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QUINTESSENCE

Tunnels of Time

Ostia Antica, Italy
BUDAPEST
My pen moves along the page
like the snout of a strange animal
shaped like a human arm
and dressed in the sleeve of a loose green sweater.

I watch it sniffing the paper ceaselessly,
intent as any forager that has nothing
on its mind but the grubs and insects
that will allow it to live another day.

It wants only to be here tomorrow,
dressed perhaps in the sleeve of a plaid shirt,
nose pressed against the page,
writing a few more lines

while I gaze out the window and imagine Budapest
or some other city where I have never been.

- Billy Collins



This complicated, imperfect, imbalanced journey through life.

To you. To all that is required. To that parenthesis around the ridiculous dead-ends; the difficult, often needless "learning experiences." The self-confidence that maybe didn't arrive until late, almost passing us by. Here we are, arrived at some embarrassing "what-have-you-been-up-to" adult decade, arm-chair fossils of thinking and living. And yet. Your tales of self-discovery, the thrashing near-drowning. The bumbling, insecure, hopeful human being that miraculously aged into self-assurance by sheer survival. Has not time left a thing fine and unbreakable in youth's place?

Time occasionally finds us on the right or wrong side of some imaginary mark in the sand. A bar others seem to vault with greater ease. A cherished goal, unmet. Let the anxiety go. Celebrate victories. Live life on your own terms. This is the true prize. The becoming of you.

We are here, my friends. Lost and found. Here in the raw, relentless beauty of the world.

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Rewaking

Ladyslipper
THE REWAKING
Sooner or later
we must come to the end
of striving

to re-establish
the image the image of
the rose

but not yet
you say extending the
time indefinitely

by
your love until a whole
spring

rekindle
the violet to the very
lady's-slipper

and so by
your love the very sun
itself is revived.


- William Carlos Williams

The theme of renewal this month - of spirit, heart, and mind - has a beautiful resonance. The limning of new green on the tree branches outside my study speaks to the budding within of hope and expectation. There is something about spring that nudges us to get on with it. To pluck our rusty dreams up and tinker them back into play. To rethink the impossible or the challenging and build a bridge to somewhere. To throw the window open and breathe deep of sunshine and the dazzling colors of spring.

This poem by William Carlos Williams is a favorite. "The Rewaking" reminds me that some essential essence of life and joy may be re-found through the mysteries of love. That perceived reality and the invisible real dance in many robes of perception, and the presence of happiness reshapes all things. The poet speaks of love as a force of nature, capable of reviving even the sun. And so we pause, and notice the new violet in the garden. We rekindle joy, restore what weariness may have caused us to believe forever lost, and come again to "the image the image of the rose."
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