"To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle." — Walt Whitman
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Friday, October 22, 2021
This will be a superior day. Each moment will be a first-class one, ready to give me the finest gifts possible. It’s like, right now at 5:10 a.m., I’m setting off on the finest adventure of my life, a unique escapade called “October 22, 2021”. From one point of view, it may be just an ordinary, average day, but from another, wider perspective, it will be a day of the highest quality, when each moment will be like a choice plum chosen just for me. My thoughts and feelings, whatever they might be, will be of vintage quality. Sad thoughts will be perfectly sad, and worries will be as if carefully chosen. When I’m sitting in a chair, even the sitting will be of the first order, and my wobbly walking from room to room at home will be wobbly in a flawless way. I simply can’t avoid greatness today. It’s built-in to each moment. Mastery is what this autumn day is made of, and I am part of it. How lucky can a 79-year-old dude get?
AN UPSCALE DAY
all the ball fields in town looked exalted,
and the stylish trees beside his house
seemed pleased to be stylish.
Lofty feelings came to him
side by side with prestigious thoughts.
Even the dust on his desk
in the way it sat so silently and imposingly,
and the streets near his house
seemed superior to all others.
On this day,
he did a higher-level kind
of sitting in his lazy-boy
and looking out the window.
Three cairns on our sunroom windowsill …
… and sunset from our patio last night …
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Thursday, October 14, 2021
This day, I hope, will stun me almost constantly. Like a child, I’d like to walk through the moments of this day in a continuous daze, totally stunned by the miracle after miracle that life will surely produce. Just the skill of carrying a cup of coffee to my lips – which I just did – should astound me with its finesse and gracefulness, and the way Delycia and I share thoughts by sending them over to each other in spoken words should astound me again and again. The fact that my body will breathe – in and out, over and over, all day today – with absolutely no help from me, should stagger me the way a child is staggered by the simplest occurrence. This day will be a maze of the most beautiful kind, and I look forward to wandering through it in a stunned way, constantly stupefied by the wonders of this mysterious life I somehow share with mountains and squirrels and Delycia and shoppers in McQuade’s supermarket.
ONE DAY LIKE CHILDREN
they chose to be children.
chose to have stunned faces
and eyes as wide as windows.
They walked around
wondering why and how
They gaped instead of looked,
studied instead of passed by,
stopped and stared instead of
glanced and went.
only questions or exclamations
because you can't
say clear statements
if you are constantly
And here’s a scene from our long, lovely walk on Napatree Point yesterday …
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Monday, October 4, 2021
I have spent most of my life trying to fill my days as full as possible, but now, almost 80, I am finally seeing the importance of emptiness. I want to be always prepared to receive the gifts that life continuously brings, and only an empty container is truly ready to receive. I want to be like the wide-open Grand Canyon, forever friendly to whatever is waiting. The immense, hospitable canyon welcomes storms and sunshine and daylight and darkness, and I want to be just as welcoming, but I can’t be welcoming if I’m already chock-full of beliefs and desires and fears and to-do lists. If I imagine the Grand Canyon filled to the brim with junk, I get a picture of what my life sometimes feels like – a measureless container, but so full it can’t possibly be open to the miracles life is ready to provide. To me, being empty means being as clear and free as a sky that’s ready to receive all the winds and light and storms and silence the universe creates. It means unloading my endless worries and creeds and desires so there’s room again for the marvels each moment makes. I want to be a canyon that’s always empty so it can always be freshly filled up, moment after amazing moment.
He thinks he might grow up
to be a peacemaker, or perhaps
a poet who lives among lakes
and trees. He often thinks a life
of throwing baseballs would be fun
when he gets a little older,
or a career involving canyons
where the calls of the youthful earth
can be heard. He recently sent away
for information about following
lonesome trails that know no end,
and brochures about jobs
studying distant, miraculous shores.
He's even considering becoming
a singer of songs of wisdom,
or working as a protector
of people's hearts and minds.
However, he's only 80,
still unfolding as a person.
There are refreshing years ahead
in which to decide.
to rush these things.
And here's a scene from our walk yesterday at the Denison Pequotsepos Preserve ...
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Friday, October 1, 2021
Today I want to let the miracles of each moment remake my life over and over again. Really, all I ever need to do is let. The generous, lavish present moment has gracious gifts prepared for me today, all day, and all I need to do is step back and give my consent. It will be as easy as saying ‘Yes’ from dawn to dark. I truly don’t have to work hard today, or labor, or toil. All that’s necessary is to give permission to each moment to take me on its brand new trip. If there’s sadness in some moments, giving permission to the sadness will allow me to see the wisdom it holds inside it, and if sorrow is the gift some moments bring, I need to open the sorrow slowly and accept the secret strength and understanding it always carries with it. I hope to be a green light today instead of a red one. I want to let the flow of the miraculous present moment move smoothly along.
ALLOWING, SOME DAYS
Jimmy Lee H., 38, Blessings, CT
Some days, Jimmy just winks at everything,
simply lets things happen as they will.
On these days, he accepts the strange sounds
of the dishwasher, and consents to the noise
of the interstate close by. He says yes
to the discomfort in his stomach,
hands with a host of worries,
his significant fears.
He says it’s a day
so he lets disappointments
stroll through his large life,
condones the raucous motorcycles
sometimes race past his house.
On those days of
he even tips his hat to his
and smiles as he sweeps the kitchen floor.
And here’s a slide show of scenes from my walk yesterday morning in the Peace Sanctuary …
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Tuesday, September 28, 2021
It will be wonderful to hold in thought today that life is always chock-full of chances. There are endless possibilities in each moment, each one an opportunity for me to experience a miracle. Absolutely anything is feasible today, from a sparrow shaking its wings in special ways, to a super-new idea dancing into my mind, to the descending of raindrops never before seen on earth. All the moments today will be gambles of the finest kind, leaps in the adorable darkness of the universe. Unforeseen windows of opportunity will constantly be opening. Today I will take part in thousands of lotteries, and will always win, and the prizes will be plentiful. I can take risk-free chances over and over again today, smiling as I foresee the flow of bewildering rewards.
She loves finding fragments of pleasure.
Happiness is made simple in her hands --
a smile from a stranger,
the silence of a book before she opens it,
a lily leaning toward her in the garden.
Sometimes she finds reassurance
in a single stray sentence,
or in a word
that separates itself from a sentence
and stands up
like something she should listen to.
On mornings made of blessings,
thoughts thrown out like yesterday's trash
will glitter for her
like pieces of gold.
You can come to her
with just crumbs of kindness,
and she will be satisfied.
We saw these lovely deer on the rail trail bike path yesterday, and – lucky for me – they inspired a poem …
BASIC AND BEAUTIFUL
Two deer doing the simple things -
standing on homespun grass,
giving hunger some gifts,
finding the simplicity that's always shining,
even in old leaves,
even in old bike riders
with 80-year-old ease and unfussiness,
like two deer daring to be workaday deer,
just basic and beautiful.
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Sunday, September 26, 2021
All day today, there will be a wondrous arrival: the present moment. I will continuously see the appearance of something never seen before – a brand-new guest called ‘here and now’. It will be like the surfacing of a miracle, over and over again – a sunrise inside each moment, a new dawn at 5:05:01 and 5:05:02 and 5:05:03. I hope I am ready to greet each arrival, and ready to be astonished.
And … I hope I can feel youthfulness throughout the moments of this day, because it will definitely be there. Each of my approximately 57,000 waking moments today will be spry and sprightly, born brand-new right here and now. There couldn’t possibly be anything ‘old’ all day , because each and every moment will have never existed before. No one will have ever seen 8:42 a.m., September 26, 2021, before it unfolds later this morning, and the same is true for all the other moments of this fresh-faced day. Each one will appear in the springtime of its life, full of child-like vitality. I truly cannot escape from this continuous sparkle of creation today – and, anyway, who would want to escape from continuous, state-of-the art, and full-of-life paradise?
ONE DAY A WOMAN AWOKE
a woman awoke to see
that she actually lived in a land
overflowing with a different kind
of affluence, for hovering
around her, she now saw,
were limitless riches,
but in the form of friendliness
and generosity and gentleness.
As far as she could see,
treasures like kindness and
unselfishness were fanned out
and free for the taking.
She asked her husband to help her
gather them, but then they saw
these gifts were flowing freely
into their lives, so they
relaxed and just laughed
and let them arrive.
Today, I want to appreciate what life gives me moment by moment. The word ‘appreciate’ derives from the Latin word for ‘price’, and so to appreciate means to understand the price, or value, of something. Since we’re planning to sell our house sometime fairly soon, Delycia and I often talk about its value – what price we can set on it -, but what about the value of the precious daily occurrences in my life? Do I fully appreciate the value of each breath that comes to my lungs? of each thought that arises inside me? of feelings that flow through me moment by moment? of the swirl of our soft curtains as I sit at my desk on this warm September morning? Indeed, there is no way to set a price on these occurrences, because they are priceless. Their value is absolutely inestimable, as is the value of the friendship Delycia and I enjoy, and the value of sunshine, and September rain, and books on an old man’s bookshelf. It’s impossible to set a price on these miracles in my life, but at least I should make an attempt – at least do my best to appreciate them. After all, I’m surrounded, and filled, each moment, by wonders worth more than many millions of dollars.
a man suddenly understood
how prosperous he was.
His thoughts, for instance, were thriving,
throwing themselves around like lightning bolts
from faraway, and his feelings
were flourishing inside him,
where they were as numerous and as spirited
as stars in the sky.
He saw that his heart was very successful,
producing profitable results through his body,
and that his old lungs were more lucrative than ever,
yielding profit-making freshness moment by moment.
on this burgeoning day,
that he was wealthy beyond belief.
He was beyond well-off
in his ability to wonder and welcome and appreciate,
and was opulent in his capacity to say please and thanks.
Oh, and he also saw
that he had substantial wealth
Here are two best friends pausing yesterday on a lovely bike ride on the Kingston (RI) rail trail …
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Wednesday, September 8, 2021
Each day – each moment – I am lucky enough to participate in the eternal unfolding of the mystery called ‘reality’. It’s happening continually, this miraculous emergence of brand-new, moment-by-moment marvels, and I have an important part to play in this phenomenon. Whether I realize it or not – and I usually don’t – I enter into a vast, new creation each moment, a creation that involves all the oceans and mountains and stars and ants and fellow humans, a creation with more power than numberless nuclear weapons. Each moment today, I will have a hand in waves washing up on shores, in families falling into sorrow or happiness, in sunshine showing its goldenness across the earth. I may not notice my active participation in these wonders, lost as I usually am in daydreams about ‘me, me, me’, but nonetheless, it’s always happening – me and the whole universe intermingling to make endless miracles. I am no more separate from everything else than a drop of water is separate from its ocean, or an atom of oxygen from the boundless air. Each moment today, I will enter into a celebration with planets and people and trees and butterflies. I just hope I can wake up and enjoy it.
If you go to Giving, Oregon,
you’ll see sharing everywhere.
The air lets you have a hand in its good life
by freely giving you breath for your body,
and sunshine divides itself equally among everyone.
Any wind generously lets all
the trees participate in it equally,
and peacefulness finds a way
to divide itself up among flowers and vivid birds
and even noisy streets and sorrowful folks.
When you visit here, you will also see
fun measured out uniformly
among the young and the sick and the old.
Even stores seem pleasantly amused
as they share their goods in Giving.
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Monday, August 30, 2021
It’s reassuring to realize, each morning, that thousands of things are ready to assist me during the day, and that they were made ready with absolutely no assistance from me. I sometimes smugly think of myself as my own source and supplier of the tools of success, but it’s simply not the case — not when I consider, for instance, my car that is occasionally cared for by master mechanics, with no help from me; the streets that have been kept smooth and clean for my car, with no help from me; the stoplights that successfully send me and others from one intersection to another, with no help from me; the sunshine that makes it easy to see the copious summer trees, with no help from me; and the trees themselves that make major miracles on these warm August days, with no help from me. I’m ready to have a fine day each morning, mostly because of the countless tasks undertaken by people and forces unfamiliar and far away, the loyal laborers who do their duties so that ease and coziness can be a much bigger part of my life than pressure and stress.
He always likes to be ready.
He knows the universe itself
is always in readiness,
to start miracles spinning
moment after psyched-up moment.
He likes to be primed for action,
geared up to meet
what a moment
whether a hundred
or a wild
situation that screams and dances.
He keeps on the lookout,
always alert for little births,
small arrivals from this world
that always wishes him good luck
but he has to be
bright-eyed and on his toes
to take the luck and truly love it.
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Friday, August 27, 2021
When I was a boy, I thought of heaven as a specific place somewhere above the sky, a place of flawless happiness that could be entered, with luck, only after death. Now, though, in these more discerning senior years, I see that heaven is always present, a place of boundless peace and prosperity, available to me in every moment. Paradise is right here and right now – always. Wherever I am, contentment quietly awaits me. My seemingly small life, supposedly separate from all other lives, is actually an inseparable and special part of a seamless miracle called ‘life’, a miracle that unfolds with precision and perfection each moment. Ecstasy can come from simply standing still and listening and seeing, and euphoria will always follow me if I just carefully follow the disclosing of daily marvels. I don’t have to die to reach heaven. It always – always – holds out its open doors in welcome, even as I sit at my desk at 4:56 a.m. and my elderly, lovely hands tap out these words on the keyboard.
Heaven is harmony.
Heaven is what you get
when you hold a pencil,
or a breath of air,
or a person.
It is what you see when the sun
settles on the grass beside you.
It is just a streetlight flashing,
or a strong hand holding yours.
Heaven comes to you
when you call it,
and then you can carry it
in your heart to others.