The summer earth and summer sky are one now.
The sun rises in gold flowers, reaching toward the blue.
Chicory, the color of sky, reaches toward the sun.
And the sky falls into the waters and swims
with the greens that both fall below and rise.
And it’s all one breath, rising, falling, and all
one song of joy and celebration, endlessly singing Yes.
It was one of those “keeper” days,
the kind you put in your memory bottle
to uncork when winter’s grown long,
just to remember that perfection is possible.
So you stand there, feeling the breeze
on your cheek, the warmth of the sun
on your arms, inhaling the fragrances
of water, sand, wild carrot, and trees,
listening to the lapping of the waves
against the shore, to the whisper
of dancing leaves. From around the bend,
where white floats guard the little beach,
the laughter of children rises like birds
into the clear, sparkling air, sending you
back to your childhood. And you add
those scenes to the bottle, too,
the ones where time stood still
and every moment tasted like honey.
Ah, it will be a fine wine, this one,
holding the flavors of the golden days
when life was rich and full,
and absolutely nothing was lacking.
It’s not clear at first what is real, what is dream,
what is mist rising from a valley, what is hill, what is sky.
Illusion rolls into illusion. Let it be. The dawn requires
no naming, no interpretation. It carries its own light.
Watch. Breathe. Listen.
It’s no small thing, being born.
One moment, you’re but a burgeoning potential.
The next, you—a being unique in all of time—are here,
breathing in earth’s air, breathing out your song,
brave and bold in the face of endless possibilities
despite a quivering inside you that you will later name
excitement, or fear, depending on which stories
you adopt as you go along. It doesn’t matter;
you can always make new choices. That’s something
that you’ll learn. What counts is that you’re here,
making your mark, changing everything,
being changed, enlarging the world
with your presence, being enlarged.
And so the universe sings and bids you
Last night I saw two fireflies dancing through the woods,
all the more precious now that the thick waves of them
that flickered through the trees are finished for the season.
The evening’s first stars glimmered overhead, visible
even though the last wisps of gold hung in the western sky.
And the songs of frogs and crickets floated on earth’s breath,
mixing with its perfume. I slept wrapped in the sweetness.
And when I woke, the world had been transformed,
the night’s soft light exchanged for a shimmer of dew,
its tiny globes sparkling from every emerald blade of grass.
Such gifts, so freely given! The wondrous, velvet nights,
and all the glistening mornings.
Maybe flowers are really angels.
Maybe that’s the way that angels look
when they come to visit Earth, their disguise
so to speak, to keep us from being alarmed.
I could imagine them watching, listening,
from their places in the gardens,
from the vases on our dining room tables,
from little nooks in the fields and woods,
all the while sending the perfume of their caring
to Earth’s creatures, gifting us with beauty,
with little moments of joy, with their love.
And if flowers are but flowers, that’s miracle enough.
Yet I suspect that angels would smile and forgive me
for imagining the blossoms as one of their kind.
The creek, despite our abundant rains,
is surprisingly dry, its rocky bed exposed
along the shore and making islands
in its center. Still, sheltered as it is
by the wooded hills, it cools its surrounds
and sings its quiet song. And here and there,
where the light rolls down and falls
beneath its surface, you can see its clarity.
Light does that. Its radiant energy
rolls all the way from the sun, down
through the millions of miles of space,
through the layers of atmosphere and cloud,
past the thick canopy of dancing leaves
and through the slow whispering waters
until it finds earth, bouncing off everything
on its way, flowing right into your eyes
to show you clearly the truth of what’s there,
the Yes of all the things that were hidden
in shadow before it came, rolling down.
Okay, summer; you win.
I admit that at first I was put off
by your incessant rains. And when
they ceased, I didn’t trust your dazzle,
seeing it as so much show, an act.
But now you have convinced me.
Your sincerity is everywhere, deep
in its greens, devoted in its endless
display of color. And at last
your warmth has penetrated
my understanding, and I want
nothing more than to sink
into your loving emerald arms.
I scan the morning’s headlines over coffee.
It’s the usual nightmare of conflict, corruption and crime.
And as if I’d swallowed a cup of cement, it pushes
me down to the floor, burying my hope in its weight.
But I notice that the sun is shining, and pull myself
out the door. My eyes see the clear sky, the light
filtering through the summer leaves. But my heart
is still heavy with grief. Go to the park, a voice
tells me. Take a walk, clear your head. So I go.
After a while, I wander toward the garden.
And there it is, perched atop an Echinacea,
A tiny creature, looking like a winged horse,
its face painted like a circus pony, sipping
nectar. Are you real? I ask, amazed.
But there is no doubting it. Or the song
that my heart begins to sing. Here,
in this now, is Yes, is beauty. Here,
in this now, reality expands, full of joy
and waking. And everything else is but dream.
The foliage along the lake banks is summer-full.
Dragonflies flit above it in dizzying swoops.
The ducks have taken their young to larger quarters
where fewer humans come. So, except for wee frogs,
which leap into the water in alarm as I walk its banks,
the shaded lake is quiet, stirred only by a slight breeze.
I had just finished my walk around its edges
when a shaft of sunlight from a parting cloud
drew my eye. Turning, I saw at the lakes’ corner
the stand of wild iris, looking like an installation
by Chihuly, lit as if some spotlight were
resting purposefully on its lines and casting
its colors across the still waters. And only I
and the frogs and dragonflies were there to see.
It made me feel humble somehow.
And blessed, and glad.