving from the present to the past--the flowers outside my window are almost instantly compared to the time when the hummingbird was sipping their pink hearts and the rest of fall wasn't showing up on the tips of the leaves.  The single Blue Jay reminded me of the riotous family of the same breed swamping my feeders just weeks ago. Every glance, there is the movement--present to past.  It happens so fast with me.

That's one of the reasons why I am not a big proponent of "linear time"--consciousness doesn't work that way.  At fifty-two, I'm not struggling with such things, though. The panes of past-present-future all flicker like a movie and I allow them to do so.

It's what the rock knows.
It's what the tree proclaims.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Delight in the Small: Tiny Treasures of a Forest Walk

Walks in the forest with a camera can be a delightful way to tune into the "small".  I am recovering from a full knee replacement (thank you Dr. Hollander of Traverse City Orthopedics!), so as my husband nips and cuts out a new forest path, I follow behind, clearing off loose branches and then sitting in a portable camp chair. It's in the stillness that the woods really begins to speak, and I notice the textures, the tiny beads of interest strewn all around. I am in no way a photographer, but I delight in trying just about anything new. In the looking, I become clear and present, going from merely looking to finally seeing.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Forest Faces: Photography

One of my favorite photography "hunts" is to look for "faces" in natural objects.  Facial recognition is one of our earliest cognitive skills--and it's fun to "revert" to childhood and see what I can find. Here are three faces I found in the cedar in our forest yesterday.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Illusion: A Poem from Easing into the Mahabharata

Illusion American-Style

More than a hundred years ago,
they raised the statue.
Hope carves like that—
stiffening onto stone,
motion, breath,

Today, others want to tear such things down,
laying Paper Mache and blogs and airwaves
bird shit and weathered bronze,
sweating and cursing in the humid air
to make the outside
some insides.

Move the outer world around as much as you wish—
yell you are “for it” or “against it”.

All Time’s child play with objects in a sandbox.

Honor: A Poem from Easing into the Mahabharata

He greets me at the door,
a black and white brown-eyed wagging,
toenails tapdancing on linoleum
so I know that “welcome home”
celebrates in wiggles and long pink tongues.

He lays his head on my lap,
slobber and all, soaking in,
and still I laugh,
untangling unruly clumps around his ears.

There is honor in my dog—
he knows who he is
he sees who I am
no matter what role I am currently playing-
mother, wife, farmer, writer, child
and from that knowing
we both love deeply and well.


Monday, August 21, 2017

Choice and Life: A Poem from Easing into the Mahabharata

Choice by choice
I have dropped enamel
on the tiles of my soul.
The world splashes on the rubbing alcohol
and oh!
delightful unexpected
brilliant oranges to muddy browns,
everything mixing into something
messy and alive.
Patterns I cannot always control
but I have always
brushed in with deliberation
at the edges.
That, my dear sons,

is life.


Sunday, August 20, 2017

You ARE Joy: A Poem from Easing into the Mahabharata

Sunlight on a thousand shades
of yellow petals.
Scarlet maple leaf tapestry
on the shade-dabbed path.
Scent of an ancient birch,
its bark shedding the ground
like parchment inked with
aromatic secrets.
A perfect brown hen’s egg
and a side of fresh cherry tomatoes.
Yarn and paint and tree branches
weaving into art.
His eyes, crinkled with fifty- two years
of smiling
sets down his coffee and opens his arms wide.
Don’t you know?
You ARE joy.