Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Weight of Beauty

An amazing wave of storms has come this Spring.

"... As the man works

the weather moves

upon his mind, it's dreariness

a kind of comfort."
Wendell Berry
From his book: Window Poems
Excerpt from Poem #6

It's like the rain will never cease. Steady, silver threads are winding up in a whip of wind and mist. The snap of the storms anchoring persistence seemingly drowns the light in the eyes.

Yet outside the cabin window clover reaches from its green bed, uncurling scarlet fists of crimson flowers. The maple tree is pink and burdened with tender growth. The stream song soars up through the woodland in her crystalline concert of drip and whoosh. Outside, the garden tosses in a sleep of mud. Eager shoots from the seed of last years sunflowers break the surface. The soil is heavy and verdant from a winter that is obstinate in its passing.

On the rusted barbed wire of the pasture rest pairs of swallows. Fed by their hunger, they attempt sorties between the pregnant drops. Then they land, with heads bent, surrendering to the draping blanket of rain.

The world is an ocean
of imagination. It is dreaming
a cleansing storm
as we watch
for signs of summer,
as we wait for the sun
to pull the grey
curtains aside.

Let the rain come!

Open the door
of your shelter.
Step out into
the storm's tidal

The world was meant
to be experienced,
even the rain.

The elements are singing in their deluge.
Do you hear their song?
The weight of their beauty is not too much to bear.


(c) Rick Sievers, May 2010, All Rights Reserved

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Where Shall I Flee?

"Whither shall I go from thy spirit?
or wither shall I go from thy presence?
If I ascend up into Heaven, thou art there;
if I make my bed in Hell, behold, thou art there.
If I take on the wings of the morning and
dwell in the innermost parts of the sea;
even there shall thy hand lead me,
and thy right hand shall hold me."
From Psalm 139

I flew to Maui on a last minute impulse. I had been feeling my soul slip into an agitated despair that concerned me. So I did something rare for me. I did something unplanned. At the last minute, I flew 2500 miles and landed here at the Mana Kai in Kehei.

I came here with the idea to get away from my difficulties. In an external sense this has worked. But the truth is that most of my difficulties are internal. I came here also so I can integrate and learn the lesson of the last few years better and deeper.

One truth that rises up is that I am 100% responsible for what I do with my feelings and how I react to life's lessons.

So far I have found an empty place where feelings once sang. I have found my own grief as I hang on the song of the sea from eight stories up.

Only a month ago I still owned my own island "paradise". I grew up as a child in Eden there. After ten years I took on a god's voice and exiled myself into reality.

I am here, now, sitting with myself and praying. Mostly what has happened is that I just soak in the sun and float in the ocean. I float in the salt until my skin is on fire. Yet my heart remains buried deep in the jade and amber well of the surf.

When the sun begins to burn I dive deep and listen to the whale song in the stillness below.

There is no place to run to that is too far from the Beloved's spirit. That's what I tell myself. And that's what I want to believe with a grateful heart.


(Mana Kai roughly translated means Great Spirit of the Sea
This is a wonderful unpretentious place to recollect oneself. Link)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Writing on the Glass

We spent the weekend in downtown Portland for our one year wedding anniversary. Saturday had been prom night.We spent a night punctuated with the laughter of a thousand young people dressed in tuxes and pink dresses. The darkness had been filled with the drunken freedom of teenagers. We were high above the pulse of the streets in the Westin Tower.

All Sunday morning I sat on the window sill of our room and watched and listened from my perch. Below, the street car rumbled in concert with the racket of shopping carts and BMWs. Sounds rose and fell in the dewy morning sun. The whisper of a train. The shuffle of feet. The flap of an empty flag pole. Last night's prom revelers were inspecting their car crooked wedged against the curb. Tenacious maples swayed in their sixteen square feet of earth.

As I was writing all this into my journal a woman that looked twice her age was rising up from her bed on the sidewalk below me. The sun was falling on her silver hair. Her torn backpack jangled with a tin cup. Her long skirt was faded purple and gold with a patina of grey grime from the street. Perhaps it was an old prom dress? Perhaps she'd laughed with her friends once?

The woman stood facing a jewelry store window. Her reflection in the glass was her only visible companion. She raised her arms and bowed her head. Then she stretched out her right hand which was covered with a fingerless glove. She began to write with her index finger in the shiny glass of the store front. She made one sentence finished with the flourish of a big exclamation point. Then she stopped, stepped back and looked at her invisible words. She contemplated in silence, then laughed. She began to write more words, this time with the sway of a measured dance. Her left arm stretched out wide as if in prayer.

She had no pen and no paper.
She had no status in our society.
Yet she had something to say... something from the heart.

When she was done writing on the window she stepped backward as if in awe or fear of her work. She studied the pane of glass. Her throat hummed with a rough sweet cackle. Then she ambled off.

What did the woman write?
And what is her story?
How different is she from us,
the ones that sit behind the glass and looked down?
Are her words seen or treasured
by any spirit or ancestor
or living human being?

I sat five stories up and contemplated my fellow human being... yet it was at a distance. And above me was the watchful heart of an angel, adoring and amused as she tasted the world through my skin.

May an angel watch over this old-young woman
in the ruined prom dress.
May the spirits of the earth read her words.
May Creator enfold her with wings of love.
May her story rise in the book of a thousand poets.

Blessings to you, dear reader.
Blessings to you, whether you are on the outside
or the inside of the glass.

May we remember the story
that is invisible to all but the heart.