“When you understand how to love one thing –
then you also understand how best to love everything.”Novalis
The poem I've written today was inspired by the writing of Jimmy Pappas. The Secret Ingredient For a simple dessert I wash fresh raspberries to remove any trace of Covid-19. I pop one in my mouth, let water squish with the flesh of the berry on my tongue. Now I make butternut squash soup with produce purchased on the first outing in a month: fresh butternut squash, leeks, onions and potatoes, unsalted butter and farmer market carrots. A granny smith apple, peeled and cored adds a hint of tartness. After it simmers for awhile I add fresh cream, a sweet childhood delight, that swirls rich and smooth. The table is set for many guests. Please join me. I have prepared a bowl especially for you.
Each day as the numbers rise, the lump in my throat grows larger as I am reminded that they are more than just numbers. Someone is losing a loved one. Someone is worried they will lose a loved one. Someone is feeling cut-off and alone, like there may be no way out. I feel helpless and the tears cannot be held back. I shed tears filled with love because love is one thing that has not been stopped when the brakes were put on the world as we knew it.
I am posting the link to two songs that I feel offer hope and peace. I send love to you, my fellow readers.
You’re Gonna Be Okay by Brian & Jenn Johnson
Be Still My Soul by Kari Jobe
I wanted to write something profound. Something uplifting and fun to help lift our focus… I’m sorry it just isn’t there tonight. So I offer you this poem written by Canadian poet, David O’Meara. However, what I do want to add is that we do have the perfect opportunity at hand to have those deep conversations that we may not otherwise share. Take care, everyone.
Nothing "Nothing," he said, "it's nothing." Then nothing was said. Silence; nothing. What she asked had come from nothing. Sweet nothing, really, was all he said. They cut their links like little wires, said nothing about it afterward, nothing. All over nothing. So never to talk of what they said until all that was ever said was nothing, and so nothing was ever said.
A doctor after a 12 hour shift in a New York hospital with only Covid-19 patients stated, “I’m going to change my clothing and get back into my street clothes, after taking a shower and scrubbing any part of the virus from my body, if not my soul.”
None of us believed we would be faced with a situation like this but here we are. Here are our front-line workers, fighting on our behalf. Here we are with more “free time” than we know what to do with.
Maybe we can use some of that spare time to find ways to express our gratitude, although it may never be enough, to those working tirelessly on our behalf to care for our sick, loved ones; for those who are working to keep us safe; for those who are behind the scenes coordinating our front-line workers; for those who are scrambling to find a vaccination or a cure.
Maybe we can use some of our free time to find ways that will lead to the telling of a different story than before. A story where we do not sleep walk through life. A story where we really see and acknowledge each other. A story where we know beyond any doubt, and embody, the essence of the African term, Ubuntu, “I am because we all are.” We don’t have to live in fear. Together we will pass through an exit even if we have to hobble.
Be patient. Be kind, to each other and ourselves. We will persevere.
The past several day I’ve had the pleasure of seeing owls when I am out for my walk. Standing in the space of their presence brings me a sense of joy and calm – a moment to forget everything that is happening in the world around me.
A Quiet Strength Hope is a great-horned owl. It is yellow eyes that harness strength. It is open eyes that face shadows. Hope allows you to soar on winds of change to leave some old habits and bring something new into your life. Hope settles on a tree limb, listens, looks for subtle signs, sees what usually goes below your radar. Hope uses the beauty of night to inspire creativity. Little can stop an owl once it has set its sights on "the prize"
Some Fun Facts About Owls
Owls have specialized feathers with fringes of varying softness that help muffle sound when they fly. Their broad wings and light bodies also make them nearly silent fliers; which helps them stalk prey more easily.
An owl has three eyelids; one for blinking, one for sleeping, and one for keeping the eye clean and healthy.
Today it’s difficult for me to remain optimistic. It’s our granddaughter’s birthday and to add insult to injury, the gift we ordered online to be delivered before this special day, has not yet arrived. I don’t want to have the day pass empty handed from us so I have written her a humble story and illustrated it to the best of my ability. Singing “Happy Birthday” over the phone with her triggered my tears… I guess it’s a small price to pay if we can remain healthy.
I wish everyone strength and fortitude to get through this. May we all remain healthy!
Reading some poetry by Jimmy Pappas, a New Hampshire poet, inspired the following:
Social Isolation We cannot tell if it is time for Friday night wine or Sunday prayers. Let us bow our heads.
One of my favourite things is the scent of fresh laundered sheets with a hint of bleach and outdoor sunshine lingering on the threads. One of my least favourite things to do is crawl out of a cozy bed to a dark, cold morning. Especially since lately I have been having trouble sleeping.
I love to cradle a hot cup of tea between both hands, savoring a rich blend of Chai spices flaring my nostrils. But I hate hot liquid burning my tongue. Often I choose to guzzle the tepid drink later because it sat forgotten beside my computer screen.
This morning I sat in quiet but not stillness. My body didn’t move, I didn’t fidget, and my hands remained relaxed in my lap. But my mind refused to settle. Thoughts galloped behind my eyes. Before the apocalypse many small bookstores struggled. Since social distancing became mainstream, they have gone silent. I hope they will last until after. After. After we are allowed to be close to one another again. After the locks are opened and we can breathe a little easier. After we can go to the dentist, the hair dresser, the post office, linger with a fresh off the press new book in hand.
These thoughts defy the will to rest, to simply be. They demand attention, they want to be seen and heard. So for thirty minutes I do battle. When it’s over I realize I had thirty minutes of tending to passing thoughts. I’m not sure if that would qualify as meditation but it meant thirty minutes without really thinking about Covid-19 and the corona virus. I didn’t solve the issue of what will happen to my beloved independent bookstores, but the distractions and outside “noise” did provide thirty minutes of welcome rest.
I continue to find little treasures as I go out for my walks. This morning I came across this inspirational painted rock. We had a lovely sunny morning but unfortunately winter continues to be reluctant to let us go into spring. The forecast for more snow helped me choose the Mary Oliver poem I am sharing.
THE STORM (BEAR) Now through the white orchard my little dog romps, breaking the new snow with wild feet. Running here running there, excited, hardly able to stop, he leaps, he spins until the white snow is written upon in large, exuberant letters, a long sentence, expressing the pleasures of the body in this world. Oh, I could not have said it better myself.