Partial shot of cedar grove
This being on vacation is creating havoc with my attempts at regular posting!! And so Sunday rolls ’round again, and my thoughts turn to one of the most peaceful spots I’ve discovered in my Westport, MA neighborhood. A place I’ve named . . .
TEMPLE AT CEDAR GROVE*
You know it’s a temple by the hush
beneath the tattered canopy of ancient cedars,
their flaky barked trunks twisting
entwined, a dance of age and truth
leaning, swaying, bowing, praying
for the survival of each, of all
in this communal hall, each snaking
tree coiled up, around, grounded
on the brink where tides whittle bank
and winds erode limbs; yet
standing still, swayed to the tune
of eons, they gather, invite
the seeker to sit on stone slabs
solid on grass, to savor both stillness
and wisdom writ wider
than the splendor of this sacred space.
*First published in Into the Great Blue: Meditations of Summer, Finishing Line Press, August 2011.
Ahead of swimmers and breakfast,
slip silently through morning waters
stroke forward, glide, repeat
floating free from routine constraints,
giving up and in to the lulling roll,
the rhythms of the sea.
Sitting on a large flat rock
that overhangs pond water –
an invitation to perch,
plunge, ponder how grounded
I feel, butt to stone, feet
before me solid at the edge
of still water ruffled
by occasional breeze riffling
chirped morning trills, cheeps
and distant crowing of awake.
A stillness hangs in the warmth,
air barely astir tho abuzz with bee,
fly, hornet and gnat. I walked
through spider thread, ranging hens,
still settling-down honeybees
re-trusting their hive post-black-bear.
Calm settles through me,
at one with air, at peace.
Each hour I let go more; each
thing left I honor and release.
Solitude of Soul, Lorado Taft – Courtesy of Johntb17 at the English language Wikipedia
“Women from ancient times . . . set a sacred place aside for communion and inquiry, at the full moon cycle, into the state of one’s being . . . In such a state of solitude we ask what needs less? what needs more? If we establish a regular practice of intentional solitude, we invite a conversation between ourselves and the wild soul. . . for us to ask questions, and for the soul to advise.”
“Long ago the word alone was treated as two words, all one. To be all one meant to be wholly one, to be in oneness, either essentially or temporarily. That is precisely the goal of solitude, to be all one. It is the cure for the frazzled state so common to modern women . . .”
THANK YOU, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, for your timeless wisdom contained in the story Sealskin, Soulskin in the collection, Women Who Run with the Wolves. This is our theme for the weekend.
Last week was one of my favorite weeks of summer: five days spent with young women in grades 8 – 12 at “Writing Camp for (a) Change!” During those days, we challenge one another, learn from one another, support and encourage one another. Girls and adult facilitators alike.
A favorite exercise this week was personifying Patience and Impatience; and having pairs create a scenario in which patience/impatience meet and work something through together. Another prompt of the day was writing about an experience of patience, inspired by Kay Ryan’s poem of the same name. This is what came to me in the first fast-write of the day:
a landscape of inclusion –
you, me, wide
and sustainable –
a ribbon of waiting
that winds toward the finish
bearing fruits and gifts
a feast of color
hard work and insight
harvesting a solid life
from far and near.