Sometimes another writer’s work is so close to my own thinking, I can’t help but wonder if they have been secretly hanging out inside my head. This week’s “WRighteous” column by Amy Ferris is one of those pieces. I envy her boldness, her directness, her ability to capture the multiple contradictions so evident in our divided America, speaking truth to power in such a creative, articulate way. I sometimes hesitate to share my more powerful poems, worrying too much about whether people will think they are too strident, or too “political.” But a wise woman once told me, “Change comes when the pain of change is less than the pain of staying the same.” Our country is in so much pain right now. An effective way to ease the pain is to find our voice, find our courage, and be as bold in speaking truth to power as Amy Ferris is. I’ll try to be bolder–and I hope you will try too.
Seasonal changes are subtle in southern California, but they do exist. Cooler evenings have finally arrived–there was even a bit of rain this morning. The most reliable sign that summer/fall is transitioning to fall/winter is the growing number of liquid amber leaves falling onto the patio. Fallen leaves signal changes to come as we close out one year and anticipate the next. Gandhi challenged us to “be the change we want to see in the world.” The leaves remind me there is much work to be done–personally and collectively–to create a better world for everyone.
They lie silently
Edges turned upward
Like ballerinas waiting
To be lifted back up
Tawny, amber, ruddy chorus
Rusty with age
Brittleness belies their former supple, verdant hue
Once moving in time to windy beats
They will move again today
Raked from slumber, beautiful autumn debris
Clearing the stage
For new, gracefully falling dancers
Thanksgiving marks the beginning of my annual “season of reflection.” From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve, I spontaneously start evaluating the past year and planning for the year ahead. I think about what brings me joy, and start letting go of the things that don’t so I have more time for the things that do. I assess progress on the past year’s goals, and if the progress is underwheming, determine whether the goal is still important enough to keep pursuing. I debate with myself over whether to make New Year’s Resolutions or not. (I inevitably do.)
I usually start my season of reflection by counting my blessings. (Thanksgiving provides the perfect reminder.) This year I have so many blessings, it will take most of the weekend to tally them all. But I’m willing to give it the old college try. Today I am grateful for:
dear family and friends
almost full moons
financial security and a home with no mortgage
butchers who don’t laugh when I ask them to spatchcock the turkey for me
small kindnesses like my neighbor’s willingness to walk my dog because my hip is acting up
the taste of fresh Meyer lemons plucked from my own tree
warm fleece jackets to ward against the cooler autumn nights
finding the perfect joke gift to give my husband for his birthday
plenty of books to read, and more being written for me to read in the future….
And most importantly, I feel blessed that you have stopped by to read my blog today. Thank you! May your blessings be too many to count. Happy Thanksgiving.