Friday, September 30, 2005

Dependence Day

One of the greatest challenges of my work:
sitting in nursing homes
talking to people
suddenly totally dependent
on facility staff and family.

One woman fighting back tears
because she no longer determines
when she gets to pee.
She is on a schedule...
every hour and a half,
no earlier.

Another fights depression
because "my keepers
sit with me
while I smoke...
and sometimes you just want
to smoke alone."

Stuck in a chair or a bed
unable to walk
unable to use arthritic hands
without incredible difficulty.

The spiritual challenge
of total dependence
and loss of the illusion of freedom.

I turned today to a coworker,
who practices Buddhist meditation,
trying to prepare herself
for the day when she must
completely let go of attachment
to independence and privacy,
accepting what is now.

My work has also introduced me
to people who have found
the grand acceptance
that allows them to find quality of life
and an inner sense of strength
and wholeness
even as their body fails them completely.

If only I could bottle this spiritual peace....
it is so hard to learn,
so hard to teach.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Fall Garden

One last year of good use
from my old garden hat
shared this summer
with friend scarecrow.

With its back to the flowers
and onions,
standing guard over
grass and weeds
where once was corn,
the scarecrow stands vigil still.

Strange year for corn.
The first seed never came up.
The second lot grew and produced...
short stalks, little ears,
but still tasty fresh.

Short scarecrow, short corn.
Short summer, it seems now.

This afternoon fall breezes
blow through the garden,
speaking softly to the trees
and shrubs,
whispering for change
and for rest.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

From meeting to meeting to meeting

Starting at 7:30 am today
the first meeting...
with coffee arriving at
ten till eight.
Thanks for that.

The natives were restless
in the weekly 3:30.
Giddy, silly, laughing
with way too much on our list.
But we got it all done...
while passing the plate
of homemade chocolate chip cookies.

The 6:30 meeting
a fresh start on
a huge project.
A fast food salad
with apples and cranberries,
made up for the crackers for lunch.
And the meeting went quickly and smoothly.

One would think I love meetings,
but mostly I like the snacks.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Circling the Drain

Two very different quotes on dying today.

The first, a hospital nurse
to the bearded chaplain
requesting a visit for a patient
who is "circling the drain."

The second, a former theological student
quoting her teacher Paul Chilcote
who taught that Westerners tend to think of roses
reaching a point of perfection
and then
becoming less perfect
as they begin to decay.
Ah, but Eastern Orthodox thinkers...
see a rose
in its roseness
from bud to blossom to decay
perfect in every natural stage of beauty.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Collecting seeds

Spent time collecting seeds from marigolds:
gold, yellow, garnet, speckled and windmill...
for blooms next summer.
Harvested dry pole beans
for next year's kettle of food.


Inspired by my younger brother
and seeking some creative outlet
amidst the meetings and daily work
I hereby blog.

Today a simple post,
enjoying the first days of fall
and the incalculable joy of WEEKEND.

My goal this week,
with work looming
and meetings at least three different evenings:
to remember to play,
to take time to declutter,
to do something that involves creativity.