kate's peony

thursday 26 april 02007 10:10am
shining with tears and light

lately i've stopped finding the thought of my dead friends quite so painful. usually now it's joyful. the grief has been absorbed and the love it arose from remains. in love they are right here, alive, within me.

there is still pain. oh, there is still pain. over a year or so i lost the bedrock of my world to death, addiction, madness, and the simple flow of time. the dearest ones, gone.

i am the bedrock now. sometimes so content with my plants and my practice. sometimes lonely, aching to be seen, heard. friends stepped into the hole around me but for a long time i would dodge unconsciously: if i don't love you, it won't hurt when you go away. i saw this and held the weeping girl inside me, whispered to her softly that we love everyone, anyway, and everything goes. we sang sufjan for weeks "all thing go, all things grow, all things know...." it is better to know .

her heart began to thaw.

i watch myself speaking with joy of the dead and at times i feel judgment. part of my mind thinks that a good person would feel sad.

yesterday i let go of some classes that i have been teaching for a long time. so joyful! change! new opportunities to share! a flow of new energy! a couple of students expressed sadness. i responded with warmth, compassion. i saw them notice that i did not share their sadness. again, a bit of judgment toward myself that i did not share their sadness. then laughter, realizing that this was the nonattachment i have been striving for. i thought that the nonattachment grew faster now than the ability not to judge and shared this with the next class, laughing.

after the last class, one person stayed. none of my classes would fit her schedule now. three years, she said, she had been coming, and only to my classes. through many hardships she had come and always, she said, left feeling filled with light. her eyes grew damp, and mine. we laughed, and i encouraged her to explore. we said goodbye and she stood with me as i locked the gate. we smiled and walked away in opposite directions, poignantly but gracefully.

and then i let go and cried all the way home, sobbing in the street with my bicycle and my bags.

i cannot see myself. i can, and i cannot. how can i see my own eyes? how can i know my own mind? i cannot, do not, and can and do.

over time, i feel my mind move more slowly. i feel my peace grow deeper. i act more harmoniously with my ideals. kindness expands, judgements lessen. and yet it is easier to see the rocks in clear water. as i clarify, the weaknesses, the flaws, the unskillful places are all the more evident.

i walk, i breathe, i weep, i breathe, i keep walking.

the peony on the desk is drying now. while i was away she turned from pink to orange; came home to find her a flame of herself.

victor frankl said "what is to give light must endure burning."

everything is light; there is only light.

the flame feels no pain. the burning away of that which does not serve the light is what hurts, but this feeds the fire, which warms what is around it. there is only light anyway.

shine, shine.

friday 20 april 02007 10:08am
walking out the door: a prayer

one last look before i leave. she is smaller now, and paler still: pale pink, white, bits of bright, her golden stamens loose and low and deep fuschia hearts of something rising above them.

the light, now the light is coming right through her; oh, translucent, trans-lucent: the light comes through.

may we be translucent, all of us: may the light come through.

thursday 19 april 02007 7:07pm

she was opening. i was waiting for a moment to sit down and say to you that the up-open (not yet out-open) petals of her -- she was like a thousand hands lifting, all reaching in the same direction: a thousand thousand hands reaching for the light. so bring so pink.

i woke in the morning, i came in, she was limp. every petal, every leaf. i lifted the tall thin dark green bottle she was resting in and held it to the light; found, sure enough, that her stem was above the water. in her days with me she drank 8 inches of water from the tall thin dark green glass bottle.

i was sad. and then i decided not to be, and to let her be beautiful this way.

the color is changing. now she is shades of palepale pink mixed with still-bright bits of pink, and in places her golden stamens show. her petals lie crinkled; layers and layers and layers of silk skirts; a princess, a dancing girl, a beautiful beautiful thing

monday 16 april 02007 10:31pm
i ought to be in bed

now she's like a bird with a thousand thousand wings tucked over herself. she is larger than when i left the house, and looser, but all snug together. her petals have closed in over the golden eye that peeked out this morning when she was smaller.

the first petal to peel open on sunday stands out now. i recognize its frilled edge. the others are close now, nestling.

i ought to be in bed, and the peony, she looks like she is sleeping.

sunday 15 april 02007 4:39pm

the four petals have sprung wide
and the tips of all the rest are showing
around the now-open central space
heart, yes, the heart is an open place
upstairs with oona just now
today is her sixth day
it was the first time i saw her eyes open
and the peony, her eye opens, too.

the progress of a sunday in blossom

i cleaned the house, went back to bed with james, ate lunch, went back to bed alone, and woke again bright and shining.

the peony, likewise, has begun to release herself to the day: four petals loose and the ball now a soft fist.

oh, the glory of being alive.

a weekend in blossom

two days ago kate brought me a peony. this morning one frilled fushia edge of one petal has begun to unfurl from the tight ball of the bud.

last night we met todd, who will be rebecca's husband. we brought them cherry blossoms on tall branches wrapped in brown paper. rebecca put them on the mantle above the fireplace.

the cherry trees are all in bloom now. there are tides of pink petals in the gutters, petals strewn across the sidewalks and in the entryways. in the breezes, little eddies of petals, and now and then a breeze catches on something and swirls, and a tiny tornado of pink petals rises up, and falls again.