Solitude

Local Waves

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I had thought about going to the beach today

as an escape from the ordinariness of my days:

to walk on the boardwalk and look out as the waves roll in,

to think about the vastness behind what is seen and then

to eat at a seaside restaurant (I had already checked the menu),

and perhaps, before or after ice cream, walk to the lighthouse;

but then I decided that I don’t want to sit in the car for hours

alone or with friends.

Something about being contained repelled me.

I didn’t want silence nor did I want constant conversation.

 

So here I am, in a coffee shop that I walked to from home.

It is not scenic. But the coolness of an early autumn day was lovely

and the podcast that I listened to kept me company.

Maybe I will buy something for dinner on my walk back home.

In the end, this has been another ordinary day that, upon reflection,

was fine for me to feel part of a world where people

come together to live their lives

and not always feel burdened by the darkness of hate and selfishness.    

 


Rosh Hashanah 5780

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It came to me as a thought,

an acknowledgement on Rosh Hashanah eve:

I do not believe in God as a being, an existence.

Though I perceive that ideas and rituals which accompany  

belief have their origins in the core of man/woman

and our connectivity to the forces of life experienced

(observe a gray sky, a bare breeze, a soaring raven, a red geranium).

Tell me, please, what is this that makes my heart seek

to grow to share to help to gather together?

 

Then, a rabbi, in his sermon, said, through a metaphor about editors,

that God is dead.

Why, then, does he wear a prayer shawl and stand

before us?

Why make his declaration and its pronouncement as if

for us?

I expected an apology from him the next time he spoke,

but it was just to give a page number to turn to.

What is a belief that cuts connections?

 

Perhaps he has lost something in trying to lead, to teach:

perhaps he needs to sing from his soul,

(a friend told me the human voice is the primal instrument)

and find meaning beneath consciousness

because God, whatever it means within,

drives us to come together for confirmation for beauty for comfort

to acknowledge existence and struggle and shared burdens and blessings.

 

There are threads (perhaps he should try a weaver metaphor)

of praises and doubts, endlessly forming,

that have healed tears (tairs and teers).

No, that is not right. It is not healing:

there is the pain and joy of alone and in community,

there are expressions of self that stay hidden

and those that find company.

There is this cycle of existence, with meaning and none,

in a mind, or millions.

 

Hineni. Here I am.

Who?

There is what there is:

a tenuous solid connection.

And, I think, that is enough

To contemplate

when I lay my head down and when I rise up

and what is in between and after and before. 


Fall Morning at Huntley Meadows Park

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This morning I walked at Huntley Meadows Park (5,063 steps).

The dried plants and coloring trees attest that autumn has arrived.

It was early, so the camera birders were out

with their tripods and huge lenses to capture birds

in flight, at rest, at prey.

I am not a birder: there were gray birds (herons?) and white birds (egrets?).

I have seen them there before; they are what I expect to see.

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As they focused and hoped for the photography gods, as one woman said,

I saw a heron attack and spear a fish in its beak:

that moment is captured in my mind. After it happened

the photographers took, I assume, close-ups of the fish in its beak.

Their pictures are surely better than mine taken with my phone,

but I saw the moment of action that defines instinct, not thought.

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My father was a birder. He would know their names.

My mother and I often go birding when we are together.

It will be ten years in December.

 

Yesterday, I spoke with a friend. Two of her friends have cancer.

It is upsetting, to be sure, to anticipate those losses.

But in trying to keep herself upbeat, she spoke about

beating cancer, mind over cancer, belief in belief.

I stopped her.

It was painful to sit on my balcony on a Friday evening

and think that people can fault my father for dying

within two months of his diagnosis.

 

There are so many things we cannot control.

It is not acquiescence, it is reality.

A bird, a fish, a man, a disease. Even a season.

 

Today I did not see many birds or turtles, as I usually do.

Instead, there were frogs, half hidden in the muck,

eyeing the world that passed by. Delighted,

only I took pictures of them.

 

Afterwards, I went for latte at Grounded Coffee.

I went to be amongst a flock. I did not want to separate.

Perhaps I am the frog, barely visible at my table, watching

The couples, the families, the children (one boy in an octopus shirt)

even myself, as we live this moment.

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Today Is Saturday / Shabbat

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Today is Saturday / Shabbat,

a day of rest.

I will not work or do

anything I have to.

I deserve a day with no obligations.

 

It is afternoon.

I just got my hair cut

an inch-inch-and-a-half.

Earlier, I got a pedicure

choosing a reddish orange

polish to bring a smile

when I look down.

There are metaphors there,

comparing toenails to flowers,

or smiles to butterfly wings,

but no one knows or cares.

 

I sit alone at a small, round table;

we are both sunflowers, perhaps,

but so are the other three women

and one man here: each alone.

We are all doing things:

writing notes, reading articles, reading phones.

We got out of our homes to not be alone,

but only I look up from my screen / shield.

 

A sneeze, a god-bless-you, a thank you:

conversation.

 

Now I know why I don’t go

seeking not to be solitary

because I am more alone,

in this space

that is not a haven,

since, I see, it is better to acknowledge

aloneness than fight it

among strangers.