Thursday, January 31, 2013

small choices

Much of what shapes us can't be helped — gravity, weather, time, genetic makeup.
Small choices that flow with the arc of life
can move a person from feeling this is a dreary prospect,
to feeling it is a thrilling one.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

fond of dancing

“To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love.” 

― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

every separation is a link

Two prisoners whose cells adjoin communicate with each other by knocking on the wall. The wall is the thing which separates them but is also their means of communication. It is the same with us and God. Every separation is a link.

— Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace, “Metaxu” 

Monday, January 28, 2013

hear the light

“Light is the left hand of darkness
and darkness the right hand of light.
Two are one, life and death, lying
together like lovers in kemmer,
like hands joined together,
like the end and the way.”

― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness

Sunday, January 27, 2013

now your life

“Your beloved and your friends were once strangers. Somehow at a particular time, they came from the distance toward your life. Their arrival seemed so accidental and contingent. Now your life is unimaginable without them. Similarly, your identity and vision are composed of a certain constellation of ideas and feelings that surfaced from the depths of the distance within you. To lose these now would be to lose yourself.”

― John O'Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

Saturday, January 26, 2013

full of flight

The bell is full of wind
though it does not ring.
The bird is full of flight
though it is still.
The sky is full of clouds
though it is alone.
The world is full of voice
though no one speaks it.
Everything is full of fleeing
though there are no roads.
Everything is fleeing
toward its presence.

— Roberto Juarroz, from Vertical Poetry, translated from the Spanish by W. S. Merwin 

Friday, January 25, 2013

flows everywhere

The great Tao flows everywhere,
to the left and to the right.
All things depend upon it to exist,
and it does not abandon them.
To its accomplishments it lays no claim.
It loves and nourishes all things,
but does not lord it over them.

— Chuang-tzu

Thursday, January 24, 2013

amazing possibility

I came to the meadow in the morning, in falling snow. If I had not kept moving, my own arms would have filled with amazing possibility, like this grass.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


When we moved to the farm eight years ago, the big spruce in the background was not much bigger than the little one in front. The change happened very slowly. But it did change.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

living fully with incompleteness

Do you see? The frail bones of dill are just the beginnings of proper baskets. The warp is there, but there is no weft. Yet, impossibly, snow accumulates in these baskets that are incomplete as perfectly as if they had weft and woven sides. I can't see the arms of snowflakes locking together, but I know they are doing it. I want us just like this, filling in and up even if all we have is just the skeleton of wholeness. We do not need everything to be in place in order to live fully.

Monday, January 21, 2013

your feet say what you've done

Every part of you has a secret language.
Your hands and your feet say what you have done.

— Rumi, from "Having Nothing"

Sunday, January 20, 2013

in truth and lies lies truth

I support your right to live and grow, even though we are quite different. If we weren't, how would I see and know another of the world's infinite truths, except through you? If you try to deceive me, and even succeed, that is another fact about this life we live. What I do with it is what matters, more than that you wanted to deceive me in the first place. I can learn to see through you.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

out of you

We consider Bibles and religions divine--I do not say they are not divine; I say they have all grown out of you, and may grow out of you still; It is not they who give the life--it is you who give the life; Leaves are not more shed from the trees, or trees from the earth, than they are shed out of you.

— Walt Whitman

Friday, January 18, 2013

sun moon stars rain

anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn't he danced his did

Women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn't they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain

children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more

when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone's any was all to her

someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream

stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)

one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was

all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes.

Women and men (both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain

— E.E. Cummings

Thursday, January 17, 2013

light the candle

When someone asks what there is to do,
light the candle in his hand.

Like this.

— Rumi, from the poem "Like This"

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”

— Ansel Adams

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

limited by my own perception

Perception is everything. This is along Lake Shore Drive in Douglas, Michigan. We're looking out at Lake Michigan from a high vantage point. It's hard to discern where lake ends and sky begins because of the haze, or to even know there is a lake at all. This small gate opens onto a stair going down to the beach. If you didn't know, you might think it leads into thin air, nowhere. I mean, how often does that happen, that I assume one thing is true, only for lack of seeing what is really there? And you know, sometimes the way forward is down.

Monday, January 14, 2013


It is the complexity of the life of a place uncompromisingly itself, which is at the same time the life of the world, of all Creation. One meets not only the weather and the wildness of the world, but also the limitations of one's knowledge, intelligence, character, and bodily strength. To do this, of course, is to accept the place as an influence.
— Wendell Berry, Imagination in Place 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

sit up, awake, unfold

Jesus said one word, and a dead man sat up,
but creation usually unfolds like calm breakers.

— Rumi, from "Deliberation"
read the poem "Deliberation" part one here,
part two here

Saturday, January 12, 2013

cling loosely

Goethe said:

“To live within limits. To want one thing. Or a few things very much and love them dearly. Cling to them, survey them from every angle. Become one with them - that is what makes the poet, the artist, the human being.”

At the same time, we must let even the small things go that we become one with, for all of this is impermanent. Cling loosely.

Friday, January 11, 2013

embracing the within


Too much brightness blinds the eyes.

Too much sound deafens the ears.

Too much flavour ruins the tongue.

Chasing desires to excess turns your mind towards madness,
and valuing precious things impairs good judgment.

The wise are guided by inner needs,
and are not concerned with the senses.
Therefore the wise person rejects the without,
while embracing the within.

— Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, translated by Robert Brookes

Thursday, January 10, 2013

each way free

Upon Julia's Clothes

  by Robert Herrick [1591-1674]

Whenas in silks my Julia goes,
Then, then, methinks, how sweetly flows
That liquefaction of her clothes.

Next, when I cast mine eyes and see
That brave vibration each way free,
Oh, how that glittering taketh me!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

no matter how I am

"Let me be, was all I wanted.
Be what I am, no matter how I am."

— Henry Miller, Stand Still Like the Hummingbird

[Portrait of Frida Kahlo by Manuel Alvarez Bravo]

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

happy soul

No one knows
what makes the soul wake up so happy.

Maybe a dawn breeze has blown the veil
from the face of God.

— Rumi
Read the whole poem
"The Source of Joy" here

Monday, January 7, 2013

body and spirit

Embrace your physical and spiritual natures as one.
Is it even possible to separate them?

— Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, translated by Robert Brookes

Sunday, January 6, 2013


"I think that little by little I'll be able to solve my problems and survive."

— Frida Kahlo

[blue century plant]

Saturday, January 5, 2013


You might notice that in some ways the effects of our winter experiences are similar. You write of a constant sense of fullness, an almost overabundance of inner being, which from the outset counterbalances and compensates all deprivations and losses that might possibly come. In the course of my work this last long winter, I have experienced a truth more completely than ever before: that life's bestowal of riches already surpasses any subsequent impoverishment. What, then, remains to be feared? Only that we might forget this! But around and within us, how much it helps to remember! 

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Letter to Lisa Heise, May 19, 1922

Friday, January 4, 2013

lines for winter

Lines for Winter

   by Mark Strand

   for Ros Krauss

Tell yourself
as it gets cold and gray falls from the air
that you will go on
walking, hearing
the same tune no matter where
you find yourself—
inside the dome of dark
or under the cracking white
of the moon's gaze in a valley of snow.
Tonight as it gets cold
tell yourself
what you know which is nothing
but the tune your bones play
as you keep going. And you will be able
for once to lie down under the small fire
of winter stars.
And if it happens that you cannot
go on or turn back
and you find yourself
where you will be at the end,
tell yourself
in that final flowing of cold through your limbs
that you love what you are.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


A dervish lover was told to turn
toward his own face,
and he did, saying, Lord, lord, for years
with no answer, no message back,
yet he was always there turning in silence,

with no music supporting him,
no tambourine rhythm.

A pigeon knows which roof to haunt.
Even if you drive it off,
it will circle and stay near.

This is the critical moment
when a swell of ocean turns
its edge to foam.

Every dervish has two mouths,
a crafted reed opening
and the lips of the flute player.

Lord, don't speak from there.

— Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

follow it

However small, your gift will guide you.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Is it prickly, or soft?

You won't know without touching.

Let's live the New Year as fully as we can!