Crickets sing by night
Palm trees rustle in the wind
Starlit Maui sleeps
Adventures in Parenting
Crickets sing by night
Palm trees rustle in the wind
Starlit Maui sleeps
I sit here at East is East
almost alone (the baby is sleeping on my lap)
but feeling the opposite of lonely
a perfectly satisfied fulness
an openness to everything:
the heat of the spices in my mouth,
the cool kiss of my iced Turkish Chill,
the spring breeze in the elegant drapes,
the warm orange glow of the lamps.
The vibrant aquamarine wall behind the stage
is filled with memories of musicians
from date nights past…
when that skinny little girl
with her starry-eyed dreams
met that philosopher boy:
tall, brown-bearded, bespectacled.
They met and fell in love
talking their heads off
over so many meals
from all over the world:
Ethiopian, Thai, Chinese, Italian, Irish, Mongolian and more…
walking the town
in search of truth, meaning,
They married and filled the restaurants
with tiny people who like spicy Thai food
loud, gorgeous, long-lashed children–
and one gone ahead to the heavenly banquet.
And now instead of that teenaged aching emptiness
–that lonely longing–
there is hustle and bustle,
a thunderstorm of pitter patters
and never a moment alone.
Today that skinny girl
still red-headed and freckled,
but a little more wobbly around the middle,
has escaped for a moment alone with her dreams
in the same café where,
sitting with her bosom buddies
she discovered the presence
of her latest warm bundle–
a blue-eyed moon baby
whose smile bursts her chubby face open
And the girl
now a mom of 8
(how did that happen??)
is learning to dig deeper
underneath the choas
into the quiet space inside
where her spirit resides
and speaks poetry in whispers
(if you’re quiet you can hear…).
The Spirit speaks to her
in dappled sunshine through tender new leaves
and the scent of lilacs.
She buries her face in them
and is transported back to highschool–
to the village where nature spoke to her so clearly
and she filled her notebooks with passionate scribbles,
longings for the fulness she now has
These tiny white tendrils
perched like innocent ears atop a mossy log
listening to the secrets of the forest…
What stories could they tell us, if they had mouths?
For they have heard the early morning trilling of birds
when everything else was silent
save for dew drops dripping from tall trees
bearded with curly mosses.
They have listened to the lapping of water
at the lake’s edge,
the liquid murmurs flowing over submerged logs
soaked with sunken memories
ones I dare not extract from their watery repose
lest I tumble in and get absorbed by their somnolence.
they could tell of green and growing things,
of red and rotting things,
and of the perfect patience of trees
which live and die and even in death
keep giving life.
We live in a society filled with experts. There are specialists who are eager and willing to tell you how to do just about everything. Want to clean out your closet? Feed your kids well? Wear the right colour for your hair? Thrive in the workplace? There are likely dozens of e-courses, books and podcasts to teach you how. Let’s just hope they all agree…lest the conflicting “experts” cause more confusion and give you even less clarity.
While the abundance of information is potentially enriching, I wonder what it does to our confidence to feel we need to consult an expert or extensively research every decision. Who are we, after all, to decide for ourselves? And are we actually doing anything right??
This kind of insecurity can rob us of peace. It’s impossible to follow everyone’s advice, in the same way it’s impossible to wash your hair with every kind of shampoo that claims to be best. It would make you crazy to try. So we have to calmly make choices and stand by them. Nobody else knows how to be you. Remember this, and don’t go against your gut because something is currently trendy or thought to be essential. These things change all the time anyway.
But to shut out these clamouring voices, we need to seek a place of quiet. To turn off all our many devices and remember what it’s like to hang out with ourselves. With no add breaks. No interruptions. Just our own thoughts, and if we listen carefully enough, that still, small voice that guides our heart. The company of the one true Expert, the One who made us and knows every fibre of our being…who knows what challenges, graces, and gifts we need to be truly happy. In this place, we can remember who we are and what’s really important.
So as the busy fall season approaches with all its potential activities, try to ask yourself quietly: “Which of these will actually contribute to the well-being of my family?” “What do we actually feel called to do?” “Which of these would maybe look good on a resumé, but lead us to being overbooked, overstressed, and short on time to enjoy being together with those we love?”
If you ask such things quietly, peacefully, and in an attitude of listening, chances are your heart will guide you. And acting from a place of quiet, you’ll have the confidence to stand by your decisions, despite the storm of “expert” opinions ever swirling around you. In that inner quiet, you’ll find the freedom to be you.
There are times I feel unworthy of poetry
incapable of receiving inspiration
cause I’m overly immersed in soap suds and laundry
combing out tangles in hair
and sibling relationships
putting out constant fires
–flashes of jealousy and
fits of frustration so loud
it’s hard to hear the quiet whisper
of a newborn poem
wanting to meet the world
But I need to dismiss these unromantic doubts
because it’s not really about me
Is a candle worthy to illuminate the night?
Yet it is in it’s very disappearing–
that it gives burning light
Your love for me doesn’t depend on my greatness
but is rather a sign of Yours
Fill the empty cup of my heart
Help me exude Your warmth
and be with me
in my noise and chaos
Help me find the whisper of your presence
like flashes of gold in a mountain stream
and amidst all the pebbles
help me find poems
Rain falls on the gazebo roof
and murmurs gently
in the surrounding forest
I sit here with the stone lion
who gazes with undivided attention
into the nearby woods
as if expecting Aslan
I admire his silence
and try to cultivate interior quiet
attuning my ears to the soft sounds
of bird calls and frog chatter
sounds of my youth
unchanged and immortal
The baby sleeps warmly on my chest
snuggled beneath the nursing cover
I sigh and he echoes me
heart to heart
imitating me even in his sleep
A tiny spider throws his rope onto my iPad
and hangs out with me while I write
Today even a spider
Poetry as a gift of silence…Here is a poem which spoke to my heart like a familiar breeze ruffling through the forest, bringing new life and resonating with joy. It is from author Wendell Berry’s book New Collected Poems.
HOW TO BE A POET (to remind myself)
Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill — more of each
than you have — inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your poems,
doubt their judgment.
Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.
Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.
Tonight the evening air is dusky
and has a faint smell of smoke
as if someone was stoking their fire
on this warm May night
The slightly bulging half-moon
beams down yellow
and sleepy like me
I seek poetry in the shadows
and realize the smokiness
is the peppery scent of purple lupins
spicing the dusk with their presence
Lingering in the quiet evening
I take pity on my planter pots
and water my flowers by moonlight
lest in the heat of the day I forget
A little bath for the basil
a big sip for the tomatoes
and lots—with love—
for my Josephine flower