I wonder how much everyday abundance I fail to notice, the way I sometimes absentmindedly pass by the many dozens of multicolored irises blooming in Delycia’s garden these days. In my busy comings and goings, I usually don’t stop to appreciate her overflowing peonies, just as I’m sure I heedlessly disregard simple but beautiful lavishness in other places. Artistic stone fences, for instance, are plentiful all along the roads near our house – thousands of stones selected for their perfect shapes and shades of gray, and set in place by practiced artisans. It’s a lovely bountifulness of natural fencing, but one that I usually pass with hardly a glance. And what about the layers and layers of leaves that are overflowing in trees at this luxurious time of year? Great clouds of leaves softly waver above me, but when do I ever truly notice them, study them, be thankful for them? Above the leaves, too, are sometimes bounteous tiers of clouds that seem to puff their way across the sky, but when was the last time I really noticed their lushness? When was the last time I really looked at clouds in all their graceful profusion? This world is a place of pure abundance, and I guess, at 78, it’s time I started seriously noticing it.
Fortunately, I did notice this spilling-over rhododendron bush in Elm Grove Cemetery this morning, where I went for a walk after Delycia and I did our morning yoga practice. Wow! This is abundance at its best!
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In Abundance, South Carolina,
there is a profusion of pleasant feelings
flowing out from everywhere –
from homes, from stones in fences, from puzzles
people are putting together together.
Here, there is affluence
even in grilled cheese sandwiches,
even in raisins sitting on a plate beside a magazine.
Citizens have noticed exuberance in sunrises,
in scissors slicing through paper,
even in legs lifting and falling while walking.
In Abundance, there’s always opulence
in the zestful zigzags of life,
and when disasters have struck, there’s speedily been
the bulldozing of problems by friendship
with its lavishness and its feeling of blue skies.
Better bring big bags to hold all the goodness
when you pay a visit to Abundance.
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THE BIG PICTURE
When I was teaching, it sometimes occurred to me, right in the middle of a class, that everything was happening exactly as it should – that it was a perfect class. Of course, this didn’t happen when I was mired in a small-minded view of things – when I was seeing the class and my lesson as a piece of complicated machinery that depended on only me for its efficient operation. When that was my line of thought, nothing was ever perfect – not the lesson, not the kids, not the distracting sounds in the hall, not even the songs of birds outside. When I was looking at my life in the classroom with a shortsighted lens, defects bordering on disarray seem to be everywhere. There were times, though, when I was able to imagine the view from far, far above the classroom, looking down on the comings and goings of the seasoned teacher and his students. With that distant, wide-angle view — one that took in not only the small classroom in the Connecticut countryside, but the fields and cities of the state, the spreading earth itself with its endless abundance, as well as the continuous stars — all seemed right in Mr. Salsich’s Room 2, just as all seems right with any sunset or wave in the sea or wind in the trees. Small-minded views pass judgments; big-picture views sit back and appreciate.
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Some of the abundant flowers in Delycia’s garden today: