day 6

I could not predict the fullness
of the day. How it was enough
to stand alone without help
in the green yard at dawn.

How two geese would spin out
of the ochre sun opening my spine,
curling my head up to the sky
in an arc I took for granted.

And the lilac bush by the red
brick wall flooding the air
with its purple weight of beauty?
How it made my body swoon,

brought my arms to reach for it
without even thinking.

*
In class today a Dutch woman split
in two by a stroke – one branch
of her body a petrified silence,
walked leaning on her husband

to the treatment table while we
the unimpaired looked on with envy.
How he dignified her wobble,
beheld her deformation, untied her

shoe, removed the brace that stakes
her weaknesses. How he cradled
her down in his arms to the table
smoothing her hair as if they were

alone in their bed. I tell you –
his smile would have made you weep.

*
At twilight I visit my garden
where the peonies are about to burst.

Some days there will be more
flowers than the vase can hold.

‘I tell You’

Adrienne Rich

If I am to choose joy today I am going to have to make the gargantuan effort to stay present.  As part of my preparations for my journey as a JoyPilgrim, I need to sit much more lightly to my mind’s ruminating thoughts, get curious, and perceive what is really going on around me in this moment.  Where I put my attention will dictate what I am able to see today and what, in turn, I am able to feel.  As Rob Walker says in The Art of Noticing:

To stay eager, to connect, to find interest in the everyday, to notice what everybody else overlooks—these are vital skills and noble goals. They speak to the difference between looking and seeing, between hearing and listening, between accepting what the world presents and noticing what matters to you.

Paying attention to the details, the colours, of my life in this immediate moment, here and now, will bring me directly into contact with the Holy.  Paying attention is the doorway to wonder and the doorway to gratitude.  Most significantly paying attention will bring me into an encounter where I might behold some part of the Immensity who is Joy.

God cannot be thought, but God can be met. Through awe and wonder we experience God and there, as mystics have always stated, we understand more by not understanding than by understanding. In that posture we let God be God. In such a posture, too, we live in contemplation. 

Ronald Rolheiser, The Shattered Lantern: Rediscovering a Felt Presence of God (117).

rise up. iPhone image.

Published by Kate Kennington Steer

writer, photographer and visual artist

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