White Prayer

In this, the third week enduring a polar vortex, I retreat from winter’s cruel bitter cold, which is a turn towards home, for body and spirit. I joyfully follow the open way to the inner mysteries that warm and sweeten one’s soul. A mind’s haunting howl is hushed when its wrapped in winter’s white shawl.

The one white that covers the landscape, inside and out, softens the pointy places that poke holes in my peace. Beneath the layers and layers of heavy cold and clothes, I search for something to raise my heart above the worries of this world. I feel the lightness of wonder watching the snowflakes sift and drift through the sky’s blue like dreams in a deep sound sleep.

I am blanketed in the warmth of winter’s prayer, to trust Creator will give me strength and endurance to face everything that hurts, everything that makes me turn away, everything that tries to blur the beauty of winter, even a polar vortex.

Faces of Love

Earthly love often wears a mask of desire.
A want to gain possession of someone or something.
Denied, desire mistaken for love turns ugly.
Behind its mask hides hate.

In the Spirit of Divine love,
souls take the sorrows of the world,
fearful feelings and give comfort.

Love does not demand you believe as I believe.
It dissolves the illusion that different beliefs create division.
Love demands tolerance and compassionate understanding.

Love never takes.
Never ever— ever— ever!
Without thoughts of recognition or reward,
Love gives and gives and gives.

Divine love doesn’t hide.
It’s in our face.
Ever present,
unmasked and unafraid.

We deny the world of its beauty.
Can reality mirror an image of love?
Look in the eye’s of humanity and tell me what you see.
I see the soul’s light.     
I see the face of love.

Between Skins

Garter Snake left something behind,

a lacy sleeve

of his diamond design.

Soft and fragile,

thin as a whisper.

He breached restriction,

peeled it away.

hooked by the log

inside out and in one piece

the tissue print laid.

Trusting each twist, every turn

Surrendered to the struggle.

I wonder how that feels

to wholly leave behind

all that will not grow with you.

Wet flesh of newborn knowledge

understanding’s tender spiral.

Shedding is both

quiet and beautiful,

skin and tears alike.

Garter Snake and I

both have reached this place

where we can be

stretched no further—

stretched no further.

I looked for him

among dead leaves

and smooth grass.

Perhaps he sought refuge

under dark undergrowth.

Restless as the forces of creativity

Garter Snake can’t be held still

or tight for long.

When stirred hidden passion glows

like embers buried in ash.

In this place—between skins

all of me

wiggled free

by creative energy.

All of me free.

Here grow the light,

live in the sunfields

when you can be stretched no further

leave something behind— leave something behind.

Wally Walks

Everything about Wally was big,
his paws,
his head,
his heart,
his presence,
his Spirit,
his love.

It’s hard to write this without blurry vision and the keyboard getting pummeled with teardrops. Wally our beloved yellow lab, my constant companion for nearly 12 years, crossed over on September 15th. Near the end we forbid him to ride in the four-wheeler wagon because of the discomfort it caused, both putting him in and taking him out. Well, I did give in to his insistence a few times.

Wally was given one last ride in the four-wheeler wagon but this time it carried the heaviness in our hearts too. His grave sits on a little hill under a sapling oak. The healing will take time. Like everything else about Wally, the void he left behind is big.

Below is re-post from a year ago or so with a few minor variances.

Walks with Wally in the open field are unconstrained. His boundary tethered to trust. Obedient to ghostly trails of scent, nothing stops the pursuit except one thing. My booming voice echoing, “BACK!”, over the land. He seemed to know the precise moment to come in my sights. Right before panic could set in. It was the way he returned, his joy knowing no bounds, that made me believe love and not fear returned him to me.

I often followed him to that place of freedom. Flushing out unopened places in my mind. Meandering through tight thickets of thought. Like Wally I went about it unhurried and unworried.

Now that Wally carries the heaviness of age, he’s more often than not a few steps behind than a few yards ahead. In his energetic youthful days, he’d pause occasionally to glance back. Confirming my pace as either keeping up or falling behind. Adjusting accordingly. I now faithfully return the favor to my dear friend.

Wally’s devotion runs as wide and deep as an old river. Together we have walked in beauty, in the darkness that haunts the light and in each other souls. Together is all Wally and I have. Our time together is all I will remember.

Believe in love and not fear.
Return to each other.
All of us—together— it’s all we have.

Love Is Our Truth

At a recent Native American gathering, a mouse tried to join the event. Quick thinking and actions by the person seated by he door prevented its entry. The incident brought to their mind a Mouse Spirit message from a previous gathering that was shared with everyone. Mouse Spirit had said, “I no longer want the cheese. I want to be free of the trap.” The wisdom is offered with no explanation. It is up to each individual to gain their own understanding.

Lessons can be learned but the understanding from what we learn leads to knowledge. The knowledge than gives us the natural laws to live by. The teaching walked with and around me for many days. As usual an understanding came in a quiet moment.

I interpret the baited trap Mouse Spirit speaks to as deception. Many Native American songs reference this. The songs tell us to; do it this way,secure our sacred pipes or we may be deceived. In simple terms, the sacred pipe symbolizes a connection to Creator for me. The traps are set when we disconnect from Creator. Through contemplative prayer we can re-establish and deepen that relationship. We begin to learn, understand, know and live spiritual truths. Within the unconscious of every human being is hidden spiritual truths. Given time and commitment they are revealed to you. Prayer is one method to attain them.

The bait is the powerful illusions of truth in this world that lure us into abandoning our connection to Creator and the spiritual truths that govern all life. At the present time, the illusion of truth is that we hate each other. When we act out from illusion (take the bait) great harm and suffering is created for all those concerned.

Love is the greatest power in the Universe. Not even death can conquer love. It is part of Mouse Spirit’s wisdom for me. The world is always trying to build a better mouse trap. Innovation has morphed into revolution. True change will happen when we learn to love those we do not love. An evolution of the soul. It’s not coming. It’s here.

A heart can only be deceived when it is separated from Creator. Hate trapped in the mind closes the heart; to Creator, to love. Hate is a mastermind of traps. It cannot be trusted. If you are unable to reconcile a belief in your mind with an authentic feeling in your heart, it is not truth. A

As it happened, the day Mouse Spirit’s wisdom unfolded, a mouse fell into the horses grain bin and was trapped. Mouse’s liquid black eyes told me to begin living the spiritual truth, to start small. With that Mouse was taken out to a far field to gather wild food or be food for the wild things. We may be on the cusp of a Universal soul evolution but it begins with yours. Start small.

Love is our truth.
The truth will set us free.

Help Heal Hurt

There is that saying…
Hurt People,
hurt People.

If so, do
healed People
heal People?

I ask,
How do we heal?

Ask for help.

Take help.
Help is useful if you use it.
Help is helpless if you don’t.
Help, hurt or heal.

Only you help—
help—
help you.

Act

Change starts in you.
Inaction stops change,
action drives change.
Choices choose the direction.
Help, hurt or heal.

I becoming change,
changes you—
you changing,
changes us.
The world is us.
Help, hurt or heal.

I ask,
How do I know I’m healed?

When you don’t want to hurt,
People…yourself…anything,
you enact changes that allow you to feel
but not become hurt.

We are all helpers,
here to heal hurts
from our center out in all directions.
Our actions help, hurt or heal the world.
Remember how to be a good relative.

I Watched

I watched you in silence.
Right there, a few feet in front of me,
hunkered next to a fading violet plant,
frantically scratching at the ground near it.

I watched the violet reluctant to release the earth clasp in its roots,
exposed and vulnerable, surrender inevitable.
Sharp teeth penetrate the tender white skin with ease.

I watched intently as you nibbled off tiny pieces.
Sickle shaped claws pushing, pushing,
forcing a place for another tiny bit, then another and another.
Was there no end to Chipmunk cheek capacity?
I watched you scamper off into the nearby woods.

I watch and learn
I am a student
I am being watched
I am a teacher.

Observer and observed,
silent watching.
I wonder what am I teaching?
I will have to wait and watch.

The Salesman

“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.”
― Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture

I became acquainted with Robert during my search for an affordable alternative to ag lime. Soil tests the previous year revealed that most of the ground our hay fields grew on had turned sour. Their PH levels were under 7. Calcium is what you apply to the ground to correct the PH. It was the cause of our dwindling harvests. If you are a wise farmer you understand the sacredness of soil and do all you can to preserve and protect it.

Robert worked for a company that sold liquid calcium. Liquid calcium had many advantages over dry lime but I had never used it before. I had questions. Lots of them. I needed to educate myself on the product. After receiving Robert’s initial response to an email, I could tell he was a salesman through and through. The email was pages of information and customer testimonial’s singing the praises of his product. As I sifted through the information I had to wonder, was it all smoke and mirrors? Or was his perceived confidence trusted truth?

Then the phone call happened. His sentences strung together like a fine pearl necklace. I could tell the sales pitch was recited hundreds, if not thousands of times, locked in his memory from the repetition. He drew out the vowels of his words in typical southern drawl fashion. By its tone and fluctuations, I guessed he was close to retirement. Here and there his words slurred together into unintelligible sentences. Even so, it was a pleasant voice to listen to. That was fortunate because Robert did most of the talking. True to his old school sales techniques, he peppered the conversation with sweetheart bombs and young lady references. I didn’t mind. They lightened the scientific nature of the conversation and ever so gently tickled my heart. Occasionally, to make sure I was still a captive audience there would be a quick, “You follow me dear?” He had me smiling at the first sweetheart.

Questions came about long I’d been farming and the animals we kept, the joys and tribulations that come with bringing in hay. We lamented briefly about getting older. More questions came. How long had I had the horses and their names? Did I ride often? They began to reflected a genuine concern for the land and the people that tended to it. I didn’t feel any pressure. I wasn’t wasting any of Robert’s time. Whether he got the sale or not.

It was near the end of the conversation that I learned Robert was 73 years old with no plans to retire. At the conclusion of the call I was reading off my credit card number. My encounter with Robert brought to mind a quote by Theodore Roosevelt, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”.

As it turned out, Robert was just the person I needed to educate me.

Songs Pray

Dew holds tight to the bushes and berries
Its grip loosened by the soft caress of dry cloth
Mornings these days are early and damp.

Flower faces reflect the sun’s smile
Standing tall above them all
a perfectly pink Phlox bloom
I pause to savor the sniff
Heaven dreams of a smell so sweet

In the patch worry rests
You can hear songs
Ancestral songs
The kind that come on their own
The kind that sing themselves
The kind that pray

Hollow bones hold the songs
I sing the praises of mobility and ruby red raspberries
Oh, the voice may crack and pop
But it carries the tune well enough

Handfuls of delight dangle from the tips of grateful fingers
I’ll harvest all I can from this juicy life
Fill my bucket and then some
Before I’m dead ripe