What’s the View Like Where You Are?

THEY’RE MOUNTAINS TO ME

I brought you here
So you’d understand,
But you laughed and said,
“Those are mere hills.”
They’re mountains to me.
“Where I’m from
Mountains claim the sky.
I know real mountains.”
You thought I’d understand,
But I laughed and said,
“The gods disagree.”

Sometimes I Forget It’s a Game

ANSWER ME THIS

Answer me this, asked the Sun
Who am I in this vast world of stars?
So many shine brighter than I
Who would notice if I fade away?

Answer me this, asked the Moon
Why am I stuck in this maddening rut?
Day after day it’s the same
Who cares if I wax or wane?

Answer me this, asked the Sky
What wonders would I find elsewhere?
I’m tired of this view
Who would miss me if I roam?

Answer me this, asked the Child
Where could you go without me?
Together we play this game
Who else would give you life?

Staring at Knots

STARING AT KNOTS

Streaming lightly, pushed by feather-soft
gusts of energy
Puffing gently on lazy balls of matter,
globs of being,
Knots in an intelligent thread woven
throughout creation.

All things not things tied together
but twisted
And shaped from the same not-thing thread,
And twined into patterns various
and bold.

Should some one being, greater than all, tug
at the frail edges
Would creation unravel before us, as we
untied, unformed,
Stretched to nothingness with silent screams
finally realize
The one great truth–

There are no beginnings
No edges
No boundaries
But those we imagine
Staring at knots.

Back to Work

My empty nest is full again. It was only temporary—a camping trip over the long weekend, away with friends and no cell service. That was the strange part—no contact at all while they were gone. We did worry a bit about the cold nights, but knew they weren’t going to freeze to death. They might be uncomfortable, but it would be an adventure, and they’d come home with their own stories to tell.

I hadn’t planned anything for my time alone, though I did have a few ideas of how I’d spend it. When they left, I did exactly none of them. No writing all day, no fasting and meditating, no walks in the woods, no healthy eating, no exercising, no awakening to an enlightened state. I didn’t redo the paint and wallpaper (okay, I admit, I knew that one was not going to happen, but I did fantasize). I didn’t lose fifty pounds (see previous parentheses).

Since they had taken the car, I couldn’t escape. No shopping trips. I cleaned and did laundry and watched Netflix. I didn’t leave the house, not even to go putter in the yard. There was plenty to do out there—weeding, planting, pruning. But I stayed in. I felt oddly hesitant to leave the house. It wasn’t a rational thought. It wasn’t a thought at all really, just a vague feeling that welled up when I neared the door. I didn’t leave the house until Day Three when my sister came to get me so we could visit our aunts in the nursing home.

She laughed when I told her how little I had been doing. “You needed to decompress,” she said. I did? I hadn’t realized, but I knew she was right. The clutter, the noise, the chatter, the chaos. It’s a happy chaos, and I missed the little one’s chatter, but it did take my system a few days to relax into being alone. I was surprised it had taken so long. What did that mean?

I had been here before, contemplating the empty nest. Wondering what shape my life would take to fill it. Would I enjoy the solitude? the never-ending me-ness of it all? I live a very solitary life even in the midst of our family chaos. I don’t have a group of friends outside the family, I don’t do social things. When they leave, I really am on my own. This time, I knew it was temporary, so maybe that affected my motivation to start anything new. I want to do all those things. I want to work them into this life, this full-nest life. None of them requires my living alone. They just want commitment and consistency and giving a damn.

So it’s back to work, back to life today. I have tomatoes to water and rugs to vacuum, good opportunities to practice mindfulness. Later I can throw on headphones and do some writing if I need a break from the chatter. Maybe I’ll get an idea for a poem while playing with my granddaughter and hearing about her adventures. She’ll want to play tag in the yard—great exercise. We’ll eat well, since we stocked the fridge with healthy food before they got home, knowing they’d be hungry after a week of camp rations. Sounds like a good plan to me. The wallpaper (and that fifty pounds) will have to wait.

Memorial Day

I’m trying to hide from the day, searching for a poem to post instead of writing my thoughts. They flow until I try to pin them down. I’ve been reflecting on the meaning of the day, the need for the day, the sadness of it all.

My father came home from war and never spoke of it. My uncles too. My family didn’t lose any sons or daughters in battle. Today, there are flags on their graves, those who served and came home, just as there are for those who were lost. Does anyone ever come home from war?

I hope some day, as a species, we will look back on these days when warfare seemed so necessary, so vital to existence, and mourn for all who were lost to that ideal. I hope this planet will know peace.

Meanwhile, I do honor the dead and their grieving families. I miss my dad. He came home from war long before I was born. I don’t know how the man who left home differed from the man who came back. On Memorial Day, the whole family would gather at my parents’ house. I wonder what it meant for him, whom he mourned as he watched his children, and then grandchildren, laughing and playing while the burgers cooked. I never thought to ask, but I doubt he would have answered if I had.

More Memories

HIDE

Hide
Be quiet
There’s no one home
Pull down the shades
There are strangers
On the street

Door to door
They come knocking
Hide
Be quiet
Lie behind the bed
Under the window
No peeking
No breathing
Dust and books
And rosary beads
Surely they hear
Your pounding heart

Hide
We aren’t home
Strangers on the street
Knock on someone else’s door
Our bell is broken
Our shades are drawn
This is an empty home
We don’t need what you’re selling
Your god isn’t welcome here
Just dust and books
Rosary beads
And pounding hearts
Hide

Blowing in the Wind

ZEPHYR

Windblown answers
Tangled in branches,
High above me,
Draped in trees.
Caught by leaflets
Stretching out to
Pluck them from
The passing breeze.
Stack my questions
Near the trunk,
Climb as high as
I can reach.
Match the wisdom
With the query,
Learn what nature
Wants to teach.
Shake the laden
Branches gently,
Answers fall like
Springtime seeds.
Gather quickly
What you can,
Before the zephyr
Sets them free.