Mary Oliver and the World of Everywhere

On a soft, snowy morning I read a poem by Mary Oliver. And in the afternoon, it came to me, a notice of her death. Too soon! I thought. Too soon to lose a talent of this magnitude. My heart rocked in grief for several minutes. But then I re-read the poem from the morning called “Bazougey” (Dog Songs, 2013), about the death of a beloved dog. It begins,

Where goes he now, that dark little dog
who used to come down the road barking and shining?
He’s gone now, from the world of particulars, 
the singular, the visible. 

So, that deepest sting: sorrow. Still, 
is he gone from us entirely, or is he
a part of that other world, everywhere? 

I now think of Mary Oliver as in this poem, no longer part of the singular, the visible, the world of particulars, but rather “a part of that other world, everywhere.” . . . . read more

Advertisements

“V” is for Vision

The Adventurer of the Universe starts with the dream and reaps tragic Beauty.— Alfred North Whitehead

I have a friend named David who can see things others can’t. He has visions. I don’t mean David has “second sight” or any psychic ability; rather, it’s more of an artist’s vision of seeing things that are not there, but that might be. With a gestalt sensibility, he can see something whole that is now in parts, broken, and crying out to be either put out of its misery or loved back into life. David is a woodworker, restorer, and artist. He mainly works with discarded and unwanted pieces of furniture, like the lonely chair left out on the curbside by someone in a rush to move, or the abandoned table at the side of the dumpster, or a battered antique trunk hoping to be discovered on the last day of an estate sale when everything is 75% off. David grabs what others pass up, or gathers odd pieces and makes something completely novel like the “Frankenstein” table as he jokingly called it: a stunning dining set created from disparate parts he found “here and there.”

What a gift! To see possibility among the discarded, to save the landfills by remaking something that lasts, and to add beauty to the world.

I think this is the way God dreams in the world. . . . Click here to read the entire post 🙂

e pluribus unum

“And that’s why it is so important today that we reaffirm our character as a nation — a people drawn from every corner of the world, every color, every religion, every background — bound by a creed as old as our founding, e pluribus unum. Out of many, we are one. For we know that our diversity — our patchwork heritage — is not a weakness; it is still, and always will be, one of our greatest strengths.”
                                                           — President Barack Obama, September 11, 2016

Shortly after I moved back to the United States after living abroad for five years, I began seeing bumper stickers with the motto, “In God We Trust.” It seemed to hold a special significance for some of my neighbors. But why? After a little research and reorientation into my home culture, I realized that for many, this motto serves as a counterpoint — and even a rebuff — to our founding fathers’ 1782 motto, e pluribus unum, “out of many, one.”

If you study any coin from your pocket closely, you can see “In God We Trust” on one side and e pluribus unum on the otherThe social context of each motto is telling. . . . (to continue reading, click here to read my post “U is for Unity“).

“S” is for Silence

s-is-for-silence-blog1-623x368

 

“Silence is like a flame, you see?”
—Marcel Marceau

As a lover of words, I wonder why I am so drawn to the wordless worlds of music and dance and art. And then, there is mime, that peculiar silent art form, perhaps brought to its highest expression in the work of Marcel Marceau. After viewing some of his mime masterpieces, such as The Cage and Youth, Maturity, and Old Age, I asked myself: Why does this master of silent storytelling move me so much?

(Read More at Spirituality & Practice)

(Read More–with added videos–at Open Horizons)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“H” is for Hope

cone-flowers-1624684_1280

To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.
—Audrey Hepburn

 

To plant a garden is to practice hope. When we dare to plant a garden — and it does take daring! — we embody the kind of hope that Henry Sloan Coffin called “a passion for the possible.” This speaks to me of a deep, divine source of unfolding possibilities — a divine urgency for beauty and well-being on a landscape becoming more distressed by the minute. This divine passion describes a great suffering heart, a patient lover, a deep tenderness, everything needed to plant a garden. . . . Click here to read the entire post at Spirituality & Practice 🙂

 

 

 

Grace in the Cracks of Everything

fe5854e56b4c44543d2f8478fc12b128b310b3cd

Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack in everything

That’s how the light gets in.

–Leonard Cohen

This month in America, as we celebrate our country’s birth, I can’t help but think about the big crack in the Liberty Bell. It seems the right metaphor for our cracked nation. Our beloved patriotic songs catch in our throats as the fissures that divide us grow deeper and the gash in our democracy grows worrisome and the sense of decency we once took for granted becomes fractured on a daily basis. Our ability to face the enormity of the crack and to cry hot tears into its depth is part of what it means to be fully human; but that’s not the whole story, as the late Leonard Cohen reminds us.

Cohen would offer, in his inimitable way, the upside of the crack: the light that gets in. We could name it grace—that pure light streaming through the cracks of imperfection, helping us catch vivid glimpses of something greater than our brokenness. . . .

 . . . . The rest of this essay called “G is for Grace” can be found at Spirituality & Practice, and also at Open Horizons.