Playtime for a Full Heart

Life has been intense lately. Amidst the dark and cold and holiday hullabaloo (and provoking world and national news), many people I love are going through very tough experiences right now.  So I decided to give my sore heart a break with a little playtime. The result is the writing below and the drawing, both of which gave me a much-needed chuckle. I hope you get a chuckle out of them, too.   Counting Change   One is the loneliest number One-act play One day I won one! Hard one Hard-won Won over One after another One a day One by one Won by one One left?   Two heads are better than one It takes two to tango Two by two Two left feet To where? To dream To ache Can I have two? Tea for two Too much? Two choices Me too!   Three’s a crowd Third wheel Bad luck comes in threes Third time’s the charm Three coins in the fountain Three wishes What’s the third thing? Three-legged stool Seeing in 3D   “Four eyes” On four legs Four-poster bed It’s a four-door What for? For a song For a lark For a laugh For spite For a change For heavens’ sake! For or against?   FORE! Four way stop.   Did you find the four numbers hidden in the drawing?...

The Day After

I am posting this blog on the new moon, the day after the midterm elections. We begin two new cycles–lunar and political–yet much has not changed. I found helpful today the wisdom in this poem by Carrie Newcomer so I thought I’d pass it on. Revolution the Day After Revolution is not a single event.       Revolution is finding True North and walking toward it. Knowing that you will be walking for a very long while, Or always, Because the process of arrival At the most precious destinations Because bringing in a better world Will take more than your one lifetime.      Revolution is traveling light, Leaving what’s dead weight By the side of the road, Like hate, The least effective form of resistance, That by it’s very nature expands and gets heavier, Like slow drying cement, In the chambers of the heart.      Revolution is holding close all you love, all you believe in, all you hope for, Everything that actually matters, Because you’re going to get tired and discouraged and angry and wander off course in sorrow or doubt And you’re going to need All you’ve gathered in, Embraced and endured Because it is what you love Not what you hate That will keep reminding you to Look up, Search the sky Get a bead on something improbable Shining and unstoppable and keep walking....

Don’t Bore the Gods!

I had a humbling Aha! moment the other day. Humbling but also freeing. Tom and I have been reading a series of young adult novels, The Lost Years of Merlin. The five book series, which imagine Merlin from about age 9 to adulthood, are fun, full of enchanted forests, haunted marshland, fanciful and magical creatures, and resourceful humans (including females!). Merlin, who has discovered his grandfather was a great wizard, knows he has special abilities (though he doesn’t know much about what they are) and that he is destined to be a wizard also. Yet he struggles with this, alternating between being too cocky about his powers (and then either losing them or misusing them in some way) and angrily declaring he has no powers and will never fulfill his destiny (poor me). Friends tell him how he demonstrates courage and heart, and magical beings declare he has more power than he knows. We the readers know that all this is true, but Merlin, in typical adolescent fashion, moodily brushes it all away. While we were reading the third book, both Tom and I commented that we were getting bored with Merlin’s constant worry about his powers and whether he would fulfill his destiny. We hoped he would wise up soon. The Aha! came the next day while swimming at the health club. With embarrassment I suddenly realized I DO THIS! For years now I have worried aloud about what I am “meant” to do in the world and discounted or minimized what I have done. I fretted that my offerings were “not enough,” because I could do more,...

Turning Toward the Sun

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.                                                                                                                                                                Rumi Mmmm….bright sunshine is bathing my face, neck, shoulders, chest. I smile, my pulse slows, my shoulders relax, my mind empties: I absorb into every cell this infusion of warmth and light. It’s Minnesota, it’s winter, and I’m fully clothed. But as the sun makes its daily circuit around my house, it shines onto my living room recliner. Its placement in the sky varies by season, and only in winter is it perfectly aligned in the side window so that it’s possible to lie in my recliner and receive its rays directly on my face and chest for about 45 minutes. No matter; in winter, when I avoid going out in the cold, is when I need it the most. Not that I often sit there 45 minutes. The sun’s daily winter arrival at my chair begins about 11:45, so my day’s goals and appointments, my need to eat lunch, all call to me when I consider sitting there. But I’m learning to shush their muttering. If I can sit...

Beyond the Sights

I just got back from 2 ½ weeks traveling around Alaska with Tom. We tasted Alaskan foods (seafood, salmon, reindeer, fireweed and honey ice cream); walked on the land; cruised on the water; rode a tram up a mountain; heard native stories, drumming and dancing; spent a day at the Alaska State Fair; and had numerous conversations with a variety of people. We saw mountains, glaciers, icebergs, rivers, ocean, waterfalls, forest, tundra, eagles, puffins, sea lions, harbor seals, porpoises, sea otters, beluga whales, humpbacks, bears, salmon, cranes, and a variety of sea birds. In our visual-centric culture of television, videos, facebook, and Instagram, What did you see? is usually our first (and often last) question. Although what I saw was gorgeous, it was when I was startled awake by other sensations that I was most awed: listening to the delicate plick of raindrops dropping on wet leaves in the Alaskan rain forest; hearing sea lions grunting and roaring to each other as they lay on rock shelves in the sea; taking in the scent of greenery, river and crisp mountain air mingled with the stink of dead fish (in pristine salmon streams in Alaska you must have both, since the salmon die after spawning); being startled by the sharp crack crack as a sea otter breaks open a crab for its meal; catching the distinctive prehistoric call of cranes as they fly high overhead on their seasonal migration; listening for the explosive exhale of humpback whales, and to the living silence they create as they fish, dive and flash their huge tails without a sound; sensing the air grow...

Buoyed by the Unexpected

I’ve been marveling at a small miracle this week. I bought a Gerbera daisy, but somehow between the store and home I bent the stem of one of the blooms, bent it at a ninety-degree angle. I apologized profusely to the plant, and I assumed the flower on that stem would die within twenty-four hours. To my astonishment and wonder the blossom remains as lovely as ever a week later, with no signs of fading. Maybe this is some special ability possessed by the stems of Gerbera daisies. Maybe the plant is strengthened by my affectionately cheering her on every day. Maybe it’s one of those miracles of Nature. In any case, every time I sit at the table and see that valiant stem I feel grateful. And heartened. I suppose it sounds trite, but the stem has given me hope, buoyed my spirits, when I’ve badly needed it this week. I guess that little flower shows me there is strength hiding out of sight. And if it is my love for her that has mattered, that’s good to know too. So much life around us now here in summer! Perhaps it’s the unexpected, though, that flings the heart wide open.  Jan L. Richardson describes it well in her poem, For Joy:  You can prepare but still it will come to you by surprise   crossing through your doorway calling your name in greeting turning like a child who quickens suddenly within you   it will astonish you how wide your heart will open in welcome   for the joy that finds you so ready and still so unprepared....