Here, Now, This Present Moment

 

Leafless branches arch,

angle, interweave to frame

cloud veils spun of ice.

– kh –

 

This is what I see at this moment from the window at my desk:

The tick of the clock on my bedroom shelf. The rush of a jet fading as it travels the icy winter sky. The quiet shiver and sway of vines in the chill breeze. This is my present moment as I write this last post of 2017.

Once again, time carries us toward the speed bump between one year and the next. That speed bump is always a marker of sorts, a chance to glance into the rearview mirror at the year falling quickly behind us before the new year carries us full speed ahead. Thanks for joining me this past year as I posted what I saw, what I read, and what I found inspiring, always with an eye, an ear, a heart open to peace.

That’s where peace starts, you know – in this present moment, here and now, in my eye and yours. In my ear and yours. In my heart and yours. As much as we’d like to wave a wand over the entire world and make the jumbled and jagged pieces smooth out and fall into place, peace has to start with each of us being peace and kindness for family and friends and co-workers and everyone we meet.

May 2018 be a year of peace so powerful that it spreads from each of us into the whole world.

Nurture peace, cultivate loving kindness, and carry the calm into the new year.

Nature of the week – the insides of acorn tops:

Shadow of the Week – from holiday decorations:

 

If you want me to send these thoughts to your email each Sunday, simply sign up on the right.

For my posts on life, faith, and the mystery we call God, link here.

 

Text and photos © 2017 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

Breakfast First

Happy New Year! If you’re in need of a resolution, here’s one you can adopt:

“Never work before breakfast;

if you have to work before breakfast,

get your breakfast first.”

– Josh Billings –

Wishing you a joyful, peaceful, kind year.

Nourish peace, cultivate loving kindness, and carry the calm.

Nature of the week – a December pansy:

Shadow of the Week:

If you want me to send these thoughts to your email each week, simply sign up on the right.

For my posts on coming of age in a community of faith, link here.

Text and photos © 2016 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

The Best of Best Wishes

 

To Sweep the Cobwebs Out of the Sky

There was an old woman tossed up in a basket,

Nineteen times as high as the moon;

And where she was going, I couldn’t but ask it,

For in her hand she carried a broom.

“Old woman, old woman, old woman,” said I,

“O whither, O whither, O whither so high?”

“To sweep the cobwebs out of the sky.

And I’ll return, by and by.”

On New Year’s Day, I woke up with two lines from this Mother Goose poem running through my head: “Oh whither, O whither, O whither so high? To sweep the cobwebs out of the sky.” I hadn’t thought of that poem in years. Strange that my new year should begin there. Or not. I’m somewhat of a mystic, so unusual events or thoughts nudge me into wondering if they might be significant and why.

As for the old woman: I qualify for the senior discount at Kroger, so yeah, that fits. It also means I’ve experienced life tossing me around a lot – nineteen times as high as the moon? Well, considering the fact that beyond the moon is pretty much unknown, uncharted territory, I’d have to say yes. I’m tossing about in uncharted uncertainties. (Of course, that’s nothing new for any of us, it’s just that we don’t often let ourselves dwell on the iffiness of the future.)

broomRiv'dellThen there’s the broom and the cobwebs, which really seem to be the crux of the matter. Being a wordsmith, I looked up the origin of broom and found it comes from Old High German bramo, meaning brambles. Brooms were originally twigs and brambles bound together to make a tool for sweeping. Sweep, too, comes from Old High German: swiefen means to wander. So the brambles wander this way and that, chasing away the dust – or cobwebs in the poem. Which brings us to cobweb, from Middle English coppe, meaning spider and Old English wefen, to weave. But Webster’s second definition is, I think, what I’m going for: “something that entangles, obscures, or confuses.”

The nursery rhyme experts William and Ceil Baring-Gould say that this rhyme was made up by detractors of Henry V of England to ridicule his march against France, which they thought was as likely to succeed as sweeping cobwebs from deep space. (When Henry won at Agincourt, they quickly changed the words, but the original rhyme was handed down in the nursery.) However the poem began, I’ve appropriated it for 2016 as I head into high, uncharted skies to sweep away whatever entangles, obscures, or confuses. Sounds pretty lofty (ahem). And what does this have to do with carrying the calm? We rely on the sacred place of peace within ourselves to keep us from panicking and to support our sense of adventure as we journey through uncharted territory.

So grab your broom. Breathe out the old, breathe in the new. In 2016, nourish peace, cultivate loving kindness, carry the calm, and enjoy the journey.

Shadow of the Week – a candle at my desk:

candleShdw

Nature photo of the week – crape myrtle berries against winter’s silver sky:

crapemyrtlesilhouette2

Text and photos © 2015 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.