The difficulty to think at the end of day,
When the shapeless shadow covers the sun
And nothing is left except light on your fur—
….and August the most peaceful month.
To be, in the grass, in the peacefullest time,
And to feel that the light is a rabbit-light
In which everything is meant for you
And nothing need be explained;
You become a self that fills the four corners of
~Wallace Stevens, from “A Rabbit As King of the Ghosts”
August brims with fullness in need of emptying –
a spilling over of light and sun and heat.
With so much of everything in mid-summer,
I welcome relief
in a cool whiff of a misty morning.
Even my rabbit-light fur
is beginning to darken and in-fill
in anticipation of long dark winter days.
Like the pulsing vessels
in twitching transparent ears,
both warming and cooling,
I will fill the empty spaces.
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Just past dawn, the sun stands
with its heavy red head
in a black stanchion of trees,
waiting for someone to come
with his bucket
for the foamy white light,
and then a long day in the pasture.
I too spend my days grazing,
feasting on every green moment
till darkness calls,
and with the others
I walk away into the night,
swinging the little tin bell
of my name.
~Ted Kooser “A Birthday Poem”
I usually go in to work on my birthday,
just a regular day most summers~
instead today decided to catch up
on weeding, reading and needing
a day of quiet:
To notice each blade of grass while grazing through the hours,
transformed by something so simple,
to be called as the time comes
to return to the barn
ready to give all I have until empty.
Every moment is a fresh beginning.
What is pertinent is the calmness of beauty, its sense of restraint. It is as though the land knows of its own beauty, its own greatness, and feels no need to shout it…
For a great many people, the evening is the most enjoyable part of the day. Perhaps, then, there is something to his advice that I should cease looking back so much, that I should adopt a more positive outlook and try to make the best of what remains of my day. After all, what can we ever gain in forever looking back and blaming ourselves if our lives have not turned out quite as we might have wished?
~Kazuo Ishiguro from The Remains of the Day
I am ashamed to admit I squander time looking back,
yearning for a day that has long since passed,
tossing off these present precious hours
as somehow not measuring up to what came before.
There have been over thirty years
of such days in this farm country,
one flowing gently after another,
and every single one have been exactly what I’m looking for.
I shall toss my heart ahead and set out after it,
making the best of what remains of my day.
Sure on this shining night
Of star made shadows round,
Kindness must watch for me
This side the ground.
The late year lies down the north.
All is healed, all is health.
High summer holds the earth.
Hearts all whole.
Sure on this shining night I weep for wonder wand’ring far alone
Of shadows on the stars.
May I always,
as I weep,
whether for joy, or relief,
or fear, or pain,
or frustration, or anger,
or grief, or loss,
or sheer exhaustion,
may I weep in wonder
in gratitude that I weep at all~
that my tears water
The season of sunset as it draws a veil over the day,
befits that repose of the soul
when earthborn cares yield to the joys of heavenly communion.
The glory of the setting sun excites our wonder,
and the solemnity of approaching night awakens our awe.
If the business of this day will permit it, it will be well, dear reader,
if you can spare an hour to walk in the field at eventide,
but if not,
the Lord is in the town too,
and will meet with you in your chamber or in the crowded street.
Let your heart go forth to meet Him.
~Charles Spurgeon from his Morning and Evening Devotionals
Many of the young adults I see in my practice struggle to sleep at night. Their minds are racing, they can’t stop worrying, their bodies are tight with tension.
Their hope is I might prescribe a pill since they’ve tried marijuana and several shots of vodka, and that isn’t helping.
I would like to prescribe an hour with God at sunset but that is not permissible at a public institution.
Instead, I’m allowed to speak of emotional support animals, or yoga, or an evening stroll, or “meditation” or even a labyrinth walk, but never letting one’s heart go forth to meet God.
Spurgeon, out of his own anxiety and depression, knows the healing of a walk with God at sunset.
It is throwing the cares of the heart out to Him and knowing He will catch and hold them tight.
Sap withdraws from the upper reaches
of maples; the squirrel digs deeper
and deeper in the moss
to bury the acorns that fall
all around, distracting him.
I’m out here in the dusk…
where the wild asters, last blossoms
of the season, straggle uphill.
Frost flowers, I’ve heard them called.
The white ones have yellow centers
at first: later they darken
to a rosy copper. They’re mostly done.
Then the blue ones come on. It’s blue
all around me now, though the color
has gone with the sun.
There is no one home but me—
and I’m not at home; I’m up here on the hill,
looking at the dark windows below.
Let them be dark…
…The air is damp and cold
and by now I am a little hungry…
The squirrel is high in the oak,
gone to his nest , and night has silenced
the last loud rupture of the calm.
~Jane Kenyon from “Frost Flowers”
Even when the load grows too heavy,
our misery rolling in like a fog that
covers all that was once vibrant,even then
there waits a nest of nurture,
a place of calm
where we are fed
when we are tired and hungry.
We will be filled;
we will be restored.
Black birds slice their evening patterns—
long curves in the sky. Everything
is drawing down into shade.
But the dark, which is at first so simple
is not simple. Away from the farmhouse
with its slits of yellow, the monochrome
develops like a print in the chemical bath.
The unbroken velvet swims
with complications so subtle that
seeing and hearing must take their time
to know. The shadow purples,
the dusk intricate with crickets. The sky
infested with pricks of light.
My whole body an ear, an eye.
~Luci Shaw “A Simple Dark”
Let it come, as it will, and don’t
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.
~Jane Kenyon from “Let Evening Come”
Wandering the evening farm,
I feel the darkness,
more than see or hear
the settling of birdsong,
the rise of coyote calls,
the horizon’s firelight,
the slowing of my pulse,
and the deepening of my breaths.
I let it come, this most intricate dusk.