Monday, March 31, 2014

a rejected gift

The message on the wall is partially obscured by the spring bloom.

A somewhat delicate appearing and hesitant young man sat next to me yesterday on a MUNI bus. He had objects in his left hand. He took one in the very thin fingers of his right hand and said something I could not hear. He held a brilliant blue bead and repeated so very softly, “bead”.

Stupidly, I said no. I did not ask him about them or even acknowledge that he was offering me a gift. When a seat opened near the front of the bus, he moved there. Silently talking to himself and playing with the beads in his hand.

He looked sad. I had failed to respond to a gift. I was instantly sad and remain sad about it today. Why I did not respond to another human's gesture is beyond comprehension. I did not even offer curiosity or a thank you. A painful experience, perhaps, for both of us.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

a small window to the past

Why do songs pop out of memory? Out of nowhere, it would seem, came the lilting tune from The Student Prince....Golden Days. I have not seen the show in decades. I cannot remember the last time I heard Mario Lanza singing it from the film....I am not sure I ever saw it. Yet, reading in the morning sunlight on this quiet Sunday....there it was. Not a favorite, not ever sung by me and yet “golden days in the sunshine of our happy youth/golden days, full of gaiety and full of truth” appeared in my silent singing memory. I think contemplating the distinction of “full of gaiety and full of truth” will be a worthwhile effort today. Was that true of youth or is it accessible in old age?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

the common air

This is the grass that grows wherever the land is and the water is,
This the common air that bathes the globe.

I have been so fortunate to have “two” Walt Whitman courses online running at the same time ─ deeply looking at Leaves of Grass line by line. My understanding, appreciation and, yes, love of Whitman has grown immensely. The quote is just a couple of lines that seem to speak directly to me.

The Whitman courses are from Harvard through EdX and the University of Iowa in their Open Courses project. I also love the Modern & Contemporary Poetry course from the University of Pennsylvania---which I have taken two years running and plan to enroll again in the fall. Check out these amazing, and free, offers if you are interested in expanding your knowledge of poetry (or almost any other thing you can think of!)

Note: I used this photo in February, 2013. It is just one of my favorites and seems appropriate to use again for Walt's quote.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

the very sigh that silence heaves

An then there crept a little noiseless noise among the leaves,
          Born of the very sigh that silence heaves.
                                                  John Keats

It is a time of great uncertainty for several who are close to me, or have been significant parts of my life. Clearly times of ending and closure.

On a walk through a tranquil park in my neighborhood, I saw this magnificent flower, spotted with drops of fresh rain. I was brought out of worry and into the presence of great beauty and peace. Presence in the moment, and sense of peace: I pray that I can bring it to those who need it, or want it.