Painted with Joy

 

Last night’s drenching rain has left

the morning air cooler,

peacefully breezy,

the sky flecked with drifts of cloud,

the earth dripping color—

brilliant yellows,

rich greens,

deep reds,

velvety blues—

a fresh day of spacious,

gracious spring

painted with the joy of re-creation.

A gray cat tiptoes

through regal irises,

around dogwood dressed in wedding white,

between coral azaleas

in a raindrop-sparkled garden.

The world is full of wonder

at its newborn self.

-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.

No Hurry, No Worry

 

The elms are late-bloomers.

Maples, redbuds, tulip poplars,

even grandfather hackberry

show off their spring green leaves.

But the elms,

one in each corner of my back yard,

are still asleep.

My young neighbor says,

“I think they are dead.”

I squint and study the elms,

look them up and down

as if he might be right,

but I know he’s not.

Silhouetted against the morning sky,

their upreaching branches bear bumps of

leaves-to-be

and the faint sheen of

newborn green.

My elms bide their time.

No hurry.

No worry.

I imagine that’s their mantra,

their peaceful way of entering spring,

stretching and yawning,

catching a few more drowsy minutes.

These elms have seen seasons come and go

for at least as long as I have,

and they know the deep joy of

lingering

a moment

longer.

They know the deep peace of

unhurried progress,

the contentment of

being a

late bloomer.

– 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.

Magical Moon

The moon is magical,

always shifting,

always gifting a glow

not of her making.

She cools the sun’s burning blaze,

lets it sift

and drift peacefully

into our night.

But sometimes—

sweet celestial surprise—

she sails into our day.

Look! A child points.

Adults nod. Yes,

an afternoon moon, and—

did you know?—

at the peak of her power, she can

dim that bold sun,

block its light,

darken the day,

cool the earth,

hush birdsong,

shape rare shadows,

and gather the world’s watchers

who gasp and whisper

as the trickster makes the sun

disappear,

reminding us all that in the heavens,

she too can take center stage.

But a few hours are enough;

she is soon satisfied

and settles into her old habits,

tide-bringer,

love-teaser,

shape-changer

emptying herself,

filling up again, only to

pour herself out once more.

She is generous,

this elegant,

smiling,

powerful,

magical

moon.

– kh –

 

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

 

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the week:

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

So Many Reasons

 

The sky is crying today,

softly, slowly dripping tears down my windows.

And why wouldn’t it?

The world is rumbling, tumbling,

churning, turning,

so much hurt,

so much hate,

so many reasons to cry.

But past the teardrops on my window screen,

I can see two squirrels

skittering up the trunk of a pine tree,

its branches stretching high

brushing away the tears in the crying sky.

The two squirrels have made a runway

through the deep green maze of pines.

They scamper in stops and starts up and down.

On the way up, they carry bundles of fresh

spring leaves they’ve nibbled off the bushes below.

They’re building a nest near the tip-top

in a thicket of pine needles.

It’s almost invisible, a dark bulk

nestled between branches,

swaying in the breeze.

I assume squirrels do this every spring—

build their penthouse nests—

but this is the first time I’ve seen them

carrying greenery,

refurbishing their nursery.

I suppose they know what they’re doing,

trusting swaying pines

not to toss them out but to rock them,

not to crash but cradle them.

So I’m trusting those little squirrels

and the pine trees too.

I’m trusting the return of spring,

the bloom of dogwood,

the robin hopping along the porch rail.

Trees sway,

skies cry,

the world churns,

but we will gather fresh bundles of hope,

carry them along the mazes of our world,

jump the chasms,

bridge the gaps,

and build at the very top,

stretching high into the crying sky

to brush away the tears.

– 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.

If I Take the Hint

 

As I stepped outside,

a swirl of white petals—cherry blossoms—

floated down like snowflakes,

settled silently at my feet.

My yard has no cherry trees,

but a neighbor’s yard does,

and the wind has lifted them,

drifted them,

gifted them to me,

celebrating the world reborn.

So many of Spring’s gifts are small—

a yard carpeted in violets,

forsythia gone wild with yellow blooms,

shadows of breeze-blown trees

rippling like creek water in dawn’s lemony light.

But truly, I see the world reborn

any time I pause,

from reliving

or preliving

and begin, instead, just living,

noticing the moment—

for a moment—

which is all I can manage

most of the time.

But Nature has a way of nudging me into

the Now—

white petals flutter past,

shadows ripple in lemon light,

long-limbed forsythia waves in the wind.

If I take the hint,

I am also reborn,

and each step I take

can be

the first.

– kh –

 

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

 

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the week:

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

It Came as a Question

 

It came as a question,

a challenge really—

how would you describe yourself?

A warning—

don’t ask this of an old woman

unless you want to sit for a while,

drift for a while,

sift through life for a while.

Yet there it was,

hanging in the air,

winking from the page—

how would you describe yourself?

I am like a well-worn shirt,

used to being useful,

washed and worn

again and again,

now soft and comfy and saggy baggy.

I am like a faded flower

that was once bright and lightly scented,

and now perhaps more interesting,

a browning, curling shape.

I am like a warm loaf of freshly baked

homemade bread,

like a pillow fluffed with feathers

where the cat sleeps,

like cream that softens the coffee,

like the dance that has no particular steps,

like the wren singing,

perching, pecking for seeds,

like a blanket around bent shoulders,

like my father’s eyes,

like my mother’s lips,

like the song that searches for its next line.

How would I describe myself?

I’m the candle in the window at night,

a silent sign to those who’ve left home

that the light is still on

and the door is always open

for you.

– 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.

Life’s Secret Answer

 

When I was younger,

I thought I had to find

all the answers.

I thought there were

answers to find.

Now that I’m older,

I’m holding the questions

and turning them over,

watching them sparkle and twinkle

and laugh,

for holding the questions

is life’s secret answer.

Every day, all is new

and uncertain

and certainly mystery.

What matters is not

the answers

but the questions,

how I hold them

and lightly unfold them,

how I ask them

and listen for a hum,

a nod

a yes, this is a good question,

a mystery,

an unmapped path,

a happy chance,

a happy choice

to carry the questions,

to ponder and muse

with “perhaps” and “maybe”

and “we’ll get there.”

Get where?

And when?

Who knows?

Do I care?

Not really. It’s more

exciting and joyful

to live in the unknown,

muse on the mystery,

cradle the questions,

and laugh out loud

at the memory

of thinking I had to

know.

No.

There’s no knowing

and no joy in stopping the search,

of being so certain.

The quest and the question—

now there’s the dance,

the chance,

the romance.

There’s the flying,

the flow,

the soft, easy drift of

not having to know.

It’s the smile of the soul,

the serene and the settled,

the secret of being satisfied with

open windows and doors,

wind blowing thoughts around,

presenting possibilities

holding hopes lightly

and wishes wisely

and reveling in

wonder.

– 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 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.

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:

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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.