So many feel they are the only one
until they land in a cushion of others
Some dangle suspended
twisting and turning in the slightest breeze
not knowing when the fall will come.
I know I’m both~
and many together
held by a slender silken thread
until the moment comes
when I’m let go.
October is nature’s funeral month.
Nature glories in death more than in life.
The month of departure is more beautiful
than the month of coming – October than May.
Every green thing
loves to die in bright colors.
~Henry Ward Beecher
I don’t know…
I myself feel pretty drab these days, gray and fading,
with ripples and wrinkles, more fluff than firm.I’m reminded to hang on to an October state of mind:
more raucous color than somber funereal attire
so when it is time to take my leave,
I go brightly, in joyous celebration of what has been~~
and knowing, without any doubt,
where I’m heading as I wander down the road a piece.
Let there be not only the roses,
Not only the buds of the day,
But the noon and the hour that discloses
The full flower torn away:
Not only the bliss and the sweet
When the sun is soft and low,
But the weary aching of feet
Tired out by the harrow and hoe:
Not only the gazing and sighing
Where the heather stands thick on the moor,
But the lonely watch and the crying,
With hunger awake at the door:
Not only the wonder of reaping
The fruit that hangs red on the bough,
But the strain and the stagger of creeping
In the brown wake of the plough.
Let this be the way that I go,
And the life that I try,
My feet being firm in the field,
And my heart in the sky.
~Philip Bliss from Water at the Roots
Within each day of each life
hides the joy of discovery
despite the weariness.
The truth of it is:
a hunger and ache consume me
if I don’t seek out and harvest beauty
growing in each moment.
Though my boots are dusty
and my steps less sure,
the life I try on each day
is the certainty of a heart in bloom.
The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and there a yellow leaf shows itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many.
~Oliver Wendell Holmes
August has been particularly wearing on so many folks this year, aging us beyond recognition after weeks of smoke-filled horizons. Those whose forests and homes have burned have nothing but cinders to return to. My concerns are mere in comparison, as the ash sent forth from such destruction is only irritant and inconvenience, rather than the residue of lost life.
Yet no one thrives in a world of fire and ash as we go gray as the sky, as if we have lived one summer too many.
I dream of what was: green and lush foliage and cool rains with the occasional welcome glimpse of a yellow, rather than red, sun.
Color the gray away to thwart the inevitable? Not this woman. I await a different beauty, even if only in my dreams…
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the green heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
~Wendell Berry “The Peace of Wild Things” from The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry
When our young grandchild visits
and I watch her discover
the joys and sorrows of this world,
I remember there is light beyond the darkness we feel,
there is peace amid the chaos,
there is a smile behind the tears,
there is stillness within the noisiness,
there is grace as old gives way to new.
Like Time’s insidious wrinkle
On a beloved Face
We clutch the Grace the tighter
Though we resent the crease
People are more than just the way they look.
~Madeleine L’Engle from A Wrinkle in Time
Just a glance in the mirror tells me all I need to know:
these creases I see remind me
each wrinkle is grace in action,
so tangible, so telling, so mobile –
they multiply particularly when I smile
so I must smile more often.
I won’t hide them
nor tighten them away
or inject them smooth.
Instead I’ll grin at the wrinkle of time’s passing
knowing each line gained
is grace clutched tightly
in my otherwise loosening grasp.
Take me as I drive alone
Through the dark countryside.
As the strong beams clear a path,
Picking out fences, weeds, late
Flowering trees, everything
That streams back into the past
Without sound. I smell the grass
And the rich chemical sleep
Of the fields. An open moon
Sails above, and a stalk
Of red lights blinks, miles away.
It is at such moments I
Am called, in a voice so pure
I have to close my eyes and enter
The breathing darkness just beyond
My headlights. I have come back.
I think, to something I had
Almost forgotten, a mouth
That waits patiently, sighs, speaks,
And falls silent. No one else
Is alive. The blossoms are
White, and I am almost there.
Robert Mezey “White Blossoms” from Collected Poems
So much of our lives, we travel in near darkness, barely discerning where we are headed, the beams of the headlights only reaching so far. It is disconcerting not knowing the destination or when the journey will end.
Traveling blind, so to speak.
Yet there is much to see and hear and touch along the way, so we stay awake and pay attention.
We’re almost there. Almost there.