A Winter’s Retreat

Night Watchman
There is snow outside my window this time.
Gone is the green grass, the cosmos, the humming bird.
I will not hear summer-free revelers in the valley this night.
Might the scavenger bear return for a heady dumpster snack?
Quiet settles, as one by one, 
those searching for the Holy,
wander from the fire 
towards a deep and welcomed sleep.
But not I.
To the night watchman
this gentle slumber does not beckon.
Diminished lights guide me through deserted halls.
I rest in the transient drone of coal trains 
cradling me in mournful sighs,
reminding me of home.
Will I still be awake at the first glimmer of dawn
catching the snow’s smile?
Will the expected mule deer greet me stock-still,
my eyes meeting theirs through the window of my cozy cell
cranked wide to the chill of the winter morn?
I, as night watchman, will fashion a new identity
through the words of the Holies,
in a mantra sculpted with simplicity.
The poet and the spirit align with the Holy One,
and I, a night watchman, breathe deeply in their presence,
learning to trust, making a new home.

Morning Glory
Glory to You this day.
Your crescent moon takes its place
in the twelfth square of my tiny window.
Glory to your tipped up smile
offering me a gentle beginning,
assurance you are always with me.
Glory to wings threshing the morning air,
lifting into flight a body seemingly too large to soar
without strings dropping
from your fingers through the firmament.
Glory to your loving eye
blazing above the hill,
anointing the land with the
light of your grace.
Good morning.
The day is new,
the path is lit.
Glory to You and
blessed am I.

Author’s Note:

I am always delighted with the Jesuits at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Retreat House in Sedalia, Colorado. Well, I always delight in the words of most Jesuits, but those at the house are special. For some reason they always know what to say and how to say it. As a writer, artist, and one who appreciates a well-rounded education and a healthy respect for other religions, I seem to be in tune with the Jesuit.

This weekend’s silent retreat introduced me to Fr. Vince Hovley, S.J. and he is a delight. Poetry, architecture, art, film, stained glass, and great writers such as Annie Dillard, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Stanley Kunitz, not to mention the amazing words and design of the Gospel of John, inspired me all weekend.
I am never rested when I return from these retreats. My brain fills up and processing, writing, and planning bring me home exhausted. This weekend was no exception.

The grounds are lovely, the silence is greatly welcomed, and the food is yummy! There were no deer or rabbits to be seen, as there have been in the past. Nor did I hear the dumpster bear. But this weekend’s gifts were two glorious sunrises, the birds, and a glimpse of an owl. The photos below were taken from the window of my room. It’s a wonderful place to rediscover God’s love. 

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