Summer Peace, Still Unfurling

I know that for a lot of people, the Summer is decided by the school year. My summer is delineated by the swim season — which lasts from when I can get into someone’s early season pool and lasts a long as I can get people to keep their pools open and let me in them.

Summer ends when I can’t swim outdoors.

I’m just back from two weeks in a landscape and in friendships that feed my soul differently than my world here. ahh… a wonderful thing. But there is still lots of summer left and lots of Summer Peace to unfold.

This is a glorious pic of an unfurling fern, isn’t it? You can feel the tight curl relaxing. Some of Peace and Peacemaking is very deliberate. Some of it is just letting it relax and be. We need to work on both kinds of Peace.

Looking at Peace from Both Sides

Why do I write poetry? I think It’s so I can understand. If I have to write about Peace, every day, and someone gives me a picture and suggests I think about it and I do, then I write my way forward to another tiny point about Peace. Often I wind up someplace I’d never expected.

The grasshopper surprised me with an insight. This curious, cocky little guy is designed as an eating machine. He and the farmer are pretty much at odds.

Greeny and his buddies want to feast on the farmer’s carefully planted fields. The farmer, on the whole, would prefer that the grasshopper tribe didn’t.

Balance is needed. Balance in this case means there are grasshopper predators enough to keep the fields growing yet enough greenery to keep the grasshoppers reproducing and playing their grasshopper cellos.

So many things to look at from both sides. So much Peace to be understood and made.

The Precious Now of Peace

All of creation, except humanity, lives entirely in the precious moment of Now. What is is what is.

We spend far too much of our time looking at what the Buddhism refers to the twin evils hope and fear. What if things are not this or not that? What if what we have doesn’t last? What if what we dream about doesn’t come. If you have fears, do what is needed, what you can, right now, to prevent their becoming reality.  If you have dreams, do what you must, right now, to make them come true in the fullness of time. If you can do nothing, then perhaps you should enjoy the moment.

And maybe we can notice as we rest in Peace, what others do as they rest in Peace. Gather ye information while you may.

We are those who can be making Peace. Let us do whatever we can.

The Peace of Away and Home

I’ve been working hard getting ready for my trip. I’m so excited. Going with a good friend, meeting more good friends, going to listen to good friends play incredible music in England… and then going to the place i call home when i speak Swedish and the dearest friends in the world. What could be better? Home and home away from home. (what makes it home you ask? Well, the friends. and the fact that you know where all their dishes are and what in the fridge is being saved for dinner, and what’s up for grabs.) The fact that you have a turn in the rotation for dinner!

But better isn’t the question, really. Different is. Going is exciting. But home is exciting too… I love my life here, and my house, and my friends… and oh, right, my husband and family live here.

For the first time, I’m going to disconnect between places. I’m going to be (or try to be fully where I am. No phones no emails. Maybe a postcard… maybe not. Maybe just there, and then, all too soon, and never soon enough, back home.

There is Peace in both places. There is Peace everywhere if you look and you set about making it. Peace, my friends, I love you. I’ll be back in my home pastures soon enough.

Clouds and Storms and Summer Peace

Thunder clouds. When I lived on the West Coast, I missed them. Thunder storms are so rare there, and when they have them they’re more grumbly than fierce.

They’re full of danger, I know that. Lightning starts fires. Right now, there are fires all over the Plains.

But the drama is captivating. The Winds and the Rains come, and if you’re lucky, they blow away the hot humid air that is their harbinger.

There’s something incredible about sitting on a porch deep enough to shelter you, watching a storm blow through.

My mother was an artist. She painted landscapes. For years there were patches of deep color on her paintings that I didn’t understand. And then I was driving in Vermont one day, and I saw what she saw. And now I can see it everywhere, but before then I couldn’t understand.

We need to look at clouds from many different angles, both sides as we’re reminded in the song… Look at them from airplanes, look at them from the ground, look at them from their shadows. That’s how we need to look at Peace, exhaustively, but with great delight! And perhaps with a great deal of wariness. Peace will bring great changes. I like the the possibilities of Peace much more than those of war. There are war clouds on the horizon. It frightens me.

The Peace of Stoop Sitting

When I moved to NY in 1975 (oh, it seems so long ago), air conditioning was not as common as it is today, nor as effective. It was not infrequent that cities had brown outs in hot steamy weather because AC used so much electricity.

People had elaborate systems for opening and closing their windows and blinds to minimize the effect of the heat and sun.

Luxury high rises had AC… but brownstones and, um, less luxurious high rises, did not. So when the evening came, and the sun was safely in New Jersey, behind the West-side Buildings and Jersey skyscrapers, when dinner was over and the dishes washed, people came out and breathed slightly cooler air together. You took your chair down to the stoop.

The groups swelled and narrow by turn as people went up to put the children to bed and came back down.

And all the while people talked about the day, their families, the state of the nation, and of course, the weather. You knew your neighbors. You made Peace. Apartment houses were extended families, you wanted things to be smooth as possible between you. Walls were thin. You knew a lot about each other’s lives anyway. Better to keep things quiet. and everyone worked hard anyway.

So you made Peace. Many of the things that used to throw us into conversation and community are gone. We have to create those opportunities. The world does better when we do.

Peace of the Summer to you, my friends. May you seek it, may you find it, may you create it!

Flags, Patriots, and a Dedication to Peace

I think many more Americans are considering what it means to be a citizen and a patriot this year than in years past. What does it mean to be an American? What is America? And how do we contribute? What do you have to offer your country?

It’s a shame we weren’t reflecting harder on this earlier. But here we are.

Happy Fourth of July. This is our home. We’re working to make certain that you are so welcome here.  I know it doesn’t seem that way… and we’ve started too late. But we are working. We haven’t, as we like to say here in PA, redded up as well as we might, but we’re working on it… promise.

All of us are needed to make Peace a reality.


Choices for Peace

Life seems to be largely about choices. I believe we’ve gotten lax about them in this country. We don’t always bother to explore consequences and if we do, we say oh, just this once…

But that’s something our brain learns… just this once becomes the default setting.

It’s not that there aren’t wonderful surprises, but mostly Peace is built on a lot of small, deliberate choices. May we choose wisely… The consequence we seek is Peace.

Pause in Peace

I don’t do this often enough. I suspect you don’t either.

I don’t go outside and just sit in the beauty. It’s important to do that occasionally.

To breathe in the Beauty of the Earth and its Peace.

To breathe in the Quiet and its calm.

To still our souls and minds so we can hear our thoughts and emotions.

To recognize Peace and to sink into it.

Peace be with you.