Posts Tagged ‘be here now’



Just a few steps from the house

I find a place to sit on a rock

and wait for the trill of the red wing blackbird.


I have waited twenty years to hear it here

in my back yard full of water and willows

and quiet. All day, though intermittent, I’ve heard it.


Funny how much I enjoy the waiting tonight—

perhaps because I know that eventually

the bright call will come. It is, perhaps, like a girl,


waiting through her first date for her first kiss—

she’s pretty sure it will happen, and now, after

years of waiting, she suddenly has


all the time in the world. In fact, the waiting

is delicious—like champagne, dry, with tiny bubbles.

Like summer’s first raspberries—a little too tart,


and yet sweet enough to eat another and another.

I sit in the goldening world and wait and wait.

I listen to the jays as they squawk and the warbler’s


sharp chirp. The wind teases my hair and I wait

until I forget I am waiting, simply noticing the world.

By the time I hear the familiar trill, it greets me


like the old friend it is, then it’s silent again.

The way the sun seems most lovely just before it’s gone,

that’s how the silence holds me.

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Even as the snow was falling,

the birds in the branches

kept singing into morning,

easing their bright notes

into the thin gray spaces

between snowflakes.


There are days, imagine,

when the birds go unheard.

And it isn’t for lack of song—

the single note chirp

of sparrow, the bass of raven,

the chickadee’s hey swee-tee.


Some gifts come only

when we stay in one place,

come only when we are alone,

come only when we stop praying

to be somewhere else and instead

pray to be here.







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The patient says, “Doctor, it hurts when I do this.” “Then don’t do that!”
—Henny Youngman

All night I wait for the train whistle,
the way it calls out to the world,
You are here. It doesn’t mock, exactly,

but we all know that the train whistles
because it is leaving, heading somewhere else,
not here. It can be so hard to be here.

To be here and nowhere else. To not put ourselves
on the imaginary train, wherever it is going. To sit
with the sound of traffic, with the string of red lights

that eventually turn green. And red again.
To be here with our longing, here with our
shame, our loss, our hair turning gray.

The click of the sprinkler lays a rhythmic line,
and all the night’s whirs and whines and hums
scrape against its ticking. What is it about the gap

of the missing whistle that stirs me, so?
Oh expectation. One more layer to slough.
It is like the Henny Youngman line, in which we touch

what is sore, again and again, just to be sure it still hurts.
And the train does not come, and the train does not come.
The night air, warm enough to wear nothing,

carries the scent of something nearby, familiar,
floral and sweet. Part of me longs to slip into memory
to find the scent, know it and name it this,

and part of me notices the one
who would travel back in time to know the present.
It climbs into the fragrance, meets the night as it is.

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Most people have had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
—Bronnie Ware, Top Five Regrets of the Dying

Three inches of chicken feathers
fell overnight, and my son,
still dressed in blue striped pajamas,

went scampering out
to move snow. We moved
snow for an hour. Two hours?

We moved snow from one place
to another. We moved snow
and moved more snow.

Whose dream is that?
To move snow? But between
the stripes of asphalt and white

the morning filled in
with the richest laughter.
No reason to laugh except

we were shoveling and the snow
was light and the sky was gray
and it looked, hallelujah,

as if it might snow some more
so that we could keep moving
together outside, warm

and breathless and choosing
to shovel, to move piles of snow
joyfully from one place to another.

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