Saturday, November 21, 2015

blessing bowl

There is something about wooden bowls that intrigues me, especially if the bowl has been well used before it becomes mine.The one on my desk has chips out of the rim and the rim itself is uneven.There are carvings around the middle that suggest Aztec design; the wood is imperfect and grainy.Like an old  leather shoe, my bowl has character.

A fat pencil, a thin one, a dime, three pennies, a fortune from a cookie,  a dream I had last night written on a slip of paper, a brown leaf with a splash of red,  painted by a sprite, a pure white feather, curved in. These are now part of the bowl's story and mine.Life is speeding by like a comet across a dark sky, so I am collecting. These humble items anchor my day.Where I was, what I was doing and what this detritus brought to mind.The feather, dainty as a whisper, suggested a forgotten poem about hope;the leaf, impressionist art and artists.

Each found thing speaks, if I pause. The collecting itself has become a spiritual practice.

Every item in my bowl can tell a story if I listen.The fat pencil is telling me to grab the first bright sunny day, run to the floodplain and honor the fallen leaves in the woods by sitting with them and when I finally know them, drawing.

I once had a rough, well used bowl.I  had no idea what its use had been so I just filled it with dried flowers.For the first session of the writing class that I recently facilitated, I took it, along with other items and asked the participants to pick one and tell a story.One lovely lady took the bowl and wrote a tale of her grandmother making biscuits in a similar one.She told the story with a poignant simplicity that was so moving.From her words, we saw the bowl, smelled the biscuits and knew the love.

The feather is sacred, the leaf and the bowl are sacred.

Monday, November 16, 2015

hope is the thing....

 Nike has saved my running "career" more than once with their slogan, Just Do It!TodayI so wanted to lay around and not exercise but  instead I got in the car, went to the park and did loops on the track.This weather is just perfect for running and after I did several laps, I walked my cool down.In the back of my mind, I wondered what I would find strewn in the park grass by careless hands.I wandered through the picnic tables and was slightly disappointed not to find some pencils, pennies or pearls but oh, with patience, what I found was so much better.

What child dropped the dime while running with his bag of chips and who else noticed this muted red leaf?And then, when I thought this was enough, an orange and brown spotted fritillary butterfly landed on my shoe and stayed for awhile.Did that small creature know how much I needed a visit, with the world exploding?.

  These small things brought my mind to poetry.Perhaps it was just a straight line from the lovely poem a friend shared today about the mighty Hudson River.Did this start the flow in my soul or was it the picture of autumn on the Flint that I posted this morning.Whatever led my thoughts to the beautiful, I nod in gratitude.

                                        "The world is charged with the grandeur of God......
                                              because the Holy Ghost over the bent world
                                         broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings." 

                                                                               Gerard Manley Hopkins

                                                          "Hope is the thing with feathers-
                                                                 That perches in the soul
                                                           And sings the tune without words-
                                                               And never stops- at all-"

                                                                               Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


The grey clouds and constant rain and drizzle have finally left the pines of Georgia ; a blue and white scarf of sky  peeks out from the trees.The Flint River is muddy,very high and is moving  unusually fast through the sandy banks.Autumn on the river.

 Because of this break in the dreary wet weather, I was able to go to the park to run on the track. After 27 minutes of a hard jog, I found the shade of a large table area, covered by a wooden roof.As I cooled down, I said the rosary and kept my eyes open.What I found was quite remarkable to me.

 When I recently facilitated a writing class at church, we spent some time outside writing haiku, brief nature poetry originating in Japan.What a joy that was.Wasting time observing a changing dogwood tree and some amazing intricate mushrooms.We focused on what was right in front of us, what we were seeing and feeling so we could capture it with words.This way of focusing is very rewarding for me.Being, just being with a.....

                                                ....tired dogwood tree
                                                  green leaves dotted with red
                                                    small buds for next year.

 One of the participants stated that since being in our writing class, she is seeing things she never saw before.I think I understand .If you are going to be a writer of any kind, even if it is journaling, you have to keep your eyes open and your hands outstretched to receive what is moving, shining, sparkling, tumbling, crying, sighing, what is happening around you and in you.

   This brings me back to the sheltered tables and the picture above.These are the gifts cast away by unknown hands onto the grass by the place where I walked. In 30 minutes, I found each one by its whiteness, shape, sparkle.The fat pencil suggests that I need to take some paper into the woods tomorrow and sketch a leaf which is really just savoring it.Following the line of an individual leaf with my eye and hand without looking at the paper to see if it is right.Caressing the leaf with the pencil and not caring if what I draw even looks like a leaf. That is my assignment for tomorrow, by the Flint River .

                                                        Pencils, pearl, pennies.
                                                      pink petals,new red crayon
                                                        humble acceptance.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

the bench

It was there in that peaceful garden that Stan smiled at me.That was the beginning.

   The many flowers in this pocket garden droop under the weight of the humid air.It is June in Paris and although this garden usually brings me peace, today I hardly notice the scent of the roses, the beautiful colors painted on rose petals.The bench, where I often write in my journal, offers no comfort.

    I sit on the edge of the bench, hands fidgeting with paper, checking my watch.We were to meet at 4 P.M. and it is now ten minutes past.What if he doesn't come?The question, so heavy, takes root in my mind.My heart starts to beat faster. I check my watch and sigh. Has it all come to this? Will I walk out of this place alone?Just then, from the corner of my eye, I perceive movement.Two people are coming slowly through the garden gate past the fountain and onto the path to the bench.One of them is Stan.

 They are holding hands and I notice the sun dazzling the blond of his hair.He is thin and has on a blue polo shirt, beige shorts and sandals. I can see his sad blue eyes from where I sit.They are walking so slowly, I doubt they will ever reach me.Finally, they are close enough for me to see that there is no smile in Stan's eyes, or on his lips.I feel a cold dread in my chest and tears form.I wait.

  The young woman leans over and whispers in Stan's ear and puts her briefcase on the ground.He starts to walk, watching, watching, his eyes never leaving my face and slowly I see it, a slight curve of the mouth, some glimmer of light in the eyes. He reaches out and takes my shaking hand in his.I swoop him up, twirling us both to the sound of his giggles.I have become a mother at last.