Monday, January 22, 2018


This afternoon, paging through an old leather volume given me a few years ago by my son, I was suddenly overcome by a wave of emotion that was part laughter, part tears, and part chill. Not until after I’d put the book back in its place on the shelf, was I able to give the feeling a name, and that name is Gratitude. And so I put on some water for tea and put away the dishes. And I thought, maybe gratitude is the beginning of wisdom. And maybe wisdom in its fullest flower is gratitude that is not only felt — as rich as that perception is — but shown. And maybe what I mean by shown, is, passed along — not, of course, in the easy, obvious, dutiful sense of returning a favor or giving to charity, but in surrendering oneself to life and to love, without thought, expectation, or fear of the outcome. Maybe. Yes? And maybe what I mean by wisdom in its fullest flower, is, even as it ripples, behold the stillness of the pond. Or maybe I don’t know what I mean. And maybe that’s wisdom peeking out from under the pebble you’re about to toss. Or maybe it’s the pebble itself.

Canvas 1,140

Canvas 1,140

January 22, 2018

One breath, one moment,
with the understanding that things
are neither better nor worse,
and that they are simply
what they are.

One breath, one moment,
with the understanding that you
are neither better nor worse,
and that you are simply
what you are.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Three miles

And what of the ideas of each other we hold in our minds? Are they accurate, or are they our reflections in disguise? And this notion that we are separate entities, distinct and apart — is that really true? Would you say that of the cells in your body, and the rivers and stars, or would you say they are interwoven, mutually reliant, and expressive of a greater, perhaps unimaginable joy and need?

The waterfalls were roaring yesterday. We hiked three miles through the thunder and mist, crossing little wooden bridges over rocky streams. The trunks and limbs of the rugged bare maples were buried deep in moss, and out of the moss grew ferns, and the ferns were resplendent with jewels.

We came to a place where a fir tree had fallen across the path. Its mossy base was many yards away, on the other side of the river, white water beneath it. Its top was green. Like us, it might survive for years in that condition.

Palms to bark, we climbed over. The path carried us on. Heaven is love.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

From light to light

This familiar idea of myself, this treasured, sacred, comforting image, is a puff of smoke, is mist, impossible to grasp, persistent, lingering, haunting, seductive in its scent. I wear it daily, I feed it, nurture it, pass through it on my way to other familiar ideas, also treasured, sacred, comforting, and just as impossible to grasp. And without really leaving, I arrive without being there, and say I am here. I, my father’s urgent grief and mother’s patient smile, the pinnacle of the age, my background, my genetics, the stars in space — all smoke, all mist. Is it really like this? Yes. And that is the beauty of it. For me, that is. Of course, I imagine myself. And of course, it is not really like this. I speak in a strange plural sense. Do I exist? What of it? What proof do I need? Who would believe such a preposterous thing? Who would be convinced? — all smoke, all mist. From light to light, a thousand lives. Or so it seems. To me, that is. Child one day, old man the next. Girl, woman, hummingbird, god, ancient mossy stump kept deep alive by others of its kind. Here, where the river runs, as sure and glad as anyone.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Still, and so

My breath this morning is accompanied by the sound of a cricket, or it might be a frog, as my innards croak and chirp and gurgle. And I remember tiny lakes high in the mountains, above the tree line, with granite all around, mirrors of gray skies and falling snow. Still, and so. Still, and so. And the way there was obliterated as it fell. And the frog says, croak. And the cricket says, go. Still, and so. Still, and so. As slow as a granite cathedral. Sing in, sing on, sing out. Still, and so.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Canvas 1,139

Canvas 1,139

January 18, 2018

What is inside

This body with rain and snow on its rooftop,
and mossy eaves overhanging its eyes —

what is inside, but more rain and snow
and thought that abides

and subsides — what is inside,
but hermit cells in mountainsides,

and deeper wells where old stars meet
and new ones rise —

what is inside, but an old man’s laugh
and a little boy’s cries

for his mother — a cane, a stick,
a name, and flight,

and birth of even greater light?

(he said, and lit the candle bright)

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


On this day back in 2012, I wrote a little poem called “Snowflakes.” It goes like this:

Think of them, for a moment,
as fingertips of all the world’s dead,
seeking love in faces, hands,
and tongues.

Softly as their peace is borne,
we are among them.


Was it snowing that day? I don’t know. Probably not. But it might have been. In fact, I know it was.


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Canvas 1,138

Canvas 1,138

January 16, 2018

water falls thunder mist us

water falls thunder mist us upon our return

some call them memories we call them ferns

climbing out of the canyon nothing

to want to gain to be to earn

kissed us taught us

blessed us

left us

wet clothes

damp wood to burn