Burning the old year

“Letters swallow themselves in seconds.
Notes friends tied to the doorknob,
transparent scarlet paper,
sizzle like moth wings,
marry the air.

So much of any year is flammable,
lists of vegetables, partial poems.
Orange swirling flame of days,
so little is a stone.

Where there was something and suddenly isn’t,
an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space.
I begin again with the smallest numbers.

Quick dance, shuffle of losses and leaves,
only the things I didn’t do
crackle after the blazing dies.”

~ Naomi Shihab Nye
fireplace

An old man’s winter night

“All out of doors looked darkly in at him
Through the thin frost, almost in separate stars,
That gathers on the pane in empty rooms.
What kept his eyes from giving back the gaze
Was the lamp tilted near them in his hand.
What kept him from remembering what it was
That brought him to that creaking room was age.
He stood with barrels round him — at a loss.
And having scared the cellar under him
In clomping there, he scared it once again
In clomping off; — and scared the outer night,
Which has its sounds, familiar, like the roar
Of trees and crack of branches, common things,
But nothing so like beating on a box.
A light he was to no one but himself
Where now he sat, concerned with he knew what,
A quiet light, and then not even that.
He consigned to the moon, such as she was,
So late-arising, to the broken moon
As better than the sun in any case
For such a charge, his snow upon the roof,
His icicles along the wall to keep;
And slept. The log that shifted with a jolt
Once in the stove, disturbed him and he shifted,
And eased his heavy breathing, but still slept.
One aged man — one man — can’t keep a house,
A farm, a countryside, or if he can,
It’s thus he does it of a winter night.”

~ Robert Frost

fire in the winter

Rest

The holiday season is one for reflection and taking care of oneself. We live a hectic life being challenged by demands on our time, tragedies in the news and just living. Whyte’s piece provides steps for us to take to regain the balance we need to continue to move forward in a mindful way.

“In the first stage of rest is the sense of stopping, of giving up on what we have been doing or how we have been being. In the second stage is the sense of slowly coming home, the physical journey into the body’s un-coerced and un-bullied self, as if trying to remember the way or even the destination itself. In the third state is a sense of healing and self-forgiveness and of arrival. In the fourth stage, deep in the primal exchange of the breath is the give and the take, the blessing and the being blessed and the ability to delight in both.

The fifth stage of rest is a sense of absolute readiness and presence, a delight in and an anticipation of the world and all its forms; the sense of being the meeting itself between inner and outer, and of receiving and responding occurring in one spontaneous movement.

A deep experience of rest is the template of perfection in the human imagination, a perspective from which we are able to perceive the outer specific forms of our work and our relationships whilst being nourished by the shared foundational gift of the breath itself. From this perspective we can be rested while putting together an elaborate meal for an arriving crowd, whilst climbing the highest mountain or sitting at home surrounded by the chaos of a loving family…”

~ David Whyte

Fall Camping Triip On the Mississippi near Memphis, TN 07 2012

Picture taken on the Mississippi while we were camping just outside of Memphis, TN. Peaceful

Christmas Sparrow

“The first thing I heard this morning
was a rapid flapping sound, soft, insistent—

wings against glass as it turned out
downstairs when I saw the small bird
rioting in the frame of a high window,
trying to hurl itself through
the enigma of glass into the spacious light.

Then a noise in the throat of the cat
who was hunkered on the rug
told me how the bird had gotten inside,
carried in the cold night
through the flap of a basement door,
and later released from the soft grip of teeth.

On a chair, I trapped its pulsations
in a shirt and got it to the door,
so weightless it seemed
to have vanished into the nest of cloth.

But outside, when I uncupped my hands,
it burst into its element,
dipping over the dormant garden
in a spasm of wingbeats
then disappeared over a row of tall hemlocks.

For the rest of the day,
I could feel its wild thrumming
against my palms as I wondered about
the hours it must have spent
pent in the shadows of that room,
hidden in the spiky branches
of our decorated tree, breathing there
among the metallic angels, ceramic apples, stars of yarn,
its eyes open, like mine as I lie in bed tonight
picturing this rare, lucky sparrow
tucked into a holly bush now,
a light snow tumbling through the windless dark.

~ Billy Collins

House_Sparrow_sm

Questions

“After a still winter night I awoke with the impression that some question had been put to me, which I had been endeavoring in vain to answer in my sleep, as what- how- when- where? But there was dawning Nature, in whom all creatures live, looking in at my broad windows with serene and satisfied face, and no question on her lips. I awoke to an answered question, to Nature and daylight.”

~ Henry David Thoreau

SnowRoad-he

I’ll be your water

“Do you ever get worried
And your load is hard to bear
And your life is like a sad sad story
No one nobody really cares?

But if you ever need someone to talk to
And if you ever need a helping hand
I’ll be your ship out on the ocean
I’ll be your water in the desert sand

I’ve been there, I’ve felt like you do
Feelin’ like winter would never turn to spring
And everybody I know has got problems
But there’s a solution to everything

And if you ever need someone to talk to
And if you ever need a helping hand
I’ll be your ship out on the ocean
I’ll be your water in the desert sand

And after you’ve found your way
You won’t owe me nothin’
‘Cause you’re gonna know that your well
Will never run dry, never run dry

If you ever need someone to talk to
And if you ever need a helping hand
I’ll be your ship out, your ship out on the ocean
I’ll be your water in the desert sand

I’ll be your water and I will give you shelter
I’ll be your water, I will be there for you
I’ll be your ship out on the ocean
I’ll be your water in the desert sand”

~ Keb Mo – I’ll Be Your Water