Wednesday, October 30, 2013

now your soul

You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.
Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.
Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.
Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.
Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.

 -  John O'Donohue

I recognize that even in the valley of the shadow of my own tangled thoughts there is something holy and unutterable seeking to restore my soul... I always stop and touch the coarse gray bark of one particular tree with my hand or cheek, which I suppose is a way of blessing it for being so strong and beautiful. Who knows how long it has been standing there wearing its foliage like a crown even though a part of it is dying? Because of that quality of sheer endurance one morning I found myself touching it not to bless it, but to ask its blessing, so that I myself might move toward old age and death with something like its stunning grace and courage.

-  Frederick Buechner

This is when I feel blessed. When I walk out my front door in the morning and look at the roses in the front garden that are still lovely though they've endured many frosts, and even snow. When I walk into the trees and see the small miracles, these last leaves, hanging on, hanging on. This is how I get my soul to come back to me.

When we are looking for 'calm things' this is what we're looking for - to have our soul restored. And maybe it's as simple some days as going out to touch the bark of the tree you see from your window. To notice the grace and courage of small things, the silence of things, and then bring that back into one's being.

These last leaves are amazing to me. The way they draw the light into their spent bodies, and it goes through and also collects in hollows and crinkles and the shabby scruff of them.

This particular leaf seemed to be part of a light show - I kept photographing it, and the light kept changing. I moved around it, and shot from higher and lower. In every shot it looks different, says something unique, about grace, elegance, about the soul. And certainly about patience, and courage, silence and light.


  1. that third image is utterly breathtaking to me. What inspirational thoughts today Shawna. Wishing you more blessings as your day unfolds.


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