The World, Moist and Beautiful

photo of Goat Mountain in the North Cascades courtesy of Kris Carlson
photo of Goat Mountain in the North Cascades, courtesy of Kris Carlson


And that is just the point… how the world, moist and beautiful, calls to each of us to make a new and serious response. That’s the big question, the one the world throws at you every morning. “Here you are, alive. Would you like to make a comment?
~Mary Oliver



Some mornings it is impossible to stay a silent and passive observer of the world.  It demands a response.

The overnight wind and rain have pulled down nearly every leaf, the ground is carpeted with the dying evidence of last spring’s rebirth, the dropping temperatures have robed the surrounding foothills in vibrant color and the peaks in a bright new snow covering.

There can be no complacency in witnessing this startling transition in progress.   It blusters, rips, drenches, encompasses, buries. Nothing remains as it was.

And here I am, alive.





When the Heart Slows




…bears binge on blackberries and apples,  
to satisfy the sweet hunger
that consumes them.  Just like us  
they know the day must come when   
the heart slows, when to take one   
more step would mean the end of things   
as they should be.  Sleep is a drug;   
dreams its succor.  How better to drift   
toward another world but with leaves   
falling, their warmth draping us,   
our stomachs full and fat with summer?
~Todd Davis  from “Sleep”

Any Second

photo by Josh Scholten

Walk around feeling like a leaf. Know you could tumble any second.
Then decide what to do with your time.”
Naomi Shihab Nye

Yesterday was an atypical summer day: cool wind gusts and intermittent rain showers, challenging our outdoor picnic family gathering.  It felt like autumn in July, with leaves loosening from tree branches, tumbling to the ground two months early. The gathering was in honor of the upcoming birthday of a beloved uncle, the sole survivor of five siblings, with two lost just in the last six months.  The inevitable shifting and sifting of generations is keenly felt; the middle aged folk, of which I’m a part, now bounce grandchildren on their laps rather than their own children.   The last ten years have changed much in the family tree.

I feel badly for the trees parting with their leaves prematurely.  I am sad our family is parting with our elders before we’re ready.

I am no longer invulnerable, protected by a veneer of youth and vigor.   Located high in the canopy of branches, I may wave bravely in the breezes, dew glistening like sweat on my skin, feeling the sun on my back and the raindrops running off my leafy shoulders.   Yet my grip is loosening, slowly, surely.  My color is subtly fading.  My edges are starting to fray, and there may be a hole rent here or there.  Yes, I am feeling more and more leaf-like, knowing how far I could fall any time.

That knowledge makes all the difference.   I hang on even more tightly while I can.

This is no time to waste.

photo by Josh Scholten