Friday, October 24, 2014

what will you memorize


by Margaret Gibson

For today, I will memorize
the two trees now in end-of-summer light

and the drifts of wood asters as the yard slopes away toward
the black pond, blue

in the clouds that shine and float there, as if risen

from the bottom, unbidden. Now, just over the fern—
quick—a glimpse of it,

the plume, a fox-tail's copper, as the dog runs in ovals and eights,
chasing scent.

The yard is a waiting room. I have my chair. You, yours.

The hawk has its branch in the pine.

White petals ripple in the quiet light.

In the quiet, a necklace of gourds on the fence.

A mourning cloak on a seeded spray of crabgrass.

An undulant whine of cicadas.


In my solitude, on one of my walks, I try to memorize the autumn leaves and the elegance of certain tree branches. Their lovely gestures. The way the light and the wind moves through the leaves, a message.

I've still been thinking about the line I quoted earlier this week from David Whyte's conversation with a monk: 

"The antidote to exhaustion is not rest: it's wholeheartedness."  

And just generally thinking about what it means to be wholehearted. 

Here is Pema Chodron:

Wholeheartedness is a precious gift, but no one can actually give it to you. You have to find the path that has heart and then walk it impeccably....It's like someone laughing in your ear, challenging you to figure out what to do when you don't know what to do. It humbles you. It opens your heart.

Pema Chödrön

And so, we go on looking for the path that has heart. Stumbling at times, yes. All too often, it seems, some days.

The colour is slowly draining from the world, but very slowly this year, for which I'm grateful.

There is nothing more of a balm than a long autumn.

I return home from my walk, and the grass is still green in the front yard, though.

Early mornings, that touch of frost is now a regular sight.

I want to memorize it all, before the snow falls, the colours, the frost, the quiet light, the leaves, all.

And you, what will you memorize today?


  1. Dear Shawna, I want to memorize this today. Thank you for such beautiful, thoughtful, and much needed post. Wishing you a lovely weekend. xo

  2. I've been thinking about the whole-heartedness quote since I read it here on your blog. While I'm not certain it makes me feel less exhausted, I can definitely say that it distracted me from the exhaustion and made my tasks much easier this week. Thanks for sharing all of this!

    1. I totally hear you on that one, Manisha :)

  3. i had to catch up a bit.
    the words... the incredible light... the jolt of the rich red ... the mellowness of light on the chandelier... then the beloved face of ace... just because he wanted to be with you... nothing else. that was what the title of the post meant to me. all of it together... asking the world to be sweet. kind. light.
    and then this one...
    you just keep on. each post makes me ah! all over again. i say shawna...
    in some of the pictures i can actually FEEL the crispy air. i can.
    every photo you do . . . is a tiny jewel~like haiku.
    marvelous. and so much so. . . i forgot the question!!!! LOLOLOL.
    oh my.

    1. you're wonderful! Thanks, as ever, Tammy!

  4. I'm so glad I came to visit, from Susan Licht's blog, to read your words and see your lovely images! Sandra

    1. Thx Sandra! Susan's blog is lovely, isn't it?


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