Ordinary Days : a letter to my future self

light behind the storm clouds
Dear You,
Remember that rainy September day?
The cloud-filled sky and the freedom
from the sun’s tyranny?
No need to finish up summer today.

You gave yourself permission
to bake bread and make
a long slow simmering stew,
pore over knitting patterns
and write a poem to the future you.

You wanted to write in longhand
(not that there’s anything wrong with Pages or Word
or an online thesaurus)
but a letter deserves a pen.
There was that old found notebook and
There was your old found self in the pages.

Gardens you have planted — elsewhere.
Prayers that have been answered — somewhere.
Wisps of words you loved — written there.
Lists of books to read that now,
here in the present future,
were read in the long ago past.

And there was that quote from Chesterton
about the best book he never wrote…
You’ve written yours.
Begun in one life, finished in another.
It changed and grew with you
as you changed and grew.
Mais plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

Blue sky behind gray clouds
Have you been grateful for your two lives—
three or four, really if it comes to that—
Have you been grateful for the sameness of those lives—
the sky, the stars, the seasons, the circles, the cycles?
for that sameness enables us to see
the unpredictable unexpecteds
the extraordinary exquisiteness
the glorious graces
of those ordinary days
that make unordinary lives.


Like every book I never wrote, it is by far the best book I have ever written.
–G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man

Moments

Reblogging this from November 19th a couple of years ago…It’s just a reminder to count your blessings and give something to your local food pantry sometime soon…

Today I worked for the food bank from 8:45 to 2:15.

5 1/2 hours. 330 minutes. 19,800 seconds.

Plenty of moments to get a photograph.

But I didn’t.

I didn’t get a picture of the little boys singing and riding the rocking horse in the nursery.

I didn’t get a picture of two truckloads of food being unloaded.

I didn’t get a picture of volunteers packing food in boxes.

I didn’t get a picture of people waiting for their turn to get food.

I didn’t get a picture of the lady who broke down crying because Thanksgiving was so hard for her.

I didn’t get a picture of me praying with a woman who had just lost her grandson.

I didn’t get a picture of the ladies who got belligerent when they didn’t get commodity boxes because they made too much money.

I didn’t get a picture of the laid-off coal miner who said he’d never had to ask for help before, but his wife had just died of breast cancer, leaving him an out-of-work single dad with two kids under five.

Instead I got a bleak picture of poverty.

People just like you and me who have been handed a rough deal. Some are grateful for what they have; some are angry; some are barely dealing with it. They are vets, diabetics, seniors, men out-of-work because they hurt their back, women who were making it okay until they took in their son who lost his job and his girlfriend and her three kids. It goes on and on…

I was the intake person. The person who told them they made too much money to get a senior commodity box (for a household of two the line is drawn at $1,736 per month); the person with whom three people  cried; the person who heard the political diatribe about the (*&^% in Washington who don’t know how to run the government. The person who filled out the forms, did the paperwork, read them the rules, and wrote down their income. $350 disability + $369 in food stamps for a family of 7…

I got home at 2:30. Not glad that I had helped, but burdened with the cycle of poverty that I saw only a small glimpse of today.

My moments.

I have three clocks that tell me the moments. A green clock that matches my kitchen; a bird clock that chirps the hours; an expensive bedroom clock that shines the time and temperature on the ceiling…

And yesterday? I went grocery shopping for Thanksgiving. I went to two grocery stores and the beer store and mildly complained at how much everything cost. But my pantry is full; there are a few little extra luxuries for Thanksgiving dinner; and I still have some money left. I’m going to donate some of it to the food bank, and I suggest you do the same. To make someone else’s moments a little better.

 

and I’m grateful to have a full pantry and some money left over…

 

 

 

what i don’t want you to know

field of thistles

i could live without people,
a hermit on a lonely mountain
foraging in fields singing back to the birds
and whispering to the spiders spinning,
spilling hummingbird words that only i
have heard.

 

 

fuchsia flowers
i could be that crazy old lady in the falling-down house,
feeding ten feral cats
yelling at the children to scat from my yard,
but breathing sweet nothings to the riotous
fuchsia azaleas blooming in the hidden
garden.

 

 

 


i could be the wild-haired recluse in the book-filled garret,
smelling of old books and parchment
overflowing and piled high,
never leaving the house until all the heaps of paper are
crammed full of strands of words and the pens
run dry.