Plow

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Friday,  January 7, 2022

         This morning, as we were waiting for our snow-plow guy to come and clear the streets so we could go out for our usual Friday cafe breakfast, I started thinking about some other kinds of plowing. There’s the plowing, for instance, that I often find myself doing as I try to push my way through a day’s apparent problems. It’s all about ‘me’ then – me the brave tough-guy who thinks he can bulldoze his way through barriers with sheer resolve and self-discipline, the macho muscleman whose ego-centered actions usually lead to more frustrations and fears. But – there’s another kind of plowing, the kind the boundless present moment is constantly doing. Each present moment, today and every day, softly pushes its way through oldness, and – presto! – the streets of life are instantly clear and free to travel. It’s like each moment of life is a freshly-fashioned snow-covered landscape with pristinely cleared roads and trails ready for free and easy travel. What’s wonderful is that I don’t need to call the present moment to come and plow us out, since it is always right here, right now, doing its smooth and thorough and magnificent work. 

         This morning we were waiting to go out for our special cafe breakfast, but we were already ‘out’ in the wide-open and wondrous world of the present moment, thanks to its eternal power that never stops plowing and clearing the way. 

The view from our bedroom window this morning

RICH

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Friday, December 17, 2021

            I’m not always aware of it, but I am rich – very rich, exceedingly rich, totally rolling in wealth. My fortune is not made of material goods, luckily for me, because they can crash and vanish as easily as raindrops. No, my wealth consists of boundless, indestructible treasures like love and patience and gentleness and acceptance and kindness. Today, I should walk like a prosperous gentleman, because that’s what I am – an 80-year-old guy who will receive – and can give – gifts of attentiveness and endurance and innovation all day long. If I can stay awake and aware of it, today, as on all days, I will live on easy street, spending limitless kindness and camaraderie wherever I am – walking on a sunrise road with my wife, washing plates and cups in the sink, shopping for my special apples and pretzels at McQuades. At every single moment today, I will be well-off beyond belief, flush with the shine of powers like love and goodness and brand-newness. Who knows? I might sometimes break into dancing as I spend my endless assets!

IN WEALTH

In Wealth, WA, USA,
there's prosperity in every moment, 
even in sorrow, 
which makes mounds of wisdom 
for those who wait for it. 
Even confusion has riches to bestow
when clarity comes back, 
and hard work always shows 
where treasures lie. 
In Wealth, the true valuables 
are kindness and caring,
of which there are mountains 
in this little town's treasury, 
and patience always produces resources
 folks had never noticed before. 
This town has cash hidden 
in breezes and sunshine and shadows, 
there are stacks of securities 
called 'benevolence'
in every resident's portfolio,
and every street is called 'Easy'.

If you visit well-off Wealth, 
you're in for a surprise, 
for you'll discover how filthy-rich 
you, too, have always been! 
 

Location

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Friday, December 10, 2021, 4:59 a.m.

            ‘Where am I, right now?’, I sometimes wonder. ‘Where exactly am I?’ – and the wonderful news is that I can never find the answer. Oh , for sure, I could check the GPS on my phone and that would give me a fairly accurate physical location on planet Earth, but then … where exactly is planet Earth in the vastness of space? and where exactly is the vastness of space? and where exactly is the Universe? Even more puzzling – and fascinating – is ‘Where are the thoughts that made all these words?’ If I say the usual answer that they were in the small piece of flesh called  my brain, then where are they now? Can I pinpoint precisely where those thoughts are right now? Is the thought that made the words ‘my brain’ something I can locate and examine? And where is the earlier thought that I am right now located on a specific spot on a specific planet called Earth? Can I see and hold and study that thought?

            Re-reading the sentences above, it seems clear to me that there is absolutely no way to accurately locate anything, because everything comes from thoughts, and the location of thoughts is as loose and imprecise as the wind. In a sense, then, I guess I am nowhere, and everything else is nowhere too.  And because I am nowhere, perhaps that means I am also everywhere.

            Somehow, after writing all these nebulous and shadowy words, I am now feeling as loose and imprecise as the wind. Sounds like a great way to start a new day!

A THOUGHT FLOATS

A thought floats
through his mind,
then dives and disappears.
Then a thought throws itself
into the sea of his mind
where other thoughts
are splashing and swimming.
Then a thousand thoughts
start sailing along,
their own captains,
capable of following
the farthest star.
Then he sees
that the sea of his mind
has no shores,
that it isn’t his,
and that he
is one of the thoughts.
Then it’s all rest
and recreation.

And here’s a holiday scene in our living room, complete with Mary and Joseph and the crib and a few very interested animals, along with a copy of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, which we are reading aloud each day in December, as is our beloved tradition …

And here’s our chalkboard poem for yesterday, lit up at night with a small lamp…

and here’s today’s poem …

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

STABLE

         We all search for something stable in life – a safe, solid ‘rock’ that can’t be shaken by even the worst of life’s storms – and actually, we all have one. It’s simply the ever-present, ever-sturdy present moment. Whatever happens today will happen in the now. I may think a lot about the troublesome past and the worrisome future, but all that thinking will happen in the immovable present. Try as I might, I will never be able to push the now away and replace it with the past or the future. After my strongest labor, the present moment will still be there, steadfast and serene – and smiling. All my ‘what ifs’, no matter how persistent and persuasive, will never remove, or even slightly shift, the durable and abiding present. My life – and all of life – rests on an unfaltering foundation that has no top, no bottom, no borders whatsoever – a basis bigger and broader than the endless sky – and the wonder is that it is simply the here and now, the ever-present present moment.  

         Today should be a day of perfect peace for me, for under me is an endless and stable basis that can never be broken – the long-lived and reliable present. 

STEADY AND STABLE

All days are steady and stable.
They always dance, one way or another,
throwing themselves into life 
like flowing rivers that love to drift.
There are forces in all days 
that think they’re beautiful, 
and they are,
so beautiful that they find 
small fortunes for us in every moment.
All days bring balance with them, 
and durability, 
which enables them 
to be available for us 
for 24 hours.

And here’s our chalkboard poem for yesterday …

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Monday, October 25, 2021

KINGDOM

         When I was a boy, I loved reading comics and books about ‘kingdoms’, those far-off realms of royalty and splendor, and now, at the age of 79, I see that I have always dwelled in the most glorious kingdom of all – the infinite domain of the present moment. I truly am surrounded, at all times, by boundless solemnity – the stateliness of brand new thoughts gracefully arising before me, the magnificence of fresh sounds and sights ceremoniously appearing as if out of nowhere, the majesty of new moments suddenly presenting themselves like shining personal assistants. I’m truly living a fabled, fairy-tale life, where the magic of peace and love rules all. 

         Trouble is, I usually don’t see this kingdom of quietness and accomplishment that surrounds me. For some reason, I usually see only troubles and worries all around me. Wickedness seems to shine far brighter than wholesomeness, and fear seems far more forceful than love. 

         But I know that the kingdom of the present moment – the kingdom of kindness and care – is the true realm of the real, and sometimes I am able to enter that blessed land. Then I feel like I’m once again reading a comic book, and it’s called Real Life In The Real Present – and I settle back to enjoy the adventure.  

GLORIES

These are the glories 
of getting up early: 

candles caring for you
in the morning darkness -

your thoughts 
journeying with joy
 through the day’s possible adventures -

lights across the street 
unfastening your life -

silence sending peace 
to the hours and centuries ahead - 

cinnamon spice tea 
making life fresh 
at five-thirty a.m.  


WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

ORDER

            Today, as usual, the present moment will give the orders. All I have to do is listen carefully and follow its instructions. I won’t have to busy my little ‘self’ to figure things out and give commands and directions, because the present moment will quietly do that for me. It will tell me how to sit at my desk, how to listen to the sounds of the furnace, how to tap the computer keys accurately, how to be present in a perfect kind of way. There will be order everywhere – in the position of the small hairs on my hands, in the way my coffee waits in the cup beside me, in the way sticky notes are situated on my desk. Tidiness will show me how to to live and love this day. There will be apple-pie order from breakfast to bedtime, if I can stay observant and see it. The world actually works in orderliness and symmetry, even though it sometimes seems in disarray. I just hope I can see through the mist of my own thoughts and recognize the discipline and peacefulness of the present moment, for it’s always there.

ORDERLINESS

He marvels 
at the orderliness of things. 
These days
the birds start singing
at exactly five-seventeen,
and the newspaper man
makes his stop at the house next door 
at six-o-six.
Stranger still, his breath
enters and leaves with precision,
his quiet heart
carries on its duties
in a dependable way,
and the stars stay
where they're supposed to stay.
It's astonishing
to consider this
as he eats his perfect
piece of toast
and dawn delivers
another ideal day 
at his doorstep. 

WORDS LIKE LIGHT

Friday, October 8, 2021

CURIOSITY

            Today, I hope to be a devoted practitioner of curiosity. I want to have a spirit of inquiry all day. I want to explore each moment as though it’s a brand new, pristine territory, which it actually will be, and I want to rummage around among my thoughts and feelings to see what fresh treasures are there. Countless novelties and oddities lie ahead for me in the next 16 hours, each of which could be a conversation piece in the evening. Strangeness I’ve never seen before lies ahead, and I hope to practice inquisitiveness hour after hour. Who? what? how? and why? are questions I’ll be asking all day as I zealously watch the wonders of October 8, 2021 unfold.  

RESPONDING
(Braelynn J., 52, Blessings, CT)

Everything is always responding to her,
holding her close and caring for her,
answering the innocence in her
with the innocence of the universe.
She listens, and answers,
and then they continue to question –
breezes, sparrows, easily passing clouds, silence, herself –
the queries of a curious universe
and the responses of an inquisitive, sympathetic person.
She gives, and then they give –
attention, interest, consideration –
a sensitive person sharing with sunshine and roses
and lines of geese above,
sharing, distributing, welcoming, responding.

And here is Delycia’s son Aaron presenting her with her birthday cake (#81) yesterday. We celebrated the grand occasion in fine style!

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

STEADFAST

            All of us would like to have a friendly power close by that is steadfast and faithful, and actually, I  do have it, always. It’s called the present, or perhaps the uppercase – Present – would be more appropriate. No friend is more loyal than the dutiful, unwavering Present. It can’t possibly be anywhere but right by my side, always reliable, always unswerving in its devotion. What’s truly marvelous about the Present is the fact that it has no boundaries. It’s a power that spreads out past the distant horizons, surrounding me with a friendly force that’s as vast as endless, affable valleys and hills. No matter where I am today, no matter what might be happening – be it good, bad, fearful, or delightful – the Present, with its immeasurable power, will be right beside me, inside me, part of me. Look where I may, I won’t be able to find the past or the future, except right in the center of here and now, softly cuddled by the infinite – and infinitely dependable – Present. It will be like being a drop of water in an endless, gracious ocean, just swaying along in the kindhearted currents of right here and right now. I hope I can keep my heart open to enjoy the journey! 

THE PROMISED YARD 

One morning their modest yard
became a land of promise, a place 
that awaited them with wonders. 
A spirit of faithfulness strolled through it, 
and 'welcome' was signaled 
by sparrows and flowers and dutiful 
unfolding and folding winds that went 
where the spirit of faithfulness sent them. 
Their simple yard said it would promise 
to stay straightforward and lovely 
as long as they stayed, 
and they assured it, 
in the always trusted sunshine, 
that they would stay and be steadfast.

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Saturday, October 2, 2021

CERTAIN

            Some truths are certain and sure, and today I can live an unshaken life because of those truths. It is beyond question, for instance, that the present moment is the only moment that ever exists. Search where I will, I can never find any moment other than right now, nor any place other than right here. I can think about other times and other places, but it is indisputable that they always exist only in my thoughts, which abide only in the eternal present, right here and now. It is also incontestable that the present moment and everything in it – which is everything –  has no boundaries. The present – including me and the desk I’m sitting at and Delycia in the next room and farmers in China and flowers in central Louisiana – goes on and on forever. Right here and right now, forever, there are no boundaries whatsoever, no beginnings or endings. Any boundaries that seem real exist only in my thoughts. This is an unequivocal truth. And so … what all this leads to is the amazing and certain truth that separation and struggle, which seem to exist everywhere I look, actually exist only in my thoughts. In truth, if there are no boundaries anywhere, then there can be no separations, and if there are no separations, there are no struggles or conflicts, and therefore no fears.  

            These are sure-fire, sovereign truths. If I’m smiling right now, feeling sure and unassailable, that is certainly understandable.  

IN CERTAIN, SD, USA

In Certain, South Dakota, 
the smallest flowers seem sure of themselves, 
and silence is indisputably strong.
Every street 
unquestionably knows where it's going, 
and the gifts of each moment 
seem predestined to be great.  
In this trustworthy town, 
smiles are reliably lovely, 
sorrows assuredly bring wisdom,
and each moment 
is guaranteed to happen. 

Visiting Certain, SD, 
is sure to bring certitude and confidence, 
and standing still in astonishment occasonally 
will be inescapable.




And finally, here’s a slide show of some scenes from our walk this morning in beautiful Elm Grove Cemetery …

WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Sunday, September 26, 2021

ARRIVE

            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.

YOUTHFULNESS

            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

One day, 
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.