Friday, August 17, 2012
Why I Wake Early
Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety --
best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light --
good morning, good morning, good morning.
Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.
~ Mary Oliver ~
(Why I Wake Early, 2004)
The first chirps of the waking birds mark the "point vierge"
of the dawn.
Under a sky as yet without real light,
a moment of awe and inexpressible innocence,
when the Father in perfect silence opens their eyes.
They speak to Him, not with fluent song,
but with an awakening question
that is their dawn state,
their state at the point vierge.
Their condition asks if it is time for them to "be"?
He answers "Yes."
Then they one by one wake up, and become birds.
They manifest themselves as birds, beginning to sing.
Presently they will be fully themselves, and will even fly.
Meanwhile, the most wonderful moment of the day is that
when creation in its innocence asks permission
to "be" once again,
as it did on the first morning that ever was.
All wisdom seeks to collect and manifest itself
at that blind sweet point.
Man's wisdom does not succeed,
for we have fallen into self mastery and cannot ask
permission of anyone.
We face our mornings as men of undaunted purpose.
We know the time and we dictate the terms.
We know what time it is.
For the birds there is not a time that they tell,
but the virgin point between darkness and light,
Between nonbeing and being.
Here is an unspeakable secret: paradise is all around us
and we do not understand.
It is wide open. The sword is taken away,
but we do not know it:
we are off "one to his farm and another
to his merchandise."
Lights on. Clocks ticking. Thermostats working. Stoves
cooking. Electric shavers filling radios with static.
"Wisdom," cries the dawn deacon, but we do not attend.
~ Thomas Merton ~
(Confessions of a Guilty Bystander)
Leaving soon to rendezvous with Melissa for the 8-hr road trip:
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
**********In memory of Sally Ride*********
****Who got to see that the world is one****
ALL THE HEMISPHERES
Leave the familiar for a while.
Let your senses and bodies stretch out
Like a welcomed season
Onto the meadows and shores and hills.
Open up to the Roof.
Make a new water-mark on your excitement
Like a blooming night flower,
Bestow your vital fragrance of happiness
Upon our intimate assembly.
Change rooms in your mind for a day.
All the hemispheres in existence
Lie beside an equator
In your heart.
In your thousand other forms
As you mount the hidden tide and travel
All the hemispheres in heaven
Are sitting around a fire
While stitching themselves together
Into the Great Circle inside of
~ Hafiz ~
Before Sally Ride, NASA wasnât sure women had the right stuff blog.chron.com/sciguy/2012/07/before
Friday, July 20, 2012
To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can't see, can't hear
Can't know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren't always sound but other
Circles of motion.
Like eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River. Circles in blue sky
In wind, swept our hearts clean
With sacred wings.
We see you, see ourselves and know
That we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.
Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon, within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
We pray that it will be done
~ Joy Harjo ~
(How We Become Human: New and Selected Poems 1975-2001)
Oh that it will be done in beauty. Oh that it will be done in beauty. Oh that it will be done in beauty. Praying the in-breath, praying the out-breath. May my prayers be thus...Joy's poetry IS a prayer, as is her life.
I have been fed now. I can go on with the day.
I heard Native American poet Joy Harjo interviewed on NPR last week about her just-published memoir. I was mesmerized by her words, as I always am by her poetry. Here's a link to listen to the interview:
For another glimpse at Harjo's depth and beauty:
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Thomas Merton at Gethsemani Abbey
with Buddhist monk
Merton write-up from Gethsemani Abbey:
I say in my SparkPage profile statement, "I adore adventure and authentic friendships and seek both out," and I've choreographed another dance which includes both!
A friend and I are driving to Kentucky mid-August where we will rendezvous with 2BMYOWN, cyber SparkFriend-soon-to-become-3D, who is driving from Ohio. The three of us are attending a program at The Merton Institute Retreat Center.
Thomas Merton has been a spiritual guide and one of my teachers for many years....and some of you remember that I attended a reading by Mary Oliver during a prior adventure in my Toyota Dolphin, sitting at the feet of the master. Here's the scoop on the retreat....
Thomas Merton & Mary Oliver: Poets of the Sacred, August 17-19
Thomas Merton and Mary Oliver are unique writers who resonate when they converge on aligning their lives with Wisdom in their poetry's approach to nature and the feminine.
In addition to praying with the monks of Gethsemani, this retreat will celebrate with reflections on Hagia Sophia [Holy Wisdom] as the feminine energies of God (Merton) and Wisdom as living a life of praise within Nature's embrace (Oliver). Participants will discern their need to recover the "unheard feminine voice" within themselves, whether they be man or woman (Karl Stern's The Flight from Woman).
Living in consonance with Wisdom's ways is foundational to experiencing the depths of our core relationships with ourselves, our neighbors, nature and the Source of all relationships, God. Each participant will receive Mary Oliver's latest volume of poetry.
This morning my gift of poetry from Joe at Panhala was a new-to-me Mary Oliver. And of course it is the inspiration of this sharing.
The Abbey of Gethsemani, Thomas Merton's last home
WHAT IS THERE BEYOND KNOWING?
What is there beyond knowing that keeps
calling to me? I can't
turn in any direction
but it's there. I don't mean
the leaves' grip and shine or even the thrush's
silk song, but the far-off
fires, for example,
of the stars, heaven's slowly turning
theater of light, or the wind
playful with its breath;
or time that's always rushing forward,
or standing still
in the same -- what shall I say --
What I know
I could put into a pack
as if it were bread and cheese, and carry it
on one shoulder,
important and honorable, but so small!
While everything else continues, unexplained
and unexplainable. How wonderful it is
to follow a thought quietly
to its logical end.
I have done this a few times.
But mostly I just stand in the dark field,
in the middle of the world, breathing
in and out. Life so far doesn't have any other name
but breath and light, wind and rain.
If there's a temple, I haven't found it yet.
I simply go on drifting, in the heaven of the grass
and the weeds.
~ Mary Oliver ~
(New and Selected Poems Volume Two)
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Click and read; you'll be glad you did:
Where I live in the central time zone of the USA, summer solstice begins today at 6:09pm. I decided to share information about the solstice and some favorite pieces that speak of summer, beginning with the extraordinary "comic" above from the gifted Grant Snider of Incidental Comics.
As a major celestial event, the Summer Solstice results in the longest day and the shortest night of the year. The Northern Hemisphere celebrates in June, but the people on the Southern half of the earth have their longest summer day in December.
Awed by the great power of the sun, civilizations have for centuries celebrated the first day of summer otherwise known as the Summer Solstice, Midsummer (see Shakespeare), St. John's Day, or the Wiccan Litha.
The Celts & Slavs celebrated the first day of summer with dancing & bonfires to help increase the sun's energy. The Chinese marked the day by honoring Li, the Chinese Goddess of Light.
Perhaps the most enduring modern ties with Summer Solstice were the Druids' celebration of the day as the "wedding of Heaven and Earth", resulting in the present day belief of a "lucky" wedding in June.
Today, the day is still celebrated around the world - most notably in England at Stonehenge and Avebury, where thousands gather to welcome the sunrise on the Summer Solstice.
Pagan spirit gatherings or festivals are also common in June, when groups assemble to light a sacred fire, and stay up all night to welcome the dawn.
SUMMER SOLSTICE FUN FACTS
* Pagans called the Midsummer moon the "Honey Moon" for the mead made from fermented honey that was part of wedding ceremonies performed at the Summer Solstice.
* Ancient Pagans celebrated Midsummer with bonfires, when couples would leap through the flames, believing their crops would grow as high as the couples were able to jump.
* Midsummer was thought to be a time of magic, when evil spirits were said to appear. To thwart them, Pagans often wore protective garlands of herbs and flowers. One of the most powerful of them was a plant called 'chase-devil', which is known today as St. John's Wort and still used by modern herbalists as a mood stabilizer.
Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don't they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.
--Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine
Green was the silence, wet was the light,
the month of June trembled like a butterfly.
--Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets
THE SUMMER DAY
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean--
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down--
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
--Mary Oliver, from The Truro Bear and Other Adventures: Poems and Essays
And what would the Solstice be without music (and Paul Winter!)? Thank you, Don:
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