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This time of year I bubble. Grace seems almost tangible in the long, angled rays of light like we can climb a little higher and look out with a wider view on connection, and the deep need to know ourselves, and each other. Peace!

I am entranced with the light this time of year. It is as though the sun, thanks to the tilt of the earth, appears to move south, allowing us each to come home, home to the fire within.

It is a reflective time. As the year comes to a close, I feel a desire to fulfill those resolutions made January 1st and to gently come to completion with hopes and desires. What can I conclude and restart as I honor the exchange of vows, the embrace of one year with the next?

This whole week we live with extra awareness, with more noticing of blessings and giving thanks.

My husband had surgery two and a half weeks ago and is awakened from dreams/nightmares of being invaded.

Naturally! Surgeon’s hands were inside. His psyche knows, and yet the medical world considers him healed. We know there is more.

We need time to heal, time to nourish the soil within. The leaves are falling.

Let each of us feel the feathered fall of leaves, cushioning the inner to better receive, and breathe through change, trauma, and gifts.

Though the days shorten, the light is bright and sharp, cutting clearly through the branches of trees as leaves fall.

May we each give ourselves space to be.

I am with the words of Sue Bender:

“In that tiny space between all the givens is freedom.”

I love this time of year. The Monarch butterflies arrive and the sun has a softer slant, even as it seems to touch more deeply to create vitamin D and preparation for the longer nights to come.

In Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book Simple Abundance, she writes:

It seems to me that January resolutions are about will; September resolutions are about authentic wants. . . . The beauty of autumnal resolutions is that no one else knows we’re making them. Autumnal resolutions don’t require horns, confetti, and champagne. September resolutions ask only that we be open to positive change.

Open to positive change. I like that.

I feel the stirrings that drop leaves in the fall and reveal the structure of trees.

We, in the northern hemisphere, are turning toward fall, shorter days, longer nights, craving foods that are orange, rich with vitamin A, to nourish our eyes.

A bird just chirped outside my window with a message given and received. Time. Tier time.

My son and his wife are moving to England for a year, and I am aware of stretching the moments of this next 28 days, of building a scaffold of support.

I think now of the neck of the giraffe. The giraffe has seven vertebrae, as do we, and yet, each one of theirs can be over ten inches long. The giraffe’s heart is 2 feet long and weighs about 25 pounds. Its lungs can hold 12 gallons of air. In this moment, I’m envisioning myself as a giraffe with a long, flexible neck, a huge heart, and lungs moist with care. I find myself in tears these days, tears liquid with love.

My son is making a film and, through it, I feel myself in the workings of his mind, as he once was in me. I am touched, punctured perhaps, as with the song of the little bird this morning. And so this poem comes, brought from a bird, reminding me to trust and continuously build and replenish an inner nest.

Inner Nest

Bird drops notes outside my window,
ear cups thimble
air woven in tiers

Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.

– Etty Hillesum

Just reading her words gives me space, changes my pace. I stop and notice, inhale, pause and savor. One long waterfall of love and light winds through my head and chest and out.

Each breath has hills to cradle the pause, the intention to rest.

I renew, with zest, as guest.

Steve Jobs in a commencement address said:

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

I am savoring an article by Tony Hoagland in the American Poetry Review where he discusses the poetry of Marie Howe, Jane Hirshfield, and Linda Gregg.

As we’ve discussed here, writing poetry can put one in touch with the stirrings within and can stir a deeper resonance with what connects perception to the view outside.

Hoagland writes:

“A spiritual poet is one seeking alignment with the laws of creation; with that which is above and beyond the human. In our era, even to remember such parameters exist is difficult when the priority and scale of the manmade proclaims itself from every TV and cell phone conversation.”

I’m reading The Curve of Time, a memoir of a woman who after her husband died in 1926, spent her summers exploring the coast of British Columbia with her five children in a twenty-five foot boat.

She describes the making of a boat by native peoples from a tree.

“The Indians still make these dugouts. They take a cedar log the required length, and by eye alone they adze and shape it – keel, bow, stern. When the outside is finished, they drive in wooden pegs, their length depending on the thickness they want the canoe to be. They then adze, or burn and chisel out the inside until they work down to the wooden pegs. Then comes the work of shaping the dugout, which at this stage is too narrow and high amidships. They fill it up with water and throw in heated stones until the water boils. The wood is then pliable and easily stretched, and they set in the thwarts – spreading and curving the hull to whatever shape they want. The prows are high and curve forward, the tip often carved. This one had the head of a wolf, ears laid back to the wind.”

I am envisioning my life like this, choosing a log, and shaping, filling with water and stretching, opening, carving my prow. In this moment, I choose the eagle for my prow, the bird with bright, agile eyes and long, flexible wings.

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Cathy and Jane started writing together during Cathy's illness, and that writing became a blog, which then became a book!

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