Sunday, September 10, 2017

This is *your* time -- how will you use it?


Do you ever think about all the people that lived before you were even born?

Have you ever looked at old family photograph or antique portrait, taken back when photography meant 8x10 cameras on tripods with long bellows and and a blackout cloth?

Did you looked closely at their faces?  Perhaps you noticed a sparkle in their eyes -- the spark of their consciousness recorded in those photos?

As a teacher of mine once said he used to love to view such old photographs, even of total strangers, because it would remind him:  "that was *their* time ... now this is *my* time."

And this is also *your* time.

For the people in those old photographs, that spark is now extinguished.

But yours is burning as long as you are alive.  How bright it burns is largely up to you.

                   The Summer Day —Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean -
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?


Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Obstacle

The Obstacle, Before the Dawn at Tucker Pond, Salisbury, NH, June 2017, Nikon D600, 19mm, 1/800 sec @ f5, ISO 1250, -0.33 EV, no flash © Steven Crisp  [Click on the photo to enlarge]

The Obstacle

It floats out there, somewhere. 
In my mind?  No, farther. 
At the edge of dusk-dawn. 
Glimpsed, like a threat. 
Unwanted, but not to be ignored. 
Submerged for one moment, bobbing up the next. 
Caught in my mind stuff. 
A blemish to be photoshopped out:
not natural, not perfect. 
A thorn in my mind. 
Salt in my wounded ego. 

The sun is rising now.  Birds sing. 
A small turtle meanders;
head up, head down, breakfast underway.
Mist swirls along a glassy pond
Propelled by warming zephyrs.

A hummingbird flits by, stopping to wonder 
about my stillness.   Is that bright jacket a flower?  
She finds the feeder instead.  Two hummers now 
flit in and out like passing thoughts.

A subtle wake emerges, as the beaver serpentines on stage, 
wondering who is the watcher from afar.  
And why are you kneeling in the morning glow?

Almost free now. Flowing with the turtle. 
With the beaver. With the hummers nearby. 

I look up and Bang!  My obstacle is back 
like a beaver tail-slap. Right smack in my sight-line. 
What just happened?  
Was it worth the loss of peace?

The sun now warming my face. 
Sunglasses deployed to shield the fusion reactor. 
Shivers turn to warmth. 
Petals glisten as dew drops fall. 

Ahhh. You're back Now. 
Don't go back to sleep.  You have arrived.  
Be my guest. Please stay for a while. 
Here is a gift for you - this present moment. 

That obstacle you were so fixated on 
is just a part of what is. 
Like the great heron that stands 
in the shallows. Watching. Motionless. 
Until startled, it takes flight. 

The obstacle is not a "problem" to be solved. 
Not a conversation to be rehearsed 
over and over; talons grabbing into you 
like unexpecting prey. 

It just is. Neither good nor bad. 
Only thinking, thinking, and 
more thinking, makes it so. 

Presence brings back the panorama. 
The beauty and serenity. 
The dance of light. The break of dawn. 
The ripples in the stillness as we, 
collectively, breathe in and out. 

You can see those ripples now. 
The sunshine blushing behind clouds.  
Ripples shutter glances of sky, water, 
and the muddy bottom. 

Sunlight teasing now.  Please take a little off.  
Don’t reveal too much too soon. 
Don't spoil the anticipation.  
But that is future stuff.  
Stepping into the river of time. 

Instead I see only ripples in the clouds. 
Ripples on the water. 
Ripples in this moment of now. 
And now. And once again.  
Each one fresh. Reborn. Always unique.  

Come join with me.  Relaxing into peace.
Let's float with ease
among these spaceless ripples 
in this timeless moment 
called Now.