Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Invitations to Rest


Forcible sabbath,
Fed by chicken soup,
Covered in Kleenexes,
Capped off by NyQuil.

At first sniffling,
Snoring, complaining,
Bemoaning all I need
To get done.

Finally silent,
Thinking, reading,
Praying, writing,

What else can I do? 


   The har-de-dar woke me on my first day in South Africa.  This large blue black bird with a long, sharply curved beak calls raucously at dawn and dusk. My first two impressions were the sounds and smells coming in through the open window - the call of  the har-de-dar and the rich fragrance of the gardenias blooming in the front and back gardens.  
   It’s a open air life here.  My experience thus far in South Africa has been one of open windows and doors, no screens, breakfast on the veranda, dinner on the covered porch.  We’re not cooped up in air conditioning, but open to the wind, to the rain, and finally to the sun.  The fresh, unseasonably cool air causes me to linger over my coffee, to sit just a bit longer before getting on with the activities of the day.  It helps me remind myself that it’s summer here and I’m on vacation.  At home, I would be making my to-do list and beginning  the holiday rush.        
    But here- it's time to relax and listen to the birds. If the har-de-dar will just let me sleep a little later!


Stopping by Sea on a Silvery Morning

   In school I had to memorize the Robert Frost poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” which I thought was ridiculous. In what job would I need to recite poetry? What possible use could that be? Yesterday, one of my sons asked me why he had to learn history. What use is that today? I stumbled and stammered trying to impart what insights it can give of what it is to be human and inhumane.
   Maybe it’s age that teaches those lessons. I know that in part it is Frost’s poem that has me stopping at Breach Inlet on this silvery morning where the horizon is lost in mist, where beach, water and sky blend seamlessly. I stop despite knowing it will make me a bit late, the refrain of miles to go before I sleep echoing in my head.

   For now, just a few moments, my soul needs to breathe.


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