Reflections Inspired by Kale and Water

Carol A. Hand

Kneeling on my lawn looking at the five huge kale plants I’d just harvested,
a task postponed now necessary given the predicted night’s hard freeze
A city water department employee appeared at the gate
my expression told him clearly I wasn’t pleased
with the message he delivered – “your water will be off tomorrow,” he said
This meant I needed to stay up until the wee hours to process all I could
Less than half of the kale frozen, unsteady on my feet before I headed off to bed
hoping the remaining lovely nourishing leaves would still be crisp and good

***

kale

Kale and Green Beans – August 11, 2016

***

I awoke late and took time to ponder before I arose
What is peace? An image from childhood appeared
Sitting on the earth in a wood beside a little singing brook
Sunlight filtered through leaves whispering in the gentle breeze
creating shifting patterns of light and shadow
I was at peace listening to the leaves, brook, and birds
I sang with them, feeling safe and connected to all in my wooded solitary sanctuary
In time, I would stand knowing I needed to return
to a world that was often chaotic, noisy, and unkind
I would feel lost again, but the memory of my sanctuary would help me survive

But is love the same as peace? If not, what is love?
Those questions were more difficult to answer
Love isn’t the yin of peace for me, the receptive deep listening
I think of love as forceful, fiery energy and see myself standing
Alone in a powerful storm, face lifted to the sky, hands outstretched
I feel the power of the earth, positively charged, move through my feet to my heart
igniting a glow that travels to my thoughts and hands
I feel the power of healing move through my heart, mind and outstretched hands
a wordless loving prayer for the earth and all of her inhabitants
Love demands only that I serve as a conduit for a healing life force and ask nothing in return
The moment passes, the power dissipates, and ordinary life goes on

***

img_0643

Stormy Skies – October 10, 2016

***

Both the water of peace and fire of love are easier to experience and observe when I am alone
But how do these forces affect my interactions with people, I wonder?
That’s a question to consider another day.

***

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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About Carol A. Hand

What matters are not the titles I’ve held or university degrees I earned or the size of a house or bank account. It’s really what I’ve learned from ordinary people like me whom I’ve met along the way. They taught me to live with gratitude and give thanks for each new day.
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24 Responses to Reflections Inspired by Kale and Water

  1. Carol, your poetic reflection is as graceful as the kale and green beans are delectable to the eye. The visuals offered by your words, stupendous. I too feel the power of the earth, in the dark mornings when I’m alone outside before moving into the chaotic and noisy. And so I welcome this poem the more.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. sojourner says:

    First, why is your water going to be off tomorrow? Is this a common occurrence there, or are they doing work n the system?

    Your writing, as always, is beautiful, powerful and thought provoking, Carol!

    You wrote:

    “Both the water of peace and fire of love are easier to experience and observe when I am alone
    But how do these forces affect my interactions with people, I wonder?”

    This, in particular, resonates with me. I find I can only get in touch with certain aspects of me when I am alone. I didn’t know this for most of my life, since I was never really alone. And yet, because of this amount of being alone, this unwanted isolation at points, I find myself wondering if I communicate with others in the same way I once had, when I was never alone.

    In fact, I have been asking friends recently, if they note a change in the way I communicate with them now. And so far, if they are being honest, they say there is no change.

    Or maybe I misunderstood what you meant by this?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your always thoughtful comments, Dave. 🙂

      I didn’t ask why the water was being turned off. I assumed the city was working on the water main since they have been digging up the main street for weeks.

      Your reflections about the effects of being alone on your communications with others are fascinating. I wonder if you notice differences, regardless of what those you have asked told you? My initial thoughts about this question are still undeveloped, but I know that having time alone to reflect has changed how I feel about myself. I worry less about how I’m perceived. I watch my thoughts and know when I’m being critical of others, I need to look at the reasons for feeling insecure and deal with those underlying issues immediately. It does change how I communicate. I am able to be more authentic and honest. For example, as an educator focusing on research, I can also use poetry and art to communicate. I don’t need to merely present from an analytic voice. I’m not sure if this answers your question…

      Liked by 3 people

      • sojourner says:

        Yes, Carol, this is some of what I am experiencing as well.

        And yes, I sense that I do not communicate as well in person as I once did. It seems that being alone, and having the time to consider my thoughts, and write them down and edit them, has led to me feeling uncomfortable, at points, with person to person(s) communication.

        And I also notice that I am more willing to lay back and not share all that I am considering, when I am speaking with someone in person. Before this, I was always spouting off and thinking later. So this is a very good outcome!

        I guess it is just another passage in life I am going through.

        I find the artistic coming out in me when I am writing. It disappears when I am speaking.

        Thanks, Carol!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. A thoughtful reflection, Carol, that made me stop and think about how love is expressed.
    And why is your water off?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Cynthia. I’d enjoy hearing about your thoughts on how love is expressed.

      In response to your question about the water being turned off, I just assumed the city was working on the water system since they have been digging up the main street for the past month. Last winter when the water main broke, there wasn’t any prior warning. I’m grateful that this time, there was at least a little advance notice. I just wish it had come before I harvested the kale…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. cindy knoke says:

    I love the imagery of love as fiery force connecting you to the earth & universe. Powerful!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I love your reflections, Carol, I wish I were a good at describing mine! I would always link you with the words love and peace!!! 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Kate Houck says:

    Thank you, Carol. You have made me reflect through this post, particularly about the entity, love and how different it is from the feeling of peace. I hope we all find ways to harness its power for positive change. It can certainly become a destructive force if left to its own devices.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. inesephoto says:

    Your kale is a great food for body. I use kale for cooking my favorite soup. Your reflections always provide a food for thoughts. Is love the same as peace? Is happiness the same as peace? It must be, but we have to walk a long way to gain that knowledge. Sometimes it takes a lifetime to learn the simple truth that true love is unselfish, and it is only the very first step to peace 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. underswansea says:

    Hi Carol. Wonderful post. Your garden looks wonderful yet. Our family loves kale. We keep it in the garden well into November. It weathers frost better than most winter crops and we often pick it while there is snow on the ground. I also really enjoyed your poem. There is a line about feeling the power of the earth. I spend a lot of nights in the mountains looking at the sky and sometimes I can feel something hoovering above me and flowing through me. It is not spiritual, as often described by people describing similar experiences, but as physical as being punched or held. It often takes my breath. When I was young it could scare me. Now I’m old I can’t live without it. Someday it will come and get me for good, but thats okay too. Your poem reminded me of this and I appreciated it. Take care. Bob Sorry for the long comment. I think I mentioned to you before, your posts are difficult to leave just a few words comment.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Bob, your comments are treasures. I love the stories you tell and the memories you share. Thank you for speaking about the presence you feel in the mountains, and no wonder. The photos you post are exquisite. They awaken a powerful sense of breath-taking awe at the beauty of this world. So, I’m glad to know you can’t just leave a few words because the one’s you leave are gifts.

      Like

  9. Annika Perry says:

    Wow, a beautiful thought-provoking poem, Carol. First the sense of autumn captured with your harvesting then moving to quiet reflections on peace and love. Not synonymous but pure forces on their own…a wonderful sense of your sanctuary developed, the peace all encompassing but no, it doesn’t last and ‘I needed to return
    to a world that was often chaotic, noisy, and unkind
    I would feel lost again, but the memory of my sanctuary would help me survive’. I adore your idea of love as conduit for healing. Carol, you’ve given me a lot to think about with this post. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your lovely, thoughtful comments, Annika. I appreciate your eloquent insights about peace and love. Like love, these reflections about peace and love seemed to flow through me and were still with me when I greeted the morning today despite dark, cloudy skies.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Awesome. 🙂 Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Sha'Tara says:

    Your posted link brought me here, obviously a post that I had missed (probably one of those days when I was struggling with over 200 emails!). OK, quote (hopefully not out of context) “Love demands only that I serve as a conduit for a healing life force and ask nothing in return.
    The moment passes, the power dissipates, and ordinary life goes on.”
    Do you see what happens here? The “moment” passes, the power dissipates and ordinary life goes on. If I link that to the previous sentence my mind rebels, realizing that one cancels the other! If “I” serve as a selfless conduit for a healing life force, then that’s it, that’s what I’ve become; that’s my purpose and increasingly, I will disappear into my purpose. But if “the moment” passes, that indicates I’m deluding myself: I haven’t become a purpose, I’ve only become emotionally involved, temporarily involved, and I can let it “go away” and return to my normal life. No sustaining force there, yet to remain “in love” regardless of consequences, one has to be connected to a force that cannot fail, that doesn’t just “go away” after a moment. Sorry, but that isn’t love, that’s compassion. Compassion forces an individual to develop empathy and to “live between the worlds” of flesh and spirit, to act as a permanent conduit between the joy and the sorrow of planetary life.
    Of note: this state of beingness can never be achieved from any collective, neither romantic relationships, family, tribe, nation or race, nor any other type of grouping will ever develop compassion. It can only come from a personal, individual commitment. We aren’t tribes, groups, nations, languages, we are ISSA beings, billions of individuals who, in order to evolve beyond the deadly trappings of religions or predatory capitalism (competition) need to define themselves as individuals through individual self-empowerment; detachment from any and all collectives; and become compassion. That is the key that unlocks the chains of slavery now holding billions captive to essentially useless concepts. This is what I’ve been taught, and what I’ve been working on for nigh on 40 years now. It is not a comfortable place to be in, but more so than living in the old unreliable alternative paradigm.
    (ISSA: Intelligent, Sentient, Self Aware)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for raising such thought-provoking issues, Sha’Tara. It would seem we view these states of being in different ways. I’m not sure that I can explain how I experience love and compassion, but here’s my honest attempt.

      Love is a powerful force that flows through me unbidden like the energy I feel from thunderstorms. It’s not always clear who or what it’s intended to focus on, although sometimes, even in dream states, the focus is clear. My heart glows and my hands warm as love passes through me as if I’m merely the conduit. It’s something I channel rather than choose. Although I suspect I could resist, I don’t.

      Compassion, on the other hand, requires conscious choice and discipline. It’s a melding of something I call empathy and detached wisdom. It happens when I’m confronted by people or situations that trouble or repulse me. Rather than react in an angry or judgmental manner, I have a choice to seek to understand through reflection before acting. It requires both heart and mind.

      Both are individual states that I have gradually learned to accept as my path and art. I merely try to live them and don’t force them on others as the one way to be loving or compassionate. And I still struggle moment to moment to make kind and wise choices, to be worthy of these gifts.

      Liked by 1 person

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