Arise

A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.

a Chinese proverb

This bird’s throat is sore. Not from singing too much, but from giving too many answers. She needs to practice singing. And she needs to remember – she’s a bird, and singing is her calling.

This November’s kitchen

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This November morning woke up with a cup of coffee and a desire. A slow dry wind breezes through the kitchen’s back door. In the oven a cheesecake awaits its baking time. It might be a long one. A yogurt dough aspiring to be a pâte brisée is in for disappointment – I forgot the pre-bake step. Doughy it will remain. Yogurt dough, quark made at home, and a sugar substitute serve this morning’s baking. The mayhem of a low carb lifestyle.

But, the trace of freshly ground spices gathers together the tasks of this morning. Welcoming all. It’s supper’s lamb marinating in a tender Nigel Slater recipe. This one, flop proof. The lamb, only enough for two of us, awaits a long and slow cooking this afternoon. It marries the day, the heat, and the dryness – the willingness to gift the moment.

The oven’s clock’s beep calls hands to pause the flow of words, to straighten the apron, and test the wobbly cake. Memory hints to switch the oven off and leave the cake in for some time. I trust the memory. But, I’m not yet trusting myself to share the ingredients, the instructions, and the recipe. I’ll stick to the notes, allow the desire, and drink another cup of coffee.

the suchness of life

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october’s sky is gray
a bird calls and
the dog barks
the i struggle and still

thou knows and waits
now

slow-rise bread
lemon, rosemary
awakens the senses
to pen down thoughts

into this
suchness

the oven clock startles
the senses awake
dark crusted broken bread
joins the sacredness of now

no stories, no analyzing
of today’s yesterday and tomorrow
capture the segment between –
the staff of life awaits

thou knows

the I still struggles
october’s sky is gray
another bird calls
the dog sleeps

and work awaits
this for ever now

~ sonja s

Love After Love

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The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

                                                                                                                                                                   ~Derek Walcott

retreat

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Retreat means to withdraw, to step outside of one’s normal routine, to linger – but to linger with intent.

A retreat was a gift this change of season.

This life must seek the gift, enter the holiness, accept the wholeness, and find its place in it.

Its mind must remember the snapshots, its heart must remember the cobwebs, so that at the clearing of the soul the woman befriends the child.

Scattered and spent across the seasons, the fruited seeds of desires and possibilities wait and want and wail. The offshoots must be brought together.

Who will know the thistles from the wheat?

The angst of desire brings a restlessness, a lying awake at night. And four o’clock in the morning brings a pilgrimage. A dozen pauses at the edge of life, stripping the self naked – a clearing for the fullness of possibilities in this world of time, a clearing for the possibility of fullness in this world of timelessness.

“If you weed the thistles, you’ll pull up the wheat, too. Let them grow together until harvest time.”

The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and this life not healed. But the season’s change brings the gift. The gift will seek this life, wholeness will enter and holiness will find its place in it.

 
 
 

A reflection on words written by Wendell Berry – What are people for?

Text from Matthew 13:30, The Message

new growth

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I tended the neglected vegetable patch last week. Still wrapped in the aftermath of a summer’s holy days, I found home clay-cold, to-do lists long, and knuckle-down difficult. When the sun offered a sudden noon warmth my winter cold body took the blessing. The sweet scent of the jasmine unstifled the air as I dug into the soil, bare hands uprooting the dry and the neglect, open to receive.

Too many times before, and even more so of late, the tasks of hands tending, unearth heart and mind – yearning and seeking for a rhythm of life.  I found some seedlings waving small new leaves. How did they survive? Echoes of dreams, ideas, reflections … sown and watered …  in the wait of the growth it is easy for distractions to take over, for dryness and neglect to settle in … but somewhere, somehow, some do survive.

I raked the soil and removed stones, pieces of bark, and dead wood. I watered the dryness earth and planted again the seedlings – their small new leaves a healthy green. I hope for another chance, another bearable growth. I think about the distractions and the discomfort caused, and I’m grateful for the discomfort – it offers a new beginning.

I saw new growth on old wood. The place where the old growth ended and the new growth began left noticeable scars. A sealed past awakened for a tomorrow … and I’m grateful for the itchy scar, the healing dailiness of new beginnings.

A life in a day.

a wolf in sheep’s clothing

In this trousseau one will find some mentions of clothes …

I’m not a fashionista. For some hidden and other open-and-shut reasons, clothing and I never mixed or matched. Look-alike-each-other-sisters’ dresses, black with yellow and white stripes tracksuits, the yellow bloomer I refused to wear for PE classes, and an always too tight skirt for church embody some early life buried-alive memories.

With an odd-lot wardrobe and a disinterest in clothes, girlhood and I survived. But, yesteryear bethinkings reveal frayed remnants … remnants of repressed desires – mothballed and packed away in dark corners. And during a flurry of growing-up years and a slowness of living life years a scapegoat for these out-of-the-way desires arose.

I am grateful…

… Once I had a friend, a colleague. I remember a visit. She made tea and told me that the teabag has been used seven times. She believed, no, lived the re-using idea: how many cups of tea she could make using one teabag. The tea was terribly weak, but I remained good-mannered…

I’m not pointing fingers. The seven times used tea bag taught me – about being frugal, about value, about the effort to afford the (metaphorical) teabag, about all processes happening so that I can enjoy a cup of (even weak) tea.

And today, here I am   … fifty plus, frumpish and fitted … I thought clothes and I did not mix and match, but we have a bond. The repressed desire took another form – that of consciousness. A need more than a want motivates me when I’m thinking clothing. This desire has a name today – capsule wardrobes, zero waste wardrobes, minimalist wardrobes, unfancy wardrobes … today I am in (un)fashion.

I have not reached the above 50 wardrobe essentials yet; but I love it when a plan comes together…

Dear reader, do you have a bond with your wardrobe?