Then a short time came when I could sit and think about what it was I needed to say. I sat at my desk a moment, but quickly I was called away again by my many duties. The rhythm of what I wanted to tell you stayed fresh in my mind, though. Even through sleeping and rising and working until it was time to sink my head into a pillow and dream again, even through all that, the pulse and the meat of what I wanted to say kept itself tethered to the bones of my mind.

It was nothing so luminous as the movement of a lion’s fine hair in the wind out on the savannah, nothing so phosphorescent as the treetops under the sun this very moment. It was just that I couldn’t stop thinking of all this as an ever-present arrival and continuous departure.

An infant speaks its first words, incredibly. A shark smells blood and moves toward it. We are young and we long to be cared for. We grow old and need long silences to restore our weathered pilings. Our foundation – the underneath of us – can never be the same again. Our windows that once held panes of glass or were boarded up, now become receptive, open, vulnerable, and that is good and will help bring us tranquility, so we might become ordinary, a rake in the garden, a book on the shelf. Let us wander all the rooms of the world-house in astonishment, savor sameness wherever we find it, welcome both flood and fair weather.

Sitting Still, Listening, Spring Evening

A warm May evening startles me with its beauty, as you often do.

The birdsong, an affirmation.

Laughing water, a meditation.


Wine is soft. My cravings relax their grip.

A ripple in the grapefruit moonrise.

Medicine in the moment.



Look too long at faraway things and you lose sight of where you are right now.  Desire and fear are pulling you in ten-thousand directions.

There are other forces.

You can turn more inside, see yourself more closely, as if through binoculars.  Just pause, listen, and feel.



Now and Again

Now the giraffe-like lily, turning its head to look northwest out the window in graciousness.

Now the blackberry – summer’s thimble – is incubating, its exquisite shape perhaps philosophized over at a celestial seminar where Father Sun and Mother Moon are merely attendees, two out of ten-thousand apprentice magicians. The fruit will not be on a bush beneath a tree in some faraway land, but here, now, staining my skin with its potent nectar, nestling among the tissues in my hands, softened by enough olive oil to last many lifetimes of a home cook.

Now the argumentative weather, now the three, four, five, six (no, seven!) hawks circling overhead, descending as if taking a circular stair. Now the clean birth of plants, not the messy one of animals. Now the mystic light whose source is unidentifiable, falling – like you – into the category of mysterious beauty.

Now and again, the contemplation of time and how it doesn’t exist, confused by the human mind with earthly cycles and a construct of our own devising. Now and again, the world seen as a poem.

Now the sound of the woodpecker seeking his morning meal, same as an egg frying. Now the grain of the wooden beams that are the rib cage of this house. Now us, the heart of the house. Now us, always at ease but still wrestling with everything. Now us, always going to new places without ever leaving the room. Now us, rocking gently on calm waters after the typhoon.

Now the ghost of the cat returning, following me from room to room, both of us always eating, sleeping, always doing the dance of sitting then standing then sitting again, always looking out the window, he in graciousness while I just try for it.

Now we return to the lily.


Mending The Body Of Being

Outside culture, beneath belief, away from habit, beyond all that marks us as remarkably different or strikingly similar, we are simple humans who arrived here naked.  We will leave here without the body we were born into.

We are phosphorescent.  We are humming with being.

You can be standing in the dazzle of sun and snow at the same time.  You can be standing in the umbra of a tropical downpour, looking through a rainbow under the sun.  Either way, silence looks after itself.  Noise gathers itself up. Neither one answers to us.  May we just rest here.

All is just as it is, here in this life, this suture holding birth and death close, pulling the two garden gates toward each other, drawing the two sides of the hurt in tight together among the stitches.

Here in this world, ever wounded, ever mended.


A Great Many Sparrows

You know there are a great many sparrows in a tree when your view of the tree itself has been almost completely obscured by the birds.

There are three ways to see these birds as they leave the tree in the morning, a single entity swirling up and away, as if together they made a rippling embroidered cloak worn by the night as it turns on its heels and marches away.

The first way is to be hardly aware of them at all, wrapped up in whatever it is you’re doing, or give them a sideways glance.

The second way is to see them, finding your attention momentarily captured by a spark of wonderment before your attention shifts away.

The third way is to be transformed by this thing you are witnessing, pulled by your transfixed gaze from your own body for a moment, a part of you taking to the air in the same way the birds do, following them with your close attention until the last black speck has vanished altogether.


Safe Harbor

Down on my knees cutting kindling in the cold still air, I don’t just think I’m the luckiest man who ever passed this way – I know I am.

It doesn’t matter where, or when, you live.  It only matters that your heart stays open, that your heart can be your home, so that regardless of external conditions, you have a safe harbor at the other side of the passing storm.  You have a place to return to, a place that is yours and yours alone.  A place you can carry with you wherever you roam, as you walk, run, marvel and weep through the wide wild world.

It doesn’t matter what colors the painter chose for the picture.  It’s how you see them.