Thirteen Crows

Mom's Iris.jpg

Why do thirteen crows,
lifted high above my head,
circle round and cry out,
then proceed southwest to a
grey bank of clouds
hiding our late spring sunset?

Why do more follow, then more,
until they number
twenty one in count,
wings dip and lift
along their way
to the place of their final arrival?

What I think is the last
to bring up the rear,
this loner does gyre once more,
does she call for me
to join in dance, no…
another circumscribes
to lead them away,
his job to assure full assemblage?

In the midst of lawn mowing and
basketball thumps,
sky turns back to its stillness,
and why do I remember
to retreat to my purpose,
not fleet of wing
but solid surefooted,
mom’s iris in hand,
lone survivors of hail,
to find the vase
of their vestige?

Author’s note:

I was charged with the quest to ask questions.

At first I wasn’t aware of my questions. I was to think back to childhood and find the question that has woven itself through time. Why am I not aware one?

As a child, an only one, I played by myself, with a constant, one-sided conversation. I had no one to talk with but myself. Was it a flow of words instead of a question?

I was a good girl. I never questioned. There was no need. What little I asked for, I received. If I didn’t, I went on my way. I never remember an anger or pout for not getting what I requested. Did I ever ask why or why not?

After some thought, I begin to remember where questions did place themselves, as I listened in church. Ah, yes. These questions have always been with me.

Why is God so mean to make his son suffer on the crucifix like that?
Why can’t women be priests?
Why can’t I crown Mary instead of the daughters of the people who are on the “ins” with the priest?
Why are nuns so mean?
Why did the priest try to molest my grandmother?
Why are priests molesting children?
Why are women not equal to men if we are all made in the image of God?
Why…

It was only until a few years ago approaching my sixtieth year, I finally acknowledged these questions and answered them. Study after study, book after book, I finally found a small group who helped me.

The answers are within, not without. Look there, there is God.

And I walked away from organization realizing I had to believe their creeds, not God’s, but theirs, if I wanted to belong, and I couldn’t any longer.

I walked into nature, what little there is where I live, but more than I imagined. I journeyed and found tribe. I rattle and drum, sing and chant, and listen. Oh, mostly listen.

I found meditation and quieted my mind, well, I try.

And there it was, not God as he is defined in the world I left, but Spirit in all, especially me. Because I was made in love, all of us are. There is nothing to be saved from, nothing to prove. And brokenness comes from not being able or not wanting to know the light inside, deep inside where Spirit resides in all.

And the loneliness I once felt sitting by myself in an ornate building with white words from only men to enlighten, has melted into stream, and lifted up through branches reaching skyward, and found companionship in the eyes of a doggie who prompts, “Let’s go, mom, there’s sniffin’ to do!”

And the crows and the iris and the basketball and the lawnmower speak Spirit and oneness, duality erased, and that quiet whisper I now hear helps me know we are all are One, all will be well.

Amen. Amen. Amen.

“In this vision he showed me a little thing,
the size of a hazelnut, and it
was round as a ball. I looked at it with the
eye of my understanding and
thought “What may this be?” And it was
generally answered thus: “It is all that is
made.” I marveled how it might last, for it
seemed it might suddenly have
sunk into nothing because of its littleness.
And I was answered in my
understanding: “It lasts and ever shall,
because God loves it.”

Julian of Norwich,

from Revelations of Divine Love,
the first published book
in the English language
to be written by a woman. (1395)

Foibles

Tinder leaf mosaic spreads itself in the fall of day
across the deck. A few green locust leaves spackle
the pattern.

It is almost autumn after a summer too quickly
lived. The deck once unblemished as my father swept
away the confusion, now crackles under my step.

Before it was an old man’s complaint of disorder
at each juncture leaving nothing behind but bare
wood. I never understood.

This first summer after his departure, there is
no one to clean away the chaos. His only
child, I am not like him.

Low hanging branches tap me as I cross
their path, a comfort. He always trimmed
them short, out of everyone’s way.

His lawn groomed for a major league outfielder,
mine a home to rabbits. No place for perfect ball
this season.

I was the daughter he raised, but left a woman.
This autumn I release the guilt of missed perfections
and give myself permission to fail.

I allow nature’s foibles to entertain me, delight me
me with its eccentricities, and paint my days
in luscious amusement.

.

.

.

Author’s Note:

My father passed away in January at the age of 94. I didn’t realize until we moved him in with us around twelve years ago that he suffered from OCD. I would come home to kitchen draws perfectly arranged with space between each utensil. He was always sweeping the deck. I didn’t realize it. He must have done it every day because all I ever saw was a spotless deck and could never understood why he complained so.

Now that he is gone, I am finding that I tried to be perfect in everything to please him. I wasn’t, neither was my mom. I realize I can now relax and let go of this need to please him. I miss him dearly, but am finding my new way of looking at myself and the world a gift that only death could bring.