The Gilding of the Gliding

That magical time known as the Golden Hour seems to give everything, not just color, an extra fillip of beauty. Colors do, indeed, become warmer and more saturated when the sun is at such a low angle to the horizon as its place near dawn and dusk, but there is so much more to the mystical powers of those fleeting moments that it is a great treasure to be still in them and let the wonder fill me. At such times I feel more connected to nature and everything around me seems more in tune, better adjusted, and I feel that I am, too.
Photo: The Golden Hour

How can the mere angle of the sun turn a scrubby lawn into finely cut velvet? The touch of gilt on the scene makes every ounce of it seem that much more precious and valuable. The bejeweled day, in turn, makes the simplest action in it take on significance it never had before: the chattering of birds in the trees becomes a miniature angelic choir; the dipping of oars in the water turns from a quiet splashing to the whispering of poetry; the evening breeze that gently stirs shore grass becomes a delicate communiqué from the harmonic internal logic of the universe, and I am at one with it all. As the golden hour ripples through my environs and begins to permeate me, I almost feel as if I am gliding along their silky way right in sync with the rowboats nearby, waving fluidly as the grasses on the verge, tipping my wings with the evening birds to slide onto the branches of the trees. I am at peace with the world, and the world, with me. That is golden indeed.

Gently into the Night

digital illustration from a photograph

Reparations

While the quiet of the evening draws its curtain on the noise

Day had clamored ’til its leaving, I will lie in calm and poise,

Gently as a bed of lilies bends in summer’s kindest breeze,

As the cat turns, curling, ’til he’s found his pose of greatest ease;

While the dusk falls, silent, deeper into night, my eyelids close

Heavily…I’m soon a sleeper in the stillest of repose…

Midnight finds me softly dreaming, all the day’s loud clatter gone,

‘Til birds chatter at the streaming light of the approaching dawn

While I lie in silent dozing where no sound comes breaking through,

All that shouted ceases, closing restive lips—and spirits, too,

Slip like shades and never flutter more than deepest sleeping sends

To the surface from the utter place of healing and amends;

I will rest here in the solace and the silence so supreme

It can quiet every call as I lie still and, gently, dream…digital illustration from a photograph

Endless Sleep that Needs No Dreams

Cadence at Evening

Slow as the settling of the sun
Upon the western shore and lees
Where nightingales call from the trees,
Watching the honeyed daylight run—

Slow as the shifting motes of time
That sift and spin in lamp-lit rays,
Fall lazily to dust and haze
And love, ineffably sublime—

Slow as the sleeping breath when dreams
Have ceased, and thought receded to
The farthest corners, shaded blue
To inky black, to flow in streams—

Slow as the silently locked door
Was, to admit all at the last
Where wonder waits that, long held fast,
Now pulls us inward evermore—

Slow as the parting of that night
Which closes day with one last kiss,
Night languorous with hymns like this,
Draws us toward slowly growing light—photo

Morning’s Glories

photoYou’d think I knew nothing whatsoever of the morning’s glories, being a late sleeper by choice and reluctant to go anywhere outside of my own quiet home even when forced to be Up early. Or what feels like early to me. Yet I get up before dawn at least once a week for the trek down to Dallas, and I’ve certainly flown plenty of times on morning flights that required my appearance at the gate at some ghastly hour, since it’s usually slightly cheaper then and often it means arriving at my destination with some margin of time to get me to my intended lodging by bedtime, if not to earlier events.

And amazingly, I’ve found things to enjoy in the morning hours. Sunrise can easily be as grand a spectacle as a sunset, and when the world begins to stir it’s often in fascinating and literally eye-opening ways that the sleepy end of day can’t share. There is a tinge of excitement to wondering what lies in the day ahead, and sometimes even a sense of urgency that can stir me to look forward with greater intensity to what is to come.

Still, I’d far rather lie abed and greet the day in slothful comfort. If I can do so with the curtain open and the splash of a brilliant morning glory peering in at me, that’s perfectly welcome and will likely make my rising the easier. Just let me greet the day at my own pace and I will happily sing the morning’s glories when I’ve gotten up much later as I’d like.

In the meantime, on this day of America celebrating the immeasurable gifts found in and through the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I am reminded that the most dazzling and magnificent light is that streaming from the souls of good people who go about the work of making the world better for all, no matter what the risk. May we shed light on our neighbors, friends and family through what we do and the way we live, today and every day. No matter when the day actually starts.

Hope, as Emily* has Said…

Welcome, 2014!

This may be the first time I’m posting anyone else’s writing on my blog, but don’t worry, I’ll start with my own poem. New Year’s Day is a good time to both do a new thing or two and affirm our traditions, so here goes. Happy New Year’s Day, all!photoOn Wide Wings

By the frigid light of morning, by the pale edge of the sky,

In the whispers of the gloaming waits a hawk that, by and by,

Stretches up his head and perches, keen eye searching on the lake,

Where the echo of the church’s bells call out: Awake! Awake!

Wings sweep wide, then, of a sudden, take him soaring to the heights

Where sunrise is turning golden, burnishing the hawk with lights

Bright as gilt, his feathers flashing as he darts across the chill-

Watered lake, and quickly splashing, snares a fish, and what was still,

Silent, peaceful, secret-keeping in the dark vault of the night,

All bursts from that quiet sleeping, with the hawk called by the light–

Now the day is fully opened, like a daffodil in spring,

Brought to bloom in joy and hope and shaded by the hawk’s wide wing–

As he soars and daylight blazes, my heart, too, begins to rise,

Knows how sweet this best of days is, that would raise me to the skies.digital artwork from a photo* Emily Dickinson:

Hope     

“Hope” is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—

And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—

I’ve heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.

It’s Early Yet

graphite line drawingBeing an inveterate late riser, and a crabby one when forced to get up before I’m ready, no matter what the hour, I am flummoxed for the most part by those who tout the glories of the break of day. I say, for the most part, because even I have been known to admire the sunrise, and even in my worst and most heel-dragging, snarling moments can see how incredibly pretty and magical the beginning of the day can be. In fact, I can outright admire and relish the whole thing if I know I get to watch the show and go instantly to bed again until I’ve had my requisite number of hours abed.

I’ve a fairly wide variety of reasons for not having children, too, not least among them my aforementioned monstrosity in the beginnings of the day, a time when babies and young persons of all persuasions and personalities are apt to be chirping and squealing adorably and performing all manner of gymnastics and, just possibly, noisy and/or noisome bodily functions that would demand kind attentions from me. I am not that nice at the best of times, never mind any time before I’m willing to rise up and be Awake. You can imagine how the very prospect of pregnancy and its sleep disruptions, and those only leading precipitously to years more of the other sort, would seem to me, most particularly as I was already sliding off the back five of my fourth decade of life by the time I got married and thus would have had any hope of an ongoing partner in the proceedings.

You must know, however, that I think children are a very fine invention and well worth the trouble, and also that I have nothing but the greatest admiration for that mystical marvel that occurs when the tiniest edge of the sun peers over the horizon and then in seeming seconds is blazing up the morning sky. It’s just that I am content to leave all of the heavy lifting in those categories to finer beings for as long as I can. My siblings and other relatives and friends have gifted me with an abundance of outstandingly beautiful, brilliant and engaging children to admire, cuddle, tease, flirt with, trade tall tales with or about, and otherwise delight in before handing them back to their parents just in time for any less scintillating activities to be addressed more expertly and semi-willingly than I would do. And dawn, well–that will likely become part of my repertoire when I hit that Certain Age incapable of sleeping massive amounts any longer, but until then, it belongs to others, except in my imaginings or when I am dragged out of repose by duty or airport hours or some other sort of the unavoidably morning-oriented difficulties life presents.

So I am quite content to enjoy a made-up version of sunrise, even making a picture of it with a very slightly baby-shaped mother-to-be washed in its dainty light as she lingers in some little secret garden. I am not designed either for motherhood or for getting up at the first whisper of dawn, but that needn’t prevent my admiring them both from a safe distance. I can assume my odds of conceiving a child at this advanced age have shrunk to a manageable nothingness by now, and I will count on the passage of my hours, days and years to prepare me for that unthinkable morning when I might willingly resurrect my carcass from the pleasant dead-of-bed state before daybreak. Meanwhile, my fancies are large enough to amuse and amaze me, and I thank the rest of you who have so kindly practiced and reported on either of the foregoing astonishing activities and reported back to me for my edification and vicarious enjoyment. I may get back to you with my own first-daylight infatuations someday, but it’s early for that yet.digital illustration

Dusk to Dawn

digital illustrationCoal & Diamonds

Strangely enough, the bond of sleep, that weight of Lethe sitting on my soul,

Reminds me constantly to keep from letting diamond days turn back to coal,

For stillness rejuvenates bone and blood and sinew strong enough to bring me on,

And sleep is a portal through which a flood of musings sweep me forward to the dawn,

So rest is essential, and there I lie, seeming immobile while I dance at speed,

Or mounting on magical wings to the sky, to soar as sweetly high as I should need

To see in sleep, in my mind’s eye, new ways to spring from dark to day’s desire,

To find in the darkness of night what I love most amid the constellations’ fire

And planets and comets’ tails’ dross and stone what I can reinvent as suns for day,

My own coal-diamonds, blood and bone and sinew turned to chasing night away.digital illustration