I wrote this poem during a Wild Writing session after attending The Chaplaincy Institute spring retreat. AND, as serendipity would have it while enjoying a coffee at Peets in Berkeley, the day after the retreat, I met Wild Writing teacher/coach, Laurie Wagner in person. It was such a sweet encounter and deepened my connection to the writing and community. I highly recommend Wild Writing as a spiritual practice. It is bringing me much joy, even when I get stuck and frustrated! Deep gratitude to Laurie for her masterful holding of our hearts.
All These Pieces
Yesterday I walked on the beach, to and fro,
only able to go a short distance each way
because the full moon tide hemmed this stretch
in between two massive rock piles.
A mamma and baby seal played in the surf.
Sandpipers skittered along the pearl-like necklace
of sea foam left by the lapping waves.
The beach lightly littered with small chunks of driftwood,
seaweed, a shell or sea glass every so often.
The winter storms took their toll, battered condos first floors now vacant.
Water pools where cars once parked.
Even landscapes are impermanent.
I walk around the retreat center, visiting my friends,
the palm tree with dead grey fronds still hanging,
clacking against each other in the stiff breeze like a wooden wind chime.
One piece of driftwood set in a garden scape,
surrounded by smooth round black stones to create an art piece.
Looks kind of like a whale jawbone.
Another piece of driftwood collects fallen leaves, acorn tops,
bits of bark and dried grasses. Wabi-sabi detritus.
Shockingly brilliant pink and purple flowers
dot the green hedges along the driveway.
Their colors so intense it’s hard to believe they’re real!
Isn’t nature’s beauty a mystery?
The cypress, a grand sentinel on the property
overlooking the ocean as it teeters on the cliff edge,
now a year older than when I last visited.
How old are you, my friend?
How long have you stood guard here?
How many storms have you weathered?
Your top is gone yet your trunk remains sturdy
and you still offer shade to those who would sit under you.
Around the bend tucked into another hidden garden gem
ceramic stepping stones, each one colorful and distinct.
I imagine them a project from an art class the sisters one held here.
Marbles, sea glass, broken plates and trivets,
a mozaic of bits and pieces, an homage to someone’s life story
One says, “If I could sit across the porch from God, I’d thank him.”
Broken dish, Broken hearts. Broken world.
A seagull squawks.
I’d still thank him.
To go with the above poem. (click on any to see in gallery view)
My gallery just reached 4 Million Views on Pexels!!
Check out the link, as I’m adding new photos weekly.
Easter Tulips below was featured on the Pexels Home page in May.
May was a big month. The Chaplaincy Institute retreat happened in Santa Cruz the first week of the month, where I was able to spend a little time with many of the students that I am academic advisor for, and also very happily shared a Beauty as Medicine workshop with the cohort of folks preparing for their ordination.
ChI Ordination happened May 6. I was honored to be asked to give a charge to one new clergy and to anoint and bless two of the six. If you’re curious about what a Chaplaincy Institute ordination looks like, you can watch the YouTube video HERE.
Then on May 16, I gave a presentation about creativity in ministry for the monthly ChI Talks which you can watch here. If you watch, you’ll be treated to a guided visual meditation with one of my photographs and hear what each person received during the meditation.
I think it’s time for me to put together a Beauty as Medicine group. If you’ve read this far and have interest in participating in a visual meditation spiritual practice shoot me an email or a text and let me know. All you need is a smart phone, a curious mind, and an open heart.
Peace and blessings,
Spiritual Companion/Guide, Healer,
Interfaith Chaplain, Contemplative Photographer
“The earth is full of thresholds where beauty awaits the wonder of our gaze.” John O’Donohue