Tag Archives: healing

Mary has left us – we will miss you

The Uses of Sorrow

(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)

Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.

Mary Oliver

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Hawaiian Sunrise

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6:30 AM in Hawaii.
Birds in a giant tree to the left of the villa sing to greet the rising light …. another one – larger, louder- pipes up just to the east; I think he’s on the jetti below my lanai

but he is invisible to me except for his clear, determined voice.  I wonder if he will do this tomorrow.  If he did this yesterday.

Watching the cool morning light stretching up toward the last star shimmering in a periwinkle sky,

now sinking into a dusty pink, then to a sunrise-to-the-east yellow, like cream on clouds that rest on the horizon …

is healing, full of grace.

In the dark below, a small fishing boat pulls away from its dock, gliding silently along a jetti.

Sipping coffee, I watch as it moves toward the sea.

Jetti locataires- palm trees and flowering bushes – are watching, too.

We watch together.  The little boat reaches the ocean and shrinks away.

Inevitably the light pushes up, drowning the star and it’s periwinkle sky.  Boats appear in lit slips, now visible, and the sun appears, looking more majestic than I remember it.

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I must be in paradise.

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The Appeal of Red

Proving that the apprehension of even the mundane is fluid – birds see color varieties that we don’t, seeking in each other the appeal of colors unknown to us.

And so the boy birds and the frogs – prey for birds – have adapted.  Boys become bright to attract feminine attention, frogs to warn that they are poisonous.  I once had a boyfriend like that.  So shiny and colorful I knew he must be dangerous.  And he was.

If the world is for each of us what we perceive, a subjective reality, then it must be an infinity of realities made sweet or sour by the tastes each of us give it, expect of it, believe to be real, and have the capacity to perceive.  And so a million realities exist around us but we see and create realities unique to ourselves.

We are dreamers diving into the swirl of our days, abandoning ourselves to the past, what we’re instructed to believe, what we can accept.   Endlessly dancing with these lovers, until something or someone trips us, jars us awake, rips us from the fabric of our diligently woven lives.  If we are lucky.

Waking from a dream of myself or perhaps nudged by some nascent desire, I have begun to weave red into a tapestry that has before been a kind of grotto of earth colors.  Here, indulged desire – oh, yes – where my careful heart would never have dared.  There the fiery red of a creative flame allowed to burn.  Consequences?  Perhaps, but you have to live.

This love-child could become a blaze, burning away old perceptions that have outlived their power to be potent; or a long, warm summer day of lovemaking in the forest, bent over a tree.   Or maybe it will become a garden, velvety flowers springing from alongside the path of my days, meandering through cool archways overgrown with trailing ivy.  No telling, yet.  But hopefully it will involve my share of red and an enhanced perception of color.

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Breathe

Letting go is best accomplished with breathing.

In.  Out.  In.  Out.  And continue.

Give space,  give time, to each breath.  Let each breath complete itself, become full, and rejoin the sky.  Smile, where possible.

It lubricates things.

 

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Family Dinner

The evening sky, in a kind of benediction, smiles down over the moving body of people on Massachusetts Avenue; folks leaving work, rushing past me as I lean on a sign post outside a restaurant, waiting for my brother to arrive, and reading the news.

People make their way under bands of clouds shaded in pink and lavender against  a cornflower sky, past the row of restaurants on the avenue, dodging others doing the same in the opposite direction, children in hand, dogs and partners in tow, bikes and books carefully maneuvered,  a woman leading her blind partner, a dog tied to a sign post.

My brother arrives, tall and handsome, smiling. The sky is smiling, too.

The restaurant he has chosen is crowded with families, meeting each other or arriving together, like we are.  We sit surrounded by children and couples, sharing pad thai, yellow curry, and a dotted conversation that is broken by topic changes un-introduced by the usual explanations, punctuated and broken by remarks, observations, and stories unrelated to the current of the discussion we are having.  Interjections surface, are acknowledged, and the conversation’s current resumes as if they had never occurred.

We talk the way two people who have known each other their whole lives can, without ever having to pause and ask the other to repeat or explain.   It’s the sort of conversation a stranger would probably think made little sense.

But it is like a news report, delivered in prioritized order, to us.  Some sadness to discuss, a few stories, two accomplishments, questions and information about work and family.  Candid thoughts we can share with each other, but perhaps not very many other people, serve as punctuation.

But especially we just sit together and eat like we used to as kids, and never do anymore.   The hour, the news, the stories, the sunset, are spent.

I worry about him, as I always do after we part, fretting on the train back to Alewife.  It’s a job of big sisters, I think as I am swept along in the crowd toward the turnstiles, to worry about little brothers, even if they are all grown up.

When I emerge alone from the station the sun has set and the dark stream of the night sky has settled over Massachusetts Avenue;  the smiling sunset now gone, leaving me with a memory of it.   Like the table my little brother and I shared as kids, like our evening in Porter Square, a memory, now.  One in a long river of many.

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Theology of Trust

 

Theology of Trust

When the call comes to announce a soul’s sudden departure; a child’s end

And all I can consider in the moment is

the lives of thankless, lesser mortals  extended far into old age,

The injustice of disease

man’s cruelty and indifference … these things in the landscape that never go away …

and then to close my eyes against the pain, reach out in silent prayer to

an ancient mother-father I neither know or understand, but sense

The mother-father of wishes and dreams

of birth, lovemaking, death …

why? Thank you it wasn’t my child

In this moment I feel so alone and feeble.

And then there is a quiet whisper, almost inaudible

Just against my ear or a faint humming in my mind

Reminding me that apples ripen in their time, unless they are first cut down

By drought or frost

In either case

The fates have their way.  Ripening love or stealing it from us –

All there is for us is to tend our apples and trust.

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Telling Jessica

Along the river the water sparkled and grass bent in a breeze that whispered it was finally safe to tell

The Leaves leaned in, breathing in your patience, listening

There were secrets shut up tight for a long time.  The kind that I did not want to admit to myself, much less speak. Some I understood, others I didn’t.   My heart, tight for so long with the effort of concealing them, willed them out.

I wanted to clamp my hands over my mouth as the little strangers came bustling into the summer sun and stood there, looking naked and pale and staring at me queerly.

Miraculously, Jessica was calm.

The wind slipped over our skin, warmed in the summer sun, mingling quietly with the smell of fresh water and rotting leaves.  Momentary and permanent, the ritual of decay, making religion for us.

Years of friendship buoying us, we shared smaller secrets that were like wildflowers, until my own suddenly seemed to have taken on a more legitimate aspect, now with flowers woven into their hair.

Until finally, hungry and tired, we exited the forest, leaving the protection of the trees behind us.

Some sorrow had moved into the place where the tightness had been; but the door to my heart, tightly shut for so long, opens now.

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