A Whisper of Spring

 

March, so the saying goes,

comes in like a lion,

out like a lamb.

But it was February that left

roaring,

all in a rush of wind and rain

leaving deck chairs toppled,

branches snapped,

daffodils bowed,

twigs scattered across the lawn.

February was in a hurry

to leave,

and lamb-like,

March has tiptoed in

with silver-gray clouds,

a shy sun

and a spritz of bright yellow forsythia.

Winter has thinned,

and a full-bodied Spring is

peeping in,

seeping in,

reaching out

to hug the world with warmth.

Winter will have a few last words,

but Spring is whispering her arrival,

and I’m listening,

watching,

catching her scent,

feeling her breezy touch.

Hello, March.

– kh –

 

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

 

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the week:

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

Text and photos © 2024 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

Absolutely Nothing

So . . . I did nothing,

absolutely nothing

except sit in an easy chair where

I could see out the window.

I did nothing but watch

the sun cross the hardwood floor,

making golden puddles and

shifting the shadows

until lines angled

in a grid of windowpane parallelograms

with long diagonals pointing toward me—

or perhaps the reverse—

pointing away from me.

I did absolutely nothing

but watch dust motes drift in a flock

through a broad sunbeam

and think of how we breathe them in and out

all the time.

No doubt they are even now floating

on my out-breath.

Still, I did absolutely nothing

but listen to the Golden bark next door

until she was satisfied that whatever

she was barking at—or for—was

settled.

I did nothing but admire

how the sun glinted through the tips

of my cat’s fur,

outlining her back with white light.

Yes, I did absolutely nothing,

for, after all, this is the season of Lent,

and I have decided to fast

from frantic busy-ness.

Plus, my New Year’s resolution was

to reclaim one day a week

as a day of rest.

So all afternoon, I sat

in my easy chair

in the sun

with a view out the window.

I did absolutely nothing

and discovered that nothing

is really

Something.

– kh –

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the week:

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

Text and photos © 2024 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

Petal by Fascinating Petal

 

Wisdom does not automatically

come with old age.

The young closed mind

can easily become

the old closed mind.

But I am blessed to have friends who,

as they’ve aged,

have opened

like roses unfolding

petal by fascinating petal,

revealing the beauty of wisdom

born of years of

patience,

pain,

experience.

The opening of the petaled heart

is a kind of letting go—

letting go of demands,

of expectations,

of self-importance,

of the arrogance of certainty—

and settling into the easy breath

of not knowing,

of receiving what is and

releasing the rosy scent of love,

and joy,

and peace

into the world.

Wisdom does not automatically come

with old age,

but old age is often where

wisdom dwells.

– kh –

 

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

 

Nature from the last snow:

Shadow of the week:

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

Text and photos © 2024 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

The In-Between Times

 

I woke to birdsong this morning,

a good-morning melody

welcoming the silver-gray light

weaving through the clouds and soft rain

of these in-between days

that bridge winter and spring

and seem so random—

today frosty, possible snow,

tomorrow warm, a hug of sunshine.

New blooms have appeared

on the neighbor’s hellebore,

Lenten roses right on time.

Purple crocuses have smiled open

under the magnolia,

a bit of yellow peeks from a drift of daffodils

under the hackberry,

all cheering me

in these between times.

And truly, we are always in between—

between starting and finishing,

between losing and finding,

between our last step and our next step.

Isn’t it the same with people as with nature?

There are those who bloom

in the in-between times,

those who are our crocuses,

our daffodils,

our Lenten roses,

whose mere presence is a sign of hope,

good cheer,

encouragement

in between the loss of what was

and the uncertainty of what will be,

those who ground us in the present moment

of the in-between.

Thank God for our crocuses,

our daffodils,

our Lenten roses.

Thank God for our in-between friends.

–kh–

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the week:

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

Text and photos © 2024 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

Open-Eyed and Full-Hearted

 

Sometimes all you can do is

hope

that this year will be better.

I’ve long passed the stage of

buying into Jiminy Cricket’s

“If you wish upon a star…”

I’m way past believing

pie-in-the-sky.

I’m beyond thinking that

if I just do everything right,

everything will be all right.

I’m way past all that.

But I’m not past hope.

I’m not past looking the world

full in the face,

eyes open wide,

and knowing life can be better,

even great,

because

I know people who care.

I know love and peace and joy.

I know kindness and goodness

and grace and generosity.

I’m way past closed eyes

and grasping at straws,

but I’m not past hope.

May we never be past

open-eyed

full-hearted

hope.

–kh–

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

 

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the week:

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

Text and photos © 2024 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

A Rather Large Keepsake

 

The little girl is made of iron.

Stiff-backed and still she stands

holding up a garden hose to

water whatever she can—

black-eyed Susans in the fall,

coreopsis in the summer,

larkspur and salvia in springtime,

seed pods and freeze-dried leaves in winter.

Unmoving, resolved, in wind and rain,

in snow and hail and sunshine,

she keeps her vigil.

My father had her made for my mother.

They raised four daughters, and

while none of us ever stood this still,

not even playing hide and seek,

maybe this girl was a reminder

of wiggly giggly girls grown

and going their own way.

Now that both my father and mother are gone,

this little iron girl belongs to me,

a rather large keepsake,

a reminder of girls growing up

and now growing old.

But even more,

she reminds me that

we have weathered the world’s wildness before,

and can again,

in every season,

persistently watering,

insistently cultivating

peace—

not without pain,

not without questions,

but also not without wonder,

not without heart.

She reminds me that

a stilled spirit,

a calm soul

is itself a keepsake

as we water

with kindness and hope

whatever we can.

–kh–

 

 

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

 

Nature of the week – the little iron girl in last week’s snow:

Shadow of the week – from yesterday’s drawing class:

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

Waking to Snow

‎Text and photos © 2024 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

Waking to Snow

 

Waking to snow,

deep quiet,

feathered flakes,

whispers of wind,

and no one going anywhere.

Time pauses,

takes a break.

Why was I rushing around

all these days past?

What was the hurry, the worry?

Plans have now shifted,

busy has been put on hold.

My old clock softly ticks,

keeping time.

Really, dear clock?

Keeping time?

You keep it only long enough to measure its

passing,

and before you can tick again, it’s

gone.

And yet, this morning,

time is asking to be kept,

held,

witnessed

in this white cocoon,

this quiet tiptoe of a morning

waking to snow.

 –kh–

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

 

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the week:

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

Text and photos © 2024 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

The Thread Connecting Us

 

The silver SUV pulled out of the driveway

as my son and his young family headed

to the airport

after the holidays.

I don’t suppose they saw me

wave them out of sight.

I don’t suppose they knew my throat was thick,

my shoulders heavy,

my eyes blinking fast to block the tears.

I hadn’t meant to cry,

but my mind pulled up a years-ago memory

of a hot blue-sky Texas morning

when it was my young family

pulling away from Mom and Dad’s house,

and I looked back to see my dad

standing on the front porch

waving us out of sight.

At that moment, I instinctively knew

why—

why he watched,

why he waved,

why he waited

until he could no longer see us—

maybe longer, who knows?

He was holding the thread of connection

as long as he could,

Knowing it might be the last time he saw us.

It wasn’t—

not then.

He could not know,

nor could I,

that my sisters and I would be with him

for the last goodbye,

and that in my memory,

he is still on that front porch,

waving as the distance grows between us,

just as I wave to my children and grandchildren,

holding the thread of connection

as long as I can,

for they always leave

with a good part

of my heart.

 –kh–

 

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

 

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the week:

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

Text and photos © 2024 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

Yes, I Am but No, I’m Not

 

Time tumbled through year-end,

and here I am in crisp January,

wrapped in a warm shawl,

sipping decaf coffee,

listening to rain tap against the window,

slowing down,

breathing deep,

beginning again,

hoping I’m wiser this year,

suspecting I’m not,

resolving to give myself grace to grow,

though my grandson would say

that I’m already grown.

And yes, I am.

But no, I’m not.

I know far less now

than when I was young.

I am full of questions

that will never be answered,

wishes

that will never come true,

uncertainties

that will never resolve.

But here I am in crisp January,

wrapped in a warm shawl,

sipping decaf coffee,

perfectly content just to be

and to let time tumble on.

–kh–

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

 

Nature and shadow of the week:

 

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

Text and photos © 2024 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

On Icy Tiptoe

 

Winter welcomes,

beckons,

invites us to

pause

on the brittle brink of the year,

witness

the shimmer of the season,

listen

for undertones of time passing

on icy tiptoe,

breathe

the crisp air.

Drink all of it.

Deeply.

Deeply grateful.

– kh –

 

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

 

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the week – toys!

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

Text and photos © 2023 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.