In the past

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.
from “Closing Time” by Dan Wilson

sunrise at dusk


Even now this landscape is assembling.
The hills darken. The oxen
sleep in their blue yoke,
the fields having been
picked clean, the sheaves
bound evenly and piled at the roadside
among cinquefoil, as the toothed moon rises:


This is the barrenness
of harvest or pestilence.
And the wife leaning out the window
with her hand extended, as in payment,
and the seeds
distinct, gold, calling
Come here


Come here, little one


And the soul creeps out of the tree.

 – Louise Gluck, “All Hallows” 

soul gazing


One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice–

though the whole house

began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles.

“Mend my life!”

each voice cried.

But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do–

determined to save

the only life you could save. 

– Mary Oliver, The Journey



Mindful Balance

Birch Blue Moon Lunar Eclipse.  Fireworks cracking the silence of the forest at midnight.  Goodbye to one decade that held so much change, and hello to whatever comes next.  The New Year started with a cosmic and literal bang.

This morning we awoke to stillness after an overnight snowfall, the eclipse and pyrotechnics long over.  The sky was a serene wash of pearl-grey, the trees were laden with damp powder and the forest creatures were burrowed deep in their under-tree nests and rock dens.  And right now, the only sounds I hear are the chirping and calls of the birds that come to feast at our feeder:  warblers, sparrows, finches, bluejays and our resident cardinal couple.  All is well.

Last January 1, I set my intentions for the year by choosing two defining words.  I wrote: “First, I want to learn to Listen more deeply and fully, both to my inner voice and to the unspoken words of others. I want to turn off the static that surrounds me and tune into the messages that come in silence. Then I want to Reach reach within, reach out, reach for, reach above, reach below, reach beyond the limits I have intentionally and unintentionally set for myself. Listen ~ Reach... my mantra for 2009.  It makes me feel that anything is possible.”  Good words, good intentions… and I do feel that I’ve held true to them throughout the course of this very challenging year.  Sometimes what I learned while listening was tough to take in and sometimes the reaching stretched me thin, but all in all… it’s been a worthwhile and enlightening journey.


This year, my intention is to continue to listen and to reach, using what I learn to bring myself closer and closer to real integrity.  I’m talking about stepping fully into the process of being authentically myself in all parts in my life.   I know what it looks like, but what it means in practice is something I will have to discover as the year unfolds.

Amaryllis So, in addition to listening and reaching, 2010 will be all about mindful balance.  I am sometimes impatient for change, and that impatience often leads me to feelings of discouragement.  That’s a path I want to avoid this year.  It has too many ruts to trap my spirit and low hanging branches to snag my resolve. Instead, I want to follow the higher path, always mindful that “a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step” (Lao Tzu).  Big changes often come through evolution.

Mindful Balance… my mantra for 2010.  It makes me feel that anything is possible.

What word would you choose?

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