WRITE 28 DAYS: MEDITATION RESPONSES – DAY 19: Working with Challenges

I’m participating in Sharon Salzberg’s 28-Day Real Happiness Meditation Challenge again this year, and my plan for this blog series is to write a poem or reflection on each day’s practice. You can find all the responses on the landing page.

Today, Sharon said, “We seek to understand … which means we have to look.”

The Slow Unfolding 

I think every poem could begin this way: today.

Today something happened, or brought it all back, or fell into 
   place, or fell apart. 
Today, a walk, another walk, the weather keeping time, 
   marking place, the slow unfolding, 
the sky, unfilled, that barely purple sky of grey, watercolour wash, 
following us around the lake, forming a backdrop for my small photos, 
a context for what I see, 
its spaciousness a mutable mood. 

Today, the trees, 
their chronic bareness, limbs lifted, swaying 
   unfettered, and beside them 
the bold marcescence of the beeches and oaks, fettered,  
clutching their leaves close 
   day after day, unpersuaded 
by ice and snow, unpersuaded by what’s happening 
today because of what they feel in their bones, sap, 
cellulose, their deepest memories spoken. The birches 
bent over the pond, caught and held hard by ice, 
   stretched, waiting, another day, waiting.  
Lingering dry dots of pale yellow up and down 
the witch hazel stems, persistent, 
I seek them out today, 
   and most days, without understanding.

Today, the birds, calling and cawing, a raven 
   from a distance and then closer 
but unseen, and a robin, some robins, grass-bound and silent.
Today, a surprise, one I’ve been expecting: 
the first of the red-winged blackbirds, 
the males with their tuneful ratcheting 
song raising high above the marsh, 
   today, the first I’ve heard their voices since July.

Today, the blue hues and yellow glaze of the ice, 
the ice that’s concealed itself in dazzling transparency 
until the revelation, until the trumpets sound and 
all who live on earth today 
confess, in this time and place, 
   letting go and holding on, 
   falling and rising like blood, like 
breath, like ice that’s becoming water and air 
once again, today.

© MMW 19 Feb 2023

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