Sunday, February 28, 2010

Weighted branches

My dog tugs hard at the leash when we step out into the white.

Almost as if she’s never seen the snow before.

There we are, with a small space to walk,

Surrounded by brightness,

Surrounded by the newness of what was left over night.

But as I walk further, I see the heaviness of this great storm.

The weighted trees.

The broken branches with piercing jagged edges.

Branches which are careful not to move an inch,

In fear of loosing a limb.

So much to bear for the delicate and fragile.

When the snow has fallen in great abundance,

I know that I am meant to walk around in it,

To open the door and be like my dog

Excited by the new vantage point.

But ahead of me the branches reach down toward the earth,

Not up to the pale blue grey sky.

And it is then that I see this precarious balance.

The balance of joy and weight

which makes for the wonder of each step

out into the illuminated white snow.

Week 9. Joy and pain.

My dog Paloma is a great barometer for the weather. When it’s raining she looks sad and mopey. When its sunny she's begging to go outside at every chance, and when there is fresh snow awaiting, she’s panting and begging to get out and romp around like a child. The day after the big storm when I took her out I began to notice how many branches were broken from the weight of the snow. There seemed to be such a contrast between the simple joy within Paloma and the weight of the snowy branches. I began to wonder if there could there be a connection between suffering and joy? There seems to be a need for balance in order to live with both. I had to let this idea settle in a bit, so I continued walking and thinking. When I tried to come up with a conclusive thought on the subject the only conclusion I could draw was that maybe our greatest insights are found in the spaces between the two, as we get out and walk around in both places.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The weathered tree

The limbs of the tree are broken in three places.

Fractured with the wear and tear of the elements.

The wind, the snow and the rain-

such is the fickle nature of the seasons.

This tree has seen better days,

when it was young and wild and prepared for the craziness.

Today as I walk past it I see the battle scars.

The jagged cuts within the skins surface,

Causing shapes and patterns to immerge.

There are liver spots and blemishes,

Deep dark flesh, oozing sap through raw and open wounds.

Yet in it’s vulnerability there is strength.

Each ring makes it stronger and more solid now,

Each surface a glimpse of the many lives lived in between.

Week 8. Resiliency

As I walked through the woods the other day I noticed how the trees, silhouetted by the white snow, made all the details in the bark much more visible. I thought of how we seem to notice our imperfections with same scrutiny. But each mark is a unique symbol of our struggles, every detail the difficulties we have lived through. Trees have always been a symbol of resiliency. Maybe trees can show us to look at our scared and imperfect bodies with compassion and acceptance. To know that the hardship we endure only makes our roots that much stronger.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The heart shaped leaf

The smell is that of eucalyptus.

Its somber fragrance reminds me of

my aunts house in the woods, when I was young.

But it is not the long shiny leaf I know well.

Its shape makes me think it’s a strange trick of nature.

The shape is that of a heart.

With cloudy sage green leaves.

It’s variegations exposing its geometry.

The equal and parted ways.

But what is before my eyes is simple.

A small comfort when the days are long.

A still life set upon my shelf.

For me to gaze at in winter months.

And there, within my dreamlike artist head,

I cut a million small valentines.

Like I did as a child.

A shape folded in half

and opened up to reveal the whole.

Week 7. Symmetry

OK, so I had to go there didn’t I? Yes, everywhere you look there are signs of Valentines Day fast approaching. I found a bunch of beautifully simple shaped leaves at Whole foods the other day. When I got them home, I began to see how the leaf shape was reminiscent to that of a heart. I’ve always loved how leaves have a clear division down the middle, separating the two sides, the same way a heart does. So many things in nature have this; it’s basic biology I guess. It struck me though, in a symbolic way love is like this too. There is an organic symmetry of two sides that mirror each other, like two people. Together they form something so splendid and complete.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


My lime green pot sits close to the window this morning.

But it is empty.

I’ve transferred its contents and given it every chance I could.

But I had no choice.

I had to.

I bought brand new soil from the nursery and filled it to the brim.

The crackle glaze pot became a new home.

There was so much more to offer there.

It needed to be done, really.

And today, I reached in to feel the plant.

It was grounded well.

It did not wobble and slant.

Its long, thick leaves were proud and still.

I took a slight breath in this morning.

Aware of such elegance in it’s position.

And released my breath then

With such pride in my faith.

Week 6. Faith.

I’ve had this great plant for the past 10 years or so. It’s moved around with me from California to New York and home to home within. I’ve always kind of taken it for granted in a way, knowing that it’s one of my hardier plants. I assume it will endure all sorts of change and upheaval. But recently it had taken a turn for the worse, falling to the side and loosing bunches of weakly rooted pieces. So last week I decided to replant it in new soil and a new pot. It came back to life. I couldn’t help but think about what that all meant. There seemed to be a message I needed to see, almost like a tiny fortune cookie paper floating above my consciousness. On this particular day, I thought about the fact that I did not give up on that plant.

Last week I went to see a big trade show in the city with an old friend. I felt exhausted and defeated when I got home. Seeing that plant revived reminded me how I too need to keep the faith in myself. To not give up on myself by comparing my life with those I see from the outside. Their lives always look so much better. I feel a huge weight within me when I look and compare. But faith is a messy thing, that’s for sure. It requires digging down deep and possibly replanting. Some days the dirt and chaos can be overwhelming even. But keeping faith was clear to me that day, a little fortune cookie message sent from a well-rooted plant.