Given a Choice

Mum blossoms

Given a choice (and always, a choice is given), choose what is loveliest.   Choose those things to which your heart says, “Yes.”

Choose generosity over grudging.  Choose kindness over that which is mean.  Let your eyes rest on that which speaks of beauty.  Give your attention to that which lifts over that which pushes down.

Look for the openings.  Reach for what encourages over what shames, what builds over that which undermines, what heals rather than harms.

Nourish your soul.  Given a choice, choose love.

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The Reason for Sunsets: A Happiness Tale

Flaming Sunset

“Why does the sky get so beautiful at night?” the little girl asked her friend, Auntie Mae.

“Oh,” Auntie Mae said, slowly, “I think it’s to get us to look up.”

“Why?” said the little girl.

“Well, most of the time, we just take the sky for granted.  It’s blue, it’s gray, it’s bright, it’s dark.  That’s about all we notice, if we notice it at all.  But the sky is important.  It reminds us how little we are and that there are worlds and worlds out there.

When you look up, when you really look, it reminds you that most of the things you worry about are awfully tiny.  The mean words that someone said, the task you forgot to do, the mistakes you made – they shrink right away when you look at the sky.

I guess it’s a kind of medicine for our hearts.  It lets us know there’s something bigger and grander all around us, all the time.  I think it gets so beautiful to remind us that we’re loved.

What do you think?”

The little girl stood holding Auntie Mae’s hand and gazing at the sunset.  “I think you’re right, Auntie Mae.  I think it’s to remind us that we’re beautiful, too.”

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The Scent of Autum

Green Grass with Red Seeds

It’s a day of contrasts, summer and autumn vying for center stage.   The warm sun tangos with the cool wind.  Green grasses sprout red seeds.  Late flowers open while the first leaves fall.

But it’s the scent that tells the tale.  This is an autumn perfume, musky, ripe and dry.  It catches you by surprise, and you breathe it in deeply to confirm that it is what your memory tells you it is.

Something about it makes you want to fly down the path in joy as if something wonderful is waiting up ahead.

And so it is.  So it is.

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Linger On, Sweet Summer

Early September Woods

Linger on, sweet summer.  Come hide in the woods and let your flowers play for yet a few more days.

Bawdy autumn will come with her colors soon enough to set the trees ablaze, and you will be no more than a green memory, a leafy dream.  Let autumn wait her turn.

Until then, ignite your sun and let it pour through your broad leaves and fall in dappled pools on warm ground.  Let your song birds greet another morning and sing one more evensong before they take to wing and are no more.

We offer you bare arms and unclad feet.  We offer you our laughter and our play.  Just stay.  For one more precious weekend, linger on.

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The Adventurers: A Happiness Tale

Fallen Leaves in Creek Bed

Even before August left, the leaves were whispering about the upcoming autumn adventure.  They would get to put on bright coats, they heard, and fly from home to places unknown.

Some of them could hardly wait.  While they loved their home, they had spent their whole lives there.  The prospect of riding the wind to wherever it might blow them was almost more exciting than they could bear.

So when September came, offering the first coats of color, they leaped to volunteer.   They said their goodbyes to all their friends and wished them happy sailing, too.

Then they waited, and waited, their anticipation growing day by day. Finally, on one bright afternoon, the great wind came.  One by one, their mother trees released them.  And off they flew, free as birds, riding the winds with glee.

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The September Meadow: A Happiness Tale

Meadow with Wildflowers

One September day, when the little girl was walking through the woods with the old woman she called “Auntie Mae,”  they came upon a sunlit meadow.   It was heaped with wildflowers in a pastel rainbow that stretched from one edge of it to the other.

“Oh, Auntie Mae!” the little girl exclaimed.  “How did all these flowers get here?”

“They’re beautiful, aren’t they!” said Auntie Mae.  “They’re the work of a special group of angels.  Their job is to translate the song of the Great Yes into colors for the beings of the worlds to see.

They’re the ones who design the wild gardens for us, and who paint the sunrise and sunset in the skies, and who choose the colors for the autumn woods.  They design the plumage of the birds, and the colors of the sea, and everything that’s a delight to our eyes.

To be a member of their corps, they have to sign on for ten thousand years.  It takes that long to learn all the nuances of the art, because ours is not the only world, and they take beauty to them all.”

“I think I love them, Auntie Mae,” the little girl said softly.  “Maybe when I’m an angel, I will join their corps.”

“Perhaps you shall,” said the old woman, smiling.   She picked a small yellow blossom and tucked it in the buttonhole of the little girl’s jacket.  “None of our truest wishes, you know, goes unfulfilled.  We get to be everything we wish to be, and some things we never even dreamed.”

And she took the little girl’s hand and they walked on.

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Beneath the Clouds

Field with Clouds and Goldenrod

Beyond the clouds, the blue sky reaches to infinity.  Beneath them, gold dances in the fields.   And the wind’s song plays and the sun shines through, and all that was heavy and dark gives way to radiant glory.

As above, so below, my child.  Clouds move on.

Their shadows are no match for the great singing breath of the Yes or for its light.

Don’t be afraid.  You are loved.  Be like the goldenrod; dance, even in the darkness.

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Tiny Gifts

Wild Asters

September is nothing if not generous.  It’s as if she cannot find enough ways to say, “I love you,” opening beauty after beauty, day after day, like some kind friend whose bounty knows no bounds.

Today she brought us tiny asters, tucked in a bouquet of goldenrod and Queen Anne’s lace, and painted a delicate periwinkle blue.

You would have thought that it was all she had to do, considering the sweetness of the arrangement.    But no, she had ten thousand tasks before her – crops to bring to harvest, leaves to color, a sunset to paint.  This little gift was just a passing gesture, given because it is her nature to give.  And it sang so richly of her love.

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The River’s Flow

Swift, Smooth River

The river takes part of you with it as it flows past.   Whether you give it your attention or not, it pulls a little dash of your essence into its waters, giving you a bit of its own in return.  (Look within.  Do you not find the river there?)  Thus you both are changed and made richer.

It works the same way with the river of time.  Every moment carries your essence with it, the part of you beneath your skin, beneath your thoughts and mood, the part that makes you uniquely you.  And you live enveloped in time’s present moment, breathing in the essence of all that shares its dance with you.  And everything is changed by its flow, and made richer.

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The Last Lily

Day Lily

Someone has to go last, to bring up the parade, to end the show.  And because it’s what we see last that we remember most, to be the last is a responsibility, and an honor.

That’s why the politicians stood at the rail on the campaign train’s last car, waving and throwing candy.

But this last lily had no ulterior motives.  It simply blossomed with every particle of color it could muster.  It spread its orange and burgundy petals and offered its pollen from the gold star of its heart, not for glory, but to sing the great Amen.  And its glory spoke for itself.

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