Manna Meditations

the words i need you to hear today …

Manna Meditations, Day 27

I drive out to a solitary place, where the forest gives way to open fields.

When I park the car at an overlook, the only sound is the wind tearing around the car, trying to find a way into my little shell of warm air.

I have my big camera with me, but for some reason it feels right today to leave it on the seat beside me…  To trust that the Manna need not be caught with a telephoto lens.  That it’s right within arm’s reach.

So I roll down the window and point my iPhone at the horizon instead.  There’s nothing here but a lone tree lingering against the blue.  Nothing but bare ground and open sky.

So I wait.

And I wait.

I wait until the Light and Presence begins to fill the car … until a cloud or two floats into the frame, soft-bodied and slow.

The clouds move close to the tree, until they look almost within arm’s length of those limbs.

And then the clouds wait, too.

I snap a picture, realizing as I do so that I am here to remind you of just one thing:

Ah, friend … You are not alone.

💛

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Almost Poetry, Manna Meditations

this is what i am trying to tell you …

Manna Meditations, Day 12

I find the Light
rumpled in the morning sheets–
toss back the quilt and there it is,
rising in the gold air,
catching in the dust motes,
setting them on fire.

Sometimes, too,
I find it caught fast
in a crosshatch of frost on the windows,
or crystalline, scattered
over spikes of frozen grass.

I swallow it in the sunshine
on my eggs at breakfast.

It glints on my glasses
as I read.

Sometimes I could lick
the Light off my fingers like butter —
Sometimes it drips through my hands
and down my wrists
like spilled perfume.

*

But some mornings,
I wake and it is not there.

I am thirsty for it, calling for it,
crack-lipped and crazed
as a fever patient.

In those days,
the shadows fill the room
and the sky is snuffed
& there is no appetite
for eggs
or butter
or perfume
or the Presence.

*

In that day,
carry the Light to me
in your cupped hands.

Kneel at my bedside, Friend,
and I’ll drink from your upturned palms.

*

Hear me.

Oh, hear me:

When we are not alone
(and we are never alone),

there is always Enough.

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Confessional

Why I’m not afraid of Winter … for once.

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The cold comes in slow:  white fog that slides over the mountains at night.  Hangs in wreaths around the peaks.  

Usually, I fear the winter.  I see it as a long night when my summer radiance sleeps, curled up like a crocus under snow.  

But this year…  This year I’m hopeful.  

*

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I often hear the phrase, “Oh, what a difference a year makes,” and for me, in this moment, that’s true.  Because I was in a very lonely place twelve months ago.  

But suddenly I find myself surrounded by a tribe of good people who I adore, and who might — just maybe — adore me, too. 

And so I look forward to long winter months around dining room tables, with wine and candlelight, good food and good cheer, conversations that wind like boxwood mazes … music … and laughter.  Oh, God, I look forward to laughter.

I say all this because, if you’re looking toward a winter that feels a bit more bleak, I want you to hear me tell you that the bleakness just can’t last.  

Not a chance, friend…

*

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Can I tell you something else??  I’ve been scrolling through my photos from last winter, and I’m noticing something surprising:

My winter photos are about ten times more beautiful than my summer shots.

windrock5

gingkoleaves

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mountainview3

windrock7

 

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windrock2

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I find these lines in last year’s journal, scribbled during February’s cold:  

…And maybe that’s why I’ve found it easier, rather than harder, to learn photography in winter.  

Because when the whole world is stripped clean of color, the beauty spare and sometimes poverty-stricken … then, a single leaf, a lone limb thrust up to the sky, screams out like an exclamation point.

(Oh, Lord, electrify me).

And maybe this poverty of green is necessary to keep my eyes sharp — my soul hungry and desperate enough to get down on my knees for the crumbs.

I sit here at my little writing desk, the lamplight reflecting the words back to me like an echo, and I think:  yes.

Yes, that’s true.

It’s true for me, and it’s true for you, too.

*

So.  Whatever winter you’re expecting:  full and warm, or hungry and cold … 

Please know this:  we’re going to make some beauty in it, together.

We’ll take photographs.

We’ll share snatches of poetry.

We’ll paint…

And Spring — I promise — will be lush and green on the other side.

*

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Come with me??

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Musings

a small reminder, written on floating leaves …

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This time of year, I can’t watch a single leaf spiraling to earth without thinking of a certain special poem by E.E. Cummings …

Strung together like a necklace of cranberries on a thread, his letters make up what I consider to be the most exquisite little poem I’ve ever encountered:

l(a

le

af

fa

ll

s)

one

l

iness

Oh, friends … may we view each fluttering leaf as a reminder that there are a great many people in our lives who may be lonelier than we know.

Let’s love them well, and invite a few cold souls into the firelight of our winter hearths. ❤

l(a

 

 

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Signs & Small Wonders

A Metaphor in the Beating of Wings: Day Twenty-Nine

(Sometimes it’s tough to feel at home in your own city.  Which is why I’ve given myself a challenge:  each day, for forty days, I’m going to find *one* thing I love about this place.  And then I’m going to tell you about it.  If you want to follow my journey, start here.  Today is Day Twenty-Nine.)

Because I am one who makes much of small things:

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Today, while running an errand downtown, I saw a cloud of these small, black birds wrench up as one from the building where they’d perched.  They whirled across Campbell Avenue, dipped and settled down on the opposite side of the street.

I sat in my car, waiting at the red light, and my breath caught:

This.

I watched them leap the street again, spooling up into a cyclone, a thunderhead, a swell.  In a moment, their shape shifted into something else entirely:  something animal.

Or perhaps something not animal at all.

There is a phrase for this, this synergy, that we humans use:  The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  It’s a cold, mathematical way of explaining something that resists all mathematical laws.  Something very nearly supernatural.

But here the birds were, expressing this concept in a way that felt more truthful.

So here is the truth:

I have been on my own for a long time now, beating my wings in the dark.  And now I can feel it, a kind of convergence coming.  The birds whirl as one, and they become something other than birds.  I want that, too.

Tell me:  how do the birds know, to gather and leap into empty air?  When to dive?  Turn south for the winter?

I don’t know these things, but for now, the instinct inside me is enough.

I lean forward into the steering wheel.  I cannot hear the sound, but in my chest is the beating of wings.

I reach for my camera.

I press the lens to the glass.

I hear the shutter open with a click.

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