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Reflections in the Silver Cup


With apologies to Gabriel Garcia Marquez


The trees are greatly in flux, altering their appearance from one day to the next. One locust tree in the whole place, in one morning, put forth fat budding clusters of leaves. The other locusts all have bare branches still. Why is this one so far ahead of the others? Could it be because there are bushes around it putting out their new red leaves, reaching to the sky above the older green ones? Did the bushes tell the locust something? The old elms are in full, furry seed. The young elms are seeding and also beginning to sprout tiny, tender leaves. They live together in a grove of twelve. Why are their stages different? Could it be that the older trees are giving the saplings space, opportunity to flourish? Scientists have learned that trees and plants speak to each other. They nourish each other, and warn one another of imminent danger. One species even dies for its young, so the young may be graced by the sun, not shadowed by the mother. Trees are about forest, about community, not individuals. I see these things in the morning and am wonderstruck. Read The Overstory by Richard Powers if you want a book to strike you with the wonder of trees, of forests.

There are small pleasures, ones you perhaps don't think of as pleasures. Or maybe you do. Bringing order to my small space, moving one thing to where it belongs, brings me pleasure. Hand washing small items of clothing is purposeful and purpose brings satisfaction, and in the morning, when they are dry, I am ridiculously delighted by the miracle of evaporation. I sweep the dry pine needles off my porch, set up the little aluminum camp table, and unfold the two blue cloth chairs. Then I sit and smile at the plum tree's blossoms. Today I will repair some earrings, and I will remember the woman, the friend, who made them and lies beneath the ground now under an oak tree. I will remember the times we spent together laughing and telling stories and drinking coffee rich with Berkeley Farms cream, walking the paths of the marina.


These are times for remembering and pondering, letting the largeness of life be seen in the small, the ordinary, the not-so-ordinary. For trees and friends are miracle enough.


LOGOS by Mary Oliver from Why I Wake Early


Why wonder about the loaves and the fishes?
If you say the right words, the wine expands.
If you say them with love
and the felt ferocity of that love
and the felt necessity of that love,
the fish explode into many.
Imagine him, speaking,
and don't worry about what is reality,
or what is plain, or what is mysterious.
If you were there, it was all those things.
If you can imagine it, it is all those things.
Eat, drink, be happy.
Accept the miracle.
Accept, too, each spoken word
spoken with love.

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With apologies to Gabriel Garcia Marquez


My youngest brother is fifteen, almost sixteen, years younger than I. When he was small, I spooned pablum into his little mouth, held up his hands to help him toddle, laughed when he made baby eyes at me. Last week he texted, "Going to the store. Do you need anything?" And he brought me bags of groceries, stood halfway down the stairs while I stayed above on my porch, and we chatted about his children.


Fred Rogers famously said, "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." I need the helpers now and at many other times. This morning I had my first walk at 6:30 when it was stil barely light. The garbage trucks rumbled and crashed through my complex, and I thought, This is another group of unsung helpers. I am grateful they are still working. The bins were overflowing yesterday. The birds helped me too–crazy with songs of joy at the dawn light.

When Margaret Mead was asked by a student what she considered to be the first sign of civilization in a culture, the student expected her to say something like, "Fishhooks" or "Clay pots." But she said the first indication of civilization in an ancient culture was a femur that had broken and healed. Animals that break a leg die because they can't get to water or food or defend themselves, but in humans, a broken femur "that has healed is evidence that someone has taken time to stay with the one who fell, has bound up the wound, has carried the person to safety and has tended the person through recovery. Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilization starts," Mead said.
An excerpt from "Hum," by Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems: Volume Two because we are perhaps more aware now than ever that to be alive is a blessing:



. …                                  The little

worker bee lives, I have read, about three weeks.

     Is that long? Long enough, I suppose, to understand

That life is a blessing. …

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