The Long and the Short of It

The short hours of winter daylight in northern climes have been known to drive some folk to madness. Such a visible reminder of brevity can be frightening. But it has its magical, lovely characteristics, too, not least of all in the extended reach of dusk backward into daylight hours, when the encroaching dark of a long night is preceded by a wash of sweet watercolor lengthening slowly, easefully across the sky. It begins barely past noon, the sun clinging to the horizon’s edge while rolling at this seasonally low angle to other parts of the globe. It often ends, it seems, with a snap of the sky’s lid into full darkness, but until then the whole afternoon has been suffused with yearning and attenuated gleam, the sky a pearl rather than the flat, undifferentiated blue of its cloudless expanse often seen on longer days.Photo: Sunset Begins

Sunset Begins

Sunset begins as dawn is barely ending,

The day a secret known to but a few

Who see such light without yet apprehending

That their mortality is old while new,

That death will follow birth in shorter seasons

Than anyone admits or likes to know,

Yet even such tight brevity has reasons

For relishing the afternoon’s brief glow.

 

Say this, if you would savor for its beauty

A life as short as sorrows make it seem:

That recognizing light remains a duty,

And relishing the colors of its gleam

A pleasure that entrances more compactly,

Succinctly, for the smallness of the day,

And teaches us to see such joys exactly

Within their span, before they fly away.

 

The moon, appearing ere the sun has faltered,

The sun chasing her tail toward the moon,

And all the stars that follow them, are altered

In sight because I know they vanish soon,

And I with them, but dream that time will lengthen

Enough to let me see another day,

Wiser for seeing afternoons that strengthen

And nourish me by coloring the way.

 

Sunset begins as I was barely crying,

Newborn, and night appears and quickly wins,

Yet even as I feel I’m fainting, dying,

I know life’s beauties when sunset begins.

And Now to Sleep…Again

Since I missed yesterday’s posting time altogether and admitted [what you already know full well, if you know me in the least] today to my craving for massive amounts of sleep, I am grateful that today was a quiet, calm, fairly uneventful one spent recuperating from the latest adventures. And, more than that, grateful that it’s just about bedtime again. I seldom feel any sadness that any day is drawing to a close, other than the sentimental sense that a current delightful activity or gathering of friends must needs be discontinued, even if temporarily, for me to head toward sleep. So I am quite contented just now. Mother Nature has turned out the lights. I shall, too.Photo: Sundown, Maine

Be that Light

Photo montage + text: Mirror for Contemplating Possibility

Photo + text: Toward Light

Photo + text: Solrosbarna

Photo montage + text: Solrosbarna 2: Greatest Gift

If My Song could Last Forever

Photo: Well Seasoned 1Hours into Seasons

There’s a sweetness in the morning when the sun has yet to rise

And the blooms lie, still unopened, under sleeping butterflies;

When the stars still wink and glimmer, while the frogs yet softly sing—

There’s a sweetness in the morning that is like the breath of Spring.Photo: Well Seasoned 2

There’s a graciousness at midday when, amid the racing streams,

All arise and put in motion yesterday’s profoundest dreams;

When the past its chains has loosened on the race of all alive,

That in joyful forward motion we, like Summer, grow and thrive.Photo: Well Seasoned 3

There’s a calm amid the evening when the birds come to the trees’

Respite from the day of flying, echoed by our evening ease;

When the cares of noon have lessened as the dusk swept into place—

There’s a calm amid the evening, peaceful as the Autumn’s grace.Photo: Well Seasoned 4

There’s a beauty to the nighttime, glorious and peaceful bliss,

Treasured for the kind renewal of the souls that rest in this

Cradling darkness and this languor, in this place of mending rest

That, like Winter’s dormant healing, lets us wake refreshed and blessed.Photo: Well Seasoned 5

I would take these hours’ presents as my guide through seasons long,

Through a lifelong path that’s pleasant as a choir’s finest song;

I would be a seasoned traveler, happy above everything,

If my song could last forever,

Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring.Photo: Well Seasoned 6

I am Moved

Photo: Where the Wind Takes MeTransportation

These days, a gentle breeze is quite enough to take me down,

to knock me senseless to the curb, to blow me out of town,

or out of countenance, at least—but if I am astute,

I’ll let the breezes blow and take me down a different route.

Why should I let a breath derail my happiness like wrath,

if I can take it in my sail and find a different path?Photo: The Winds Bend but Do Not Break Me

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

One Stormy Day…

digital illustration from a photoApologia

Bleak indigo and velvet was the sky

That hung above that cold portentous noon

More chilling than the goddess of the moon

If she had bowed her sorrows down to die—

My own, I could not grief so sharp withhold

But wept as though the torrent ought to drown

Me in the rivers of her velvet gown

And leave me breathless on the stones and cold—photoBut blue is not my cloak, or yet my skin

As much as dark the tenor of the day

And when the storm had lastly passed away

I felt the night might swallow up my sin—

Now sorrow’s misery that spoke you grief

Forgiven falls in sunset’s sweet relief.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.

Silence may not be Golden, but Control of Noisemaking Keeps Everyone Safer

photoPractice as though Your Life Depended on It

Two singers strolled into a wood, and I

Followed the one less skillful; why?

Starved beasts will flock to an anguished cry,

As they did that day; in the wink of an eye,

I was on the road less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

[With sincerest apologies to Robert Frost]photo

Wide Skies

photoIt’s early in the year. I’ve had my little first cold of the year immediately after New Year’s Day, enjoyed getting reacquainted with my innards with the help of a quick annual doctor visit and subsequent updates on my coronary calcium (still no sign of same, thank you very much), allergy testing (finally going to deal with longtime mild but annoying symptoms) and crossed another handful of tasks off my eternal household to-do lists. But as we’re still in the first month of the year, that leaves a whole lot of things yet to be done, things yet to even be imagined.photoAnd I like that, rather. There’s something compelling about looking up at sun, moon and stars without being able to read in them any threat or promise more concrete than my own fantasies, knowing that I might well find great adventures ahead, because that’s simply how my life plays out thus far. The unknown, while it has the potential to be prickly and problematic in any number of ways, also has the possibility of being as wide open and beautiful and thrilling as the bright wide sky.photo