Posted in Musings

Labyrinth

I have come to the realization that I am lost and will forever be.

I ran out of string years ago. I still remember the feel of the rough twine slipping through my calloused fingers. I could have turned back, followed the gleaming cord back into the familiar light. I chose to continue on, to crawl deeper into the dark caverns. Now I am captured by the endless maze of my inner underground.

This is not a silent place. I hear the whisper of past conversations and forgotten songs, captured to repeat in the endless rewind of memory. Yet these voices too begin to recede into the depths and the heavy quiet of that other Voice.

I am afraid, but that is to be expected. There are creatures here, forged of memory and pain and regrets. They hover in the shadows just out of reach until my outstretched hands blindly touch them. Then they draw near.

They join the others who follow me, a different sort of retrieving line, as together, hand in hand, we make our way down into the fearful, revealing dark.

Posted in PEACE GROOVES

Between Mercy and Learning How to Pray

alas i am not unencumbered
nor unencumbered should i be

perhaps it as a goal has
in itself become a burden
a distraction from
the one necessary thing

to simply crouch
here at the callused
feet of the master
the hint of a future
resurrection of someone
precious to me
hovering above in the
air of busyness
between mercy for
the stranger and
learning how to
pray

(Luke 10 and 11)

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree

Category 5

i have rarely been gentle with myself

at times my inner storm bursts forth and i lash out at those closest to me

it is a cyclical pattern as predictable as the spinning cyclones birthed upon the waves each hurricane season

o for the calm that resides in the eye
to trust that change will come in its own good time
that the divine does her work with or without my help or obstruction

o for the will to simply stop spinning and listen
the patience with my broken self and the brokeness in others
whose perceived stagnancy
reflects my own
and spins the inner rage
which so often overflows
in word and deed

o for the silence
that follows the whirlwind
that calls me forth from
the cave of my
skewed assumptions
into a spirit
of deep love and
quiet grace

Posted in Art & Photography

The Way of the Leaf 74

I am indebted to trees.

Not simply because they supply the air I breathe, but because they literally give their lives that I may create crafts of beauty and grace.

I originally started this photo series as a way to notice the intimate details of life, the small things as it were. It has been almost exactly a year since the last posting. Yet, whether I post or not, the practice has definitely changed the way I see the world.

“The trees of the fields shall clap their hands…”

And their bright leaves fall.

Posted in Longreads & Essays

The Invisible War – A Veteran’s Day Reflection

While our society seems to go out of its way to honor those who serve, have served, or died while serving in the military, the facts speak otherwise.

It is one thing to add another patriotic song to sporting events, donate a computer to a soldier’s family, or feature a wounded warrior on a jumbo tron. It is quite another thing to recognize the devastating effect war has on soldiers and provide them with the resources they need to heal.

Suicide: “Be All That You Can Be – Then Kill Yourself.” A new study by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) reveals some stunning statistics – a service member commits suicide every 36 hours. For veterans, the rate is one every 80 minutes. By comparison, the worst month for American casualties in Iraq came during the Fallujah operation in November of 2004 when 137 were killed. The suicide rate for veterans in any given month is almost 4 times that – at 540!

Unemployment: “It’s Not A Job, It’s An Adventure – Trying To Find One.” The current unemployment rate for the general population in the U.S. is 9%, the highest it has been since 1983 and up from 6% in 2003. The unemployment rate for soldiers? A whopping 12% – which according to the same report above is one of the stressors that could lead to suicide.

Homelessness: “The Few, The Proud – The Homeless.” According to the VA, veterans make up one fifth of the homeless population. The VA also estimates that 107,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. In comparison, that is close to the current levels of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

The above does not begin to describe the family stress and high divorce rates due to deployments, occurrences of PTSD, homicides, alcohol and drug use that are the battles that soldiers continue to fight every day. War is Hell and often the Hell doesn’t stay on the battlefield – it comes home to roost.

This country needs to face up to the fact that for many the war is never over – the enemy simply becomes intangible. And like the really tough adversaries of society, it can’t be killed by bullets. We need to do better to help heal the wounded, provide resources for their care, and end the glorification of war that destroys so many.

I am sure recruiters for the armed forces conveniently forget to mention any of the above to potential enlistees. Why should they?

The truth is always bad for the war business.

November 2011

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree

The Words That Arise

when my beliefs
fall around me
like leaves
when my body
aches with the
weight of the years
when i long for
the pains of this
mortal flesh
to be washed
from me with the
morning rain
which runs
down my windows
when this gray morning
is somehow comforting
to the withering one within
i turn again
to that which
has sustained me
over the years
the words that arise
from somewhere and
sprinkle down around me
like an oil of blessing
and in the scribbling
before i begin to fade
back into the
walking sleep
that is my
existence
i find that
what i know i must do
yet am somehow
paralyzed from doing
is somehow
a lighter thing
that alights upon
my shoulder
to whisper of what
it can be

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree

Bay Morning in Stereo

to my left
the sound
of birdsong
to my right
the voice
of a child

i open my eyes
to the warm breath
of the rising sun

in the distance
a dark speck
upon the water
becomes a
creature
seeking
sustenance
in the depths
captured
by starfire
upon the
waves

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree

when the sky is fire

when the sky is fire
be not afraid
of the wind
which heralds
the coming storm

the dark clouds
touched by flame
of the rising sun
will water an
earth that is
bone dry

and you too who
walk beneath
the burning sky
with dry dreams
shall find them
wet with rain

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree

the shadow knows

sometimes i feel like
i am a shadow of
who i once was
captured by memories
of the lives i have lived
remnants of songs sung
play on in my head
and i want to push them
out again into the
light of day

it is difficult
to remain in the shadows
to wrestle with what
is ego and what is call
what to dream of
what to let go
to wait for the summons
and still stay awake
and open to the voice
that speaks in
bright riddles
of silence