turn of the crew

We hear them a-honk downwind
before seeing their disarray
as if group will trumped instinct

and yet, their intent is clear
as they circle in ragged clusters,
change course, and finally

plant themselves in the far field
among severed stalks of cropped corn.
We hear them mutter, settle

and by the time we reach them
find an installation of identity
each neck standard height above stubble

each head turned, statue still, facing west
and our oncoming steps. Even
though I know what will ensue,

I am unprepared for the flap of wings
roaring them, lifted as one,
back to their southbound flight.

swb

gifts of this week

A wide-winged monarch skimming over head along my bike ride

A young fox cavorting in the early dusk meadow

A hummingbird hovering at eye level with me for prolonged moments

A spirit bear of Lake Champlain stone washed to my feet during my morning walk

A lingering sunset turning from soft pink to fuchsia to deep peach across the hour

A peach tree laden with ripening rosy fruit, after a decade without

Row upon row of leafing sprouts just two weeks post-sowing

A hunting hawk winging on the updraft of an August afternoon

Abundant blueberries again and again

A lunch with my children en route to vacation

two sistersMy sister safely moved and settled into her new home

A cool river breeze covering me with a night’s deep sleep

sunday reflection

Status

clouds reflected in pondSummer hasn’t quite yet started for me. Or rather, it’s started and moved in fits and bits. Not just heat settling and then dissipating. Events, too. Weddings. Retreats. Reunions. Helping family move. Planning the launch for the book of writings from the incarcerated women we work with. Acclimating the new rescue kitty (OK, she’s three but so t-i-n-y at 7 pounds she looks and feels like a kitty), reassuring the resident rescue dog. Oh, and did I mention writing . . . ?

By next week (my calendar assures me) I’ll ‘be on vacation.’ Meaning, I hope, writing more. Lots, in fact. But between now and then, let this small token suffice:

Retreat Reflection

You pass through me
breeze and breath, sorrow and joy
the rippled lilt of the mirroring pond.

You grow in me
grafting roots, limbs, the whole
living tree of us reaching toward light.

You live in me
your words the bread of our communion
your laughter the wine that lifts my spirits.

swb

end of re-treat

a moment of quiet reflectionAnd treat it has been – over and over and over again – silence, community, perfect July weather, abundant fresh food, laughter, self-care, tears, hands and hugs, power words, poems, laments, songs, skinny dipping . . .

As we gather our things to go our separate ways, to re-enter that other world we usually think of as ‘real’, it is my hope as facilitator that we each will take with us the memory of all this treating and re-treating of self, will take it seriously as a possible (and desirable) way of life. To treat our Selves as if we matter – which we do – even if/when we fail to act that way.

And so I offer you from this magical place and time a poem which emerged from one of our mirroring themes – hunger. And please share your comments, your own experiences of inner hunger, ways in which my words resonate (or do not!) with you.

Feeding our Hungers on Retreat

What shall we find in this place,
where hunger is banished at the first sip
of fragrant chai, cumin and garlic

transporting us to the Greek Isle
of our tastebuds; where the music
of bees buzzing in milkweed dances us

dizzyingly downhill, children curious
as we cavort through meadows
strewn with words, our hands clasped

across our lives. How shall we shelter
one another in our vulnerable vessel
of shadow and light, the ones we bring

forth from need and its filling? There are no words
for the hours that have flown, the breeze that has lifted
our veils to reveal our true hungers, fed in the sharing

of both bread and soul, communion’s sweet wine
lingering on our lips as we chant and sing
our rivers of words in passing harmonies.

 swb

moose lessons

Moose stranded in trees by the lake

Photo – Jim Hester

See the yearling standing there, trying to decide whether he’s between a rock and a hard place or just between the devil and the deep cold waters of Lake Champlain? A week ago he made local history by leading truckloads of Fish and Wildlife employees on a wild moose chase. They were trying to chase him back into the woods. Which is where he was until he leaped across the road right smack in front of my car, with them in hot pursuit. The end of the tale being, he led them to a shed housing several dozen plants of marijuana. Busted by a moose on the loose! Only in Vermont.

Look again at the photo, taken one week later. Poor thing was run ragged by the earnest fatigue-wearing men waving their arms to encourage the yearling back into the woods. Seems he backed himself right up to the lake and doesn’t realize he has an out. But he also doesn’t have either his solitude or his mate, who apparently is lolling about in a backyard less than a mile south on the same lake shore while he has become something of a local celeb, starving under trees that could feed him and mere feet from the largest dish of water imagineable. Continue reading