A Quiet Strength

(internet photo – Ricke)

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.

Social Isolation

(internet photo)

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.

Rest Is In My Breath

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.

A Mary Oliver Poem & More Street Art

another “gem” on the path this morning

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.

Joy

I’m re-posting a photo that was taken at Durand Glacier, British Columbia, a number of years ago and I hope it will bring a smile to your face despite all the swirling uncertainty.

Perhaps we can use this time of social distancing and social isolation to regain an appreciation not just for each other, but for our beautiful earth as well.

I wish good health to all of you who read this post. Be kind to each other.

Will We Recognize Each Other

Remnants of winter wash down the storm sewer at the end of our street, a steady stream of grime, dead leaves and leftover dreams. The smell of Mother Earth shedding her winter weight, a moist decay, fills my nose. Bits of green poke through melting snow on lawns, through espresso black loam in flower beds where early morning conversations were tossed out the door along with coffee grounds.

I run away from my neighbor who says hello, a slight panic that we might be too close. Deep embedded Canadian courtesy has me stop and turn around, ten feet away. With eyes lowered I say “hi”. “My bad” is his quick response, this first time pandemic for most of us, hard to get used to.

A smile, a wave, we carry on not knowing exactly where we are going, not knowing where this will lead, not knowing if we will recognize each other should we meet again when the virus has traveled its corkscrew route, twisting us to shreds like a dried out cork.

Will we look back and remember things we must never do again? Will we look back with gratitude as those who survived? Survivors who know greater kindness? Who lead simpler lives? Who know how to connect when it seems no connection is possible?

I pray when we look back it will be to celebrate the changes we make, with a bottle of Mt Brave Cabernet in hand.

Bill Evans: "Here's That Rainy Day"

By Jan Zwicky

On a bad day, you come in from the weather
and lean your back against the door.
This time of year it's dark by five.
Your armchair, empty in its pool of light.

That arpeggio lifts, like warmth, from the fifth of B minor,
offers its hand - let me
tell you a story...But in the same breath,
semitones falling to the tonic:
you must believe and not believe;
that door you came in
you must go out again.

In the forest, the woodcutter's son
sets the stone down from his sack and speaks to it.
And from nothing, a spring wells,
falling as it rises, spilling out
across the dark green moss.
There is sadness in the world, it says,
past telling.  Learn stillness
if you would run clear.

Spring Equinox

internet photo of a Hawthorn tree
Today I am sharing from Sharlyn HiDalgo's "The Healing Power of Trees."  In her book March 21 - April 17 is Hawthorn Month Here is a sample of what she says: "Despite the jubilant celebration of spring's arrival, this month is a time to quiet oneself and go within.  ...it refers to personal sovereignty in which we reclaim our personal power and pay attention to our own inner life.  Fasting, ritual cleansing, and refraining from one's usual habits and patterns is encouraged.  We may want to seek retreat and silence in order to reconnect with the divine and the unseen worlds."  How timely!!