Sunday, May 29, 2011

Meeting Along the Shore


What is the true measure of a person...their life, their loves, their quirks or all the stories that surround their corner of the universe? Who do we count as important, the ones that touch us so deeply they fill a crevice in our hearts? When you leave, will I reach you again? Why are we here, anyway? So many questions, so few answers. But somehow now, I don't feel compelled to know.

Words and stories, faces and lives weave their way through our existence each and every day. Do I stop? Notice? Sometimes. After all, I call myself a writer. I am interested, curious. But not always. Am I a willing participant in the lives of those I hold dear? Do I come, or do I need to be dragged? Mindful in the moment? Some of the time, I guess.

Recently, I was given a golden opportunity. A clear chance to be really present in the very dear and painful last moments of a very, very special person in my life. Words, to me, have such great power. But I realize I don't always hang on every word. This time, I was given the presence of mind to know...to listen...to witness and to cherish every last word that was said.

But eventually...there were few, if any words at all. The eyes became the true windows to it all. The heart communicated in silence...a gentle grip, a tender look, the small acceptance of love. Life's end, just like its beginning, is a thing that gives me great pause. For we are all witnesses to one another. Here, not for ourselves, but for that which happens when one steps in and carries the other...into this life, or out onto another shore.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Whispering Wind


Driving around early this morning, inspired by the little things...cows in the field, old corn-stalks--dangling remnants of last year's crop, and the clear blue sky towering above. On the radio comes an old fave of mine...one that was so overplayed back in the day: "Stairway to Heaven." I was such a Zepellin maniac back then!

I worked at a local grocery store and saved just about every cent I made for music, first, and clothes too, which took a close second for sure. I'd come home, run upstairs and blare that vinyl on my sad excuse for a stereo. Drove my poor brother crazy...he, after all was of the Elvis generation or maybe even Frank Sinatra, I honestly don't know. We were ten years apart. I was 18, and he, at 28 was stuck with the job of raising an angst-filled teenage girl. Led Zepellin and Mountain too, did that in a way that nobody else could.

But today? I heard it all in a different way, like the artists had changed the words. There was no angst, and no confusion...just a message I could use in my life.

"There are two paths you can go by, but in the long run there's still time to change the road you're on."

Still time! Not only is there clock time, but there's the time of the spirit...that remains still once in an actual while: that rested spirit, one that stops, looks up and wonders at clouds, chases the dreams that come only in moments, and not in weeks and years. I realize how quick I am to measure myself by accomplishments in the time of man and the world. In my life I am also trying to take two paths at once. It doesn't work that way.

So, today, I took a seat and looked up at the huge white pine, the one that towers over my cottage. I studied its wide scape of powerful branches, and witnessed our partnered hawks building another year's nest. The breeze scattered magnolia's elegant white petals on the lawn. And for the very first time, I thought of that other road.

Sitting there all quiet and still...I found an answer to a story I've been working on for three years. Of course. It came to me, just as it always does. But in its coming, this time came a lesson too. For it's only in the stillness that these inevitable whispers can be heard.
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