Notes on Darkness, Sue Monk Kidd, Mary Oliver

I rarely access Facebook, and imagine this is not kosher, copying the post. But it was too priceless and heartfelt not to share.

Sue Monk Kidd
Early this morning I read Mary Oliver‘s poem, “The Uses of Sorrow,“ in which appears the haunting image of a box of darkness.
We’ve all been given ‘boxes of darkness’ during our lives. Loss, grief, sickness, disasters, large and small— there’s a seemingly endless array of possible contents.

Now, with Covid and the quarantine, it’s not farfetched to think the entire planet has been presented with a box of darkness. It seems unfathomable how this box could ever become a gift. I only know that the boxes of darkness I’ve been given have, in the end, made me more resilient, a little wiser and a little braver. They have forced me, often against my will, to live inside large questions. To listen. To cross long distances in order to return to a deeper and truer self.

If there are gifts born out of darkness, they include intangibles like these. The ultimate gift in the dark box may be how it prods us to find the inviolate place inside ourselves. It is the mercy we eventually discover at the bottom.

Still, Through Smoky Haze

Plagues are everywhere,
Illness there, fear in our souls,
For just what’s to come.

I can only send,
Love and light and gratitude,
For the life we have.

That young man suffers,
What should only come with age,
Seeing him all healed.

Good man my age, too,
And his wife, they go through pain,
Where will it all lead?

With this man in charge,
Feels like life is upside down,
Who can think this good?

When we fear the worst,
Wishing we could go away,
No one will take us.

Dark as night, my words,
As I feel the others’ pain,
Even as I’m fine.

I can only trust,
That the basic good of man,
Will soon change our world.

Black will matter so,
Brown and yellow and pink too,
We are just humans.

Fear can grip the soul,
Taking all the light away,
When we can’t believe.

I can only trust,
One and all will seek the good,
Goodness will prevail.

Here I give my thanks,
For the blessings in my life,
Smoky air and all.

This is still the day,
When my brother entered life,
Bringing so much joy.

We breathe life in still,
Grateful for each day we have,
Blessed lives we’ve had.

Whether one more day,
Or more years, or decades still,
Grateful for the years.

Giving Thanks This Day

Alone, I listen,
Give thanks, give thanks, give thanks now!
Only words I hear.

Thank you for this life,
For the breath I deeply breathe,
On this fresh new day.

Thank you for my friends,
Friends who open up their hearts,
To the world at large.

Thank you for new thoughts,
Up with stars or tiny ant,
Balance of it all.

Thank you for the brave,
Healers, fighters, risking all,
For the rest of us.

Thank you for the seas,
Oceans grand across the world,
Blue and beautiful.

Thank you for the hills,
Giving views across the way,
Lush with evergreens.

Thank you for the lows,
Valleys sometimes dark with fear,
Sometimes packed with life.

Thank you for my life,
Sometimes bright when I can see,
Truth and beauty both.

Thank you for my food,
Having more than I can use,
Giving some away.

Thank you for the gift,
Of a life where all my needs,
Were so richly met.

Thank you for the gift,
Now to pass on to someone,
Not so richly blessed.

Thank you for my health,
Letting me sit here and write,
Fingers, mind intact.

Thank you for the strong,
Standing for the rights of all,
Even as some fall.

Thank you for us all,
Striving for just kindness, love,
For our world in light.

This New September Month

Yesterday I changed,
Blog to carry haiku words,
Now I’m scared again.

Fear it is too much,
All the words just spewed out there,
Brevity, perhaps.

Ahh, I did not breathe,
Nor give thanks before I wrote,
I will do that now.

Thank you for the view,
For all views that I have had,
Beauty in the world.

Thank you for my friends,
Friends who love me up or down,
As I love them, too.

Maybe choose my words,
To reflect the hope I get,
Through my writing verse.

I can curate me,
Not expression but display,
How I might inspire.

Not to censor, no,
More to share a gift each day,
Just like I receive.

Writing helps me live,
Sharing helps me feel alive,
Both are gifts of God.

But if no belief?
Does not matter, life within,
That is God enough.

Seasons of our lives,
Little child then busy world,
I am now a crone.

Suits me well inside,
Though the outside feels unknown,
Here inside, I’m me.

Grateful more am I,
For each day, for life and love,
Give, receive them both.

On this day of smoke,
I breathe freely in my home,
Thankful for good air.

2020, The Year That Had Such Promise

I have just moved from North Carolina back to my homestate, California. Despite COVID, political upheaval and wildfires, I know this is where I am meant to be, right here, right now.

Instead of going back to the beginning of this year, whose number at the new year pleased me so with its roundness and adding up to my lucky number 4, I will begin where I am. Instead of the amazing, joyful year I had expected, it has been a death-defying rollercoaster of a year. But if the elections can save us in November, and if enough people wear masks to save us from the worst of the pandemic, I still have hope.

I began writing my morning journaling in haiku, not a proper haiku with a season and Nature, but the rhythm of 5, 7, 5. I have become even wordier than ever, and this structure keeps me able to express thoughts and feelings but in briefer, more concise sentences.

There are only four more months of this 2020, and I want to make the most of them. If you are drawn along for any part of the ride, that gives me joy!