I entered the YMCA swimming pool earlier than usual today, desperate to heal from the strident rancor that stalked me through the written word, spoken word, unspoken word, words, words, words. No escape here. As I sank into the comfort of the hot tub, the blaring voice of Thursday’s aerobics instructor reverberated through the space, shattering my renewal attempt. “Let it go,” I told myself, “In twenty minutes she’s out of here.” I began my hour’s swim and instead of leaving with her class, the instructor lingered through “my” hour, engaged in a non-stop decibel-enhanced monologue with a captivated swimmer.
Workout ended and instructor gone, I sank back into the comfort of the hot tub, silence ensuing throughout the pool. Two deaf women joined me, signing sparingly, enjoying their time. Blissful silence wrapped around me like a child’s blankie warding off a nightmare.
A familiar thought pushed its way into consciousness. “I wish I were deaf. I hardly hear as it is, yet some sounds are physically painful…might as well take it all.” If my deaf companions could have read my thoughts I can guess their response. “It’s a privilege to be here,” they would say. “Its a privilege to be here as we are. It’s a privilege for you to be here just as you are.” Savor what you have. Savor who you are.”
I wrap a blanket of silence
around my battered psyche,
snuggling into its warm comfort
where I conjure the resilience
to surface in the world
© Rita Hemmer Kowats 10-4-2019
“At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless; Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is, But neither arrest nor movement.”
T.S. Eliot The Four Quartets
The Roundabout and the Still Point
Under clear blue sky
in Central Park carefree
girls and boys hop
onto a roundabout and spin
each rotation carrying them
away from the nascent secret
we conceal from them and ourselves:
the sky has fallen
yin has become yang.
clinging and cleaving to roundabouts
forged by fear.
Our grip is slipping now
and we are falling
by default into that Still Point of is-ness
where we embrace the yang
until our yearning for yin
puts the sky back in place
and the children back
on the roundabout…
As for us-
© Rita H. Kowats
Photo Credit: imgbin.com
For the third time on these pages I post this poem with hope and a prayer that nonviolence will replace violence, that deep self will replace ego. I share the poem today in response to the possibility of yet another war in the Middle East.
Photo Credit for flags: wikepedia.org
Here is a little something for us to sit with in preparation for Easter.
Photo Credit clenched hand: Photo by Oladimeji Odunsi on Unsplash
Photo Credit Open hands: Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash
It is time.
We sit on our designated hills
overlooking our private Jerusalems
watching the malignant intruder slither
toward the Holy City.
So they say.
They say it is a holy thing
that one chooses to die for all.
So we remember and choose
to muddle through our own dry and tattered times.
Like stark, barren limbs
giving way to bursts of chartreuse leaves
and sweet-smelling blossoms
that waft on winds of promise,
we too shall bear luscious, ripe fruit.
© Rita H Kowats
Photo Credit for Magnolia tree: photo credit: jennifernish <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/15004954@N03/6968390159″>sneak peek at spring</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>
The leaf photo evokes the image of a crab’s pinchers poised to strike as it sidles sideways across the sand. As we know, the astrological sign of cancer is named for the crab. Those who are born under this sign are said to struggle letting go and they often communicate indirectly. Outer appearances serve as an armor of sorts, hiding the depths of their feelings, a universally human tendency.
In the process of growing up, crabs have to molt their hard shells many times to make way for each new, larger shell. As it molts, the old shell has to soften while the beginnings of the new shell grow under it. The crab must pull its whole self from the old shell; if it gets stuck, it dies.
Lenten Meditation Three
Thinking sideways slanders truth.
Speaking sideways swindles youth.
Legacy leaving requires
Brittle, whittled half-truths
must soften and slip
to make room for new strata
soon sloughed off to shine
brilliant on sparks of pure
© Rita H Kowats. 3-22-19
As the creator of this photograph, 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. For my first meditation I wrote from this position
Lenten Meditation Two
The bone-weary phoenix
emerges from his marrow yet again
with wings worse for wear and poised for take-off.
He hitches a ride on Spirit Breath,
animated and ablaze, drunk
on the sweet elixir of life.
“Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.”
Borne on the wings of grace
we reach into the marrow of our souls
and pull ourselves back to
© Rita H Kowats 3-17-19
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