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This site is about contemplative living. Quiet things like nature walks, books, meditation, and yoga. The practice of regrounding in a post-Internet age.

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Quercus Alba: 1868 – 2020

I wanted to borrow a poem from a poet—any poet—to go with these images of a stump I found in Grant Park on a morning walk. But I couldn’t google anything up that would speak to this:

152 YO QUERCUS ALBA

HIT BY LIGHTNING

The black Sharpie marker spells out everything you need to know about this white oak anyhow, I suppose.

In a way, I can understand the brevity and I can understand that’s all the author could say because there are no adequate words for what it means to live in this land of electric neon ghosts. We all have this same stain, burned into our souls as if we, too, were struck by lightning.

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When Life Offers Support, Spread Your Toes and Smile

There’s an expression I’ve heard in yoga classes about using props–bolsters (giant pillows), blocks, straps–the things that offer support and help students modify their practice to their bodies. Ego says, “I don’t need support! I can do this all by myself!” Yoga teacher says: How often does life offer support? When life offers support accept it with gratitude. In that vein, here’s a pic of life offering support in the form of an old telephone pole, washed and dried on the beach. I say, when life offers support, (accept it with gratitude), spread your toes, and smile. spreadtoes

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Stage Three of Life: Strength, Flexibility, Surrender

handToday, I’m blessed to be celebrating another trip around the sun (my 56th!), this time as a widow, a mother of two fully grown sons–men–and as the joyful grandmother of a five-year-old grandson and a one-year-old granddaughter.

Stage three of life has been coming on slowly for a few years now and I admit I’ve been resistant to the idea that I am somehow now supposed to believe and say things like, “I am sooo old” like the posts I see on social media from folks who are 40, 30, and even younger.

 

 

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Nearer by C.S. Lewis

If you want to get warm you must stand near the fire: if you want to be wet you must get into the water. If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them.”

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Spring Day

As if this were any normal spring day
filled with gravity-defying,
alabaster bumble bees;
Her odds and ends
and leftover pieces of soap—
Lavender, mint
Lemon and ivory.

She says–
Let’s take a walk
down the road
through the woods,
past the rolling pastures, cattle;
to where the gravel road ends
and the pavement begins–
far away and close to home.

She holds me there
threading her needle,
the warm crackle of her voice,
the constant invisible motion
of her behind me,
as I stand at the kitchen sink
stroking the fuzzy red geraniums
stirring the peppery green air.

 

 

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Always We Begin Again

DogwoodPARAMOUNT GOALS from Always We Begin Again by John McQuiston II

What is wanted is not that we should find ultimate truth,
nor that we should become secure,
nor that we should have ease,
nor that we should be without hurt,
but that we should live fully.

Therefore we should not fear life,
nor anything in life,
We should not fear death,
nor anything in death,
We should live our lives in love with life.
It is for us to train our hearts to live in grace,
to sacrifice our self-centered desires,
to find the peace without want without seeking it for ourselves,
and when we fail,
to begin again each day.

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