Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Chinese lanterns

The Chinese lanterns are perched

carefully in their vase.

I watch them slowly fade

from the burnt orange hollow

to brown lace.

Complete with a tiny red bulb

to light the way

as time passes through it.

And as I wait for the deep orange glow

of the Autumn to come

I see disintegration as opportunity.

Even within these silent dreams that remain

there is much that is still quite alive.

Week 33. Stages of change.

While upstate I collected a bunch of Chinese lantern blossoms from an open field. I put them in a brown ceramic vase and placed them on my dining room table. As each day passed I admired the variety of textures and colors. Some with bright orange blossoms, others dryer- passing mid stage, and still others completely transformed into a delicate brown lace. I couldn’t help but think about how each branch represented the stages of life. Then I thought about my own life. Which branch would I be? Mid way between the life I’ve lived and the life that is before me.

What really caught my attention though were the blossoms that were barely even there, the ones that looked as though they were just a skeleton of the lantern form. They were so delicately intact and yet there was something still alive in there. The seeds were still enveloped within the red bulb in the center. There was still hope somewhere in there, still a few small dreams yet to be realized. I began to consider that I too had some dreams yet to discover of my own. I’ve come to realize that observing changes in nature can help me learn more about my own thoughts and feelings . It’s hard to see change in ourselves, were just too close. But we can see it in others and we can learn by watching others nurture their dreams as they move through the stages of their lives.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

chamomile flowers

Tiny little child,

I’ve seen you before.

When I was just a child myself

and my mother soothed me back to sleep.

The earth rotated on its axis

and night would fall

but sleep would not come.

So I waited in the hallway

Next to the glowing yellow bulb

of a night light.

So if I awake again,

at 3 am.

Please hush away the dust of the past with once strong sip.

And let me sleep soundly


Week 32. Rest

This weekend I went upstate to visit with friends and found a patch of chamomile flowers by the side of the road. While I was up there I noticed how relaxed I was, how good I slept. I began to think about how my rest falls in cycles just like the seasons. Some periods I sleep well and others I’m up every night. When autumn comes it seems as though nature is in the process of regrouping. Transition is so much a part of the natural process, so why is it that sometimes we need to learn and relearn how to transition? Maybe the guidance of friends can be like a strong sip of chamomile tea- something to help you slow down so you can transition with greater ease.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Maples and Oaks speak though their gestures.

They remain lush in these last days-

When the sun bides its time,

drawing me back to the woods

where I can slowly find the familiar.

The trees are speaking

when the acorns fall on my head.

Hard and abrupt.

They are reminding me of something.

Like a ribbon on my finger.

They are telling me to stop.

To pay attention.

To listen to the wind when it softly guides me off the path.

For the wind and the sun are larger than anything I’ve known.

And an acorn is small enough to fit

into the palm of my hand.

week 31. Reverence

There is a church I try to attend, though I’ve missed many Sundays this summer. This week the pastor talked about the word “reverence”. He spoke about how there are few things that teach us reverence. Few things make us stop and pay attention. He used the writings of Barbara Brown Taylor to help him to describe his thoughts on the subject. In her writing she described a memory of her childhood. Her father would take her out on their deck, place a blanket down and they would watch the stars falling from the night sky. She wrote, “Reverence is difficult to define but you know it when feel it”. It’s true that feeling something with great profoundness can snap you out of the everyday monotony and force you to contemplate greatness. There seems to be a kind of awe that comes over us when we realize our own limits. How is it that so much of nature inspires us to feel closer to our spiritual beings, to find grandeur in the elements. I think it’s these things in nature that remind us that we are only what we believe, and all the rest is hardly within our control.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

climbing flowers

The climbing flower winds

it’s way around.

Always reaching upward.

Surrounded by the tiny spaces

between each sculpted branch.

Spaces to be filled by tomorrow.

Spaces to stop and rest.

With climbing comes taking,

and this plant knows no other way to ask

than to take root,

grab a hold,

and pull itself up

gently from the earth.

week 30. Survival

I’ve been trying to relax these last few day left of the summer. I finally had a moment to slow down but it was hard to get used to thinking about what I felt like doing when so much of these past few weeks were focused on what others need. So many things have come in unexpectedly. They never mean to take space in my worrisome mind, at 2 am when I can’t sleep. But they do. I’ve come to accept this is just how I’m made. I worry. I think through details much of my waking (and sleeping) hours, weather I like it or not. This made me think that being there for others is important but it is also important make sure there is room for ourselves.

Anyway, in this process of finding time for myself I started to think about the space that plants take up. Climbing plants just seem seem to fill in the empty spaces. They don’t ask politely. They just climb on in. If the conditions are right they know how to thrive. The survival instinct is strong in all of us, plants being no different. Recently I meet up with an old friend who had been through a difficult experience. We talked about how when life gets hard there is no time to stop and question things. You just know what needs to be done and you do it. This is that survival instinct once again; the body and mind just come to together to find a way to get you through another day.