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  • Elaine Fletcher Chapman

Shabbat

Peaceful Sabbath. Beginning with Merton: “Confusion and fog pile up in your life, and then by the power of the Cross things once again become clear, and you know more of your wretchedness and you are grateful for another miracle.” Begin with a Zen Tarot Card: New Vision. Begin by lighting the Rose Wood Incense brought back from  Zen Mountain Monastery at Woodstock, NY. Begin with brewed tea, cup from Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, moon and tree. Begin with a log recording time. Begin on a new page in the journal: date, time, location, weather. Forty years in the desert. I’ve forgotten the exact number of years spent moving and moving and moving, traveling from place to place. situation to situation. Stability found in the written word, only. The dictionary, my shifting book companions. Today Merton and on my desk, the Faber and Faber edition of Heaney’s North. The book marked on page 25, “Bog Queen.” I lay waiting / between turf-face and demesne wall, / between heathery levels / and glass-toothed stone. / My body was braille / for the creeping influences… and I rose from the dark, hacked bone skull-ware, /frayed stitches, tufts, / small gleams on the bank. And this morning in the near dawn, walking in light rain to the creek bed where the marsh grasses remain brown, the greening not yet begun. And imagined myself floating, drifting with the tide until the smell of salt enters my body. Purification, yet another miracle. Mud under my nails. Strange that my vision clears in the mist and not from the clear day yesterday. Rain dampens the sound of all distractions. Most of my life I followed the distractions of necessity. Today I denounce those distractions. No longer necessary. I have come to rest even while moving. My roots, not external to my body. Beginning in Lenten contemplation, discernment, reflection, even prayer. Years ago someone planted the daffodil bulbs in a circle. This morning the blooms, an orb of variations on yellow on the side yard. The ground warm enough after a hard winter freeze just days ago. We learn seasons. And the eagles I saw sitting in the field, I cannot find. No doubt they are perched high in the farmer’s tree. Two by two. Nesting. The incense burning down. A bow of ashes. I bow to morning words: conjure, truth, shifts.  I begin, again.

#BogQueen #BeginningAgain #MichiganWomynsMusicFestival #SeamusHeaney #ThomasMerton

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