Sunday Evening Reflection with Mary Jo Malo

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Tonight, as I look out into my city that is embracing the night, I feel a sense of solidarity that comes from the lights that shine in the darkness.  In a time of uncertainty, we continue to meet challenges together, as a community.

 In the darkness, there is light.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once wrote that  “One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.”

I have taken Johann up on his thoughts for my Sunday Evening Reflection. I feel the call of poetry and found the words have come from my dear blogger friend, Mary Jo Malo, from her blog, “This Shining Wound, Original Poetry by Mary Jo Malo.”

Mary Jo has graciously allowed me to recite her poem, “Sleight.” As I read her words, I feel that I am there in the woods with her, walking by the edge of the lake.  It is a marvelous song of winter and spring negotiating the terms of transition.  Her last lines conjure up profound memories of seasons that have come before.

I invite you to read along with me as we walk with Mary Jo Malo

 

Sleight by Mary Jo Malo, Poet from Rebecca Budd aka Clanmother on Vimeo.

Sleight by Mary Jo Malo (pronounced Maylo)

Spring can be so
winter encumbered
I learn to walk again
layered in a long-sleeved tee
and hoodie sweatshirt
and bulky jacket
and thermals
and jeans
But the sun is hot
and will no doubt
spot and freckle
my hands and face
The old woman
I never saw myself
becoming

Far into the woods
tracing my familiar path
around the little lake
worried frogs launch
from their spawning shore
stir up muck and lurk undercover
Minnows dart beneath
woolly floating leaves
survivors of last Autumn
then frenzy back
into clear warm water
when I pass
They pull up short
out in the deep cold
murky center of the pond
where bigger fish await
to feed off their mistaken
direction

A giant carp slowly
trolls the shallow water
surrounding the island
roiling up mud and
purling water along its shiny back
Game fish lie in wait
and jump
to snap up bugs
I rarely see them hit
but hear the splash and
watch concentric circles
left behind
calmly disappear

I nearly submerge a memory
one you often asked me to remember
that pale yellow sundress
with little blue roses
and twenty tiny buttons down the front
You plucked a wild violet
from behind my ear
as if you could
keep me fooled

Moving On

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There is a time to move on. That is what my grandmother told me many years ago. It is how we move on that makes life interesting, productive, meaningful.

We cannot change time, or the season. What we can do is embrace the present, to honour the moments that are given and affirm the poignancy of our inability to hold time in abeyance.

Cities are no different. They are ever-changing, a reflection of our evolving societies. As the Scottish scientist, Patrick Geddes, noted, “But a city is more than a place in space, it is a drama in time.” And time moves on, with new dramas appearing and receding into archival memory.

La Taqueria restaurant, situated on Cambie and Broadway, close to City Hall is on the move. The building is scheduled for demolition, making way for a new construction that promises more space and amenities. For patrons of La Taqueria, the move is only a block away. Within the messages of gratitude written on the walls, there is a recognition of moving on, for acknowledging that what was once, is no more. There is also a sense of excitement, anticipation, a commitment to accept what comes next.

“To every thing here is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

Stopping Time

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“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”  Anaïs Nin

I have often thought of this quote by Anaïs Nin – not in the context of a writer, but in the framework of a photo. Ever since Joseph Nicephore Niepce clicked the first photo in 1814, humanity has been beguiled by the ability to capture something important.  It is our only way to stop time, to remember our journeys, and proclaim that we have lived, felt love, endured challenges and sustained losses.

I confess that I am a “photo hoarder.”  Yes, even the photos that I consider “second best” remain safely stored on external drives in hopes that some day there may be an editing program that will be invented that will enhance and bring out their beauty. By beauty, I mean the emotional impression of that event.

Just last week, I went back to “taste life twice.”  The year was 2004.  I had purchased my first digital camera, a Canon Powershot A70, for a long-awaited trip to Italy to enroll in a 3-week Italian language course.  The reviews were as generous as I was enthusiastic: “The PowerShot A70 is much more than just a 3.2-megapixel version of its predecessor, the A40.”   I was convinced that this was an excellent purchase.

With a camera in hand, there is added emotional drama at play, more clarity, more interest in the “now.”  This awareness was most keenly felt when I walked the lush paths of Frederick Stibbert’s Garden.  It was a late October afternoon. A gentle light settled on the trees and aging walls, a faint wind tossed the leaves.  A quiet solitude lifted my spirits.  I had recently finished an arduous academic journey and was at a crossroads.

Looking back on these photos, I remember a pivotal decision, made with a recognition that we move in tune with the music of time, surrounded by those who came before and those who will come after. Our myths, our struggles, our joys are intermingled.  Perhaps it is in the retrospective, in knowing what happened afterwards, that reveals a greater understanding.  And with that knowledge, we move forward with profound resolve to embrace the next moment.

 

 

Embracing Transitions

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…and the time came when the risk it took to remain in a tightly closed bud became infinitely more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

Anaïs Nin (1903 – 1977)

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