February 2013 Small Stones

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28 Feb 2013

Mercury retrograde:
Is this why my words
come slowly, struggle
for clarity, a cosmic occurrence
few understand and no one sees
with the naked eye
yet it affects the intimacy
and efficacy of communication.

Mercury–the God of communication
the truth seeker, objective and wise,
verbally effusive,
suddenly misbehaves!
Moves backwards, retreats
rescinds all former agreements
causes delays, disruptions,
reconfigures, reconsiders.
Mercury retrograde forces me
to slow down, reflect;
become stationary
irritable and impatient,
before speeding forward again,
with assurance.

I am Gemini…
Mercury is my ruler.
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25 Feb 2013 — #2

Cheated.
I missed the sight of the snow moon this morning
clouds layered one on one all but obliterated the
bulbous glowing globe I knew lay hidden behind
the barrier of ebonized vapor.
Then halfway down the sky, a hint of light pierced,
and diluted the cloud mixture, ever so slight above
the rippling sea’s horizon, a ribbon of glancing light,
a hint of moon’s milky glow, the slightest of slight lights,
appeared momentarily then faded behind opacity
leaving me to feel all the more…
cheated.

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25 Feb 2013 — #1

Library
My retreat,
sanctuary of solitude,
imagination’s inscriber, education enhancer.
Books!

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24 Feb 2013

Bowing
Pine braces
against northern wind
ancient sentinel of forest.
Noble.

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23 Feb 2013

Haiku:
Write tight
Express your sight.

***

Where wisdom’s void
there’s only noise.

***

Saturday’s six words?
For the birds!

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22 Feb 2013

Tired
Long day:
busy with errands
then dined with friend.
Resting

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21 Feb 2013

As if I wasn’t pressed enough
to keep those bird feeders filled
with sunflowers, nuts, and other stuff
for the small seed eating bills.

It’s far too much, it’s quite absurd
for me to fill those feeders high
then see not just the welcomed bird
but critters that could never fly.

But there she was, in shades of brown
with black-tipped elongated ears,
tongue lapping up then chowing down
those seeds: a female black tailed deer.

I can’t complain, she entertained
and my yard’s an avenue for beasts,
but my assets are quickly being drained.
Too soon, I’ll no longer feast.

****************************

20 Feb 2013

My adorable bear cub dog
dainty in her slumber
midday, morning, midnight
doesn’t matter
to this furred girl
any time—a great time
for a snooze.

But twitchy paws prove
she’s far from idle.
Curious, I test the depth
of her slumber. . .
I whisper her favorite word
“Cookie?”
Eyes pop open.

Faker.

****************************

19 Feb 2013

All night
the bedroom door shuddered
the wind horsed its way
through the window to the door
jostling it on its hinges
back and forth
a scrunching sound
where wood meets carpet.

All night that sound
caused me to wake
then doze
then wake
I was too tired,
too lazy,
too something,
to get up and plug it
with a door stop.
I understand now
why they call it
a door stop.
It is to stop doors
from making horsey sounds
that startle one awake
every few minutes.

As a result of all this,
I slept fitfully,
hardly at all.
I now feel addled
and rattled
and that is why
this small stone
is silly.

****************************

18 Feb 2013

Sitting meditation. The neighbor’s dog barks, intruding with one hollow sound, similar to a Tibetan singing bowl without the resonance. The mind wavers, then tumbles into thought:

George & Judy must be gone … again? … they sure travel a lot … hope Max is okay … he never barks … might be hurt … no … that was a warning bark … maybe a raccoon … hope it’s not a skunk … better check the backyard before letting Tiara out … would hate to have her skunked again … all that bathing … when is her grooming appointment? … March first … that’s Shelly’s birthday too … don’t want to forget … send her a card … better write that down … pick one up at the store today … Monday … get lox … out of orange juice too … make a list … don’t want to forget … hate when I forget stuff … such a pain … to go back …

Two, three seconds. That’s all it takes to roll down this mountain of mundane thoughts. Something the mind does, unnoticed, unattended, throughout daily life. We seldom notice, do we?

I catch the wave of an in-breath and ride it. The out-breath stabilizes, settles. Another round of breath surfing. I return to meditation: those cloud-like thoughts vaporize into the vast, unblemished sky, where all form arises and returns…

An hour later, the Tibetan singing bowl really does chime.

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17 Feb 2013

Sunday…

The beating heart
of this community,
its sacrament of writing,
is holy joy.

****************************

16 Feb 2013

sunshine
where
the
fog
just
wept

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15 Feb 2014

On top of the cotoneaster tree,
a robin balanced.
Walking outside, bird feeders in hand,
my ears were assailed
by his warning calls to a nearby mate
who responded in kind,

“Peek!” … “Peek!” … “Peek!”

Back & forth, a duo of “peeks;”
stereo “peeks”
not particularly charming.
“Peek.” Sharp.
“Peek.” Quite effective.

“I mean no harm,” I said out loud.
“Don’t worry,” I added, “I bring food for all.”

What I didn’t say was,
“Peek.”

Their “peeks” continued, faster & louder,
although robin stood his ground,
tree top high,
guarding the bright red berries
on that cotoneaster tree.

****************************

14 Feb 2013

Romance…
dining out
on Valentine’s Day.
Husband’s hand touching mine
tenderly.

****************************

12 Feb 2013

As the stars recede and the dawn,
with its delicate peach and yellow hues,
expands, the mountains in the east
curve down to the sea in a gesture
of offering, their mountainous hands
releasing nature’s largess.
I sense . . . not just another day
but a whole and new genesis
where the dawn crests as the twilight falls,
crystallizing as creation anew.

13 Feb 2013

How I came to be here fully
aware of the cool air,
inside and out, expanding
and contracting as I breathe,
hearing the uprising songbirds
and on the edge of sight
their stirring in the bushes.
From the north a chilled breeze
tousles each strand of my hair
invigorating and grounding me
again—just this moment.

The smell of musk, of fertile dirt,
of growth and rot; hearing
my feet crunch along the stiffened grass,
turning to see footprints left behind.
Again—this one moment,
filled with gratitude, for movement,
these feelings, this one long breath,
everything . . .

14 Feb 2013

Here, momentarily; gone,
then arising again . . .
and again and again.
If only we could see
microscopically, we’d understand
how minute yet constant
these changes are, nothing solid;
nothing lasts, everything stirs
and flies away, singing and wailing
in the process, as the process.

Nothing
but this one moment
dawning.

****************************

11 Feb 2013

It is going on evening, soon all sunlight will fade.
The birds will take shelter in the bushes and trees,
raccoons will saunter out from their daylong sleep
to grub at the ground for left over bird seed.
In the winter with the windows closed
we don’t hear them growl and snap so much.
Soon the blinds will be lowered
to shield us from the nebulous shadows of night.
We’ll watch the news, national and local,
then Jeopardy, shouting out answers
as fast as we can.
“I got that,” he’ll say,
“I knew it too,” I’ll reply.
After which, the television is turned off.
Kitchen and cat chores completed
before I retreat with journal and book
to my overly pillowed bed
where I’ll write down on lined pages, with a pen,
the day’s events, real and imagined;
and read, and read and read…
until sleep channels another intangible story.

Such is the comfort of the evenings here.

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10 Feb 2013

Peeling an organic orange
round, ripe and fragrant
the peel sliced off
sans the bitter pith
then chopped finely on
the small bamboo cutting board
scooped and placed into a pan
containing white and rye flours
salt, oil, honey and water;
add a good measure of dried yeast
and a greater measure of fennel seed,
that “secret” pleasing flavor.

Swedish rye bread,
formed and rising.

****************************

09 Feb 2013

Disgruntled Jay:
“You’re late this morning.”

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08 Feb 2013

All this talk about spring
hinting its way to you,
all this talk about snow
blizzarding through the East.

Here the temperatures dropped
to ice brewing levels
the autos, frosted over,
have yet begun to steam.

But rhododendrons hint at blooming
while a few purple petals
cling to the Princess Plant
amid her brown edged leaves.

Here, we seem caught
in an odd, mutating middle
both seasons perceptible
yet neither holding firm.

Thus it becomes (as all things do)
merely a point of view
upon which I may choose
to imbue this given day.

****************************

07 Feb 2013

Last night in a dream, a young girl appeared with blonde hair and round blue eyes. We sat on a bench at a train station in a mountainous setting reminiscent of “The Sound of Music.” I took her pinky finger into my hand, and held it. We sat face-to-face.

I asked her, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

She shook her head, “Don’t know.” I felt surprised (kids usually know). Then, she softly added, “I love animals,” to which I replied, “We have a lot in common.”

Reflecting, with a twinge of sadness, I wonder:
Was she the spirit of the daughter I never had,
or the specter of a younger self?

****************************

06 Feb 2013

The familiarity of five a.m.
seated on the floor,
lower legs bent under
the slanted oak bench,
back straightens
stomach tucks in,
hands find form
in Dhyana mudra.
Then saturation of comfort
expressed with curved lips.

For a flash
Buddha smiles back at me.

****************************

05 Feb 2013

Walking under the Cotoneaster
I step into a low-lying branch.
Accumulated rain on its leaves
showers icy beads down my collar.
I squeal, shiver, giggle…
then envision a drove of
goose pimpled skinny swimmers
taking the Polar Bear Plunge.

****************************

04 Feb 2013

Amazing how handy
the FB ‘block’ feature
turned out to be
this first time used:

Now I only see
small polished stones
round, smooth and small!
formed with kind intent.

The waters no longer muddied
by polluted, toxic rubbish
thrown in to ‘stir things up’
to upset, demean…
to inflate its own importance
the only way it can.

It’ll be smooth floating
down this stream
from now on.

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03 Feb 2013

This mid-winter Sunday morning, I pour a stream of steaming tea from a large blue teapot, with its lovely curved non-drip spout. This small gestures moves me back to a kitchen existing in memory where a stout little teapot still sits on a table, still warm to my mind’s touch, its fragrant sweet. I remember my mother calling that pot “Brown Betty.” As a child I thought that was a name given by her to that singular pot. I named my stuffed animals and she… well, she named her teapots. Made perfect sense. My own search for a teapot some time ago, the one I now gaze upon, informed me that Brown Betty is not a name, but a type of teapot, originally made in England, considered one of the finest for brewing tea. Mine is a bright cobalt blue, stouter, shinier. But like my mother, or because of her, I call my teapot “Brown Betty.” Out loud. Like an evocation. “Brown Betty!” This startles my husband. He raises an eyebrow, begins to speak … hesitates; a silent and questioning stare hangs in the space between us.

Some things are better left unsaid.

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02 Feb 2013

Seated on kitchen counter:
Naughty cat

***

So much conveyed:
that wagging tail

***

Life’s purpose found:
four-footed family.

****************************

01 Feb 2013

A fine month: February
shorter than any other,
well-balanced and evenly divisible
by seven—a lucky number;
the last full month of winter,
often heralds in the onset of spring
unless a slumberous groundhog
sees his shadow.
(Does that make any sense to you?)
(Me neither.)
February provides one saintly day
devoted solely to love
but weeks to Dionysian carnivals
followed by a stint at abstinence…
for what more might we ask?
Oh yes, the occasional leap!
But not this year…
we’ll just need be content
to skip along.

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