You Are Loved

Holding you close,
we approach the
swaying stand of bamboo.
The wind rises
and falls in gentle,
gusty waves.  Our hair
lifts slightly from
our heads…mine
swirling across
my eyes.
 
It’s cool beneath the
shaded chapel of
canes and we both
listen with reverence
and peace as the towering
grasses clatter and clank
the notes of nature’s wind chime.
 
You relax in my arms, relax
into the knowing that all is
well; you are loved.
 
The next day we sit beside
the Ganga, meditating
on the gentle breezes and
lily pads undulating by
tiny swells while a chorus
hums from a fountain
voices blending of those passed on
  
a turtle crawls on the bank
and rests at our feet.

I’m finally back online and writing my first post after moving to Sebastian to help watch my first grandchild, Mira, while her Mom and Dad return to work.  We’ve been taking walks daily (she loves to be outside) and visit a large stand of bamboo nearby and love listening to it as it moves with the wind.  I’m so enjoying my new role…and blessing.

Joining with Hedgewitch today who is hostessing for us at dVerse Poets Open Link Night #69:  Thanks, Joy! http://dversepoets.com/2012/11/06/open-link-night-week-69/

Baba

Photo, Google Images:  Swami Paramahansa Hariharananda Giri

Small of stature,
and calm of voice,
his demeanor sweet,
gentle and wise.
 
Long hair, thinning,
accepting, brown,
soft, eyes with
large bags underneath.
 
Fluffy, white beard
that smelled of
sandalwood, always
with a mala around his neck.
 
Ochre clothing he wore
like the swami he was,
with kumkum paste
denoting his third eye.
 
Initiating those
who were sincere,
he led them in the
ways of kriya yoga.
 
Continuing the
teachings as had
the lineage before,
with reverent devotion.

He addressed me
as ‘Mother’ or
‘Gayle Ma’, always
bestowing respect.
 
I was honored to
serve this man
of God, preparing his
dal and basmati rice.
 
Demonstrating the
“breathless state”, a
group of students
were left in awe.
 
He touched my
heart, he touched
my soul…I want
to bow a thousand times.

For several years, after I left the ashram life, I studied with Swami Paramanhansa Hariharananda Giri, affectionately known as, Baba, by his students.  He was a direct disciple of Paramahansa Yoganada, the founder of Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) and author of “Autobiography of a Yogi.”  They were teachers of kriya yoga, continuing on the lineage of those before them.  Baba had been initiated by Yogananda and lived in his ashram in Puri, Orissa, India.

Victoria invites us to describe character at dVerse Poets:  http://dversepoets.com/2012/08/23/meeting-the-bar-writing-characters/

Sharing this with Souldipper Amy for Occupy Blogosphere:  http://souldipper.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/occupy-blogosphere-thursday-august-23-2012/

The Christmas Truce

A most inspiring story told by Aaron Shepard, in a letter format, that I wanted to share for the season but holds a lesson of suspending our hostilities towards each other in our everyday lives.    I may make this posting a yearly tradition.  Happy Holidays to all.  Love, Gayle
By Aaron Shepard AS@AARONSHEP.COM
 
Copyright (c) 2001, 2003 by Aaron Shepard. May be freely copied and
shared for any noncommercial purpose, but please do not omit any text,
including this notice.
 
ABOUT THE STORY: The Christmas Truce of 1914 is one of the most
remarkable incidents of World War I and perhaps of all military
history. Starting in some places on Christmas Eve and in others on
Christmas Day, the truce covered as much as two- thirds of the
British-German front, with thousands of soldiers taking part. Perhaps
most remarkably, it grew out of no single initiative but sprang up in
each place spontaneously and independently.
 
Nearly everything described here is drawn from first-hand accounts in
letters and diaries of the time. Britishisms include using “Nowell”
instead of “Noel,” and “football” instead of “soccer.” Visit my home
page at http://www.aaronshep.com to learn more about the story, get a
copy in Web format, find a reader’s theater script version, read more
stories, or contact the author.
— Aaron
A cross, left near Ieper in Belgium in 1999, to celebrate the site of the Christmas Truce during the First World War in 1914. The text reads: 1914 – The Khaki Chum’s Christmas Truce – 1999 – 85 Years – Lest We Forget
A cross, left near Ieper in Belgium in 1999, t...

Image via Wikipedia

____________________________________________
Christmas Day, 1914
 
My dear sister Janet,
 
It is 2:00 in the morning and most of our men are asleep in their
dugouts — yet I could not sleep myself before writing to you of the
wonderful events of Christmas Eve. In truth, what happened seems
almost like a fairy tale, and if I hadn’t been through it myself, I
would scarce believe it. Just imagine: While you and the family sang
carols before the fire there in London, I did the same with enemy
soldiers here on the battlefields of France!
 
As I wrote before, there has been little serious fighting of late. The
first battles of the war left so many dead that both sides have held
back until replacements could come from home. So we have mostly stayed
in our trenches and waited.
 
But what a terrible waiting it has been! Knowing that any moment an
artillery shell might land and explode beside us in the trench,
killing or maiming several men. And in daylight not daring to lift our
heads above ground, for fear of a sniper’s bullet.
 
And the rain — it has fallen almost daily. Of course, it collects
right in our trenches, where we must bail it out with pots and pans.
And with the rain has come mud — a good foot or more deep. It
splatters and cakes everything, and constantly sucks at our boots. One
new recruit got his feet stuck in it, and then his hands too when he
tried to get out — just like in that American story of the tar baby!
Through all this, we couldn’t help feeling curious about the German
soldiers across the way. After all, they faced the same dangers we
did, and slogged about in the same muck. What’s more, their first
trench was only 50 yards from ours. Between us lay No Man’s Land,
bordered on both sides by barbed wire — yet they were close enough we
sometimes heard their voices.
 
Of course, we hated them when they killed our friends. But other
times, we joked about them and almost felt we had something in common.
And now it seems they felt the same.
 
Just yesterday morning — Christmas Eve Day — we had our first good
freeze. Cold as we were, we welcomed it, because at least the mud
froze solid. Everything was tinged white with frost, while a bright
sun shone over all. Perfect Christmas weather.
 
During the day, there was little shelling or rifle fire from either
side. And as darkness fell on our Christmas Eve, the shooting stopped
entirely. Our first complete silence in months! We hoped it might
promise a peaceful holiday, but we didn’t count on it. We’d been told
the Germans might attack and try to catch us off guard.
 
I went to the dugout to rest, and lying on my cot, I must have drifted
asleep. All at once my friend John was shaking me awake, saying, “Come
and see! See what the Germans are doing!” I grabbed my rifle, stumbled
out into the trench, and stuck my head cautiously above the sandbags.
I never hope to see a stranger and more lovely sight. Clusters of tiny
lights were shining all along the German line, left and right as far
as the eye could see.
 
“What is it?” I asked in bewilderment, and John answered, “Christmas
trees!”
 
And so it was. The Germans had placed Christmas trees in front of
their trenches, lit by candle or lantern like beacons of good will.
 
And then we heard their voices raised in song.
 
“Stille nacht, heilige nacht….”
 
This carol may not yet be familiar to us in Britain, but John knew it
and translated: “Silent night, holy night.” I’ve never heard one
lovelier — or more meaningful, in that quiet, clear night, its dark
softened by a first-quarter moon.
 
When the song finished, the men in our trenches applauded. Yes,
British soldiers applauding Germans! Then one of our own men started
singing, and we all joined in.
 
“The first Nowell, the angel did say….”
 
In truth, we sounded not nearly as good as the Germans, with their
fine harmonies. But they responded with enthusiastic applause of their
own and then began another.
 
“O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum….”
 
Then we replied.
 
“O come all ye faithful….”
 
But this time they joined in, singing the same words in Latin.
“Adeste fideles….”
 
British and German harmonizing across No Man’s Land! I would have
thought nothing could be more amazing — but what came next was more
so.
 
“English, come over!” we heard one of them shout. “You no shoot, we no
shoot.”
 
There in the trenches, we looked at each other in bewilderment. Then
one of us shouted jokingly, “You come over here.”
 
To our astonishment, we saw two figures rise from the trench, climb
over their barbed wire, and advance unprotected across No Man’s Land.
One of them called, “Send officer to talk.”
 
I saw one of our men lift his rifle to the ready, and no doubt others
did the same — but our captain called out, “Hold your fire.” Then he
climbed out and went to meet the Germans halfway. We heard them
talking, and a few minutes later, the captain came back with a German
cigar in his mouth!
 
“We’ve agreed there will be no shooting before midnight tomorrow,” he
announced. “But sentries are to remain on duty, and the rest of you,
stay alert.”
 
Across the way, we could make out groups of two or three men starting
out of trenches and coming toward us. Then some of us were climbing
out too, and in minutes more, there we were in No Man’s Land, over a
hundred soldiers and officers of each side, shaking hands with men
we’d been trying to kill just hours earlier!
 
Before long a bonfire was built, and around it we mingled — British
khaki and German grey. I must say, the Germans were the better
dressed, with fresh uniforms for the holiday.
 
Only a couple of our men knew German, but more of the Germans knew
English. I asked one of them why that was.
 
“Because many have worked in England!” he said. “Before all this, I
was a waiter at the Hotel Cecil. Perhaps I waited on your table!”
 
“Perhaps you did!” I said, laughing.
 
He told me he had a girlfriend in London and that the war had
interrupted their plans for marriage. I told him, “Don’t worry. We’ll
have you beat by Easter, then you can come back and marry the girl.”
He laughed at that. Then he asked if I’d send her a postcard he’d give
me later, and I promised I would.
 
Another German had been a porter at Victoria Station. He showed me a
picture of his family back in Munich. His eldest sister was so lovely,
I said I should like to meet her someday. He beamed and said he would
like that very much and gave me his family’s address.
 
Even those who could not converse could still exchange gifts — our
cigarettes for their cigars, our tea for their coffee, our corned beef
for their sausage. Badges and buttons from uniforms changed owners,
and one of our lads walked off with the infamous spiked helmet! I
myself traded a jackknife for a leather equipment belt — a fine
souvenir to show when I get home.
 
Newspapers too changed hands, and the Germans howled with laughter at
ours. They assured us that France was finished and Russia nearly
beaten too. We told them that was nonsense, and one of them said,
“Well, you believe your newspapers and we’ll believe ours.”
 
Clearly they are lied to — yet after meeting these men, I wonder how
truthful our own newspapers have been. These are not the “savage
barbarians” we’ve read so much about. They are men with homes and
families, hopes and fears, principles and, yes, love of country. In
other words, men like ourselves. Why are we led to believe otherwise?
As it grew late, a few more songs were traded around the fire, and
then all joined in for — I am not lying to you — “Auld Lang Syne.”
Then we parted with promises to meet again tomorrow, and even some
talk of a football match.
 
I was just starting back to the trenches when an older German clutched
my arm. “My God,” he said, “why cannot we have peace and all go home?”
I told him gently, “That you must ask your emperor.”
 
He looked at me then, searchingly. “Perhaps, my friend. But also we
must ask our hearts.”
 
And so, dear sister, tell me, has there ever been such a Christmas Eve
in all history? And what does it all mean, this impossible befriending
of enemies?
 
For the fighting here, of course, it means regrettably little. Decent
fellows those soldiers may be, but they follow orders and we do the
same. Besides, we are here to stop their army and send it home, and
never could we shirk that duty.
 
Still, one cannot help imagine what would happen if the spirit shown
here were caught by the nations of the world. Of course, disputes must
always arise. But what if our leaders were to offer well wishes in
place of warnings? Songs in place of slurs? Presents in place of
reprisals? Would not all war end at once?
 
All nations say they want peace. Yet on this Christmas morning, I
wonder if we want it quite enough.
 
Your loving brother,
 
Tom 
Sharing this with Amy (Soul Dipper) for her Occupy Blogosphere for December 20, 2012:  http://souldipper.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/occupy-blogosphere-thursday-december-20-2012/

Happy Holidays

HAPPY HOLIDAYS–

AND MAY THE NEW YEAR

BRING YOU PEACE,

JOY

AND 

PROSPERITY!

LOVE,

GAYLE

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving…

 

Enjoy the holiday,

Enjoy your week!

 

Afternoon at the Wildlife Refuge

     When I want to get away for an afternoon, Tom (or other family members) and I like to head over to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge specifically to travel the slow, winding seven mile Black Point Wildlife Drive located on the eastern coast of Florida.  It’s about a 45 minute drive from our house.  Nearby is the Haulover Canal waterway which connects the Indian River to Mosquito Lagoon.  Most often we stop there on our way home to visit the Manatee and watch Bottlenose Dolphin swimming slowly in the canal.

    On one particular winter visit to the refuge, the place was heavily populated with not only the usual Florida residents but many wintering species of birds.  We saw large groups of Roseate Spoonbills, you can’t miss their brilliant pink feathers, White Pelicans, bobbing on the surface of the water like small sailboats, and many species of ducks including Northern Shovelers with their unmistakable, large, broad bills.  We spotted charming Belted Kingfishers darting quickly through the scrub, which we commonly see well before we arrive at the refuge, perched on the telephone wires–their unique, large, crested heads easily identifying them.

                                                              Roseate Spoonbill

Belted Kingfisher

     Very common bird sightings at this wildlife refuge are Great Blue Herons, Green Heron, Tri-colored Heron, Snowy Egret, Moorhens, American Bittern, White Ibis, hawks, eagles, gulls, terns, snipes, sandpipers and coots.  Binoculars at the ready, we can zoom in on many of these birds and enjoy them more close up and personal.  Florida is fortunate to be such a haven for so many species.  Most everyone in my family are nature lovers and birders and take the chance whenever we can to watch and listen to see if we can add another bird to our long list of sightings.

     We almost always see alligators sunning themselves on the banks of the narrow canals that line the Black Point Wildlife Drive.  On one recent visit, I did my best impersonation of a baby gator cry and the large alligator we were watching, lifted his head up and looked back at me.  I’ve also had alligators swim towards me, attracted by the sound.  They may have been interested in a meal–they will eat their young.

     Native plants are also abundant there and we often spot the colorful, daisy like, coreopsis or Tickweed, catching our eyes by its bright yellow.

     My sister and her husband have seen the elusive Florida Bobcat several times,  sometimes catching them walking nonchalantly down the middle of the road barely paying attention to them as they follow.  I’ve yet to see one, although I have seen their tracks on the walking trails.

     Near the end of the seven-mile drive is a platform built partially over a canal with a device attached to it pinpointing an enormous Bald Eagle nest in the distance.  The mating pair raises a family there yearly–the nest seemingly growing more expansive as the years go by.  It’s held high in the branches of a huge oak tree.

     Then it’s over to Haulover Canal to see if we can spot a manatee or dolphin.  We usually do.  Last week, when I was laid up with my bad back (and couldn’t go), my brother and sister who are visiting here, went with another sister and a friend to the canal after completing the wildlife drive.  They had the most astonishing encounter with a manatee as they sat on a boat launch.  Our friend had heard that if you splash the water, the manatees may come over to investigate.  They are known to be very curious.  So my sister, Tracy, took up splashing her feet vigorously in the water and a huge, 800 pound manatee (by my brother’s estimation) swam right over to them.  They each took turns “petting” him as he brought his head up out of the water and peered at them.  My other sister began scratching his back, which he obviously seemed to enjoy, and then turned over floating on his back and allowed her to scratch his belly–even holding her hands gently with his front flippers at one point.  I’m getting over there as soon as I can!

     Needless to say, this is one of my most relaxing ways to spend an afternoon.  Immersed in nature–surrounded by Florida’s untouched beauty.

My entry for Monday Morning Writing Prompt–A Day of Refreshment:http://liv2write2day.wordpress.com/2011/08/22/monday-morning-writing-prompt-a-day-of-refreshment/

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TRISHA!

I love a friend

I’ve never seen

A clear connection

Not a dream

It all began

As we shared intentions

And we grew even closer

Through private messages

We opened our hearts

Though continents apart

A remarkable soul

So much in common

She taught me much

And shared her views

The respect I hold

Is a treasured blessing

Precious friend

You’re in my heart

The distance between us

Means nothing at all

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MY DEAR FRIEND TRISHA!
I’M WISHING YOU MUCH LOVE AND HAPPINESS TODAY

YOU HAVE A SPECIAL PLACE IN MY HEART

LOVE,

GAYLE 

Protected

Hitch-hiker's gesture

Image via Wikipedia

 There have been a few times in my life that I feel as if I have narrowly escaped something really bad happening if things had gone in another direction.  I’m not sure why I was spared, but in hindsight; I am deeply grateful for having been.  Here are three instances:

 

            As I recall, a couple of my sisters, a girlfriend (she drove) and I, all went out of town to Tampa one night to attend a rock concert.  Tampa is about an hour and a half drive from Orlando where we all lived.  All of us were in our late teens.  I can’t even remember who was performing that night–the drama afterwards erased it from my memory!  After the concert, we left the auditorium, started on our way home and soon found ourselves stranded, out of gas!  Young, silly girls!  Eventually, a couple of guys pulled over and offered us their assistance.  A ride to a gas station was offered and the use of their empty gas can.  We gratefully agreed and all piled into their large, creaky station wagon and rode with them to get gas.  The can was filled and placed in the far back of their “wagon” and we headed back to our car.  It soon became evident that the gas can, which had been filled to the brim and had no cover on it, had started sloshing out a bit–fumes filled the car.  We were choking and freaking out!  Horrified, we then noticed that the driver was smoking!  We become terrified that the car was going to go up in a ball of fire created by the fumes and the lit cigarette.  We started yelling (begging) for the guy to throw his cigarette out and to slow down.  He laughed and ignored our pleas.  We miraculously arrived intact back to our car and after fueling it, our “rescuers” pointed us in the wrong direction while trailing after us.  We quickly realized we were going the wrong way, our friend turned her car around, and finally we found I-4 and eventually, home.

 

            By God’s grace we were saved from being the victims of having been blown to bits or who knows what else!

 

            On another occasion, after having moved down to Miami, (barely 20 years old) I hitchhiked home from work one day.  My ride had not shown up and I had no way to get in touch with him.  I was new at the job and didn’t have it in me to impose on anyone.  So out on the street, having waited over a half hour or so, I decided to “thumb” my way home.  I had never hitchhiked before (except that crazy Tampa fiasco).  It was a hot, summer day with daylight lasting well into the early evening.  I think that gave me some courage too–that it was still broad daylight.  So I stood by the curb and stuck out my thumb–I don’t remember standing there very long before a small car pulled over with three or four guys in it.   They were very friendly and asked me where I was going–I said Kumquat Avenue, Coconut Grove–sure, they said, get in.  I got in.  I didn’t think a thing of it.  Nothing in me told me I couldn’t trust these guys.  And after a friendly chat with them all the way, they dropped me off, in complete safety, at my front door with a cheerful “take it easy”.

 

            Today, I don’t think someone could pay me to hitchhike!

 

            One dark evening, as I stepped from my car after pulling into the driveway, I was approached by a man walking very quickly towards me.  He was talking excitedly as he swiftly closed the gap between us.  He was telling me that he had run out of gas and that his wife was back in their car and asked if I could help them.  Something inside me made me put my hand up in a “stop” position.  I then told him to stop and that I was uncomfortable with him coming closer.  He stopped in his tracks and said he understood.  I told him I would go inside and tell my husband of his trouble and that we would get help for him.  I went inside and told my husband that someone was outside needing assistance.  We both immediately went to the front yard where I had left the man moments before and found that he had vanished.

 

            I don’t even want to think about what might have happened if I hadn’t had the intuition to “stop” him.

 

            There have been some other near misses through the years that still leave me in awe when I remember them.  Clearly, I have been protected from harm and I don’t for a minute take it lightly.  I always whisper a prayer of thanks.

 

 

Rumi’s Healing

Mikao Usui 臼井甕男 (1865 – 1926)

Image via Wikipedia

My friend, Kumari Mullin, is a Reiki Master (pronounced ray-kee).  Reiki was developed by Mikao Usui in 1922.  He was a Japanese Buddhist.  It is a healing modality that uses energy to correct deficiencies in patients.  I’m not going to go into all the details of this practice but I have seen the miraculous healings that have been achieved through Kumari’s work.

Kumari is also an animal communicator and has the ability to intuit an animal’s distress or needs and bring about their healing or well being.  I witnessed this healing with my adult daughter’s cat that had become seriously ill when he was between one and two years of age. 

My daughter, Mahan, and I lived together for several years and I saw firsthand the suffering by her cat, Rumi, and she both.  His first symptoms showed up as severe vomiting episodes and lethargy.  Then he started having seizures which would leave him dazed and refusing to eat.  Many trips to the vet and many thousands of dollars spent on tests, blood transfusions, etc. never gave us a definitive explanation as to what was causing his trouble.  Many times Mahan and I would prepare ourselves to let him go but somehow, miraculously, he would pull through and be seemingly well until the next incident.  He was put on a steroid which helped stabilize him but it never stopped his periods of decline.

During the time of his extreme illness, my daughter and I would feel tremendous stress and worry over Rumi’s wellbeing.  He was so sick and it tore at our hearts to see him going through so much but then he would bounce back and seemingly come back to health.

Mahan knew of Kumari’s work and so decided to give Reiki a try.  Kumari was able to work long distance over the phone so they set up a time for a session.  Mahan and I were very hopeful that Kumari would be able to pinpoint the trouble and get to the root of the problem that Rumi was experiencing.

When Mahan spoke to Kumari, she was intrigued by the messages that Kumari was conveying from Rumi.  Kumari told her that Rumi was very affected by Mahan’s reaction to his illness and that her fear was only hurting the both of them.  She needed to detach herself from the experience and not project that something dire was going to happen.  Rumi was accepting of his illness and appreciated all that was done on his behalf.  Kumari said Rumi was not ready to go.  She also found some physical blockages which she “moved” through Reiki to assist with his “life force energy”.

After Mahan had several more sessions over the phone with Kumari, Rumi has been overall stable except for the occasional mild seizure and some minor “down time”.  He is a very sleek and healthy cat who is very social and loving.  He’s been a wonderful companion to Mahan and we are very grateful to Kumari for the healing she facilitated.

Rescued Baby Hummingbird

Uploaded by  on May 16, 2010

This is a baby hummingbird I rescued after it was attacked. The song is “Better Together” by Jack Johnson.

This is very, very sweet.  Just to be clear, I did not rescue this hummingbird.  A friend shared this with me from YouTube.

The History of the Parliament of World’s Religions

My two daughters were fortunate enough to be able to attend the Parliament of the World’s Religions that was held in Barcelona, Spain in 2004.  Here is a short video that tells the history of this important gathering between religious communities.

Isabella

Dearest Isabella,

I want you to know that you will always be in my heart.  I cherish the time that I spent with you.  Doing all the things a mother does for her little, dear one–feeding you, bathing and dressing you, comforting you and loving you–even though I wasn’t your mother.  You were in my care for a short while–several months when I was your “Auntie Nanny Gayle”.

It was such a treasured time for me even though our family was in the midst of upheaval and strain but you were not a part of that in my eyes–and heart.  You were just an innocent, sweet infant needing love and care and comfort.  I was so blessed to be chosen to do that for you–if only for a few short months.

I became your nanny when you were only three months old.  You were just an angel of a tiny girl–so very precious and new to this world.  My mothering instincts kicked right in–as if they had ever gone anywhere–you needed me–and I believe I needed you too.  To bring that selfless love that had been buried within me to the surface once again.

I remember one night when you were fussy and couldn’t quite settle down to sleep.  It really wasn’t like you–you never cried very much.   I gathered you up and brought you into my room and played some soft, sweet chanting music.  I hummed and chanted while I cradled you close and you calmed right down and relaxed.  It always was a gift to me to provide comfort for you.

You were a joy, never a bother–no never.  I took pleasure and felt fulfilled in giving you the care and love that you needed.

And then there came the time when you returned to your mother and I can’t help wondering about you.  Are you safe and happy?  Are you being protected and loved as every baby should?

I love you Isabella; you’re always in my heart.

 

Love and peace,

Auntie Nanny Gayle

 

 

Prayers for The World 2011

May all beings feel loved.

May all beings be peaceful and live in equanimity.

May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.

May all beings be free from hate and fear.

May all beings know their power and use it for good.

May all beings show compassion and loving kindness for their fellow man and creatures of the earth.

 

Prayers and gratitude to all bodhisattvas who sacrifice for the benefit of all sentient beings.

Prayers and gratitude to all saints and sages everywhere who endeavor to uplift our lives.

Prayers and gratitude to Mother Earth to be able to retain your health and wellbeing and to know the love and appreciation for how you sustain us.

Let us live happily and be thankful.


Crow and kitten are friends

Finnegan

A charming video of squirrelly Finnegan.

Happy Holidays…

An orchid in my garden…

Being With the Dying

When my mother’s best friend, Katherine, became ill with stomach cancer, her daughter enlisted Katherine’s friends to be of support as she went through her chemotherapy treatment and subsequent recuperation.  Her daughter lived out of state and could not be with her day-to-day.

I had known Katherine my entire life.   She was one of the most positive, bright lights I had ever known.  Her daughter and I had spent much time together as children which included many hours  swimming in the beautiful lake that they lived on.  Katherine’s husband had died many years prior.

Her daughter was very organized and efficient with setting up people in shifts to take turns staying with Katherine during her illness.  Sometimes this included remaining overnight with her.  But Katherine had a very independent nature, even at age 87, and at times would insist that she was OK and send us home.  Her daughter had tried her best to convince Katherine to move to North Carolina and stay with her family, but Katherine always refused.  She had been there for over 50 years.  During one afternoon, she confided in me that she would never leave her beloved home on the lake.   The house had an enclosed porch that overlooked the water and we would sit out there for hours as we talked and relaxed.  Her eyes would occasionally scan the lake and she would comment on a bird that had caught her eye or an activity by a neighbor around the water’s edge.

We were able to share ourselves like never before.  She regaled me with all kinds of stories from her past and shared intimate feelings.  She told me she was totally at peace and was not fearful of death.  I felt somehow as if I were a vessel for her to pour her heart into and was so grateful that I could be of service to her in this way.

I marveled at her serenity during this difficult time.  There was no “battle”, just gentle, quiet acceptance and the allowing of what was.  She illustrated to me what it meant to live in the moment.  Her ease and even emotions were a gift to me as well. 

One day she tired as we had been sitting on the porch for quite some time and so we retired to her bedroom.  Climbing into her bed, I propped myself next to her as we watched television.  A short time later, as I noticed her eyes getting heavy, I told her I would leave and let her sleep.  Lowering myself down on the bed so I could look into her eyes, I held her hands in mine and told her how much I loved her.  She smiled at me with beaming love in her clear, sweet, blue eyes and told me how beautiful I was.  Tears pooled in my eyes as I realized, in that moment, what grace she possessed.

Katherine died quietly in her sleep with hospice in attendance several months after her diagnosis.  Her bedroom window open to the lake.

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Poetry Breakfast

Beginning March 20th, 2016 Poetry Breakfast will once again serve a little poetic nourishment every morning. Start your day with our new expanded menu. Poems, of course, are our specialty. But we will also be serving a fuller menu that includes poetry related creative non-fiction such as letters to and from poets, essays on poetry, and anything else that might feed a poet and poetry lover’s soul.

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copyright 2013 - no reuse without permission ( see bwfiction.wordpress.com for fiction and fantasy )

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