I’m the child of rainy Sundays. I watched time crawl Like an injured fly Over the wet windowpane. Or waited for a branch On a tree to stop shaking, While Grandmother knitted Making a ball of yarn Roll over like a kitten at her feet. I knew every clock in the house Had stopped ticking And that this day will last forever. ~Charles Simic “To Boredom”
It has been so long since I’ve felt bored.
My list of to-do’s and want-to-do’s
is much longer than the years left to me.
But I remember those days long ago
when the clock would stop,
time would suspend itself above me, dangling
and the day would last forever
until it finally collapsed with a gasp.
Time races and skitters and skips by,
each new heartbeat
a grateful instance of continued existence.
The sun-dipped isle was suddenly a sheep Lost and stupid, a dense wet tremulous fleece. ~George Mackay Brown “Fog” from The Weather Bestiary
When I was young, fog felt oppressive,
as mournful as the fog horns sounding continually in the nearby bay.
Now in sixty years later
I appreciate fog for slowing me down
when life compels me to rush too fast.
When forced to take time,
I begin to notice what I missed before:
clouds descend to hug and kiss the ground
to bejewel everything they touch.
The dead and dying
become glorious in subtle beauty,
the farm all gossamer garland and transparent pearls.
The passing of the summer fills again my heart with strange sweet sorrow, and I find the very moments precious in my palm. Each dawn I did not see, each night the stars in spangled pattern shone, unknown to me, are counted out against me by my God, who charges me to see all lovely things… ~Jane Tyson Clement from “Autumn”
We’re already a month into autumn and I’ve had a hard time letting go of summer.
The earth also is struggling with the inevitable transition as the last few weeks have been filled with blue skies, warm days and no killing frosts.
In short, it seemed perfection: sweater weather filled with vibrant leaf color, clear moonlit nights and outstanding sunrises.
I feel I must see it all, to witness and record and savor it. God convicted us to see, listen, taste and believe.
Can we ever hope for a more merciful sentence given the trouble we’ve been to Him? He loves us still.
Night is drawing nigh. How long the road is. But, for all the time the journey has taken, how you have needed every second of it. ~Dag Hammarskjöld
It is easy to be grateful for the pretty times of life: those picture-perfect moments that end up on Christmas photo-cards and in detailed descriptions in holiday newsletters. What we want others to see and what we wish to remember does not always reflect the experiences of the whole journey. We are naturally programmed to concentrate on “The Best of…” rather than surveying the whole shebang, warts and all.
It isn’t all glorious sunsets, rainbows and happy endings. We don’t usually take pictures of the potholes, or celebrate the obstacles and flat tires along the way. It is rare to acknowledge and honor the failing grade, the chronic illness, the rocky relationship, the mortifying mistake, the tragic accident.
Yet it is all a part of the journey, every second of it, even the moments we try hard to forget are worthy of our appreciation. Even the difficult times move us a little closer to our destination, perhaps looking bruised and scraped, still making our way slowly, shakily yet surely.
Of all the beasts that God allows In England’s green and pleasant land, I most of all dislike the Cows:
Their ways I do not understand. It puzzles me why they should stare At me, who am so innocent; Their stupid gaze is hard to bear —
To country people Cows are mild, And flee from any stick they throw; But I’m a timid town bred child, And all the cattle seem to know. ~from “Cows” by T.S. Eliot, published long after his death
Raised with Guernsey and Jersey cows
outside my back door,
I sat dreamily
on their bony backs
while dad milked by hand twice a day,
filling the metal pail
as barn cats circled and purred.
Giving up the dairy,
we raised Scottish Highlanders
of long horn and shaggy hair-
wild and skeptical creatures
who barely tolerated a curry comb
or rub behind the ears.
I know well the unblinking stare of the cow
as they chew their cud and lick their nostrils;
I love their unending interest
in the absurdity
watching what we do.
into the deep pool
of their brown eyes
by their curious gaze
and why they should choose to care