Weather Report

To better understand nature you need to spend some time in it alone, observing.  The more you do this, the more quietly aware you’ll become of what is happening there – the order, science, art, survival.

The same applies to one’s body and mind, habits, tendencies, perpetual states, thoughts that come and go, emotions that change and pass.  The solid and fluid.  The blurry and congruent.  The daily weather report of moods.

Tree

The next time a storm comes, set your eyes upon a tree.  The branches toss and turn, flail and bend – and wisely so, for what happens to things that don’t bend?

But then, beneath the boughs and limbs, the trunk.  And beneath that pillar of power and stability, the roots – firmly fixed to the earth.

 

Meanwhile

Meanwhile, the wind blows, incredibly.  The sun rises – seen or unseen – and moves across the sky, incredibly.  Water covers most of the planet.  Effervescent laughter is remembered.  The vast silence of the world helps quiet the noise of your mind.  The great emptiness fills you up and calms your heart.  Do not be too eaten up by your own life.

Calm Glimpse

The sky
is always there.
The sun
is always there.
Storms come and go.
Clouds come and go.

 

The Encounter

I stood in a glass house at the edge of the sea.

I watched as the tide rose, gradually swallowing the house, waves breaking against glass walls, and over the glass roof, booming, rattling, trembling.

Seaweed, rocks, shells, too many fish to count, so many colors.

Then came the crabs, starfish, anemones, cephalopods, sliding, clicking across the transparent roof, pressed up against the glass.

Then came the sea turtles, their old tough shells cracking the glass as the force of the sea slammed them against it.  The house was completely underwater now, and water began to seep through the cracks with mounting pressure.

My blood lurched through the veins in my neck.  I thought of running wildly from room to room, but just found myself standing perfectly still. 

I saw the small dark shape of a whale on the underwater horizon, the fluid border of sight.  I tried to blink it away, but it was still there, and it was coming. 

It swept nearer, loomed closer, until it filled my vision completely.  The transparent house was outside the whale’s awareness, so on it came, about to collide into the glass I stood behind. 

Friends, this is how it is to die and be reborn.

This is how it is, returning from the death of your animal nature.

How Fortunate, How Small

How small are we, how fortunate to see with eyes the dolphin, the stallion, the bee, being what they are and doing what they do.

To hear with ears the wind across the palisades of mountains and the song of the ocean.

To know with flesh the pleasure and pain of the body, lust and hunger, bleeding and burning.

To thirst with spirit for the very earth we walk on, for an open dome of sky or dense canopy of rainforest.

To sacrifice with courage all that we are, and send an invitation to what we might become.

How small are we, how fortunate.

 

Plants and Animals

This poem will be appearing soon in Written River: A Journal of Eco-Poetics.  Produced by Hiraeth Press, this literary magazine explores nature and our relationship to it.  Check it out at writtenriver.com

 

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.”