It’s with a heavy heart that I must share with you today the passing of our dear friend, Little Pine.
When I went to visit him today, I found him with his trunk torn completely through, lying on the grass next to his mother. It was impossible to tell what had happened.
I couldn’t just leave him there, so I brought him home and placed him in a bucket in my garden beside the wild poppies, who symbolize the sunshine that he loved so adored.
For three Decembers, he led us on wonderful adventures as he and his friends prepared for the Festival of Light when the sun turned in its travels to begin its journey back to the northern lands. He brought us much joy, and I am sure his happy spirit is reveling now in a dimension where all is light and the creatures of the woodlands sing never-ending songs.
Rest in Peace, Little Pine. We loved you well, and always shall.
It’s a small lake, unassuming.
Beyond its borders a land of concrete,
brick and steel sprawls. The lake
doesn’t mind. It retains its identity
regardless, calm in all seasons, even
when its surface is whipped by winds.
And so the swans come, and sandhill
cranes and Canadian geese and raise
their young in the shelter of its green
reeds where, as they reach the shore,
wild forget-me-nots grow. The lake
offers its peace, as if it were exposing
the earth’s very soul, and welcomes
even the humans who joyfully paddle
and race across its surface in boats and
in roaring machines, and welcomes
the colors of the trees and the sky
and all the silvery fishes who live within
its body, all the while quietly whispering
its peace and singing the song of the Yes.
It’s all attitude, you know,
attitude and labels, that rule
your perception and the evidence
you’ll find. Call the morning air
oppressive and you’ll see the droop
of leaves in the moist stillness,
its heaviness mirroring your own.
Call it fresh, and you’ll spot the white
blossoms of the astilbe cascading
down the green like fireworks,
laughing with energy and joy.
Suppose, just for once, you didn’t walk past,
letting your brain get away with simply noting
“flowers; purple.” Suppose the sight of them
caught you up, made you bend to stare, to see
the veins, the cells, the bits of pollen,
the outrageous livingness of them, the way
they turned toward the sun to drink its light.
Suppose their subtle fragrance entered
your nostrils, its essence filling your lungs,
feeding your brain, racing all the way down
to your toes. Imagine how you would find
yourself suddenly afloat in the holy.
Sunlight shimmered through the branches of the spruce
dappling the lawn, still sparkling with dew. The air
was thick and damp, but the temperature was cool
and the songs of birds rode on it as if it they were sailing
on some clear, calm lake. Beyond the spruce, the leaves
of the maples and walnut trees waltzed in the low breeze,
their lime and emerald hues coloring the light. Suddenly
a movement above me caught my eye, a wee bird
perched on a branch, a drop of moisture clinging to its beak.
It was one of those insignificant moments that etches
Itself into your memory, the bird, the light, the dew.
I felt it register, and knew it would return to me when
I was remembering summer and the mornings
that sang in the key of emerald green.
Keep your heads high, my children.
Remember who you are:
Noble and brave, conforming
only to your inner laws, in calm
and in storm. Hold the form
of your lineage, and in time
you will soar, lifting one another,
your loyalty setting you free.
And today, as you paddle
and float and grow, revel
in the life’s joy; swim in
its sheer, liquid wonder.
Twenty minutes ago, the day was bright,
the fields a radiant green, lush and singing
with insects and bird calls, with the purr
of a tractor mowing the early hay.
Only a slight shift of fragrance in the air
hinted of the coming rain. The winds
were too far above us even to ruffle
the grasses, their might focused
on carrying in the massive cloudbank
that swiftly sailed from the western horizon
darkening the sky and sending great shafts
of sunlight across the entire landscape
as if to bless and reassure us before
the coming of the storm. The winds
kept on, and the bank of clouds traveled
past without touching our fields at all.
It was nightfall before the true storm came,
and by then we were safely sheltered.
We slept well, breathing the scent of summer rain,
dreaming of the light that had blessed us
and blesses us still.
I see you, Daddy Long Legs,
giving those berries the eye,
the red ones ripening to black,
the green ones turning red.
It’s kind of wondrous, don’t
you think, how everything
doesn’t happen at once?
How the details are arranged
There is no because for flowers.
Maybe some theories about their hows,
and even a guess at their when. But
as to the way they sing their songs
so that only our hearts can hear–
you know: that little rush of gladness,
or the way that we’re deeply moved,
or comforted, or thrilled—there is
no because. It is enough that they are.
Take it as a token, a bursting through
the veil, the wholly inevitable overflow
of a boundless sea of love.
A moment comes as the season turns to summer
when you can almost feel the creek relax.
Spring’s giddy rush of waters is past and the flow
finds its pace and rhythm. It settles in, breathing
peace, feeling the colored kisses of light
from the trees and sky, and the smooth
swimming of fishes inside its liquid body.
It welcomes, now, all that comes. The rain,
the breeze, the bare, splashing feet of children,
the feathered bodies of birds, the random landing
of a leaf, the boots of fishermen. All are welcomed
and wonderful, each in its own way. And through
it all, the summer air and the easiness of flowing,
down, down, over the singing rocks and waving sands,
free, and homebound.