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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Everyday Wonder

gratitude…

  
Tonight.

It’s late. The rain falls on the house for hours without stopping — a slow, steady rain. The kind that brings the world to life.

Meanwhile I’m here inside, listening to the drumming on the roof. 

The dinner guests have gone. 

The dishes have been cleaned, the wine glasses placed back on the shelf, upside down, glinting in the yellow light.

After all the laughter, it’s quiet, and suddenly I have space to draw a breath and take it in.

And I realize: it’s enough. 

The echoes of conversation and laughter.  The fading image of myself with my head on a friend’s shoulder.  My husband, now asleep in the next room, his breath easy and slow. 

The summer, so wet and green and full. 

And oh, God, there is so much more I want to build and be and do. But if this is all I ever have time for — well, then…

It’s enough. ❤

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Confessional

Ask me anything …

ashley

Can I tell you a secret?  It’s weird, keeping a blog.  I post photographs and snippets of poetry — sometimes shamelessly personal prose.  I dream in blazing black-and-white, and then I come here and splash those dreams on the screen.  Still, though …  There’s so very little you know about me.  

And you know what else?  There’s probably even less I know about you.

So today I thought we’d try to change that.

*

My proposal is this: ask me anything.  Pose whatever question you’d like in the comment section — whether it’s serious or silly, profound or profoundly mundane — and I’ll try to answer it, either there or in a separate post.  In exchange, all I ask is that you reveal something interesting about you. 

(Think of it as a meeting of new friends around a big, round table.  Imagine there’s coffee.  Or a bottle of your favorite wine.)

As always, I reserve the right to delete any comment that makes me uncomfortable.  That said, I’ll sincerely try to meet whatever genuine and thoughtful question you throw at me… whether I get two questions, or twenty.

listen2

Cheers, friends… Here’s to many sweet conversations to come. ❤

 

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The Body Electric

The Body Electric: Day Ten

Tonight, we drive out of the city and into the mountains:  up a series of rutted gravel switchbacks to the top of the ridge.  There’s an A-frame cabin up here that belongs to a friend, and as we walk to the front door I can hear music and laughter — the giddy hum of a small crowd.  The house throws angular planes of light into the yard.

As soon as I walk inside, I find my body humming too — warm and happy and casting a light of its own. I smile.

*

I’m going to tell you something now that took me more than thirty years to figure out:  I really, really, really love people. And for the longest time — for a lot of reasons I won’t go into today — I didn’t really realize how much I needed them. Want to know how I figured out the truth?   It was my body:  the way a headache would disappear as soon I entered a roomful of people.  The way any anxieties, aches and pains dissolved into warmth whenever I was sitting at a table among friends.

*

There’s a little moment, halfway through this night, when I find myself standing out on my friend’s balcony and looking out over the valley.  There’s a glass of wine in my hand and a friend at my shoulder.  In front of me is one of the prettiest vistas I’ve seen in awhile:  the wide hollow in the blue hills filled with city lights far below, twinkling and shimmering beneath stars. At my back, there’s a room full of people I care about.  There’s a roaring fire, silly chatter, books and games and food.  And suddenly, a warm wind kicks up from the valley below and rifles over the porch, and I feel it kiss my face and think: I’m so lucky. I’m just so crazy lucky. The warmth of the moment radiates out from my chest and prickles down the length of my arms. All the cares of the day just fade away.

*

I carry that warmth down the mountain with me. I carry it down as we steer the car through the switchbacks.  I lean my head against the cool glass of the passenger-side window, and I think, again, about the depth of my gratitude. I carry it with me still. ❤

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Musings

a small reminder, written on floating leaves …

aleaffalls

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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Confessional

On Quiet Grief, & Quiet Goodness …

Can I tell you a secret?  For a little over a week now, I’ve been quietly carrying a private hurt — one I caused myself.

And I won’t explain any more on that subject, except to say that for days now the hurt has been dogging me like a shadow, the way deep hurts often do.

But.

A few days ago I went for a walk, and I thrust my face in an open magnolia bloom.  I gasped in a lungful of its lemon scent …

And it was good.

I walked farther, and fireflies sparked around my ankles.  Locusts whirred in the trees.  I stroked the silken fuzz of a mimosa bloom, and glimpsed for the first time how each baton-shaped pink petal is tipped with gold.

(Have you noticed, the way mimosas fold their leaves up for the night?  Believe me:  all the world sleeps, and starts again).

I walked a little farther still, and suddenly a doe stepped lightly across my path, three spindly-legged fawns following behind.  I caught my breath — oh, God, what beauty, the way their white spots glowed in the dusk, the way their wide eyes stared into mine…

This world is bent and broken… And also, it’s breathtakingly good.  

goodness

I’d be a fool not to see. ❤

 

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