Saturday, April 16, 2022

this rain

Some Sunday afternoon, it may be,
you are sitting under your porch roof,
looking down through the trees
to the river, watching the rain.  The circles
made by the raindrops' striking
expand, intersect, dissolve,

and suddenly (for you are getting on
now, and much of your life is memory)
the hands of the dead, who have been here
with you, rest upon you tenderly
as the rain rests shining
upon the leaves.  And you think then

(for thought will come) of the strangeness
of the thought of Heaven, for now
you have imagined yourself there,
remembering with longing this
happiness, this rain.  Sometimes here
we are there, and there is no death.

Wendell Berry
Photo: Peter Bowers

Tuesday, April 5, 2022


is a meeting place, of deep intentionality and of self
forgetting, the bodily alchemy of what lies inside us in
communion with what formerly seemed outside, but
is now neither, but become a living frontier, a voice
speaking between us and the world: dance, laughter,
affection, skin touching skin, singing in the car, music
in the kitchen, the quiet irreplaceable and companionable
presence of a daughter: the sheer intoxicating 
beauty of the world inhabited as an edge between
what we previously thought was us and what we
thought was other than us. 

Joy can be made by practiced, hard-won achievement
as much as by an unlooked for, passing act of grace
arrived out of nowhere; joy is a measure of our
relationship to death and our living with death, joy is the 
act of giving ourselves away before we need to or are
asked to, joy is practiced generosity. If joy is a deep
form of love, it is also the raw engagement with the
passing seasonality of existence, the fleeting presence
of those we love understood as gift, going in and out
of our lives, faces, voices, memory, aromas of the first
spring day or a wood fire in winter, the last breath
of a dying parent as they create a rare, raw, beautiful
frontier between loving presence and a new and 
blossoming absence.

To feel a full and untrammeled joy is to have become
fully generous; to allow ourselves to be joyful is to
have walked through the doorway of fear, the dropping
away of the anxious worried self felt like a 
thankful death itself, a disappearance, a giving away,
overheard in the laughter of friendship, the vulnerability
of happiness felt suddenly as a strength, a solace
and a source, the claiming of our place in the living 
conversation, the sheer privilege of being in the
presence of a mountain, a sky or a well-loved familiar
face - I was here and you were here and together we
made a world.

David Whyte
Photo: Peter Bowers

don't hesitate

If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy,
don't hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty
of lives and whole towns destroyed or about
to be. We are not wise, and not very often
kind. And much can never be redeemed.
Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this
is its way of fighting back, that sometimes
something happens better than all the riches
or power in the world. It could be anything,
but very likely you notice it in the instant
when love begins. Anyway, that's often the
case. Anyway, whatever it is, don't be afraid
of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.

Mary Oliver
Photo: Peter Bowers

Sunday, April 3, 2022

mysteries, yes

Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous
to be understood.
How grass can be nourishing in the
mouths of the lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever
in allegiance with gravity
while we ourselves dream of rising.
How two hands touch and the bonds
will never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the
scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.
Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.
Let me keep company always with those who say
"Look!" and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.

Mary Oliver