The word ‘satisfied’ comes from the Latin word ‘satis’, meaning ‘enough’, and today I hope to remember that life provides more than enough for me each and every moment. I should be pleased with whatever happens today, because, in one way or another, it will be a bountiful gift. Just the beauty of breathing in and breathing out should bring me contentment, and simply sitting silently at my desk and clicking the computer keys should keep me smiling with satisfaction. The ability to easily get up out of a chair in my 79th year should bring me gladness today, since it is truly an amazing skill, and each passing scene I see should bring me the good cheer of a child with a new toy. Indeed, life itself is a brand new toy I will receive each moment, a gift of unfathomable value which should fill me, all day, with the sincerest kind of satisfaction.
Two scenes from our walk on the shore of Long Island Sound yesterday …
Today, I won’t have to be creative, because creation will be constantly happening within and around me, whether I feel ‘creative’ or not. Each moment will be imaginative in its formation of brand new sights and sounds and thoughts. I will experience innovation over and over again all day – new moments making new mysteries and marvels. This day, like all of them, will be a wellspring of wonders. I may not personally ‘like’ all the magic it makes, but it will be magic nonetheless – an immeasurable universe shaping one miracle after another. I won’t have to be resourceful and quick-witted today, because the vast and ingenious universe will take care of that for me, and I can just go along for the ride!
Here are some of the flowers in Delycia’s majestic garden these days …
And here she is holding a bird that was lying dead beside the road on our walk this morning … so beautiful …
Today, I hope to be a beholder. The life I am part of is amazing in every way, and today I want to truly see it – to catch a good glimpse, each moment, of the grand mystery of this everyday existence I was given 79 years ago. I want to be a serious watcher today. When Delycia and I are riding our bikes on the Kingston rail trail, I want to spot and study things as I pedal along. I want to pay attention to the flourishing trees along the trail, to the remarkable mesh of shrubs and bushes, to the spread-out, always shifting sky. In a true and wonderful way, each moment today can be a time of meditation for me – a moment in which to carefully consider the gift I’ve been given of being alive and aware. Even a tree branch bending slightly can be seen for what it is – a miracle as marvelous as the rising of the sun. Today, I hope to be a serious and successful observer, a devoted student of the always astounding present moment.
This could be a very healthy day for me. Actually, every day could be healthy, if I would just wake up and pay attention. The universe prepares only wholesome days. Each and every hour is in great shape, and all the moments are hardy, ready to roll along with vigor and promise. I just have to be aware of this fine fitness that always surrounds me. Today, for instance, the sunlight, even in grayness, even in rainstorms, will be infinitely brighter than darkness, and breezes, even the softest ones, will blow with soundness and good spirit. Cars will cruise the highways with resoluteness, and stores will bustle with the many varieties of forcefulness of the shoppers and workers. Plus, when I look up at the sky, I will always see liveliness and completeness in the colors and clouds. In a way, each moment today will be intense, filled with its own special muscularity. Each one will be a champion, raising its arms with enthusiasm and softly shouting, “I am the greatest!”
I hope I can feel as healthy as this day is!
A Poem about Andy H., 70, Blessings, CT
Some days, everything happens
in a youthful way.
Nothing blocks the pathway
to breathless and healthy thinking.
On those days, even his toothbrush
in caring for his mouth.
in the thank you's he hears
all around him,
and there's breath-taking,
in every single moment.
Here’s my chalkboard poem for today, posted in our front yard …
And here are some scenes from our walk-and-bicycle workout this morning in a lovely cemetery on the Mystic River …
If we say a best friend is one who is always faithful, then, strange as it seems, the present moment is one of my best friends. Being always by my side – always, no matter how bad things get – the present moment is unswerving in its promise to me. In the sunshine of bliss or the darkness of sorrow, the present moment is right there with me, as new as a new day. It’s the most steadfast of friends, and, more importantly, the most perfect of friends, since it is always exactly what it has to be. Something is perfect if it is as good as it is possible for it to be, which means this present moment (and the next one, and the next) is, indeed, perfect. I can make the next moment be different, but this exact moment, right now, is superbly what it must be. What luck, to have a faithful and perfect friend with me, moment by moment!
Sometimes he feels his life
flutter like a butterfly.
his life is a bush
with so many blossoms
he can't possibly count them.
Sitting at home
in the flash of afternoon sunshine,
his life looks like something
from a land of gold.
In my experience, a lot of guys get satisfaction from saying something like “I can do this, man!” It might be “I can lift this 100 pound weight!”, or “I can climb this mountain!” or “I can do the Boston Marathon in my wheelchair!” However, I don’t recall hearing a guy shout something like “I can accept failure!” or “I can handle being hurt!” Many males of my generation grew up with the idea that toughness means always defeating something – overcoming a towering obstacle, or beating incredible odds, or crushing some enemy or other. Life is a battle, we were taught, and better to take the winner’s ribbon than the loser’s shame. Luckily, in my 79 years I’ve slowly learned a different definition of male toughness. I’ve seen that there can be as much heroism in defeat as in victory, as much gallantry in welcoming and learning from loss as in taking pride in triumph. Growing up, I was taught that being vulnerable was a sign of male weakness, but now I see that there’s bravery in staying open to being hurt, in allowing myself to live, and learn from, a full life, complete with big wins and ruinous losses. Guys who accept vulnerability with poise are prepared for a gallant kind of victory. Men who can make honest failure a badge to wear and a teacher to learn from have the truest kind of toughness.
IN TOUGH, FL, USA
In Tough, Florida,
the mornings are always resilient,
ready to take your troubles
for a carefree stroll by the shore.
Freedom, in this stout town,
is found even in every problem,
even inside the prison of sorrow.
Even weakness is indestructible in Tough.
The frailest hospital patient
can carry fear like it's a little feather,
and old, wobbly people
are as powerful as the stalwart surf.
If you think life is harsh,
come to Tough
and see how unbreakable kindness is,
how sturdy and solid patience can be.
Some friends of mine are occasional bow hunters, and I guess I’m a sort of hunter, too. My friends hunt mostly deer, whereas I hunt, in my sporadic and somewhat casual way, mostly goodness. My friends probably stalk their prey silently and seriously, and I sometimes do the same – quietly watching for signs of goodness, sneaking up on it, hoping to see it clearly in all its ordinariness and splendor. I know there’s a significant overpopulation of deer, making them easy to spot during hunting season, but surely goodness teems and overflows far more than deer, enabling me, if I’m sincerely stalking it, to catch sight of it everywhere. This world of ours is a goodness hunter’s paradise. There’s goodness in every face I see, every smile, every glance between friends, every hand offering help. There’s goodness, somehow or other, in every house, every car, every store, down every street. I sometimes set out on a lighthearted and lucky hunt, knowing I’ll see success within a few minutes, maybe just across the street where birds are bringing sticks to a new nest. That’s goodness, and it’s given to all of us to hunt and be happy with, no bows or arrows needed.
GIFTS ON THE TRAIL
a spoken-on-the-spot poem
made on April 12, 2021, at 8:02 a.m.
on the Denison Pequotsepos Trail
Bring me your gifts,
bird songs. Shake up
my life in a soft way,
like our footsteps
smoothly saying hello
to the trail, as life
takes its time,
and the birds
share their sincerity
and the goodness
of the great earth.
I sometimes feel like I’m in a befuddling maze, which is why, perhaps, I often feel a-mazed by everything around me. Like many of us, I enjoy pretending that my life is laid out in well-marked roads, and that I know exactly where I’m going and how to get there, but the truth is that I’ve been in an almost daily maze since November of 1941. Honestly, I still have little or no idea who I am or why things happen or where I should be going, and it is in this sense that I feel almost constantly amazed, as though I’ve been endlessly wandering in a maze for 79 years. Perhaps, though, I should say ‘labyrinth’ instead of maze, for in a labyrinth there is no worry of being lost, since all paths in due course lead to the center and back out. A labyrinth is a light-hearted place to be, since all choices are somehow the right ones, and seeming mistakes end up showing you the way. I guess life, for me, has been like a puzzling but relaxing labyrinth. It’s like a mystery made for my pleasure and instruction, a place where patience can turn mistakes into miracles.
(July 16, 2021)
will silently show you
how sharing is always happening -
how troubles play a part in joys,
how happiness has something to do
how 'now' has a role in the future.
This special day knows
that everything participates
with everything else,
that losses and wins
to make a life to be thankful for.
You'll be deeply involved
with this day.
You can't avoid it.
Today, I want to think of each moment as an inviting door that is always easy to open. Vast and intriguing mysteries await me behind each door, and all I have to do is keep my eyes open and walk willingly through. It could be a day of fascinating adventures, each moment presenting enchantment that is mine to choose. The simplest experiences could be beguiling today, each one small but absorbing. Standing in the kitchen waiting for coffee water to boil could be a bewitching few moments, and washing plates and cups could be a carefree and delightful task, one that I might feel grateful to be performing. Even walking across the carpet today can be an interesting escapade, feeling my legs somehow flowing through the room with gracefulness. “How does it all happen?” I might wonder in fascination as I move through the irresistible doorways of today. “How is all this magic made?”
I’ve always found excitement in ‘something new’ – a new book, a new shirt, a new movie to watch on television. For most of my life, I guess my days have been fairly boring, because ‘something new’ has always seemed far more exciting than what was happening at any particular present moment. Sometimes, though, it becomes clear to me that literally everything and every moment is ‘totally new’. Each moment is a flash of perfection, an unfolding of wonder and mystery that has never been seen before by anyone, and every so-called ‘thing’ – every chair, table, tree, coffee cup, and flower blossom – is a pristine, unused, and astonishing accomplishment by the universe. I am truly always face-to-face with freshness and innovation. The pen that’s beside me right now, sitting on a set of postage stamps beside some yellow post-it notes on a brown, well-lined desktop, is stunning in its newness, and will be just as stunning in every fresh moment in the future. In fact, each moment of each day is stunning and stunningly new. So who needs ‘something new’, when all the moments make amazing, never-before-seen miracles?
will let you lean on it,
and will love you for it -
will love you with its easiest heat,
with its musically warm winds,
with its long lists of summer's blessings.
Have faith in July 14th,
because its sunny songs
will be steadfast friends
from morning until the singing of stars.
Hour after hour,
July 14th will follow you,
with affectionate, watchful eyes,
always ready to help
or hold you in its arms,
a day as devoted and thoughtful
as they come.
Here we are, as happy as two 80-year-olds can be, pausing yesterday on our marvelous bike ride on the O’Neill Bike Path in Kingston, RI …