TRIUMPH OF SPIRIT IN LOVE, NATURE & ART

Posts tagged “Stars

Reaching for the Stars

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“I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree… a tree that looks at God all day and lifts her leafy arms to pray.”  The opening lines of the poem,“Trees,” by Joyce Kilmer.  Indigenous peoples through the ages have talked of tree spirits and trees as wise ones.  Trees are striking as they permanently lift their arms to the Heavens in seeming prayer, day and night in communication with the Creator, their outstretched arms reaching for the stars.

Reaching for the stars.  The image calls to mind a dance of the Kalahari Bushmen who were featured in the movie “The Gods They Must be Crazy.”  The Kalahari, the last men born of the Stone Age culture according to Laurens Van Der Post, have no sense of individuality and so share all they have. They have a dance of gratitude which Van Der Post describes in his book entitled “A Mantis Carol”: “I never see their dancing without feeling deeply moved and utterly irreverent and blasphemous because of our own incapacity for acknowledging what life will give if only we will let it in.”  And then there is their dance of the “great hunger,” a dance that says we do not live by bread alone, a dance at life’s end fraught with longing, with arms outstretched taughtly towards the Heavens as they reach for the stars.

My grandfather reached for the stars.  He came to the United States, a 16-year-old peasant stonecutter from the mountains of Sicily, knowing no English.  He wound up carving the Lincoln Gettysburg address at the Lincoln Memorial in DC.  While working on the Gettysburg Address he studied English at night school.  I remember him telling me how he was the laughing stock of his fellow stone cutters because, inspired by Lincoln’s words, he carved his initials at the top of the monument, “A.L.” for Anthony LaManna (and, of course, for Abraham Lincoln), followed by: “Attorney at Law.”  Working his way through school, he actually did eventually become a VA lawyer.  He reached for the stars and touched them without ever forgetting where he came from.  And he was childlike as he took care of me, as we danced to records on the victrola or as he played the mandolin and sang to me.  I always think of him with a tinge of sadness, for more than anyone, he taught me to reach for the stars.

Reach for the creator– that is what the trees say.  At this time of year I yearn for the days of childhood in which God seemed close.  This yearning fully ripens each year at Christmas/Hanukkah when the people brighten their houses with festive lights.  It is a time of year in which we light up our hearts and look to the heavens and sing songs of love to a babe born not so very long ago, or in which we give thanks for the oil to light the lights of the temple for eight days.  We are all really seeking the love that motivated the Kalahari Bushmen to do their dance.  We are seeking a savior, and yearning for the Light in this overlit, commercialized, complicated world in which the inspiring simplicity of the Bushmen, the peasant, is rapidly disappearing.  And the trees touch my heart in their upward reach for the Heavens.  For at this time so many millions of them are sacrificed as they have become our Christmas trees and Hanukkah bushes, to be discarded after the holidays are over.

May we experience this holy season with a simpler yearning, not for presents and parties and hoopla, but with our hearts full of gratitude, taking lessons from the trees, from the Kalahari Bushmen, from our ancestors, and seek Love, in whatever form it takes in our souls.

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Night Visions

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I look up and
my head swims
with delight
making me giddy
with awe.
So humbled
one being
like all others
on this earth
gazing heaven toward
under a canopy
of stars.
Diamonds
with infinitesimal degrees
of infinite distance.
Each a quiet distant world
in one of endless galaxies
in one of endless universes
in one of untold possibilities.


Starlight, Starbright

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Starlight through the skylight
Moonlight just above the roof
Fireflies flickering flames
Random to our eyes
In a dizzying mercurial display
Flitting to the tune
Of trilling frogs
And the flutter of batwings
I see goblins in the windows
Alone would be terrified
With you here beatified
By the beauty of the silence
Punctuated by the frogs
Spotlighted by the moon
And the sparkling stars
Whose dust makes up
These rented bodies we carry
While inside heartbeats
Tick away our lives
To the beat of a flashing firefly
Or a flickering star.


Beyond the Stars

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Sitting in the sun, acclimating to the gentle June heat, swatting away an annoysome fly who keeps returning over and over, I know this swatting is definitely wrong—a stirring of the killer instinct. I remember naturalist artist and writer and turtle man, David M. Carroll, keeping his hand steady, while being bitten by hordes of mosquitoes,  so as not to scare away the turtles as he paints them . Clearly he is a superior soul in his patient endurance of being bitten and as his, almost spiritual, beautifully poetic, writings and drawings reveal. I remember, too, the words of Pema Chodron, Buddhist teacher and nun, who teaches and preaches practicing compassion on little things, learning not to “bite the hook” of anger.

So I let the fly alight on my ankle and he seemingly happily stays on my leg and does not bite. I begin to try to image feeling kinship with this fly who likes my leg, fighting the idea that he is laying eggs in my skin. Pema Chodron has clearly inspired a city girl, afeared of bugs, to make friends with a fly as I watch the universe of insects beneath my feet. A Daddy Long legs crawls on my camera bag, hitches a ride to our bed when I go inside the house. I bring him back to his home outside.

This compassion things feels right, start small and grow big. As if to reinforce this point a butterfly lands on my chest when I return to my contemplation spot in our back yard. But all is not sweetness and light. Later the same fly (I swear it is) who landed on my leg now activates karma for my earlier murderous impulses towards him. He lands on my toe and bites me. A cautionary tale against getting too carried away with being virtuous. Still worse, later as I walk in the coolness of early evening, a bug lands on my arm and attempts a vigorous bite.   In an instant, a reflexive smack smooches him dead.

So it would seem I have to start even smaller with my acts of compassion. How much smaller can one start? I wonder with daunting discouragement about the many, many more lives I will have to live to learn lessons of compassion and no anger. I contemplate the prospect of how many, many more films I will have to view in this movie house of Maya we call life. When, oh when, will I learn all my lessons? When, oh, when, will the sun set for good for me on this circle of life so I can exit the orbit and rest beyond the stars??


Overloaded Circuits: a Poem for World Bipolar Day, March 30, 2014

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I’m in somnia

with jackhammer brain

a buzzing mind

a humming with emotions

thoughts and pictures

memories of joys

lost to death

spirits close to my heart

seemingly worlds away

guilt, loss and happiness

sickness and death

as well as

breathtaking beauty

a bedfellow with

gnawing worries

and gnashing nerves

fleeting images from films and

music playing at high speed

in the library of my mind

voices of today, yesterday and

fears of tomorrow

vying for an ear

asking me to listen

to them all

all at once

a cacophony of sounds

in the humming silence

of the specter-filled

haunting darkness

with fearsome death dangling

its loathsome threats

before my darting eyes

afraid not for myself

but of losing him

as he lies beside me

breathing noises

breeding worry, sorry

dashing thoughts of love, passion, doubts

a scarily-still lump beside

insomniac-hyper-racing-mind

manic me

finally arising out of

maudlin months

of dismal darkness

and deep, dark despair

when death smelled sweet to me

*

I get out of bed

to lay my face

upon the windowsill

to gaze at the mystery sky

full of twinkling stars

glittering to the rhythms

of the pulsing universe

my only hope for some

semblance of somnolence

my only chance for peace.

For info on my Bipolar memoir, please see: http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/ellen-stockdale-wolfe.html


The Night Light Show

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Tiny, twinkling stars

suffering loneliness,

fall from the sky

and become fireflies,

flickering on and off

among the trees

calling for a mate,

lighting the night sky

and exciting vision

with twinkling

and flashing lights

and one is not sure

which is which

so bewitched are we

by the show of Light.


A Glimpse into the Infinite

How many bacteria are on the back of your hand?

How insects are in the universe beneath our feet

or above our heads?

How many grains of sand lie on the beaches of the earth?

How many waves float upon the earth’s seas?

How many bubbles rise up in all the water on our planet?

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How many planets, stars and galaxies lie within the universe?

How many universes are suggested by the Multiverse theory?

What seems infinite is finite.

The paradox…

We have a perception of the Infinite though we ourselves are finite.

We have a conception of the Infinite through our perception of the finite.

The spark of the Infinite lies within our finite bodies.

It is called the Soul.


In the Heart of a Dying Star, Life

The work of Professor Brian Cox who appears in the video:

Brian Edward Cox, OBE is a British particle physicist, a Royal Society University Research Fellow, PPARC Advanced Fellow and Professor at the University of Manchester. Wikipedia

Humbling and Beyond Our Comprehension

Astronomers  decided to point the  Hubble Telescope  at
a dark spot out in space and  they left  it there for 10 days.  The
results 
encouraged  them to try again for 11 days.

Turn up  your sound while you look at the  3-D  presentation the astronomers
made:
http://tinyurl.com/rdzpzu

It’s almost more than we can comprehend….