It’s a wet and blustery day, and due to get wilder tonight and tomorrow. We worked out in the comfort of the Y this morning, walking the treadmill while watching cold-looking waves on the Mystic River. I worked myself fairly mercilessly, doing an average of 16 minutes per mile for 32 minutes. When I was done, I was drained.
Here’s a poem I love, by Chinese Zen master Wu-Men (1183-1260):
One instant is eternity.
Eternity is the now.
When you see through this one instant,
you see through the one who sees.
Below are our pumpkins for this year – one scary, one full of friendship.
It’s strange that fall leaf colors can be as beautiful on an overcast, misty day as on a day of bright sunshine. This morning, mist made a sort of soft veil over the river and the cemetery, but still the colors in the trees seemed wondrous. We walked in a wonderland once again, and it was an especially restful wonderland in this time of almost nonstop turmoil around the world. All turmoil has ended for the folks who are resting here, and the trees and bushes and birds here seem to understand that life should to be lived, not wrestled with. There’s no bluster and blather in this cemetery, only silent, serene harmony..
Now, at 4:51 pm, I’m sitting in the living room looking out at one of the gentlest rains possible – almost just mist, but no, there are the tiniest see-through raindrops slowly showering down past the colorful trees. Our neighbor’s fiendish-looking inflated pumpkin (below) seems to be smirking in this softest of rains, as if saying, ‘Geez, rain, why be such a wimp ?’
After our early silent meditation time in the sunroom, we had our usual breakfast, watching the light of a new day slowly spread around the yard. Cia pointed out how her overflowing pink chrysanthemums (not store-bought but her proud perennials for many years) seemed to glow in the dim first light. It was almost spooky to see. Here’s a picture of them in the full daylight …
After breakfast, we took another walk at our beautiful local cemetery. As usual, even on a cloudy early morning, the colors in the trees were enchanting, almost ghostly (like Delycia’s mums). I felt almost mystified as I walked, as though I was moving through a funky, offbeat world, which I actually was. Here are some scenes …
We joined four friends this morning at the Quaker meeting house for a discussion on the idea of ‘community’. As usual, many thoughtful comments were shared. We talked about a community as a ‘network’, in which every word and action affects the ‘net’ in some way, and several of us spoke of the importance of everyone being open in a community, so that the community itself can remain open and receptive. One person spoke of his hometown, which he recalled as being a wonderfully friendly and supportive community, but which now, when he visited, seemed almost bereft of any true community spirit. It struck me, as we talked in a small circle, that we five were a comfortable and caring community in that quiet room in the meeting house.
Today we joined a group of friends at the weekly writing class guided by a good friend of ours. Over the last few years, Delycia and I have come to enjoy these gatherings, where 10 0r 15 senior citizens write about their special memories and sincere feelings. Today, our leader chose “laughter” as the topic we would write about, and so, after about 15 minutes of writing, we began sharing our words. As usual, I was surprised – even amazed – by the depth of their writing – by their obvious willingness to be absolutely honest in their response to the prompt. Of course, with the topic “laughter”, we had many good laughs as we listened to our fellow writers share their written words, and I’m chuckling right now about some of the excellent jokes we heard.
Here is our chalkboard poem for today, as well as two scenes from my walks today, in Wilcox Park and in a small cemetery in nearby Groton. (Delycia continued her happy workouts at the local YMCA.)
I spent some quality time today quietly re-reading some of my poems. I keep them in binders, and today I read a few poems in the collection called “Friends in Blessings”. These are poems – probably a hundred or more – about fictional people in a fictional town in Connecticut called Blessings. As I read them today, sitting in the sunshine in the sunroom, I was deeply moved by many of them. I seemed to sense wisdom in them – wisdom and serenity and openness – and what was wonderful was that I felt – I knew – that these qualities did not come from little ‘me’, but that somehow they flowed out from the infinite universe and landed, by some mystifying design, in my poems. It was as if I was simply a shore and these poems had washed up on me from an infinite poetic ocean. I felt humbly grateful, and also a little overwhelmed by the mystery of it all.
Here is one of the poems I read today …
AFTER 61 (Harrison P., 61, Blessings, CT)
Shortly after his 61st birthday, he found himself standing beneath wisdom that rolled like a thousand thunders. Something made him feel the strength of youth, like he was thirteen again and could do anything, even math, and could show sympathy to everything, even thunderclouds. He found himself laughing with the misfortunes of his life as though they were playful dolphins from a fairy tale. He challenged his rascally problems to games like Chinese checkers, and he always won. He felt like a chimpanzee swinging beneath beautiful wisdom trees in his happy 60’s,
and he always chose childish thoughts.
Scenes from today’s snappy 2.7 mile walk in Elm Grove Cemetery …
…. plus two photos of an unidentified high school English teacher during a trip to France with his students, maybe 12 years ago, shared with me today on Facebook by one of the students on the trip … (I don’t like that mean-looking face at all. He must have been a lousy teacher.)
This morning, on her way to the Y for a workout, Delycia dropped me off where Rte. 27 meets Rte. 1, and I walked back to the house, a little over 3.5 miles. The traffic was humming, as usual, but I held some silence inside and moved along pretty smoothly, even over the often wobbly blacktop sidewalk. Here’s a look at the early light on the showy autumn trees across the river.
… and another show of brightly colored light in the cemetery …
Ah, such a lovely – but wearying – walk in the cemetery this morning! I was huffing and puffing and praying for a comfy chair and coffee, but the magnificent fall colors kept me going. My results are below …
Delycia and I are enjoying our journey through Thoreau’s “Walden”, which our book club is currently reading. I’m inspired both by the wisdom of his words, and by the handsome music of his sentences. He was both a philosopher and a poet, for sure.
Yesterday, we had the full moon shining outside our sunroom windows as we were doing our morning meditation at 5:30 a.m.. As Quakers might say, we felt ‘held in the Light’.
This morning, I broke all my records while walking in the cemetery – 3 miles at an average pace of 15.2 minutes per mile. Yes! – and plus, the early light on the autumn trees brought out some record-breaking shining.