December 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 11)
The secret of seeing is...the pearl of great price...But although the pearl may be found, it may not be sought...although it comes to those who wait for it, it is always, even to the most practiced and adept, a gift and a total surprise....I cannot cause light; the most I can do is try to put myself in the path of its beam. It is possible, in deep space, to sail on solar wind. Light, be it particle or wave, has force: you rig a giant sail and go. The secret of seeing is to sail on solar wind. Hone and spread your spirit till you yourself are a sail, whetted, translucent...
~ Annie Dillard in PILGRIM AT TINKER CREEK
Annie Dillard Pilgrim At Tinker Creek tiny lantern
December 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 11)

...A world where everything is moored to logic, to power, to syntax and plot and scheme and expectation and meaning, leaves no place for magic, for the inextricability and beauty of a glimpsed sunset.

~ Bayo Akomolafe in THESE WILDS BEYOND OUR FENCES: LETTERS TO MY DAUGHTER ON HUMANITY'S SEARCH FOR HOME
Bayo Akomolafe THESE WILDS BEYOND OUR FENCES: LETTERS TO MY DAUGHTER ON HUMANITY'S SEARCH FOR HOME tiny lantern
December 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 11)
What is the meaning of life? That was all—a simple question; one that tended to close in on one in years. The great revelation had never come. The great revelation perhaps never did come. Instead, there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark.
~ Virginia Woolf in TO THE LIGHTHOUSE
Virginia Woolf TO THE LIGHTHOUSE tiny lantern
December 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 11)

Now at last the first snow falls
like a blanket upon dim powers.
Keep the fire alive now
and do not disturb the sleep
of roots and seeds...

The shining winter sky
is close enough to touch;
and you too are this sky.
No reason to distinguish.
For all the stars flow through your veins.

~ Jean Gebser from "The Winter Poem"
Jean Gebser tiny lantern
December 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 11)
All shadows of clouds the sun cannot hide
like the moon cannot stop oceanic tide;
but a hidden star can still be smiling
at night's black spell on darkness, beguiling
~ Munia Khan
Munia Khan tiny lantern
December 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 11)

If you wake up early, do not wake up to
maximize productivity
for someone else's agenda,
but wake up early to sit on the border of dark
and light
and listen for the Word,
If you stay up late, do not stay up to fulfill a
list
that will never satisfy
but stay up late because your spirit is caught
in something true.
If you say yes, say yes from a place of your
soul's landing in the world.
If you say no, say no to be free for your own
verses.
Move in the world—early, late, between, yes,
no—
you made of holy stuff,
like eternity and found Light,
and remembering that.

~ Laura Martin, "Untitled"
Laura Martin tiny lantern
December 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 11)

Love is what carries you, for it is always there, even in the dark, or most in the dark, but shining out at times like gold stitches in a piece of embroidery.

~ Wendell Berry in HANNAH COULTER
Wendell Berry HANNAH COULTER tiny lantern
December 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 11)
In my own worst seasons I've come back from the colorless world of despair by forcing myself to look hard, for a long time, at a single glorious thing: a flame of red geranium outside my bedroom window. And then another: my daughter in a yellow dress. And another: the perfect outline of a full, dark sphere behind the crescent moon. Until I learned to be in love with my life again.
~ Barbara Kingsolver in HIGH TIDE IN TUCSON
Barbara Kingsolver HIGH TIDE IN TUCSON tiny lantern
December 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 11)

How
Did the rose
Ever open its heart

And give to this world
All its
Beauty?

It felt the encouragement of light
Against its
Being.

Otherwise,
We all remain

Too

Frightened.

~ Hafiz Translated by Daniel Ladinsky in THE GIFT
Hafiz The Gift tiny lantern
November 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 10)
Let new words leap out of our mouths.
Let our hands be astonished at what we have made, and glad.
Let us follow ourselves into a present not ruled by the past.
If we jump up now, our far will be near.
~ Minnie Bruce Pratt, "If we jump up" in INSIDE THE MONEY MACHINE
Minnie Bruce Pratt INSIDE THE MONEY MACHINE path
November 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 10)
The hardest ground to plow was living fully without worry, not in the past gone on or future yet to come—but in the present hardpan now.
~ J. Drew Lanham in SPARROW ENVY
J. Drew Lanham SPARROW ENVY path
November 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 10)
My eyes were in my feet.
~ Nan Shepherd in THE LIVING MOUNTAIN
Nan Shepherd The Living Mountain path
November 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 10)
Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for through You will I know wholeness; I shall reflect your light both day and night...With your steadfast love, once again, companion me along your way.
~ Nan Merrill, from her interpretation of "Psalm 25" in PSALMS FOR PRAYING
Nan Merrill Psalms For Praying path
November 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 10)
By night we hasten in darkness to search for living water, only our thirst leads us onward, only our thirst leads us onward.
~ from "De noche iremos" Taize song
path
November 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 10)
From trains to automobiles to airplanes, each time the speed of connection quickens, travelers have expressed a sense of growing alienation from the land blurring past our windows... a faster connection palpably diminishes our ability to experience the richness of the physical world: A person texting her friends or riding on a bullet train is connected very quickly to her ends, but in doing so, she skips over the immensely complex terrain that lies between those two points... the faster we travel, the more intensely we feel our lack of relationship with the land we traverse.
~ Robert Moor in ON TRAILS: AN EXPLORATION
Robert Moor ON TRAILS: AN EXPLORATION path
November 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 10)
Do you have hope for the future?
someone asked Robert Frost, toward the end.
Yes, and even for the past, he replied,
that it will turn out to have been all right
for what it was, something we can accept,
mistakes made by the selves we had to be,
not able to be, perhaps, what we wished,
or what looking back half the time it seems
we could so easily have been, or ought...
The future, yes, and even for the past,
that it will become something we can bear.
...Hope for the past,
yes, old Frost, your words provide that courage,
and it brings strange peace that itself passes
into past, easier to bear because
you said it, rather casually, as snow
went on falling in Vermont years ago.
~ David Ray from "Thanks Robert Frost" in MUSIC OF TIME
David Ray MUSIC OF TIME path
November 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 10)
...At the end there may be no answers
and only a few very simple questions: did I love,
finish my task in the world? Learn at least one
of the many names of God? At the intersections,
the boundaries where one life began and another
ended, the jumping-off places between fear and
possibility, at the ragged edges of pain,
did I catch the smallest glimpse of the holy?
~ Jeanne Lohmann from "Praise What Comes" in THE LIGHT OF INVISIBLE BODIES
Jeanne Lohmann THE LIGHT OF INVISIBLE BODIES path
November 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 10)
We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.

And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.
~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin in HEARTS ON FIRE
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin HEARTS ON FIRE path
November 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 10)

The path is made in the walking of it.

~ Zhuangzi
Zhuangzi path
November 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 10)

The first thing
The last thing.
Start from where you are.

~ Dale Pendell from LIFE PRAYERS
Dale Pendell Life Prayers path
November 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 10)

It's a journey . . . that I propose . . . I am not the guide . . . nor technical assistant . . . I will be your fellow passenger . . .

Though the rail has been ridden . . . winter clouds cover . . . autumn's exuberant quilt . . . we must provide our own guide-posts . . .

I have heard . . . from previous visitors . . . the road washes out sometimes . . . and passengers are compelled . . . to continue groping . . . or turn back . . . I am not afraid . . .

I am not afraid . . . of rough spots . . . or lonely times . . . I don't fear . . . the success of this endeavor . . . I am Ra . . . in a space . . . not to be discovered . . . but invented . . .

I promise you nothing . . . I accept your promise . . . of the same we are simply riding . . . a wave . . . that may carry . . . or crash . . .

It's a journey . . . and I want . . . to go . . .

~ Nikki Giovanni from "A Journey" in THE COLLECTED POETRY OF NIKKI GIOVANNI: 1968-1998
Nikki Giovanni THE COLLECTED POETRY OF NIKKI GIOVANNI: 1968-1998 path
October 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 9)
Ripeness is
what falls away with ease.
Not only the heavy apple,
the pear,
but also the dried brown strands
of autumn iris from their core.

To let your body
love this world
that gave itself to your care
in all of its ripeness,
with ease,
and will take itself from you
in equal ripeness and ease,
is also harvest.

And however sharply
you are tested —
this sorrow, that great love —
it too will leave on that clean knife.
~ Jane Hirshfield, "Ripeness" in THE OCTOBER PALACE
Jane Hirshfield THE OCTOBER PALACE becoming
October 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 9)

"It would seem," Höller later reflected, "that plants grow better in contact with positive human sensations." But perhaps that's no surprise either, that how we bear witness to what's before us can hurt or nourish what's before us. Our environments have always been soft to the touch, defined by how we translate them: mine or ours or simply here, the place where we happened to enjoy the outrageous luxury of remaining momentarily alive together.

~ Sumanth Prabhaker from "Wisterian" in ORION Magazine, Spring 2023
Sumanth Prabhaker ORION Magazine, Spring 2023 becoming
October 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 9)
Look around you, love. Slowly. Do you notice this sunset? It's the only one you'll ever see. Tomorrow, you'll see another one when you come to this edge—but then it will be another sunset, incalculably different from the ones you've already seen. Such is the miracle and wonder of the world. Everything moves, nothing stays or congeals long enough to ever be fixed into being. Everything is caught in the trance of becoming.
~ Bayo Akomolafe in THESE WILDS BEYOND OUR FENCES
Bayo Akomolafe THESE WILDS BEYOND OUR FENCES becoming
October 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 9)
This is our modern curse: A century of conspicuous consumption has trained us to be dutiful citizens of the Republic of Not Enough, swearing allegiance to the marketable myth of scarcity, hoarding toilet paper for the apocalypse. Along the way, we have unlearned how to live wide-eyed with wonder at what Hermann Hesse called "the little joys" — those unpurchasable, unstorable emblems of aliveness that abound the moment we look up from our ledger of lack.
~ Maria Popova in THE MARGINALIAN 8/6/23
Maria Popova THE MARGINALIAN 8/6/23 becoming
October 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 9)

Think
how many long years
this tree waited as a seed
for an animal or bird or wind or rain
to maybe carry it to maybe the right spot
where again it waited months for seasons to change
until time and temperature were fine enough to coax it
to swell and burst its hard shell so it could send slender roots
to clutch at grains of soil and let tender shoots reach toward the sun
Think how many decades or centuries it thickened and climbed and grew
taller and deeper never knowing if it would find enough water or light
or when conditions would be right so it could keep on spreading leaves
adding blossoms and dancing
Next time
you see
a tree
think
how
much
hope
it holds

~ Padma Venkatraman, "Whenever You See a Tree" in POETRY, MARCH 2021
Padma Venkatraman POETRY, MARCH 2021 becoming
October 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 9)
Night,
night of mine,
night of the entire world,
you have something inside you, round
like a child
about to be born, like
a bursting
seed,
it is the miracle,
it is the day.
You are more beautiful
because with your darker blood
you feed the poppy being born,
because you work with eyes closed
so eyes can open,
so water can sing,
so our lives
might resuscitate.
~ Pablo Neruda, "Ode to Night" in ALL THE ODES
Pablo Neruda ALL THE ODES becoming
October 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 9)

The way forward, the way between things,
the way already walked before you,
the path disappearing and re-appearing even
as the ground gave way beneath you,
the grief apparent only in the moment
of forgetting, then the river, the mountain,
the lifting song of the Sky Lark inviting
you over the rain filled pass when your legs
had given up....

...But your loss brought you here to walk
under one name and one name only,
and to find the guise under which all loss can live;
..... other people
seemed to know you even before you gave up
being a shadow on the road and came into the light....
pilgrim they called you again. Pilgrim.

~ David Whyte, "Camino" in PILGRIM
David Whyte PILGRIM becoming
October 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 9)

Do you sometimes want to wake up to the singularity
we once were?
so compact nobody
needed a bed, or food or money —
nobody hiding in the school bathroom
or home alone
pulling open the drawer
where the pills are kept.
For every atom belonging to me as good
Belongs to you. Remember?
There was no Nature. No
them. No tests
to determine if the elephant
grieves her calf or if
the coral reef feels pain. Trashed
oceans don't speak English or Farsi or French;
would that we could wake up to what we were
— when we were ocean and before that
to when sky was earth, and animal was energy, and rock was
liquid and stars were space and space was not
at all — nothing
before we came to believe humans were so important
before this awful loneliness.
Can molecules recall it?
what once was? before anything happened?
No I, no We, no one. No was
No verb no noun
only a tiny tiny dot brimming with
is is is is is
All everything home

~ Marie Howe, "Singularity" (after Stephen Hawking)
Marie Howe becoming
October 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 9)

May we embrace Creation as a whole and become attuned to all the world;
May we see Divinity in the within and the without of all things.
...Come into the Secret Room of our hearts and be our Guest.
Yes, as our hearts are awakened to your Presence within us,
we are led back to the Source of all life.

~ Nan Merrill from her interpretation of "Psalm 106" in PSALMS FOR PRAYING
Nan Merrill Psalms For Praying becoming
September 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 8)
Happily we bask in this September sun which illuminates all creatures.
~ Henry David Thoreau in AUTUMN: FROM THE JOURNAL OF HENRY D. THOREAU
Henry David Thoreau AUTUMN: FROM THE JOURNAL OF HENRY D. THOREAU clarity
September 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 8)
Another fall, another turned page: was something of jubilee in that autumnal beginning as if last year's mistakes had been wiped clean by summer?
~ Wallace Stegner in ANGLE OF REPOSE
Wallace Stegner ANGLE OF REPOSE clarity
September 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 8)
Lift up your eyes upon
This day breaking for you.
Give birth again
To the dream.
~ Maya Angelou from "On The Pulse of Morning" in ON THE PULSE OF MORNING
Maya Angelou ON THE PULSE OF MORNING clarity
September 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 8)

Out here in the woods I can think of nothing except God. It is not so much that I think of [God] as I am aware of [God] as I am of the sun and the clouds and the blue sky and the thin cedar trees...engulfed in the simple and lucid actuality of the afternoon — I mean God's afternoon — this sacramental moment of time when the shadows will get longer and longer and one small bird sings quietly in the cedars, one car goes by in the remote distance, and the oak leaves move in the wind.

High up in the summer sky I watch the silent flight of a vulture, and the day goes by in prayer. This solitude confirms my call to solitude. The more I'm in it, the more I love it.

~ Thomas Merton in DIALOGUES WITH SILENCE
Thomas Merton DIALOGUES WITH SILENCE clarity
September 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 8)
I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.
~ Og Mandino in THE GREATEST SALESMAN IN THE WORLD
Og Mandino THE GREATEST SALESMAN IN THE WORLD clarity
September 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 8)

Clearness doesn't always mean that things will be easy or comfortable. Sometimes we're given clearness to do hard or painful or scary things. But underneath the discovery of clearness on difficult questions is always the promise of Christ: I will be with you always.

~ from "What is Clearness" on the West Richmond Friends Meeting webpage
West Richmond Friends Meeting webpage clarity
September 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 8)
When the clerk calls for silence, I allow myself to get centered. I take a breath. Then I'm able to focus. What's the real issue? What's the real conflict? Am I upset about something? Is there a defect in reasoning somewhere? ... It allows me to wait, maybe even for someone else who may feel a little more clear to speak which is often the most shocking and interesting to me...It's like Wow, we're making progress. It's an exercise in togetherness.
~ Rob Lippencott, quoted in GOLDEN: THE POWER OF SILENCE IN A WORLD OF NOISE
Rob Lippencott Golden: The Power Of Silence In A World Of Noise clarity
September 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 8)
Let each one be receptive to the
Spirit that inspires
Allowing the will to respond
with action;
And may all judgments and denials
Be released
That our souls are freed to
Serve the Light with joy!
Thus will we recognize oneness with
The Divine Spark dwelling
Within our hearts,
Fanning it to illuminate the way.
~ Nan Merrill from her interpretation of Psalm 144 in PSALMS FOR PRAYING
Nan Merrill Psalms For Praying clarity
September 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 8)
I, the Rock, I the River,
I the Tree
I am yours—
your passages have been paid.
Lift up your faces,
you have a piercing need
For this bright morning
dawning for you.
~ Maya Angelou from "On the Pulse of Morning" in ON THE PULSE OF MORNING
Maya Angelou ON THE PULSE OF MORNING clarity
September 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 8)

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.
And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets into you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green
and azure blue,
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.
When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.
May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

~ John O'Donohue, "Beannacht: For Josie" in TO BLESS THE SPACE BETWEEN US
John O'Donohue To Bless The Space Between Us clarity
September 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 8)
Every moment of light and dark is a miracle.
~ Walt Whitman in LEAVES OF GRASS
Walt Whitman Leaves Of Grass clarity
September 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 8)

People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.

~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in ON DEATH AND DYING
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross ON DEATH AND DYING clarity
September 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 8)

How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.

~ William Shakespeare in THE MERCHANT OF VENICE
William Shakespeare THE MERCHANT OF VENICE clarity
July/August 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 7)

Like a wide wake, rippling
Infinitely into the distance, everything

That ever was still is, somewhere...

~ Tracy K. Smith from "Everything That Ever Was" in LIFE ON MARS
Tracy K. Smith LIFE ON MARS time
July/August 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 7)
I can hear the sizzle of newborn stars, and know anything of meaning, of the fierce magic emerging here. I am witness to flexible eternity, the evolving past, and I know we will live forever, as dust or breath in the face of stars, in the shifting pattern of winds.
~ Joy Harjo in SECRETS FROM THE CENTER OF THE WORLD (VOLUME 17)
Joy Harjo SECRETS FROM THE CENTER OF THE WORLD (VOLUME 17) time
July/August 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 7)
This morning a splendid dawn passed over our house on its way to Kansas. This morning Kansas rolled out of its sleep into a sunlight grandly announced, proclaimed throughout heaven, one more of the very finite number of days that this old prairie has been called Kansas, or Iowa. But it has all been one day, that first day. Light is constant, we just turn over in it. So every day is in fact the selfsame evening and morning.
~ Marilynne Robinson in GILEAD
Marilynne Robinson Gilead time
July/August 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 7)
Time as objective reality has never made much sense to me. It's what happens that matters. How can minutes and years, devices of our own creation, mean the same thing to gnats and to cedars? Two hundred years is young for the trees whose tops this morning are hung with mist. It's an eyeblink of time for the river and nothing at all for the rocks...

If there is meaning in the past and in the imagined future, it is captured in the moment. When you have all the time in the world, you can spend it, not on going somewhere, but on being where you are. So I stretch out, close my eyes, and listen to the rain.
~ Robin Wall Kimmerer in BRAIDING SWEETGRASS
Robin Wall Kimmerer Braiding Sweetgrass time
July/August 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 7)
I want to be born again, in exactly the selfsame life,
aware this time from the inside out, and to stand this time
as a beautiful un-worrying witness, living beyond
the need for this or that...
~ David Whyte from "Born Again" in RIVER FLOW: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS
David Whyte RIVER FLOW time
July/August 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 7)
We age while we hope.
~ Padraig O'Tuama
Padraig O'Tuama time
July/August 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 7)
When I was a young man,
grown up at last, how large
I seemed to myself! I was a tree,
tall already, and what I had not
yet reached, I would yet grow
to reach. Now, thirty more years
added on, I have reached much
I did not expect, in a direction
unexpected. I am growing downward,
smaller, one among the grasses.
~ Wendell Berry, "Thirty More Years" in ENTRIES
Wendell Berry Entries time