It’s a good November day to think about author and poet Wendell Berry and things familiar- things to be grateful for- the miniscule, the often unnoticed. He once wrote: “The search withholds the joy from what is found” in his poem “Boone”. It seems like a great time peek around the corners of the everyday, the familiar, and utter a small or extra large helping of “thank you”, even though it may be hard in times like these. I’m in the city of Seattle as I write this, grateful for every person who opens a door for another, every smile given gratis, every face of every color and shade. Let’s keep opening the door for one another, and say “thank you” to every kindness or a glisten of light that comes our way today.
“We are each surrounded by an enormous silence that can be a blessing and a help to us, but from which we often turn away in dread and fear, a silence in which the skein of reality is knitted and unraveled to be knit again, in which the perspective of a work or a life or a relationship can be enlarged and enriched. Silence is like a cradle holding our endeavors, our will and our understanding in ways that allow them to grow and thrive; a cultivated and silent spaciousness sustains us and at the same time connects us to larger worlds that, in the busyness of our daily struggle to achieve, we have yet to investigate. Silence is fearful exactly because in its spacious depths lies both the soul’s sense of rest and its possible break for freedom.”
Taken from Adapted from Crossing the Unknown Sea:Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity by David Whyte
If I am carving out silence right now. I am enjoying the patterns of light creating joyful ghosts of illumination on the piano in my living room that the sun in companionship with the remnant storm are making. I am aware of a limited time set up to sit in this silent spaciousness. Awareness feels so important. So does gratitude. I am aware of the green statue sitting across from me- a long-haired lady also being touched by the sunlight, her candle holder glowing this time, not with fire, but with light. I am aware of the shimmering, sizzling shadows created by the shivering tree branches outside.
I am also aware of the potential. A guitar sitting in the corner. A notebook of songs. There is a sacredness here.in the silence. Is this what life is all about?
For this moment, yes. I guess each moment is crafted differently, in its own holiness. I am in the bowl of my living room. A hollow of holiness. It is a living sculpture where light can dance with shadow. It is a shadow box. It is a diorama. And I am in it. I am a living sculpture sitting and noticing the things that dance and play on this stage. Sometimes I will dance, and sometimes I will watch, eyes glowing, heart leaping in the audience. And yet, I still get to be a part of it all. Wherever I bring myself, there I am. The diorama of the day.
The smooth days of ordinary time are upon us. I’m not talking about a lack of pokes and jabs that comes with the usual surprises of life’s interventions, but on the liturgical calendar we are indeed in what we call “ordinary time.”
I like this. It is a good time, and a great excuse to ponder the ordinary. It is the very reason to nestle into a blue sky clotted with clouds, or indulge in the fine art of slicing and dicing whatever is sitting in your produce bowl with extra attention and hopeless gratitude. It is to me, a reminder, that being human is all of these things, and getting to have the mind to recognize it.
In her book, “The 13 Original Clan Mothers”, Jamie Sams helps revive in me the graceful art of noticing the natural world. Not as chore, but as human delight. In this spirit, a poem was born:
It is no sin
to sit under the tutelage of clouds
and learn the fine art of rolling and lolling,
your body tumbling under the influence of
a finely-winded blue sky
or shimmering silver
under the influence of rain.
It is no sin
to spend a day with a bag of apples,
aptly fallen not far from its tree, holding each bulb,
taking notice of green skin, yellow skin, red skin,
some mottled, otherworldly. And alternately peel them
for the pot or roll them like bowling balls
into the forest for other wild stomachs.
It is no sin
to massage the fur of a paw-foot friend and stare out into
the sea of nothingness, everythingness,
or to write poems like this one, as the day sinks away.
Somehow, it is in our DNA.
– Gina Marie Mammano
May your ordinary days bring out extraordinary joys.