THE BEST NEWS

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Friday, August 12, 2022

         This morning and all through the day, I will be receiving the best possible news – that this universe is not at all what I thought it was, not a material place filled with zillions of competing material entities, but rather a single, friendly, infinite force of which I am an essential part. This magnificent news announces that I am set free instantly and forever. Strange as it seems, it is true that I constantly jail myself behind bars which I make with my own thoughts. Because I usually picture myself as a material object surrounded by other material – and threatening – objects, I am convinced, usually, that I am literally in a prison from morning to night, but now, this morning, the news comes that all of this is simply an illusion, a nightmare from which I can easily awaken. This good news literally gives back sight to the blind, for I am now able to see the astonishingly beautiful reality that I am actually part of. It’s as if I’ve been wearing a blindfold through most of my life, but didn’t realize it, and so I thought I was seeing accurately. This wondrous news of the boundless nature of reality suddenly takes off my blindfold, and I am astonished to see a whole new world in front of me. It’s amazing to realize that I, personally, have received this best of all news on this very morning of August 12, 2022, and that I will continue to receive it all day long, and throughout every day to come in the future. I have always loved getting good news, and today’s news is not just good, but the very best news of all. It tells me that I am always and forever safe and secure in a universe where each moment is made of infinite mystery and measureless poise. How did an 80-year-old boy get so lucky!

TO LOVE AND BE LIGHT 
(about Bill M., 87, Blessings, CT, USA)

One day, 
a lamp on a desk
did what he wanted to do - 
turn on and shine - 
and it showed him 
how easy it is to do,
so he went outside 
in the deep darkness of life 
and simply let go
of all the controls,
and suddenly there was light 
all around him,
and he was the light 
and trees were the light 
and even simple grass 
was the light,
all because a lamp 
let him know the good news
of how easy it is 
to love and be light.  
  

BIRTH

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Monday, July 25, 2022

         Today will be a day of continuous birth. Each moment will be a fresh emergence, an arrival of something I’ve never truly seen or experienced before. If life sometimes seems tedious today, it will be only because my eyes and heart are closed to the nonstop special deliveries of miracles. The present moment is persistent in making everything brand new – it’s been doing it for timeless eons –  and today will be no different. It will be as if each moment is the dawn of a new age, a fountainhead of unprecedented freedoms. Even the most commonplace tasks – pouring coffee into a cup, carrying clothes to the washer, washing my hands at the sink – will be brand new possibilities never before presented in precisely that way. This will be a day of countless dawns, moment by moment, each of them astonishing beyond words. Perhaps Delycia will occasionally say, “Are you o.k., Ham? You look like you’re always staring at a spectacular sunrise.”  



YOU CAN'T STOP IT

You can’t stop it.
The sun will stand on hilltops today,
despite your efforts.
Morning will wear its finest shirt,
noon will wish you well,
and evening will bring
its beautiful book.
Yes,  storms will speak
their pristine words somewhere,
and stars will shimmer
in their birthplace above you.
There's nothing you can do
about it.
The world will show you
what rejoicing is,
no matter what
you decide to do.

*early sunlight over the Mystic River on our walk today*

* the first morning glories*

* our front-yard poem for today *

Below, the latest from Delycia’s garden …

FAVORITE

­­WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Tuesday, July 5, 2022 

         Whenever I ask Delycia what her ‘favorite’ something is – book, song, season, vacation, etc. – she usually says it’s too hard to choose, and I’m slowly understanding what she means. In a universe filled with limitless treasures, how can I designate my most-liked?  When I’m presented with miracles moment after moment all day long, is it really possible, at the end of the day, to pick my best-loved? Of all the beautiful breaths I take today, can I conceivably say at bedtime, ‘Oh yes, the breath I took at 7:02 pm was my absolute favorite’? I now see what my wife might mean about the difficulty of choosing favorites. It’s just too hard to prefer one jewel out of the day-long, boundless flood of them. Every scene I see today will be a mysterious marvel, and rather than singling out favorites, I’d best just be astonished – and grateful – moment after moment. 

__________________

Below, some beauties from Delycia’s garden …

ASTONISHMENT

­­WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Sunday, May 8, 2022

     Sometimes, often in the early morning, a feeling of absolute astonishment comes over me, a sense that my situation in life is indescribably miraculous. I find myself asking, as I did this morning, how I happen to be lucky enough to be located at this moment in time on a smoothly spinning planet in an astonishingly large galaxy in a universe of unthinkable numbers of such galaxies. I find myself marveling at the smallest things – the way the wind, as I write, is furling and unfurling our flag in countless ways; the way our neighbor’s red car is shining in the sunlight; the way Delycia is smoothly turning the pages of a calendar in the kitchen. I’m sometimes almost stock-still with wonder. How, I ask, does my life-giving breath keep coming and going? How do I have many thousands of new thoughts each day, totaling many millions in my lifetime? And where do all these thoughts come from? And where do gentleness and generosity and kindness come from, and how did they become imperishable and infinite? 

            Sometimes, with startling thoughts like these, life seems like something to soar with instead of struggle with.

A  DAY OF MOTHERS
(May 8, 2022, Mothers Day)

One spring day,
mothers were everywhere.
Skies made clouds comfortable, 
trees told stories
to their little leaves, 
and sunlight lovingly fed 
youthful flowers. 
It was a day 
of giving birth: 
green grass making lovely lawns, 
winds delivering freshness, 
kindness spawning unforeseen friendships. 
And old reliable Earth was there, 
as always, 
smiling at its mountains 
and telling stories 
to its childlike lands and seas. 

Below is our friendship poem for today …

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Tuesday, December 7, 2021, 4:31 a.m.

DISCLOSE

          At the beginning of this brand-new day, I feel like I’m entering, once again, a wonderland of allure and revelation . Literally anything could happen in these next 16 waking hours, and what I know, for sure, is that it will all be – somehow, some way – for the good. Somehow, someway, whatever unfolds for me today will be a gift, and I hope I can be alert enough to perceive the benefits of all of it. Significant truths will be revealed each moment – the truth of sunlight on roads and grass, the truth of thoughts unveiling in their freshness, the truth of feelings smoothly releasing themselves into my life, the truth, even – possibly – of pain and sorrow. The new mystery of each moment will make itself known to me, and I hope I can be alert to its message. Surprises and spectacles will be disclosed for me throughout this day, and all I have to do is listen and watch with care and appreciation – and perhaps some grateful astonishment, too. 

REVELATIONS
(Philip M., 89, Blessings, CT)

One day, as he was writing a poem, 
he suddenly understood 
that he wasn’t actually creating the poem, 
just revealing it. 
He saw that the words of the poem 
had been sitting next to each other
for centuries and eons, 
and he just stumbled upon them that morning 
as he sat in front of his computer screen.  
It suddenly made him see 
that revelations are everywhere, 
unfolding and flowing for us 
from moment to moment. 
Nothing is actually created, 
just softly and sometimes obscurely 
disclosed, uncovered, made known.
He saw that surprise is constantly occurring, 
split second after split second,
as the universe affectionately 
lets its miracles be seen.   

And here’s my best of all friends, enjoying the comfort and peace of this special season …

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Friday, August 13, 2021

ASTONISH

         The word ‘astonish’ comes from the Latin word for thunder, so it could literally mean being thunder-struck, shocked like sudden thunder and lightning can shock. I’ve been astonished like this – ‘stopped dead in my tracks’ – countless times in my long life, but much more so in the last few years. In fact, it’s truly a daily, sometimes hourly, experience now. Life, more and more, seems like almost constant ‘lightning and thunder’, but in the best and happiest of ways. I am now, at the age of 79, truly amazed, stunned, and startled by almost everything. I know now that I have absolutely no answers, but only awe-struck questions, and I am loving the questions (as the poet Rainer Maria Rilke advised a young poet to do). “Why did this just happen? Where did this thought come from? How did I get here? Who the heck am I?” In these elder days, I walk around in an almost constant daze, but it’s a happy daze, a bewilderment that brings me grateful joy. I feel like I’ve reached the summit of a mountain where the view is both striking and mystifying, both beautiful and utterly baffling. And strangely enough, I am totally at peace with this astonishment I’m feeling in my 79th year. In fact, I am grateful for it, for I feel like I’ve entered a land of both constant surprise and absolute safety. Somehow, my bewilderment brings with it quietness and contentment. There’s lightning and thunder, yes, but it’s the kind that carries illumination and instruction and a smile. 

IN MAZE

In Maze, Mississippi, USA, 
the residents seem always thunderstruck, 
as if astounding thoughts 
are constantly ascending 
like stars inside them. 
They seem almost speechless,
like words couldn’t possibly describe 
the miraculousness of their lives. 
They see their lives as shoreless rivers 
flowing in a poised and imperishable way. 
As with all of us, 
they sometimes must take a trip
with sorrow, 
but they’re astonished that its hard road 
always leads to new kinds of light. 
They’re staggered by the freshness
of every single moment, 
as if life is always
starting over with a sparkle. 
They’re flabbergasted by the simplest sights – 
leaves moving in winds, 
a single bird sitting in grass. 
These folks of Maze often look totally lost, 
but somehow in a lovely, lucky way.





And here are some scenes from our recent walks, and roses outside our dining room window, and Queen Anne’s lace beside our patio, and two loving friends named Hammy and Delycia …

Bikes, Peaks, and Poems

Friday, May 22, 2020

We took our first real bike ride of the season this morning, a quick 8 miles, and here’s a look at Delycia finishing the second 2-mile stage in a very strong fashion …

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HONEST AMAZEMENT

“Then felt I like some watcher of the skies

When a new planet swims into his ken;

or like stout Cortez, when with eagle eyes

He stared at the Pacific – and all his men

Look’d at each other with a wild surmise –

Silent upon a peak in Darien.”

— John Keats, “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer”

I’m always hoping to more often feel what “stout Cortez” and his men felt on that “peak in Darien”. Keats pictures them standing on a hill above the Pacific Ocean, staggered by the scene, and I would like to foster more of that kind of bewilderment and wonder in my life. Cortez and his men saw a startling sight, and every day – every moment – I am witness to scenes which, in their own special ways, are just as amazing. Hard as it is to remember during the sometimes wearisome routines of the day, the various circumstances that arise around me are as unique and mystifying as the Pacific Ocean, and really, the only suitable response to them is honest amazement. The life I share with Delycia is my “Darien”, and wherever I happen to be is the “peak” where I can look “with a wild surmise” at the inscrutable magnificence of life. A “surmise” is a guess, a supposition, a hunch, and that’s honestly all I have when it comes to understanding the things I see and experience. In the end, they’re all complete conundrums to me. If you ask me to make clear the mystery of even the simplest circumstance – the look of lamplight on a table, the sound of a car coming past the house, the whole sky shining at 7:00 a.m. — all I could do is make a hit-or-miss guess, a “wild surmise”. A better response might be to stay respectfully silent, like the astonished explorer and his men.

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Our current fridge magnetic poem …