Morning Reflections on an Ordinary Day

Carol A. Hand

Gazing out the kitchen window

Washing dishes one by one

cloaked in golden light

a glorious gift from the morning sun

Thinking of my lovely daughter

Grateful

***

Morning View from the Kitchen Window

***

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Interstices – The Potent Space between Intentions and Outcomes

Carol A. Hand

When a seed, bulb or idea is planted

deep beneath the surface, unseen

it’s not easy to predict if it will ever blossom

Care and patience are essential

but they’re not always enough

***

Hopefully – a Hyacinth…

***

Engaging in the process of creating possibilities

through one’s everyday thoughts and actions

is a celebratory act of great courage

especially in times of darkness and repression

***

Kale and Broccoli Babies

***

Positive changes won’t happen

If no one is willing to risk the uncertainty of failure

and practice the patience and tenacity of stewardship

in the interstices between

intentions,

actions,

and

outcomes

***

Acknowledgements:

I’m grateful for the left-over seeds and bulbs from last year that have germinated so far, for the friends who gave me encouraging feedback on Part I of my edited book manuscript, and for the students in yesterday’s class who had tears in their eyes and applauded when I read a difficult passage I was struggling with from Part II.

***

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Passing Time

Carol A. Hand

Daylight Saving Time always catches me by surprise. Traveling between times as I write about the past heightens my awareness about how quickly things change, one season to the next. East and west markers change as I witness the sun rise and set.

I’ve never been comfortable adhering to rigid schedules. Now in retirement, I only have one commitment that requires being “on time.” What a funny expression, “on time.”

I have a number of non-working watches. Finding the right replacement batteries seems such a waste of my time. But I do have clocks. A lot of them, in fact.

***

I can’t always remember which ones still need to be changed …

***

Most are battery powered because I lived off the power grid for so many years, or in prairie storm-country where I often lost power. Some of the clocks are works of art and craftsmanship.

Despite all of these constant reminders, I much prefer to live by “Indian time,” doing things when “the time is right,” rather than adhering to rigid schedules. It makes life more unpredictable to be sure, but there’s a lot to said about the benefits of “going with the flow.” Maybe that explains why I’ve only changed some of clocks to the newly imposed meaning of time.

I prefer to measure time by watching the sun rise and set, and by marveling about how quickly my grandchildren change as they grow. It brings to mind a song from Fiddler on the Roof, Sunrise Sunset.

“Is this the little girl I carried
Is this the little boy at play
I don’t remember growing older
When did they

***

Measuring the Passage of Time – 2009 to 2016

***

“When did she get to be a beauty
When did he grow to be so tall
Wasn’t it yesterday
When they were small

“Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze

***

***

“Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears…”

***

***

Clocks or no clocks, it’s time for me to get busy editing. May your days bring you many moments of peace, happiness and joy.

***

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Editing Journal Week Five

Carol A. Hand

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The days I work on my manuscript feel sacred to me. It’s why I can’t do anything but manuscript work for dedicated blocks of time. And that’s why I don’t force myself to edit when I’m not in the right emotional space.

When I surface momentarily from the past, I notice the beauty of nature around me with greater presence, intensity and clarity. The antithetical contrasts with prevailing current events appear sharper.

When I peruse old books I found cumbersome or uninteresting in the past, I find treasures. The power of the Ojibwe oral tradition that seemed confusingly disorganized in the past now engages my sense of curiosity and wonder in the storyteller’s art. And I realize that’s how I write now.

Stories that are spoken in the present time flow with a logic that interweaves temporal frames. A glimpse of something in the present triggers memories. Those memories need to be shared as part of the story. Otherwise, the importance of the present won’t make much sense.

I remember writing about my writer’s space a while ago. I don’t often think about the shawl my mother crocheted for me so long ago, but it’s draped on the back of the old computer chair I sit on every day when I write. Figuratively, it “watches my back,” though I almost always take its presence for granted, even when I routinely readjust the lopsided edges.

 

Editing in Progress & the Shawl My Mother Made

 

Looking at the shawl in a photo, no one would be able to guess the meaning it has for me, or for my mother or grandmother. A simple object, yes, but it carries so many stories begging to be told. It connects people – across generations – in ways that can’t be described in a logical, chronological order. Ever.

The snippets of memories that surface depend on the context, and the stories that flow from them are molded by the storyteller’s state of heart/mind and by her reasons for sharing them. Maybe some other time I’ll try to tell a few of the stories about the shawl. Today I have other work that is calling.

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In a Single Frame

Carol A. Hand

In a single frame

Symbols of civilization

juxtaposed with nature

reaching ever higher

for the light

yearning

to breathe

free

***

Morning View – March 11, 2017

***

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Grandmother Moon

Carol A. Hand

Grandmother Moon reflecting light
for a sometimes dark and weary world
where children hunger and die before their time
to feed the greed of would-be kings and queens

Remind us with your patient presence
of wonders we have yet to fathom
your dispassionate illuminating gaze
our guide through the bleakest nights

***

Grandmother Moon – March 10, 2017

***

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“Be Here Now”

Carol A. Hand

***

Let me be fully present here, in this moment

Focusing on opportunities to send out love and healing

Not frozen in yesterday’s hurts and disappointments

Not constrained by the bleakness of the surrounding landscape

Not controlled by the fear and chaos swirling about in other places

Not concerned about tomorrow’s uncertainty

I only have this moment,

now,

to radiate peace and joy

***

Morning – March 7, 2017

***

Acknowledgments:

For my beloved daughter who inspired these reflections…

Title drawn from the work of Baba Ram Dass (1971), Be Here Now.

***

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Night and Day Contrasts – Editing Journal Snippets Week Three

Carol A. Hand

Traveling through time and trying to remain grounded brings so many different gifts. Each moment requires focus, revealing a deeper sense of presence. Despite my best efforts to meet arbitrary timelines, the gift of reviewing the past increases my awareness of the importance of attending to the present with greater attention and compassion.

Saturdays after class and Sundays, my transition day, give me a chance to try to catch up with all I have missed from my blogging friends. It also gives me a chance to share snippets from the week.

Monday, February 27, 2017

I needed another transition day to run errands and spend time with friends. Adjusting once again to being alone when my granddaughter goes home takes time and often a trip to the grocery store to replenish empty cabinets and refrigerator. The morning view helped me greet the day peacefully

Snowflakes and Sunlight February 27, 2017

Snowflakes and Sunlight
February 27, 2017

***

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Note to self – get real at the end of chapter 1 – I neglected to include an experience that ignored clear evidence that past and present child welfare policies perpetuated injustice, suffering, and cultural genocide. It would take years to build the knowledge of child welfare policies and ethnographic research methods needed to conduct a study that made it clear that culture still matters. It’s not too late to address a legacy of shame. The order to be complicit in bolstering oppressive policies fueled my indignation and spirit of resistance.

The magnitude of harm and refusal of a university to explore empowering solutions helped give me the courage to try something that would test my heart and knowledge perhaps to the breaking point. My mother’s suffering and the tribal child welfare staff I had met who hoped to create healthier futures for children and their communities would forever haunt me if I didn’t try. Despite fear of failure and self-doubt about my ability to remain somewhat objective and emotionally neutral, I set off on my journey…

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Chapter 1 for now is edited and I’m ready to go on. Break time – a chance to reflect and come back to the present for a moment or two. My mind shifted to the urge I feel of late to take photos of the beauty in ordinary scenes I see.

The mystery and the majesty of snow-adorned trees highlighted by the cloudy night sky.

Snowy Evening - February 28, 2017

Snowy Evening – February 28, 2017

***

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Yesterday afternoon, I learned that a dear friend was admitted to hospice, dying. My heart is too heavy to edit, so I write poetry instead and begin class preparation a day early.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Some days my heart is so heavy
So much unnecessary suffering in the world
So many people who see no hope
stumbling through life, feeling they have no worth
waiting for someone else to rescue them from emptiness
filling the void with alcohol, drugs, sex, Facebook or TV
Meanwhile invasive wars continue, the earth fracked and denuded
as faux news circuits, Netflix, and YouTube distract and entertain
But I still can’t help caring, reading a book, preparing a class
writing about heartbreak, possibilities and joy
The trees, plants, birds and sky just outside my door
help me remember
the light of a single candle in times of darkness
reveals the way

Yes – I know the poetry isn’t very good – it’s hard to focus today just as it was yesterday…

Break Time

Grass and Melting Snow - March 3, 2017

Grass and Melting Snow – March 3, 2017

***

Sitting outside on my step
watching blades of grass quiver
and melting snow shimmer
in the warming March afternoon sun

***

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Morning Sunrise March 4, 2017

Carol A. Hand

Life goes on despite sudden loss

The sun still rises

gloriously

Responsibilities remain

needing to be met

graciously

***

Morning Sunrise - March 4, 2017

Morning Sunrise – March 4, 2017

***

 

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Adieu

Carol A. Hand

The love of my youth is dying
On earth, this lifetime, we’ll not meet again
A long life is sometimes a blessing
but surviving dear friends brings such pain

Truly gentle men are so rare to find
The world doesn’t treat them well
They often ease disappointments silently
with distractions to escape an inner hell

À bientôt, my beloved friend
May you finally know peace deep and true
Please know you’ll always remain in my heart
Though, from afar, I must send my final earthly loving adieu

Snowflakes and Sunlight February 27, 2017

Snowflakes and Sunlight
February 27, 2017

 

for David

There are so many better ways to say “farewell” in French. It’s the language of the heart. I turn to it now to express the depth of my grief and sense of loss.

À bientôt means “see you soon

Adieu translates literally as “(I commend you) to god” 

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