Saturday, November 17, 2012

Gift of the Day: God as Artist

Bald eagle with fish from Kodiak, Alaska by Yathin S Krishnappa

I thought I was alone. I was driving along Hwy 61 in northeast Minnesota, following the road along Lake Superior's shore north of Silver Bay. 

My eyes kept looking out across the lake because there was a lovely light, not so much spectacular, as soft and compelling near the horizon. It lifted the day after northeasters had moved out. 

I had only to turn to the left to enjoy the view: the lake, the trees, stark as they were, like God's brooms stuck on end.

Suddenly my eyes were drawn upward in a tree. I saw an immense nest. In the nest was a ever-watchful, majestic eagle, taller than one would imagine. His brilliant, white head held all splendor with the unmistakable beak like a profile posing.

I couldn't believe it. I'm not an Albrecht Durer, yet there it was: God as artist. 
The eagle seemed to be musing and not in the hunt at the moment: the outline of this treasured aves looking south, the direction I was going.

I wonder if the link between man and the eagle, between woman and eagle, is that each of us has a four-chambered heart. 

Along with beauty and wonder, the eagle carries courage and transcendence. I take grace from the splendor in the nest. And I shall keep it near - as near as Great Spirit soars in nature.

O magnificent bird, help me carry courage, and embolden me with your four-champered in fearless flight through all my days and nights.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

To Be A Light

                                                           Karl Bodmer - Maximilian, Prince of Wied's Travels

                                                                in the Interior of North America - Wikipedia

                                            To Be A Light

To be a light!
To be a beacon bright!
What is the Gospel
According to you?

Beauteous psalmic verses
From courage we sought
And drew

As we walk 
In our day:
Do we leave others wondering:
What is the Gospel
According to you?

It isn't enough to read it;
Say prayers memory feeds it;
Then meditate
On cushion or kneeler when you're blue;

It's the belief in honoring
Each other: 
Living the scripture--
Becomes the Gospel
According to you;

Position, fame, wealth, appearance,
Don't really matter,
If Grace isn't left
After all we do;

It's a humbling walk I grant you;
What tears and knees have wrought too, 
Whether Allah, David, 
  Christ or Buddha
In our dwelling we view;

 It's how we treat each other--
That's our book and cover:
 That scripture
The Gospel
   That follows you.

Written Nov 8, 2012
After serving on a committee

By Connie Nelson Ahlberg

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pool Sanctuary

Pool Sanctuary

I awoke this morning with a start. The phone off the hall in the bath woke me. I had been up at 4 A.M. and had gone back to bed. The sound was glaring.

Eleven o'clock is my buddy-swim time. At age 65 I am swimming for my health with another condo resident. It's too early to talk I said to myself. I can't move. I didn't want to talk at all, having called Minneapolis residents for the Presidential race just the night before.

Still, Janice, my swimming buddy, age 80.5, could be down at the condominium pool, hoping I'd join her. At 11:30 I made my way down the hall. No walker in the hallway, meant no Janice in the pool. 

I was sinning anyway. I'd made a strong pot of coffee in clear violation of the
NO FOOD OR DRINKS sign on the wall. I had my brew hidden under my towel. Rules were made...

I set everything down on one of the tables. The pool water barely moved...only a little--like a human breathing. I had entered my sanctuary, my pool sanctuary. Sometimes a boxelder bug makes it's way inside and decides to take a dip. But no little insect legs were skimming the top. I was alone. It was delicious. 

As I descended the stairs into the water, the feel of the water felt cool, cooler than normal. Janice wouldn't have liked it. To keep the vigil, I didn't turn the lights on.

I let my body make it's own ripples, loving the sound. The woods outside the windows is the backdrop I love. Now fewer leaves against a gray sky. 

Thinking of recent horrific events on the East coast, I think of the craziness of metropolitan living, our manic use of cell phones, our demand for services.

I think of the one poem of mine my son said he likes. Inspired by the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu I wrote:

Desiring everything
You have nothing;
Desiring nothing,
You have everything;

Ride the train and you lose the landscape;
Walk the path and become
Part of the flowers;

Swim fiercely
And the waves are choppy;
Float and the water 
Caresses your limbs;

Truth is the root
Of a very large tree:
Sit in it's branches
And embrace--the shade.

I say the words in water.

It's easier to pray when you're alone. So the Catholic litany begins, mostly the familiar Act of Contrition, then the St. Francis Prayer, but whatever comes. I pray for those fighting cancer, a friend I haven't heard of in a long time, my brother, my brother in-law and those grieving his passing. I don't want to leave anyone out, but invariably I do. I'm comforted, happy, when each name needing prayers comes to me. 

I do my backstroke praying from end to end. God swims with me, maybe Buddha, too. (Dear Thich Nhat Hanh says: If you ask Buddha to come, he comes right away.) Come Healing Buddha.

As Yogi Paramahansa Yogananda said: God is everything.