Almanac Questionnaire.end

Day Twenty Two
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Big Blue Bear

Sunday worship, a custom

child with hat and white gloves, black patent shoes
kneeling, hands folded, head bowed in supplication

guitars, women nearer the altar, kiss of peace

a pause, a long time gone

new words for old prayers, re-imaging Christ

no longer defined by Sunday or its tired formBigBlueBear

In reverence of Redwood architecture
joining air to earth to that which lies beneath
I stand in awe of your strength
pay homage to your constancy

Three minutes down the city banded
alleyway, a wall to halt my vagrancy,
you press me to change my viewpoint,
look up instead of down, past high rise windows
my eyes ascend to glimpse a peek of sky where
buildings join air to earth
to that which lies beneath
In observance I discover
You are also here

Outside my glazed glass frame
a tree bows in reverence under snow,
crow, owl and squirrel, bees and spiders
await their spring ritual
Tree, oh Tree, you brush my face
in morning hello
tap my window in icy storm
wear that which I cannot control,
innocent release to what Is,
you welcome me to journey
enraptured I bow to You

Lilacs, lavender, iris
purple flora scenting air
fill my lungs with song
I chant Your being

In weep of rain,
I receive your indulgence
wash away quotidian dust
rain, oh, rain
a baptism of comfort issued
Your lullaby and caress

I fear of being homeless,
without a house to cover my form.
But You are home within my being,
a house not of cards to collapse
with slightest breath
but Spirit filled dwelling
where I rest and cry, sleep and love,
You place yourself within
to walk with me in holy sanctuary
all the days of my life

Leo was there to welcome him home,
a scrap from a letter, condolences from Pam
angel doggie card in remembrance of Bremen
canidae, anubis, golden wolf,
protector of graves and cemeteries
I celebrate your unwavering devotion
Dog and God

Magdalene, a most notable person,
not whore who washed his feet,
that image only for those who boast
of saving souls, condemning sinners,
I know you as woman of understanding
the one who saw, the one who loved
the one who believed
I praise your grace

I am not the Big Blue Bear
peering into the great glass cave
hoping to be welcomed into
a walled-in temple, a postcard
perfect invitation to entice me
into a rigid model of salvation,
I choose to step aside,
turn around to join those in dance
under clear blue sky, each a unique
expression of You reveling in
your liturgy welcoming to all,
your holy sacrament to make us One

There is no conspiracy to
make me think I am Beloved,
I am
It is maitri,
through my bewilderment,
I find compassion
In disorientation, harmony,
with my befuddlement,
I am re-written, turned,
and in gratitude I accept me
I am Yours eternally

 

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Author’s Note:

Click for how this poem came to be!

What I’ve used to create this piece:
Almanac Questionnaire
Weather: rain
Flora: lilacs, lavender, iris
Architecture: Redwoods
Customs: Sunday Worship
Mammals/reptiles/fish:
Childhood dream:
Found on the Street:
Export:
Graffiti:
Lover:
Conspiracy: not being beloved
Dress:
Hometown memory:
Notable person: Mary Magdalene
Outside your window, you find: my Tree
Today’s news headline:
Scrap from a letter: Condolence card for Bremen from Pam
Animal from a myth:
Story read to children at night:
You walk three minutes down an alley and you find: Wall
You walk to the border and hear:
What you fear: Being houseless
Picture on your city’s postcard: Big Blue Bear

Music

 

 

 

“music despite everything”

 

when she died they showed
us her photo, just in case
we didn’t remember

crooked pigtails atop her head
not quite even, and never bows

a scratchy voice through a crooked smile
shouted down the hall

feet tromped crashing
her entrance into quiet study rooms

her laugh, oh, her boisterous belly laugh
that only sings in memory

 

“music despite everything”

 

the batter’s up
the crack and soar
the roar
no longer plays through our house

an empty chair
two ball caps side by side
one for yard work, one for dress
no longer a head to wear them

Girlie, don’t forget to…
I always was, will always be his girlie

 

“music despite everything”

 

silent snownight
coyote chortle
morning bird song
seasons pass as I rise,
my God and my all

“music despite everything”

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Author’s Note:

Today was a deep breath in a week that needed a cleansing.

Stephanie Dunlap led a group of us at A Church of the Holy Family,  in a safe and powerful writing retreat. Thank you so very much, Stephanie.

Through quick writes and sharing we grew through the morning, freeing our voices, and sharing our stories.

The prompt that spoke to me – music despite everything –  was from a line in A Brief for the Defense, a poem by Jack Gilbert.

I am continually grateful to have opportunities that gently lead me to explore my life through writing. And today I found a place to include my mantram from St. Francis of Assisi’s prayer – My God and my all.

With much heartfelt peace for this day of wonder,

Lexanne

 

P.S.

We ended with another prompt that caught my heart. Write a letter to God.

Holy One,

I give to you all I am
that which has always
been Yours

I surrender
to the dark unknown
and open my
heart

I place my hand
in Your open palm,
I need no other

With reverence for all,
beings who talk and sing,
crawlers and fliers,
swimmers and those
who simply are

I trust,
no longer forging my way,
in gratitude
I rest, I rest, I rest in You

 

 

Lady Wisdom

Bridge-Bond-Monuments-Places-Fog-Golden-Gate-Pacif-7748The fog is anxious

but the clearing,

slow may it be,

much patience required,

the opening ravishes.

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Author’s Note:

The first time I visited San Francisco, we walked the city. We didn’t rent a car but used public transportation. Our first morning out, we took the bus to the bridge.

It was foggy. Just fog and the roar of traffic.

At the visitor center, we asked where the bridge was. From behind the counter came a point to the picture window, “It’s right there.”

My husband and I looked at one another and shrugged.

“Just take the steps up.” The finger returned to the newspaper on the counter turning to the next page.

And an afterthought, “Watch out for traffic. And just keep walking.”

So we walked up the steps and the traffic noise grew, surged through the fog without showing itself.

As we continued, we began to see ghost cars melting into grey. There was one lone figure ahead of us on the wide sidewalk with just enough clarity to make out his form. As we approached, he stopped. The three of us saw only the faintest outline of the bridge, a picture frame flat and almost nondescript.

When we reached him, he turned and handed us his camera. We obliged. He reclaimed it, bowed slightly, and began to walk back to the steps. We shared what we were told: just keep walking. He hesitated and without a reply disappeared down the steps into the soup.

We looked at one another and just continued walking.

It wasn’t long. Rather quickly, as a matter of fact, that as we passed under the first arch we could see the fog clearing. We kept walking. Cars became sharper to match the bluster. I could now see across the traffic to the opposite side of the bridge opening to the ocean and began to distinguish waves roaring in harmony with the rush hour madness.

My husband tapped me on the shoulder in our pause. He whispered, “Turn around.”

There it was, the city of San Francisco, the bay, and the bridge with the fog falling away, candy-colored in the bright morning sun.

Wisdom is there, always.

She waits for me to simply listen, press on in the present moment. There I will meet her.

If I release my worry, my need for control, my fear. If I sit with my choices and understand they are past done, I see her opening the door for me to make new choices to live the life I’ve been given.

I can choose to continue on, or turn back.

I choose Lady Wisdom.
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And More:

Thank you, Scott Jenkins, for Celtic Conversations this past year at a Church of the Holy Family, ECC. I have grown and changed and learned to release. You’ve given us time to rest and question in a place of safety filled with compassion. Thank you, Padre.

A bit of synchronicity for this week. Our Celtic Conversations and the Lectionary Readings for Sunday, October 11, 2015, from the USCCB.org:

Reading 1 WIS 7:7-11

Reading 2 HEB 4:12-13

San Francisco Bay Bridge Photo courtesy of: Bridge-Bond-Monuments-Places-Fog-Golden-Gate-Pacif-7748

Autumn Arousal

The backdoor yawns its welcome12032974_10206434285127882_7672187241716231946_n
as your paws slip and slide
on wooden floors, you a courier of
locust leaves, golden, mossy green, and crisp.

A fragile baptism peppers the deck,
each shake of limb in autumn wind
arouses flutter bottomward.

I sweep away once more.
Relentlessly they perfect their purpose,
celebrate Your passion.
If all would drop at once
I could keep it at bay, rather,

I release to Your miraculous pattern,
a shift and rare array with each
pad across the porch.

I sit in wonder, not grab
for dominion, You honor
me with grace at each turn,
relinquish marvel in every Breath.

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Author’s Note:

From the Sunday lectionary, September 20, 2015 –  Lectio Divina

Psalm 54: 6, The Message

I’m ready now to worship, so ready.
I thank you, God—you’re so good.

Night Owl

Cara turned left into the back entrance of the subdivision. Her usual route home after meditation class allowed her to slip almost unnoticed among the neighbors who didn’t understand the need for silence.

It was late March and the sun was setting just a bit later, leaving the sky draped in a deep violet gauze that didn’t allow for clean outlines or crystal colors. Just muted hues and suggestions of shapes filled her vision.

The full moon would rise later in the evening and would clear everything up. She would lay in her bed bathed in the glow through the clear arch above her curtained bedroom windows. It was yet still too cold to crack them open welcoming the sounds of the night circus. Cara would have to be satisfied with only Luna setting her halo first on her face. Then moving down her arms and over her husband’s hips, finally slipping over the edge of the bed and onto the floor.

But that was for later. Cara took a deep breath. She did crack open the window of her car on her way home. After meditation it seemed as though she couldn’t breathe deeply enough to fill her lungs. It was as if her body relaxed and opened so wide there was enough room to inhale all the air ever allowed for all living beings.

It caught her eye immediately, but as quickly as her brain asked why a bird with such a large wingspan would be flying so late into the evening, it answered immediately, “Owl, silly.”

Cara watch the wings blur across her windshield then swoop down to the sidewalk almost landing. Almost. Then immediately arching up and away from her.

Drawing her eyes back to the road in front of her, she made a cursory stop at the sign. A right turn would take her home to the mouth of her suburban castle. Gliding inside safely, the portal door would roll down to protect her from unknown beasts of the night. But she didn’t turn right.

She turned left. Moving away from the streetlight, her eyes adjusted to the hazy browns and tans of the late winter. A small tree, leafless, guarded the shape. Cara smiled. The shape bloomed as she moved past. With it’s back turned towards her, the image took its form.

Two pointy ears topped a body perched on the edge of a wooden fence. The great horned ignored the lights of Cara’s car. She understood his pretense. He ignored her demanding even more attention from her.

Cara continued down the street until there was room for a u-turn. Pickup trucks and SUVs lined both sides of the road. It always surprised her how many vehicles were needed for each family in her neighborhood. Every teen demanded his or her own. Mom needed one and Dad, too. Then weekend projects called for something big enough for hauling. And soon, with the summer exodus, the boats and RVs would make their appearances. Revving motors and country music blaring from open car doors was the neighborhood concert series to which Cara never bought tickets.

The neighbors shook their heads at her hybrid when they saw her passing. It made her feel good that they never heard her coming.

Just as Cara returned to the scene, the owl lifted off the fence and made a graceful but accelerated curve directly towards her. Again, a swoop down to the ground and then up over her car and into the now blackened night.

Cara smiled, again. She had once been advised by an owl during a difficult situation in a forested area to leave those woods, and the people, and never return. She took its presage and left. It was a good thing.

As she readied for bed later in the evening, she examined her past days. It was a suggestion made in a quick text message from her friend. C.J., a wise woman who lived in Bellingham, WA and prescribed herbs and totems for cures, said silence was the key. The wisdom of the owl was to sit and to discover the dishonesty of someone near. Many in the south see death in the calling of the owl. Others take it a step further and say an owl is a sign of rebirth.

Cara pulled on her satin pjs. She loved that she could slide and turn over without a fuss under the covers. She relaxed in the softness and silky wrapping around her body and waited.

Luna peeked above the arch. A thin veil of clouds moved across the face of the moon as if a hag racing home had dropped her shawl swirling it across the sky. Within minutes the clouds fell away and Cara closed her eyes to the glare. Her husband once burned his iris looking too long through his telescope at a new moon. She heeded that warning, too. She could still see the bright light through her eyelids. Soon it moved from her face, just like she knew it would. Down her arms making the satin shimmer. Aware of Jake’s rhythmic breathing, she held her breath.

Would she hear them, too, this night? It would be perfect.

Cara grew up in the city. The suburban life called when her father became too old to care for himself and the need to be close to work and home demanded a move. In the old city house, and even in her childhood home, Cara could lay awake at night and hear the trains. It was a soothing sound. As a child she was close enough to hear the clicking on the tracks. Later, when she and Jake slept in the basement of the tiny 1920’s bungalow with the rich soil and three sister’s garden, she could hear the drone of the coal cars. It would lull her to sleep.

But here in the burbs she never found the night sounds as satisfying. They lessened as the cars returned from the movies or basketball games. The late night skateboarder rolling and clicking down the middle of the street and the pick up roaring to a stop blocks away punctuated the night as lights clicked off and bedroom windows closed their eyes.

Cara listened. The first time she heard them, she was alone in the bedroom, Jake being away at a rehearsal. The windows were wide open, so it must have been summer. Dogs were barking and she could hear muted laughter coming from a backyard party somewhere close.

When the first sound came it was solitary. She thought it was a young child crying, or maybe a cat in heat. But the dogs stopped barking. Soon she heard it again. One. Then two. And a chorus. She would later describe it to Jake as a sort of a chortle. “Coyotes,” was his reply.

The coyotes visited all summer long that year. Many times she heard a screeching of a cat and wondered if they could be that close and that hungry. Cara would wait in bed with the windows wide open, again holding her breath, when she heard them. It made her sad to think of the bunnies, and maybe the cats, that would be the evening’s repast. But there was a wildness in Cara that longed to join the coyotes.

Cara’s eyes closed as Luna rose and curved out of view. The room darkened and she couldn’t stay awake any longer. If the coyotes did come, they would be silent visitors to Cara. But she knew they would. Someday. Just not tonight.

As her mantram floated into her head, she pushed the image of the owl out. It was time for the deep night to pass. Cara knew that before her alarm would call out a new day’s business, even with the widows closed, she would soon be gently nudged by the first birdsong of the day as the sun glowed apricot and creamsicle kissing the horizon.

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Author’s Note:

It was almost a year ago to the day I wrote this. I’m not sure why I never posted it.

This month I am taking part in a project on Facebook. It is called
Earth Magic – Creativity Challenges 2015- The Owl. I collect owls.

The group uses Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way and delves into one chapter each month. This is my first month with the group and the chapter title is Recovering A Sense of Identity.

Again, as my recent journey has shown me, I find myself being handed exactly what I need. My sense of creativity and who I am is exploding this year. With my chosen word of “release” for the year, I am finding a richness and passionate creativity in myself I have never known. Or, rather should I say, have never acknowledged in myself.

I am preparing a monologue called The Magdalene to perform at the end of April based on work I’ve done studying the Gospels of John and Mary. I am learning to create prayer collages through a course taught by Joanna Powell Colbert. I am beginning to take piano lessons. I continue my Passage Meditation practice. I am collaborating with my pastor, Fr. Scott Jenkins from A Church of the Holy Family ECC, in designing space and writing liturgy for our monthly Celtic Mass celebrations. Even though I’ve never considered myself a singer, I recently recorded with Stefan Andre Waligur and Marcy Baruch a new CD of Celtic Kirtan chants that will be available very soon.  And I hope to have my first book of poetry out at the end of this year.

Did I mention I will be turning 59 in May? My ninety-five year old father just passed through the veil a month ago. He lived with us these last nine years. I am an only child and am finding a new freedom and joy and passion in living. Sometimes it takes longer for some of us to land here.

And the shift began with an owl on my way home from my mediation class almost a year ago.

Contain

Snow woke us from our slumber,
open windows to a clement January eve,
more arrived beyond the foretold flurry.

We cannot contain you in prediction
or in fact, no matter our persistence.

MotherFather, Elder Brother, Sister Bride,
you are Wild in our self,
much bigger than we plainly hold.

You do not reside in books or buildings,
altar tables, cups,
images hung encrusted in gold,
flowing robes of rules.

Those, our inventions, constructed to explain.
We compose to console
but only for the privileged who agree.

MotherFather, Elder Brother, Sister Bride
You are bigger than what we may design.

Within myself, cathedral, forest glen,
Infinitity, there you reside,
MotherFather, Elder Brother, Sister Bride.

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Author’s Note:

Welcoming Brigid into my home this feast day. Acknowledging the space she can hold as Wisdom and Spirit in theThree in One. Oh, this may ruffle some feathers. But as Sophia, Brigid, also speaks to inspire us to wisdom and enlighten us to the Eternal.

And, on a different note of silliness, today two friends of mine, Michael and Kynan, responded on Facebook to our unexpected storm and made me chuckle. Our weather people this year have not been lucky in predicting the weather. We were only suppose to have a very “light flurry.”

The inspiration for my poem is Brigid’s and my friends’ honest response to our snow:

  • Kynan: One man’s flurry is another man’s winter blizzard Juno.
  • Michael:  It flurried on my happy ass last night, I had fallen asleep reading and was awoken by the snow blasting in the window I left open….