Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Life of Babies

I've been thinking about it a lot. Babies have got it right; they're the only ones who really know how to live life. Babies are too young to have been properly thought-programmed by their elders. They don't yet know to believe that money, fame, the right street, the right career, the right person, or the right pair of shoes is what makes for happiness. A baby's happiness comes from whatever is in front of them at the moment. It bubbles up uncontrollably, not because of some particular outside influence, but because the happiness is in them already—all they do is let it out. Because they habitually express what is in them, a baby lives a life of complete authenticity. If they don't like something, they spit it out, stop playing with it, or refuse to pick it up in the first place. They never second-guess themselves, they like what they like, want what they want, and do what they do because it's inherent in them to be that way. Babies live completely as they are, acting just as they were created. They cry when they're sad or angry, laugh when they're happy, eat when they're hungry and sleep when they're tired. And they never worry about anything. They don't obsess over what happened yesterday or spend all their time thinking about what they’re going to do tomorrow. A baby lives for what's happening now. Have you ever watched a baby discovering something new? Their whole existence becomes about that one moment of discovery. Even if you try to distract them, you can't. But when they've learned all they can, they move on to the next discovery in the next moment. Life for a baby is an endless string of pearled moments of discovery, one after the other. Because a baby lives in this present way, they never hold a grudge. They may be upset and crying one moment, but when the next moment rolls around, they're smiling, laying a head on your shoulder, forgiving whatever wrong-doing you may have committed. Babies also don't know how to judge yet. A baby does not care about the color of another baby's skin, their religion, or in what country they were born. To them, there’s just another baby—quite like themselves. And they will smile at anyone from any denomination who takes a moment to try and make them smile. Babies love like this because they haven't yet learned how to hate. I wonder sometimes what our world would be like if we weren’t so conditioned by our up-bringing’s, if our worlds of influence did not fill our heads with ideas of who and what we should be, who and what we should like, who and what we should hate. I wonder, what kind of a world it would be if we took a few lessons from those younger than we and lived, in certain aspects, the life of babies.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Remembrance

Sometimes I forget
what’s important
in life
kept busy
thinking
about next week
last week
or the week after next,

- kept occupied
recalling a moment gone
or planning a moment yet to come.

Sometimes I forget
the essence of life
exists
fully
only in this moment.

My breath brings me back again
to life lived
in a single heartbeat
lived
in the space between thoughts -

- where my essence
rests fully
at peace
with itself.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Gossamer Thoughts

Many dreams I've weaved
with gossamer thread
each strand a-glitter
with ideas
concepts, beliefs
of who I am
a treasured collection
of bejeweled
colors:
red, gold,
purple, pink, maroon,
and green and black knotted stones of hard beliefs
—cold things I told myself
about myself.

I weaved through a long night
under twinkling stars
till at the edge of earth and time;
a dawning—

Creeping light
with stretching fingers
expands,
hits this
web of woven treasures,
jewels and knotted stones
each thought, impression, memory
—everything I know as Me.

Alights, crystallizes, glitters, glows and
in that dawning light—

—dissolves,
strands disintegrating...

Blinking
in this new light
I am aware
I see

my careful thoughts
so deftly woven,
the pretty veil I made for myself,
out of love, kindness, hope, despair, fear, desire and insecurity,
out of anger, rage, sadness, faith and blessedness

The very thoughts
I thought myself to be

—are nothing more than
gossamer threads that bind me.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Magnetisense

I can't help it!
I am inevitably drawn
inward
by a magnetic force
so vast
so compelling
even the brightest sun
pales
by comparison.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Body Dissolution

This body I adore
does not care about me.

When I leave—
this vessel
will willingly deconstruct.

Elemental units
I long thought of as myself
will disassemble
and become
worm food
fertilizer
ash.

Each tiny particle
happy
to disband
and reassemble into
a new entity.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Obstacle

Imagine my surprise!
Upon learning—
I am my own greatest obstacle.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Silent Seer Knows

In the infinite space created
by attuned awareness to now
there’s a silent seer
watching through my eyes

Who knows;

There is no difference
between the breath in my body
and the wind that ruffles the leaves.

There is no difference
between my heart beating
and the rolling crash of the waves.

There is no difference
between the clouds in the sky
and the words scrawled across this page.

In the infinite space created
by attuned awareness to now
the silent seer knows—

—the truth about me.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Nature Girl....Or Not....?

It’s made me wonder who I am, is what spring did.

As we go through life, we acquire ways of identifying ourselves, ways to relate our individual being to the world outside. If we have an affinity for music, we may labels ourselves musicians. If we're drawn to drawing, we might say we're graphic artists. If we are, inexplicably, excited by algebraic equations we could proclaim ourselves rocket scientists or mechanical engineers or at the very least math brainiacs. We have boundless external identifiers to choose from and it is the combination of natural inclination and environmental influence that leads us to conclusions about who we are and guide us into who we become.

Throughout my life, I have always thought of myself a ‘nature girl.’ If I made a list of my top ten personal identifiers and named them in order of dominance, ‘nature girl’ would be in the top three—right after ‘writer’ and before ‘dancer.’ An inherent curiosity combined with a childhood that included a horse ranch, a three hundred acre preparatory school, a thousand acre Ashram, and countless hours allowed to roam cultivated the nature girl within me. My favorite pastime was wandering through the woods or over fields with the birds and butterflies for company. I grew to love all of nature; rain, snow, sunshine, mountain tops, valleys, rivers, lakes, and streams. My love of the natural world also influenced my development as a person, I’m conscious of the environment and even my consumerism became naturally oriented, all my hair and cleaning products are biodegradable, my perfume is from natural essential oils, and even my diet is free from chemical influences.

This thing—nature—overwhelming and beautiful, inspiring and terrible, fascinating and dominating, became a part of who I believed myself to be.

Until recently.

Suddenly, without alteration of my inner self, without a mutation of my natural inclinations or a decline in my usual tastes, I cannot go outside! I have allergies, bad ones, thus the natural world I have long loved is now lost to me. If I should hope to refrain from being dreadfully ill, if I should hope to be able to continue to breathe—no longer can I roam the wilds.

It’s been a shock and has taken adjustment. You may imagine I would feel sad thinking on this—but as it happens I don’t anymore. Over the long course of our lives, we are constantly in flux, who we think of as ourselves today will be just a shadow come tomorrow. Change is the only certainty in this world but even through the course of change the essence of things remain. I am no longer able to go out into the wild to roam, but the fine seeds of that world were planted in my psyche and laid roots that extend beyond the physical. From the safety of my allergy-proof home, I remain a part of that brash wind, those groaning oaks, that amorous frog, and those earnest saplings, that optimistic grass, and the furious sunshine. I may no longer be able to justify the label ‘nature girl’ through my lifestyle but the way I see it is this:

You can take the girl out of the nature, but you can’t take the nature out of the girl.

And so, Nature Girl, I will remain—albeit an unusual one.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Treasures for my Love

If I spent each afternoon
collecting treasures
bare feet soaking
molecules
of spring rain
from padded undergrowth,
ears tuned to raindrops
low, rumbling thunder,
and birdsong.

I would gather rocks for you--
round
pale gold
bright white
jagged crystalline
stones
weighted
in the palm of my hand
each bearing
a mystery composition
of its own.

Beneath a blue-washed sky
my pores absorbing oxygen
I would gather dripping, crooked branches
tiny flowers, heart-shaped leaves
salamanders, tadpoles and
smooth triangles of colored glass.

All these I would bring to you
every afternoon
so you would know
I love you.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Blood Inheritance

Blood inheritance:
Priceless treasures held in trust—
Passed down through cheek bones.


It's when I'm quietest that the boat is really rocking. It's when I fall short of even the ability to write, that I know I've been hit at the core. Life, it seems, will do that at times. All we can do is face the tempest, wait for the rain to pass, the wind to die down, and the happy blue sky to reappear.

My grandfather passed away on March 18, 2011. It was 3:33 in the afternoon. He had been ill for two months, slowly fading from life via mesothelioma. He was 91 years old.

Papa passed away as he had lived, with the same sense of humor and ridiculous fun that characterized everything he did. Up until the day before he died, he was cracking jokes with my family and the last truly coherent thing he ever said to me was to ask, “What’s good in the family?”

Papa’s memory had not been great for years. It was faded thin, like a worn table cloth with holes all through it. Amazingly, with this irregular, spotty pattern, he only remembered the good stuff! Every story he told, every question he asked, everything he commented on was all about love, fun, and the re-telling of honored family stories. It was a pleasure to be around him. Even if I had to hear the same tale over and over again, it was fun to hear him tell it. He was animated when he talked, his eyes going wide, his arms throwing gestures. He loved life while he lived it, and then loved to bring the joy of his adventures back to whomever cared to listen.

Papa was physically big and strong and enjoyed great health for most of his life. When he became sick, they let us know the end would be soon. He lasted longer than we thought. It is my theory that Papa was stubborn. My grandmother, his lover for 72 years, agrees. Papa did not leave this earth until his body became absolutely incapable of supporting life. Only then did he let go. Left to him, he would have lived forever. He loved life and the people he shared it with that much.

My grandmother stood at the head of his bed when Papa passed away. She leaned over and stroked his cheeks while he took a few, last labored breaths. That was the truest and deepest expression of love I have ever seen. Even as tears streamed down her face, she murmured words of comfort to help him pass on. Under her touch, with her whispers in his ears, his face relaxed, and peacefully and easily he let go.

After he had passed away, my grandmother told me something that has fast become a law I will live by. She said, “What your grandfather and I had together was a whole lot of fun. I have always thought that people who don’t have fun are not trying hard enough. You have always got to try, and never quit trying, to make your life fun.”

While I knew him, my grandfather made my life fun. I was not alone; he had an impact on pretty much everyone he met. Google his name, Charlie Metro. The Internet is filled with pictures of his smiling face. Dashing and good looking, strong and charismatic, he left a legacy that I now understand I carry on.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Before the Storm

There is a quiet I remember
from early child hood.

Alone in the horse pasture.

Dark mountains loomed
at the edge of the sky,
sentinels of time
watching over me.

Sun baked the dirt to fine dust
warmed my skin to soft brown
tinged my dark hair golden.

Cottonwoods murmured
leaves clinking
like shell chimes,
the sharp cry of magpies
accentuated stillness.

The peace of the earth
seeped in through my feet,
my mind stretched out
beyond the limits of sky.

I played
in sync with the world
suspended
without worry or thought
my breath
in easy beat with the day.

In the distance, the rolling of thunder.

Black clouds amassed
at the edge of the plain
too far to stir the dust at my feet
too distant to lift the hair from my brow.

Cocooned in silence
I sat
in the peace
that is greatest
before the storm.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ring Around the Moon

Written in honor of my dear friend, Subadra, and my dear friend and sister, Sumati. Dedicated to you and our moment spent philosophizing under the stars.

Ring Around the Moon

In the brisk cold
I stand—
held to earth by gravity
infinitesimally small
beneath the starry sky.

There’s a ring around the moon.
—An opaque circle
of pale clouds,
the white moon
at it’s epicenter.

This iris of the sky
stares into me,
sees facets
unexpressed—
a quiet rumbling undertow
in the ocean of my mind.

Parts not seen, but felt—
like shadows beneath the waves,
like that silhouette of night-dark clouds
against the open sky.

Hints of who I am
lurk
beneath my outer shell—
a silent self
only the moon's eye perceives.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Juniper, Alder & Elm

Juniper, Alder, & Elm

Mine enemies have arrived
cloaked in the guise of friends.

Reigning Gods
of the natural world.
with swaying words
and the promise of all things
good and youthful--
they steal me
from myself.

In bitter solitude,
I await their slow decline.

Long months,
till their inevitable deaths
give me my life back again.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Slow-Motion Water Drop

Slow Motion Water-Drop

I feel sadness
like a slow motion water drop

Realization hits,
ripples out in all directions.

The blue sky casting mountains
across the rocking surface
cannot convince me
that death
is not
the only certainty.

At the far edges,
waves calm to tremors,
memory provides respite:

...Mountains loomed
in the clear
of a Colorado morning,
your voice
billowed white
into early air.

My heart,
like the stomp and stamp of hooves,
rocked the morning.

The boom of your voice,
broad reach of your shoulders
convinced me;

I am the bristling early bird
who gets the worm.

Now,
in the still
of a water drop falling
my heart aches
becomes aware....

Ripples,
once made,
go on forever.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Painted Rocks

Is it wrong that I want to paint tiny rocks
smoothed by wind and rain
into perfect, mini canvases?

What more useless way to spend my time
than turning something small
and perfectly good already
into a tiny turtle,
a bright green bug,
or a curled up garden snake?

Much better things have I to do
than sit for hours
till my hands and shoulders cramp
till light bleeds from blue to grey
and my no longer youthful eyes
strain on that fine detail
of the spotted markings
of a rattler

This pursuit is
utterly without purpose,
my skill not good enough to sell.
Once done,
with nothing grand to show,
I hide my creatures
in the damp earth of potted plants;
hidden gems
signifying a moment
I chose to do what I loved
for no earthly reason at all.