Recovered

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The songs of small birds fade away
into the bushes after sundown,
the air dry, sweet with goldenrod.
Beside the path, suddenly, bright asters
flare in the dusk. The aged voices
of a few crickets thread the silence.
It is a quiet I love, though my life
too often drives me through it deaf.
Busy with costs and losses, I waste
the time I have to be here—a time
blessed beyond my deserts, as I know,
if only I would keep aware. The leaves
rest in the air, perfectly still.
I would like them to rest in my mind
as still, as simply spaced. As I approach,
the sorrel filly looks up from her grazing,
poised there, light on the slope
as a young apple tree. A week ago
I took her away to sell, and failed
to get my price, and brought her home
again. Now in the quiet I stand
and look at her a long time, glad
to have recovered what is lost
in the exchange of something for money.

Wendell Berry
The Sorrel Filly, Collected Poems: 1957-1982

What is to be done after a reading of Wendell Berry? A walk outdoors as soon as possible. And if the poem has been feasted upon in early evening then a sunset walk will probably be necessary – with a camera close to expectant hearts.

And so it was … and tonight we did ‘stand / … glad to have recovered what is lost.’ And though these images are written well enough upon the aforementioned hearts, still the photographs, the written record, will remind us, over time, to stand … glad, again and again and again. Awed.

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I am grateful for …

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… lingers awhile along borders for a translator to savor secretly,
borrowing from both sides, holding
for a moment the smooth round world
in that cool instant of evening before the sun goes down

William Stafford
from Walking the Borders
The Way It Is – New and Selected Poems

I write a few lines in my meditation journal each day, and from time to time review what I’ve written – looking for patterns and repetitions. One of the most frequent notes that appears in the ‘I am grateful for …’ sections is what I often describe as ‘nature’s art and light’.

And I realise that the poets I regularly turn to have eyes and ears for the detail in the natural wonders that surround them; some having especial penchant for the sky, or sea, or lakes, or mountains, or sweeping plains, or animals and their particular, chosen, encouraged or given habitats, flora and fauna. I delight in all of these.

But most of all I am entranced by light, always changing, writing, painting, softening, sharpening, defining, reaching, touching, listening – full from earth to sky with metaphor and parable, reaching onwards, upwards, and into the heights and depths of the Universe. And into my soul.

So it was during our after-supper walk this evening. So it was a million aeons ago. So for a million, million more. Meditating in and upon light I stand time and again in awe.

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Perspective

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Here’s a photo of my study made earlier today, the sun streaming through the windows, shortly after a snowfall – seen through a kaleidoscopic lens filter – the multi-perspective possibilities through which are infinite. What immense depth lies just beyond what we usually ‘see’. What wonderment, praise and awe are forthcoming when I still myself – even if only very briefly each day – to meditate upon the intricate extra-ordinariness of our life and experience in this world, and the universe in which it spins. I love it. Plain sight, or kaleidoscopic art and reach, this is quite a place to be!

Clear sky and silence

northern-lights-1149868_960_720Photo at Pixabay

I took my after-dinner amble beneath a clear sky this evening. I regularly walk a short stretch of road, sandwiched between two high drystone walls, that’s so dark at night I’m always mildly fearful, and my pace quickens.

But there’s sight, tonight, of a new crescent moon. And there’ll be another frost, so Clematis Rebecca has been tucked up in her fleece. And those two facts may help you to picture the night sky, the sharp, twinkling clarity I’ve just seen, above the dark corridor. And maybe you have experienced the absence of aforementioned mild fear that is a ready – even if temporary – consequence of awe?

Life is rich beyond all our imagining. When our vain fears and fantasies chatter daily, like monkeys, within the halls and chambers of our minds, the Universe provides the gift of a quietening, a stilling, an acceptance of both knowing and unknowing, faith and the absence of it, confidence and a tempter’s call to doubt.

I think of one (and many before him, and since) who ventured out into a dark corridor of wilderness long ago. And of his mental busyness being silenced, then, by the same stars that have silenced me tonight. And I imagine his being sometimes comforted, in his long sojourn there, by both awe and silence. And I am.