NPM | 52 Frames | Long Exposure | Walking Meditation

52Frames Week 12 Long Exposure

Walking Meditation
Thích Nhất Hạnh

Take my hand.
We will walk.
We will only walk.

We will enjoy our walk
without thinking of arriving anywhere.

Walk peacefully.
Walk happily.
Our walk is a peace walk.
Our walk is a happiness walk.

Then we learn
that there is no peace walk;
that peace is the walk;
that there is no happiness walk;
that happiness is the walk.

We walk for ourselves.
We walk for everyone
always hand in hand.

Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.

Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom under our feet.

Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Print on Earth your love and happiness.

Earth will be safe
when we feel in us enough safety.


About the Image: The photo above, like the one shared Monday, is from Green Mountain Nature Preserve. This one was for the 52Frames Week 12 challenge, “Long Exposure.” I have some work to do with long exposure, but I love this scene. I hope you find some time to walk and mediate this weekend!

Sunflowers and Poetry | Let April Be April

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Since I’ve been an academic all my adult life, I have no idea what the end of April feels like for people whose lives are not planned around two 15-week segments. For me, it brings stress and anxiety over the ever-increasing unfinished business of the semester and May “cleanup” work, not to mention all the end-of-the-school-year events and deadlines for my son. When my student France Régine sent me the poem below a few days ago–a day after I’d seen the post on Morgan Harper Nichols‘ Instagram feed–I decided to use the poem to close out the month. It is a beautiful reminder that it is okay to “just be” and not feel the need to solve the problems of the world in one go.

Morgan Harper Nichols
Let April be April,
and let May be May.
And let yourself
just be
even in
the uncertainty.
You don’t have to fix everything.
You don’t have to solve everything.
And you can still find peace
and grow
in the wild
of changing things.

About the Image: The Current card above came from Jamise L–another sunflower lover–I met through Jennifer Belthoff’s Write Together and Love Notes. Her encouraging note came just when I needed it. My friends have been awesome and have kept me well-supplied with sunflower goodies, so there are many more sunflowers to share. Even though this ends our (almost) week of Sunflowers and Poetry, stay tuned to Pics and Posts for more sunflower love!

Sunflowers and Poetry | Why I Wake Early

Sunflower Goat

Good Morning! I’m dropping in a little earlier than usual because I thought you might like to share your morning tea or coffee with this sunflower-bearing (umm…eating) goat. If it is not morning where you are, you should exit this post and return to it in the morning. Kidding, of course! You can read it now and return to it tomorrow morning, if you choose, because today’s poem by Mary Oliver is about celebrating the early morning and starting our days with happiness and kindness. 

Why I Wake Early
by Mary Oliver
 
Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who make the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and crotchety–
 
best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light–
good morning, good morning, good morning.
 
Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.

About the Image: My pen friend, Kathi G, sent the delightful postcard above. The goat’s name is Rory. Isn’t he absolutely adorable as he munches on a sunflower with a field more of them behind him? This is the work of Dorian Charles of Tabby Hall Designs. Happy eating, Rory!

					

Sunflowers and Poetry | Game Called Life

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As promised Monday, I’m back with another poem by Javan. The poem below comes from Something to Someone. If your week has been a little challenging like mine, you might also need this nice and easy poem that doesn’t tax the brain or stretch the intellectual muscles.

By Javan

I’m not very good
at this Game called Life
For I’ve not learned to see children crying
without feeling pain
For I’ve not learned to watch animals destroyed
without wondering why
For I’ve not yet met a king or celebrity
that I would bow down to
or a man so insignificant
that I would use for a stepping-stone
For I’ve not learned to be a
“yes man”
to narrow minded bosses
who quote rules without reason
And I’ve not learned to manipulate
the feelings of others
to be used for my own advantages
then cast aside as I see fit
No, I’m not very good
at this Game called Life
And if everything goes well
maybe I never will be


About the Image: My friend Christine B sent this bright sprinkling of sunflowers to cheer me after I told her I was having a very sad day. She used the TouchNote app to send the postcard featuring her artwork.

Sunflowers and Poetry | How We Fit

“Le prince solaire” by A. Kumurdjian

Today has been filled with too much talking, too much paper-shuffling, and not enough silence. Even as I type these few words, I hear the text messages [that I will ignore until morning] coming in. So, for now, a very short poem from Meister Eckhart’s Book of Heart: Meditations for the Restless Soul by Jon M. Sweeney and Mark S. Borrows. May we all find a bit of stillness in this moment. 

How We Fit
Meister Eckhart | Sweeney and Burrows

You made us for Yourself.
and we fit not as one part

to another but rather as
emptiness meets fullness.

as darkness seeks light,
as loneliness wants love,

as what is wounded
longs for healing.

About the Image: My Love Notes friend Sarah S sent the photo postcard above for International Women’s Day. She sent the postcards with “prayers for peace, strength, and women all over the world, especially women of the Ukraine.” The majestic sunflower was shot by A. Kumurdian. Don’t you just love the postal tattoos? 🙂

Sunflowers and Poetry | Who We Are Now

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I ran across a poem today that I didn’t know I needed till I read it. Isn’t that how poetry works?

We are two years into the pandemic that some think is over, and I find myself still trying to process all the lessons and losses. This poem–which is really a prayer–profoundly articulates the complexity of the moment–the conflicting emotions, the questions, the changes in us. It was written by Nadia Bolz Weber, a pastor who describes herself as “foul-mouthed for a preacher, grammatically challenged for a bestselling author, surprisingly hopeful for a cynic.” 

The poem was written after year one of the pandemic, but it is still relevant after year two.

Who We Are Now
By Nadia Bolz Weber

Dear God who made us all,
A year ago we did not know that we were about to learn:
what we could lose and somehow live anyway
where we would find comfort and where it would elude us
whose lives matter to whom
why we have kitchens in our homes.
In mid-March 2020 all I knew for sure is that
hoarding toilet paper doesn’t make you safe – it just makes you selfish.
But God, it feels like the world is about to open back up.
And I’m both thrilled and kind of scared about that.
Because I’m not who I was a year ago.
I want so badly
to hug my friends again
and laugh like hell again
and have amazing conversations again

and yet I am not sure how long I could do any of this before crying or just getting really quiet. My emotional protective gear has worn so thin, and grief just leaks out everywhere now.

I am so afraid that I will never be who I once was. And I am also afraid that I will be.

(Not to mention, I’m not entirely clear what size jeans I wear as the me I am now)

And yet, when I quiet my anxious thoughts, I start to suspect that I am now closer to the me you have always known and always loved. So help me trust that, Lord.

As things change, help us be gentle with ourselves and with each other. We are all wearing newborn skin right now.

Amen.


About the Image: I had plans to share a sunflower postcard from one of my pen friends today, but this is the image the poem required. It is an edit of a photo I shot last fall. I was trying to emulate van Gogh’s wilted sunflowers–with a camera instead of a paintbrush. See Allotment with Sunflowers in the post.

Sunflowers and Poetry | Meet Me Halfway

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Since we are in the final week of National Poetry Month, I decided to share poetry and sunflowers all week long. This month–with all its busyness–tried to rob me of poetry, but I persisted. I wrote and read poetry daily and even managed to plan and host another successful [annual] poetry event.

This weekend I “rediscovered” Javan, a poet I enjoyed as a teen. I [probably] purchased the two books I own while perusing shops on Canal Street in New Orleans–Meet Me Halfway and Something to Someone. I have not read these books in decades, but thought about them a couple of days ago and luckily found them with ease in my home library.

After reading through selections, I see why I loved his works way back then. His poetry is uncomplicated and speaks to our yearnings and all the things that cause teenage angst.  

Here are two poems from Meet Me Halfway to start you work week. I plan to share another one of his poems Thursday.

By Javan

I’ve learned
That Life offers much more
Than most people take

I’ve learned
That many people live their life
Within small circles
Afraid to go out
Afraid to let others in

And I’ve also learned
That at the end of Life’s game
Most people wish
That somehow
They could have played it differently

By Javan

Many people complain
Life never gave them any chances

We are given Life
We must take the Chances


About the Image: Today’s tiny art is brought to you by none other than Sheila Delgado of Sheila’s Corner Studio. She sent this gem to me in late October and I have been looking forward to sharing it with you. It kicks off “Sunflowers and Poetry Week” perfectly! You can view a better scan of the sunflower and read about her creative process in Smooth the Way. Oh, why sunflowers with poetry? “Just because,” of course!

#ThursdayTreeLove | When the Cherry Tree Blossoms

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I recently took a walk to the building on campus furthest from my own academic home. As I walked, I wondered about the cherry blossom trees near my building. Since the weather is erratic this time of year, I worried that I would miss the short-lived season of blooms. To my right–a little off my path–stood an already-blooming tree, near an almost-completed building on campus.

Work trucks, building materials, and a fence–not the most glorious backdrop for this beauty.

It’s odd [to me] to find trees growing just outside a construction site, sites often prepared by unearthing their nearby friends.  But when the cherry blossom opens, it makes all the sense in the world that a little beauty was left behind. 


I usually join Parul Thakur for #ThursdayTreeLove every second and fourth Thursday of the month. I’m joining a week earlier for the final April post because next week is all about sunflowers and poetry.  If you would like to play along, post a picture of a tree on your blog and link it back to her latest #treelove post.

Purple | To be a flower…

Purple Tulip 04.01.22

This National Poetry Month I decided to write [or work on] a poem every day. Unfortunately, April began yesterday–a Friday, the day of the week when I have so little energy and brain-power left that it’s probably best I sleep the day away. Thanks to the assistance of NaPoWriMo: 30 Poems in 30 Days, I was able to scrape up a few brain cells for the short poem below.

The blog provides inspiration and daily prompts throughout the month. I chose one of four or five Emily Dickinson lines offered as prompts for the day. [Note: NaPoWriMo is short for National Poetry Writing Month].

The line I chose, “To be a flower is profound responsibility” comes from Emily Dickinson’s Poem 1058. I quickly scribbled the poem during a “screen break” and then took a short walk to the tulips where I captured the purple one above. Both provide the perfect close to our undeclared “purple flower week” on the blog.

Here’s my poem. I consider it a “work-in-progress,” so your feedback is welcome.

To Be a Flower | Chandra Lynn

To be a flower is profound responsibility–
Planted firmly against the wind
dressed and made up
beautifully
on its worst days
forever in oxymoron:
expected to simultaneously
cheer the wounded and broken
and celebrate the joyous, victorious, the proud.

To be a flower is profound responsibility–
trained to bear the weight of a brief elegance
with unaffected majesty.   –CTM 04.01.22

In case you’re interested, here’s Dickinson’s poem. Thanks to my friend Cy for finding it for me today.

Poem 1058 | Emily Dickinson

Bloom—is Result—to meet a Flower
And casually glance
Would scarcely cause one to suspect
The minor Circumstance

Assisting in the Bright Affair
So intricately done
Then offered as a Butterfly
To the Meridian—

To pack the Bud—oppose the Worm—
Obtain its right of Dew—
Adjust the Heat—elude the Wind—
Escape the prowling Bee

Great Nature not to disappoint
Awaiting Her that Day—
To be a Flower, is profound
Responsibility—

Poetry is good for the soul, so I hope you take some time to write or read a poem every day this month. If you don’t know where to begin, you can find lots of ideas and resources here: National Poetry Month.

Purple | “Bump Up the Color”

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I read the few words [below] by poet Yrsa Daley-Ward a week ago, and they have been an answer to the chaos and noise of the world, noise I do not want to be a part of.

Life is beautiful. Live it. Bump up the colour of the moment. Bright things can be found everywhere – in the undergrowth, in the unexpected, in the calm following something significant, in the pure thought inside a meditation.

There are things that I will hold forever. I have to turn over the soil each day. There is beauty everywhere. Often, I miss it.  –Yrsa Daley-Ward, the utter

I’m convinced it was her words that led me to all the purple this weekend.