"To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle." — Walt Whitman
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
There is only one truly irresistible force in my life – the eternal present. Other powers come and go, arise and disappear, seem strong and then dwindle down, but the present is always irrepressibly steady. It’s constantly and permanently right here, right now. There’s no way for me to escape from the Present. (The uppercase ‘P’ seems appropriate.) And if it’s always here, then it’s infinite – without boundaries, limitless. There’s no place where the Present doesn’t exist and have power. The past and future may seem to have separate, persuasive existences, but the truth is that nothing exists – or has power – but the inexorable Present. No doubt it would be good for me to stop resisting this unavoidable, imperative force. It is right here, right now, in all its enchanting ways. The compelling Present is holy ground. Perhaps, like Moses (Exodus 3:5), I should take off my shoes.
FINDING THE PRESENT
a man found the present.
It had prepared itself for him
by holding its usual lights
in its lighthearted way,
and waving to him
like it loved him,
as it always has.
He held its hand,
and all of life
lifted up and let itself loose
inside him and out to the stars.
He stood in silence
and a new and endless sky spread out,
and then another,
* below, a scene from Delycia’s garden yesterday – a sparrow atop a sedum blossom, while St. Francis quietly contemplates the birdbath *
And some scenes from a lovely walk yesterday on the Beebe Pond Trail in Groton …
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Friday, September 17, 2021
Each moment today, the universe will totally fulfill its duties. Sunshine will show up precisely where it should, winds will blow in all the best ways, dust will sit on my desk in satisfactory patterns, and now will always be exactly right here. Today, my heart will carry out its duties as carefully as it possibly can. Each breath – even those with gasps and shortness – will be managed with proficiency, and all my thoughts will succeed in being just what they should be. This will be a fulfilling day, in every way. Success will be flawlessly present in every present moment. Even disappointment and sorrow, if they show up, will be as perfect as possible, and thus will lead my life in a perfect direction. It will be a day of steady accomplishment. Each moment will succeed in amazingly impeccable ways.
ALWAYS COOKING UP GIFTS
(about Make McGuire, 79, Blessings, CT)
Make says he’s always been fascinated
by how much is accomplished around him
-- how water constantly adjusts itself
to various glasses and bowls, how light
is always arranging and rearranging itself
among the trees in the yard. He calls
to his wife to come and see the clouds
assembling new displays above their house,
and they both love the way the weather
is constantly brewing something new
for them. Each day is constructed perfectly,
he says, even though he sometimes fails
to see the perfection. It’s like the day
is always cooking up gifts for Delycia
and him, always dreaming up some
new surprises for them. Make says life,
to them, is a highly skilled designer,
always fashioning wonders as they watch.
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Tuesday, September 7, 2021
It’s fun to think of each day – each moment, each thing, each event, each thought – as being enthusiastic. The word ‘enthusiasm’ derives from the Latin word enthusiasmuswhich means’inspiration’ or ‘frenzy’, and the Latin comes from the Greek word ‘theos’, which means ‘god’ – so I like to picture each day as being inspired, and in a frenzy, about opportunities to show off the sacredness, the godlikeness – of absolutely everything. I see each moment as eager and lively, excited to present some brand-new miracles to me. I picture everything as being enthusiastic. The chair I’m sitting in is passionate about keeping me comfortable, and my desk is wholeheartedly committed to securely holding my computer and keyboard as I type these words. Even these words seem passionate as they parade across the computer screen just now. And thoughts – how vivacious they are as they throw themselves around inside me, while my feelings spiritedly sway and spin. I like to think of life – or Life, with the nickname of ‘Now’ – as a zealous adventurer, and I love the thought that I am its constant companion, an exuberant follower of a dynamic and hearty hero.
THE GIFT OF 'AGREEABLE'
the word 'agreeable'
gave its best gift
to a sadly quarrelsome man,
and the man suddenly saw
the wisdom of assenting.
He turned to his wife
and wished she would speak
so he could agree,
and he gave his enthusiastic consent
to the wheezing in his lungs.
the lukewarm coffee
gave him the chance
to be courteous to it,
and he greeted a pain in his foot
in a chivalrous manner.
He made some mistakes that day,
which made him mad,
but he simply smiled
at his anger,
and it softly disappeared.
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Sunday, September 5, 2021
Today, I hope to live as if life is unfolding for me as I stand on the summit of a vast mountain – which, in a very real sense, I am. The simple and wonderful truth is that there are absolutely no limits in life – no starts and finishes, no here and there, no past and present, no theirs and mine. All is present, right here and now – and right here and now goes on forever, and belongs to everyone and everything, and can never be damaged or destroyed. It’s so easy for me to fall into the opposite view – the near-sighted view of things that sees life as limited rather than limitless, as insecure rather than unassailable, as unreliable rather than everlastingly trustworthy. Today I hope I can hold in view the vastness and soundness of life. In the midst of fears, I hope I can see the shoreless ocean of calmness, and when anxiety surrounds me, I hope I can sense, all around and inside me, the security of limitless peace. I confess that, for most of my life, I have been small-minded and short-sighted, seeing life as frail and confined, but now, nearly 80, I am finally opening my inner eyes. I now see the wonderful fact that I am always – always – on a mountaintop with astonishing views, and in these elder years of mine, I’m finally enjoying the views.
IF WE LOOK CAREFULLY
If we look carefully,
we'll see there's a fresh path
to travel each day,
and something that amazes us
wherever we are,
and time enough to feel
the flow of life.
There are always inner mountains
with surprising views,
and brand new,
to widen the roads
we have to travel.
We'll notice improvements
in the universe --
a bird's wings that seem startling,
water that works smoothly with our hands
to wash them,
clouds that sway as they drift
on their untroubled trips --
if we look carefully.
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 …