In-Sight

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In-Sight (2)

Coleridge enthusiasts will recognize the reference to the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, “Alone, alone, all, all alone/ Alone on a wide, wide sea/ And never a saint/ Took pity on my soul in agony.”  Whether spawned from an opium delerium or a moment of contemplation, the truth is there.

A nod to my friend Ernest Hemmingway and his brilliant short, short story, “A Clean Well-Lighted place,” where all is nada without one.

 

 

Photo by Hasan Albari from Pexels

The Holy Howl

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My brother died last April and in May my sister and I received an unexpected invitation from his neighbor to accompany him to Wolf Haven.  The unspoken intent was to pay tribute to George.  This poem emerged from my longing for connection.  I often encounter those who have passed in various ways.  This was by far the most powerful.

 

The Holy Howl
(for Martha)

On May eighteenth
before spring had taken hold,
we encountered the freshly transitioned spirit of our brother
in the haunting howl of twelve wolves
at Wolf Haven Sanctuary.
Once abused, abandoned or old,
now they pace, paw and hunt safely with a new pack.

George had loved these wolves
because they were the ancestors
of his beloved Siberian Husky Zane.photostudio_1569422446543
A self-designated member of Zane’s pack,
George would wrestle on the floor with Zane
and howl “JingleBells” in unison with the Husky.
We came to Wolf Haven to honor our brother.

We ambled in a tight circle
pausing at each of the six enclosures
to meet the pacing pair that called it home
and to hear the story of their journey to Wolf Haven.

Arriving back at the entrance we stopped
to listen to the guide’s closing remarks.
Eerily silent throughout the tour, now
a lone wolf lifted its head and let lose
a magnificent primal howl,
stopping the guide in mid-sentence.
An expectant silence ensued,
shattered soon by a raucous chorus
as the whole pack joined in.
They split the mythical veil
that separates here from hereafter.

We met our brother in the holy howl.
Rest in peace, George.

© Rita H Kowats 9-23-19

 

Wolf Photo Credit:  pexels.com Continue reading

Welcome Autumn

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Last evening, the eve of Autumn, I was comfortably ensconced in my chair listening to the Pacific Northwest seasonal onslaught of rain gently ping against the windows.  Sonorous snores from Sherlock, my tubby tabby, provided bass accompaniment and the savory aroma of beef stew on the stove wafted in, peaking my anticipation.  As the Germans would say, this was the essence of Gemutlichkeit.

Yet, with autumn comes the denuding of trees and spirit, so this arrival of the season is bitter sweet.  This blessing from John O’Donohue has eased me into it.  Perhaps it will do the same for you.

Vespers
As light departs to let the earth be one with night,
Silence deepens in the mind, and thoughts grow slow;
The basket of twilight brims over with colors
Gathered from within the sacred meadows of the day
And offered like blessings to the gathering Tenebrae.
After the day’s frenzy, may the heart grow still,
Gracious in thought for all the day brought,
Surprises that dawn could never have dreamed:
The blue silence that came to still the mind,
The quiver of mystery at the edge of a glimpse,
The golden echoes of worlds behind voices.
Tense faces unable to hide what gripped the heart,
The abrupt cut of a glance or a word that hurt,
The flame of longing that distance darkened,
Bouquets of memory gathered on the heart’s altar,
The thorns of absence in the rose of dream.
And the whole while the unknown underworld
Of the mind, turning slowly, in its secret orbit.
May the blessing of sleep bring refreshment and release
And the Angel of the moon call the rivers of dream
To soften the hardened earth of the outside life,
Disentangle from the trapped nets the hurts and sorrow,
And awaken the young soul for the new tomorrow.
~ John O’Donohue ~
(To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings)

photo credit: spoilt.exile <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/96301483@N05/46243352305″>Склон / Slope</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

“Sleepless in Seattle”: Navigating an Ego Storm

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Spirit-Weaving

A web of webs
connects bar to bar
on the lanai railing,
its silver threads catching
the subdued September sun
as it inches its way across the eastern sky.

Early autumn wind cools
the coffee hoarded in my hands-
a comforting respite from the nocturnal
ego storm that ensnared insectile what ifs
in the web of my soul, exhausting me
with their raging
against the storm.

Now
out here in healing sun,
wind and real webs
a Spirit-Web of trust
has neutralized the what-ifs,
calling me back to rest
in the center of my own best self.
Steady
Ready.

© Rita H Kowats 9-9-19

“Restoration Area Stay Off”

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I have been feasting on the book, Whispers in the Wilderness by Erik Stensland.  That it was a gift from a friend who has great respect for restoration areas inside and outside, makes my stroll through its pages all the more poignant. In this book Strensland has compiled poignant photographs and reflections from hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. He says this about restoration areas

These [signs] are placed in areas that have been heavily visited, where the feet of far too many people have worn down the grass and flowers to bare dirt, turning a place of lush beauty into an area that resembles a well-used football field….I find great hope in these restoration signs.  After years of watching them, I’ve seen these places spring back to life when they are given the space they deserve.

I learned how to give that space to a high school senior once.  Her parents had a brief get-a-way on the Labor Day weekend. You can leave a trusted eighteen-year-old alone for two days.  But this time a man broke into her home, raped her and forced her to drink poison.  Thus began her coveted senior year.  After a couple of months of constant police interviews, survivor support group, counseling, compassionate hovering of friends, parents and teachers she put up the sign for me to see, “RESTORATION AREA: STAY OFF.” I had seen her sitting on the floor before her locker and sat down beside her, asking the dreaded question, “So, how are you doing?”  She was in desperate need of being left alone for a while, to restore, to find her center and get back to it.

I could relate.  I was twenty-seven in 1976 when the group I was a part of gave over all of our power to an abusive psychologist who experimented with “Disclosure-Confrontation” marathon sessions. At one point in that journey I thought I was losing my mind, I so desperately needed space away from the others.  I found the courage to plant the restoration sign in the ground of my soul, and was gradually restored.

It’s a matter of timing and we need to discern what time it is.  Is it time to reach out with physical presence and words, or is it time to hold vigil in the quiet space we give the other? May we listen compassionately and wisely.

 

https://books.google.com/books/about/Whispers_in_the_Wilderness.html?id=5rbEAQAACAAJ

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: pexels.com

In Search of Abundance

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In another post I told the story of this photo, 

On my walk along the lake I spotted a maple leaf, dried to death by the intense summer heat, stunning in its aridity.  Unable to ignore its call, I snatched it up and carried it home to await the muse.

It called to me again as this season of Lent commenced, but I wasn’t prepared to receive its unexpected power.  The liturgical artists from my spiritual home, Seattle Mennonite Church, extended an invitation for us to engage our lenten theme, Parables of Abundance: “We are interested in creating a visual piece that reflects both the abundance we experience in trying to live with less, as well as our feelings of vulnerability, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.” We are invited to bring our image or our written piece to the sanctuary to create a rich collage of our experiences of abundance.

As the photographer, I instinctively positioned the leaf one way and have only seen it from that direction.  Until now. I decided to let the photo speak to me from all four possible positions.  I invite you to do the same.  You have my permission to position it as the spirit urges.

 

Lenten Meditation One

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Max Musing

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2-21-19

Resting beside Echo Lake

in the waning winter sun
I spot His Majesty Maximiliano Mallard
and chat him up from a distance.

“Oh, you exquisite gift! Look at that magnificent head gleaming
now emerald, now sapphire in the sun. Your rich chestnut chest
precedes you, as well it should. Thank you, friend.”

He waddles close, quacking in time to kissing sounds
(surely sounded by some silly passerby)
He turns his head sideways to check me out.
Then called away by the flock,
He collects his mate who waits patiently
(in the shadows)
and they are off…

too soon.
Your visitation is the recurring echo of lessons offered
heeded, exceeded and ignored.
I wanted to ask, “What is your lesson today Your Majesty?”

His voice comes to me
In the peaceful quiet of Echo Lake:
“Be content with your own best self. Strut your own stuff, girl!”

© Rita H Kowats

Photo Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/users/Capri23auto-1767157/

 

 

 

Rose Petals Floating Downstream

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I recommend this lovely new book of Anita Neilson’s spiritual poetry:

https://anitaneilson.com/2018/12/07/its-raining-rose-petals/

Ordinary Time


Yesterday, to save time, I took the E-line bus which runs through the non-Amazon side of Seattle.  It is a route which usually leaves me depleted of psychic energy.  However, this time the E-Line gifted me with the blessed ordinariness of life.  It was a holiday and folks were basking in their liminal time. Gentle smiles graced the faces of the poorest of the poor.  An aging woman who still walked well gave her seat to an aging man who no longer walked well.  I was unaware of my need to see ordinary folks going about their lives with courage and joy.  Today this poem emerged.


Photo Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/349447/ by Eugenia