If I didn’t have to go to work today, I’d write a clever turn-of-phrase or a cryptic suggestion only you would understand the meaning of. I’d spend my time among the dead, paying my respects with a few well-put-together lines destined to become a classic. I’d write a poem for you because you’ve been on my mind lately, maybe even work on the novel that’s been sitting in a shoebox on the floor in the corner behind the desk for half as long as it takes children to grow up and finish school.

I’d write about the sideways snow going on and on, the unexpected cruelty of someone who was once a dear friend, the weaving and un-weaving of music leaving an indentation where it makes contact. I’d consider how writing, women, and weather can all be fickle and tough to predict. I’d consider how, of all the woodpiles I’ve seen, the German beehive requires the most patience and is a thing of beauty.

I’d mull over all my fears and desires, go for a walk, stare out a window, hope I might be of use to someone by the time my head meets a pillow, contemplate my dream about Paul Simon where I attended the opening night of a play he wrote, and afterward we sat and quietly drank pint-glasses of beer, me telling him how much his music meant to me that time I rode the bus in the rain. He understood and – of course – will be coming for Christmas.

Whether I have to go to work today or not, I’ll remember nothing has ever been mine to claim – all is given, even my name. I’ll not forget I’m blessed, palms pressing together in front of my heart. I’ll take a look at all the circles in which I’ve lived, gain some perspective, as if seeing them from the tiny window of a passenger plane with my forehead pressed against the glass. And, pulling the sword of my life from the stone of the world, my heart might recall how to make the much larger circle of a thank-you spoken in the wordless language of peace.


This Is Earth

This is Earth, sell your house.  Go on, do it.  Just see it through.  How will any change ever truly come about if you don’t sell your house?  There are many thoughts inside your head that are not true.

This is Earth.  Give away all that you own.  Don’t be afraid, just begin.  The rest will take care of itself.  How can you ever breathe the true breath of the world – drawn way up under your collarbones – if you don’t give away all you own?

This is Earth.  Release all that is expected of you.  Forget everything they want you to be.  Close your eyes and make the brave discovery.  Do not let the noise of the world drown out the voice inside you, the voice that is to be held by you, above all the other voices, whose speech only you can understand.

This is Earth.  Know what is home to you.  It might be someone’s face held in your hands, or the music of waves crashing.  Keep your path, and the feeling of home, close.

This is Earth.  Do you know what you must do?  Only surrender to the door through which you must go.


Plants and Animals

If I were a plant, I might arrive at silence and stillness a little more gracefully. I might meditate with greater success.

If I were a plant, I think you would find that – impossible as it seems – I am both an annual and a perennial. Both evergreen and deciduous, succulent and garden flower, creeping fig and marigold.

A plant thinks “where is the light and heat, there is the light and heat, here are my roots, if water comes I shall drink what I need.”

An animal thinks “my belly is empty, my belly is full, this is my place, this is not my place, these are my children, I have no children.”

A human thinks “through many gateways I have passed, to come into this place at last.”


The wood at the heart of a tree cannot grow without wind.

Once again, nature informs humanity.