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Evening Seashore

Evening ShoreI drop back
letting the others and their voices
fade ahead of me.
This is not a talking place,
this beach –
I don’t even want
to follow their footsteps.
The sun has gone
But its echo warms my feet
in the rock pools.
I wriggle my toes
in the sand
near intricately
limpet-patterned rocks.
All I can hear is the sea –
even the seagulls are quiet
at this end of the day.
And I bask
in the sensuality
of silence.

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Seasons

Autumn LeavesCold crispness in the air,
autumn colours in the trees.
I can feel the seasons passing
like a river through my soul,
etching ever deeper
the valleys of experience
and meaning.

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Life

A great blog post on Barriers by Jeb Dickerson made me reflect on the wonderful journey that life is if we embrace its possibilities. If we don’t become ‘fenced in’ or start “treading water up-stream while foregoing the offerings of the open ocean” as he so beautifully expressed it.

It reminded me of a poem I wrote some time ago with a similar theme, so I thought I’d unearth that poem and share it here.

River and RapidsLife can be
sometimes
a river of motion,
a remorseless current.
We’re swept past changing scenery,
through rapids that terrify
and leave us gasping,
amazed we’re still whole,
undrowned, undefeated,
surviving to move onwards.
Temptation
is a quiet backwater
where we cling to safety,
to familiarity,
and retreat from the flow
of living.
A brief respite
can be healing.
But wait too long
in the shallows,
and life will pass us by
leaving us
unchanged,
unmoved by its glory,
too frightened to plunge
into its depths
once more.

And I’ll echo Jeb’s invitation … “I’m ready to swim. You coming?”

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A Breath of Kindness

As with other forms of writing everywhere, it can at times be a little nerve-wracking to post to a blog.

We take a deep breath, hit ‘publish’ and trust that some folk will enjoy reading our outpourings, while others will at least be constructive in their criticism. :)

Even with brief ventures into the written word, such as as updates to Facebook or tweets on Twitter, we may sometimes click ‘send’ with a slight catch of breath.

‘Who will read it? Will anyone read it? And if they do, what will they think of what I’ve said. Or of me?’

Of course not everything we write causes a nervous flutter. Sometimes we launch our thoughts blithely into the public arena without a single tremble or backward glance.

But sometimes it’s more deeply personal than that. We recognise we’re actually sharing a piece of ourselves when we write. And in that moment of clarity, our hands may pause over ‘submit’ or ‘send’ and we’ll feel a shiver of anticipation.

Not that we want everyone to agree! After all, it’s from different perspectives that we gain new insights or understanding. But if others don’t like what we’ve said or don’t agree with it, we hope they’ll attack the ideas – not the writer. :)

Here’s a poem that was first published in the novel A Life for a Life by Dinah Mulock in 1859. A long time ago and a very different world from ours!  But I think its words still ring true in our fast-paced, networked world:

Sift What is Worth KeepingOh, the comfort —
the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person —
having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words,
but pouring them all right out,
just as they are,
chaff and grain together;
certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them,
keep what is worth keeping,
and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.

 

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Fence Sitting

Why is it that ‘sitting on the fence‘ is so often considered a bad thing? When people talk about someone who is doing so, they often speak with a curl of the lip, a raised eyebrow, a roll of the eyes or a sigh of resignation.

It seems we’re always supposed to draw a conclusion, reach a decision, take a stand or choose a side.

But let’s face it, from the top of a fence you can see the horizon in all directions. You get a good overview of all the fields or gardens within viewing distance. Jump off that fence, and part of your view is obscured.

One of my favourite poems is by Michael Leunig:

Come sit down beside me, I said to myself.
And although it doesn’t make sense,
I held my own hand as a small sign of trust
And together I sat on the fence.

To me, this speaks volumes about the inner confusion and division that can happen when we’re trying to resolve two (or more) ways of seeing or being in the world. But it also speaks about a need to trust the process.

Not everything has to be an either/or issue and we don’t always have to resolve every division. It’s ok to ‘hold our own hands as a small sign of trust’ and stay right where we are – sitting on the fence. It’s a great spot from which to scan the horizon for those elusive both/and ideas.

So if there’s an issue for you in which the jury is still out, come and join me on the fence.

The view’s pretty good from up here! :)