Friday, November 13, 2015

Today I Must Look

Today I Must Look

Red leaf, the color hard to describe
When I look closely there are many variations

Some tart red
Some wine
Some in transition, red to wine
Like the miracle

Too soon the red will change to clay brown
And so today I must look

And tomorrow, in the midst of winter
When the brown seems muddy and old
I must remember
The red is there, too

These leaves hold on tightly
Waiting, waiting all winter

Until the new growth comes
And releases them
They take flight and become
The soil that feeds all color

Friday, October 30, 2015

Darker Hours

Blustery and damp on my walk to work this morning. Makes me want to cozy up in front of the kettle, watch the steam rise, and make tea.  Tomorrow I'll have the time to do that leisurely, like the photo above.  Today in the office, it's the photo below.  Both have a calming effect on my psyche.

The quote on the calendar says, "Every path, every street in the world is your walking meditation path."  ~Thich Nhat Hanh

How do you navigate the transition into the darker hours?

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Tea Flowers

My tea plant (Cami, get it?  Short for camellia sinensis) has been covered in tea flowers!  I took these photos several days ago; they're now starting to fade. I think tea flowers are beautiful and I like to bring them inside (see bottom photo).  Tea flowers are discouraged in commercial production because when the plant is producing flowers its energy is towards making fruit and seeds rather than producing more leaf. (Most tea plants are propagated by slips (cuttings) rather than seeds). On my balcony, I love to let my tea plant go crazy with blossoms.  Enjoy the photos.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Living in Oz

I shared this photo on Facebook recently, and for several people, it conjured images of Oz.  Isn't it cool when other people see things we don't? I hadn't considered the Oz comparison and now I see it so clearly.  The yellow brick road, a red dress (instead of shoes). It was indeed a magical experience, walking into the leaves and looking down to see the hem of my red dress framed by such vibrant gold.  One of those standstill moments.

And like Oz, I walked on into reality. The truth that magic is everywhere in the everyday. That joys abound and that I must solve my own problems. That friends help each other along, and that sometimes the magic is seeing things in a different way.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Change of Seasons and Upcoming Events

Changing of Seasons
Have you noticed the changing light as we tilt toward Fall?  The afternoon sun comes in at a slant for us, and it's beautiful. I love noticing the light and where it shows itself in our house throughout the year.  Right now, it's lighting up the hanging scroll in my 2-mat tatami room.  This is a new space and I'm so happy with it!  I can practice my tea skills and keep my knees and ankles fit for sitting on the floor.  The scroll above shows the characters for Wa, Kei: Harmony and Respect. It's the first half of Wa-Kei-Sei-Jaku, the four principles of tea (Chanoyu, Japanese Tea Ceremony).

Upcoming Events
I am very happy to share that I'll be participating in the following two events!

Bowl-Style Brewing Class at Jasmine Pearl Tea Merchants
This Sunday, Sept 20th at noon, Portland, OR.  Registration. We'll practice one of the oldest, simplest and most profound styles of brewing. Nothing but tea leaf, a bowl and hot water.  And of course, you.

Northwest Tea Festival
Saturday and Sunday, October 3rd and 4th, Seattle, WA.  Information. Along with my Sensei, Marjorie Yap, I'm teaching a class on How to Be a Guest at a Japanese Tea Ceremony.  Also  happy to be participating in the Wu-Wo Tea Brewing. This is a GREAT event, full of classes, tea tastings, tea things for sale and wonderful people.  It's one of the highlights of my year.

Happy Autumn!

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Light and Shadow

Present Light
~Charles Ghinga

If I could
hold light
in my hand

I would
give it
to you

and watch it
your shadow.

I've been thinking a lot about light and shadow, how they support and usurp one another, constantly sharing and shifting. Light that warms us, feeds us, burns us, blinds us, that we both seek and hide from. Shadow that cools us, invites us, hides us, scares us, that we both seek and hide from. I'm trying to be intentional about their roles in my life and writing, labeling neither good nor bad. Just like the sun and moon each have a role to play, so do light and shadow, no matter how literal or metaphorical we get.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Poem Hunting

I'm poem hunting these days. Finding, tagging, cataloging poems that say just the right thing for just the right time. It's harder than you might imagine, and I love it. It's part of a new project I'm developing. No, not really. The truth is that it's part of a birthing process, to myself and to a new being in my life. Not literally, but I am in the final days before the big push to bring about something special, at least to me. It will be small and manageable, and with the hope of BIG GOODNESS for the people that feel called to join me. More to come on that, but for now, one of those poems:

Love Calls Us to the Things of This World
~Richard Wilbur

The eyes open to a cry of pulleys,
And spirited from sleep, the astounded soul   
Hangs for a moment bodiless and simple   
As false dawn.
                     Outside the open window   
The morning air is all awash with angels.

    Some are in bed-sheets, some are in blouses,   
Some are in smocks: but truly there they are.   
Now they are rising together in calm swells   
Of halcyon feeling, filling whatever they wear   
With the deep joy of their impersonal breathing;

    Now they are flying in place, conveying
The terrible speed of their omnipresence, moving   
And staying like white water; and now of a sudden   
They swoon down into so rapt a quiet
That nobody seems to be there.
                                             The soul shrinks

    From all that it is about to remember,
From the punctual of every blessed day,
And cries,
               “Oh, let there be nothing on earth but laundry,   
Nothing but rosy hands in the rising steam
And clear dances done in the sight of heaven.”

    Yet, as the sun acknowledges
With a warm look the world’s hunks and colors,   
The soul descends once more in bitter love   
To accept the waking body, saying now
In a changed voice as the man yawns and rises,   
    “Bring them down from their ruddy gallows;
Let there be clean linen for the backs of thieves;   
Let lovers go fresh and sweet to be undone,   
And the heaviest nuns walk in a pure floating   
Of dark habits,
                      keeping their difficult balance.”