Night on the Great River

Steering my little boat towards a misty islet,
I watch the sun descend while my sorrows grow:
In the vast night the sky hangs lower than the treetops,
But in the blue lake the moon is coming close.

Meng Hao-jan (c. 689-740)
(translated by William Carlos Williams)

Smoke

It’s a foul and fearsome thing, this thick choking residue of raging wildfires that are far enough away, but far too close. They have not burned my home, but they have burned or are burning the homes of others, right now.

A neighbor mused…”It’s creepy to step outside and smell it. Have it sting your eyes. Smoke-essense of trees. Ferns. Hazelnut orchards. Barns. Houses. Cars. Birds. Bears. And others.”

May I be respectful as I inhale. And exhale.

Inside looking out.

Looking Through Veils

It is the week leading up to Easter.

When my children were children I tried to think of something I could do at home that would give an impression of the week’s significance. I thought about the light—not just the light, but the Light. I looked to the window toward the light outside, which in the northern hemisphere grows stronger this time of year. As I looked at the light coming through the window, I noticed the window pane itself: streaked, spotty, fly-specked, rain-splotched. It admitted light, but it also stood between us and the light.

Thus it began that every Easter week I wash windows, to usher in the new Light. It’s a homely metaphor, and I wouldn’t have imagined something so mundane could become a spiritual practice; but anything can be a prayer, and this became one of mine.

This year millions and millions of us throughout the world are inside looking out. Windows to the outside world have never been more important. Light, within and without, is of the essence.

As I am washing my windows this week, I am thinking of you. I hope you are safe. Love and Light to you, to all of us.

 

Reaching for equilibrium

FeelingYellow

I have turned off the radio.

In my part of the world we happen to be in the midst of a series of absolutely perfect spring days. Absolutely. Perfect.

Like people all over the world, I am nervous, trying to be careful and cautious and non-calamitous. The incessant news takes its toll, making it easy to forget how beautiful the day is.

I go into my light-filled studio. When it’s beautiful outside, it’s especially beautiful in here. I want to make something yellow. I take an oil crayon in hand and begin to color the blank page, just playing, just feeling the feeling of yellow. Add another yellow over it, now there is some depth; add some little patches of light orange, then some more orangey orange, then some turquoise marks and some little orange marks and yellow marks, some white, smear the colors around a bit, oh, this is nice!

Is it a good painting? Heck if I know. It doesn’t matter, because the involvement with the color is what I needed; and now I am filled with yellow’s shining glow, in the face of what we face.

Happy equinox, everyone! We are all in this together. Some places it is spring, some places it is autumn; but everywhere it is equinox.

Advent

AdventCalendar2019

I have always loved advent calendars—opening a little door each December day leading to Christmas. In recent years I have made my own, and find the making to be a quiet meditation. Daily the journey to Christmas unfolds in my hands.

This year’s is cut paper; gradually I am making my way down the snowy mountain to Christmas.