• Reflections

    Icicles On Gratitude

    The robins had returned when I arrived at work today. There they were, two of them, staring back at me from beneath the denuded burning bush, bright-hued in the pool of halogen light I threw on them when I pulled into my parking space. I tossed three crackers to them, and the big one closest to me never moved. He just stared at me with that semi-angry look they have. Have you ever looked closely at a robin’s face? They look perpetually annoyed, as if all their cellphone calls are telemarketers. So I threw them the crackers and left them to the frigid, black morning. I used to make merciless…

  • Reflections

    Dimming And Shining

    I took two walks today instead of my customary one. The mist and the fog held onto the hills, and I was restless inside the house, looking out at the swirling gray and white. In the morning hours, I ranged across the pastures, picking my way through the brown remants of devil’s trumpets and thistle, prodding cow patties with my homemade staff, listening to the crows in the treeline and thinking of Huginn and Muninn, aware of my slouch hat and staff, and wondering if I closed one eye whether I might feel wiser by day’s end. And then I came to the crest of a ridge. Instinct told me…

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  • Reflections

    Consideration Of The Unpopular

    So often, when doing mundane things like strolling across a parking lot or drinking a cup of coffee or sitting and watching birds with my dog, I am reminded that this might be the very last time I do this particular thing. The older I get, the closer the final things come. This doesn’t fill me with sadness; it grants me a certain quiet happiness because when I am in this state of awareness — which I consider a form of living gratitude — I can enjoy things fully. But I’ve learned that, with rare exceptions, I cannot express this sense of gratitude and fleeting experience to others. I can’t…

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  • Poems

    Rash Youth

    Don’t be in such a hurry, little one, I said as I bent and patted her head, Yellow tresses beneath an emerald cap. She was standing in the grassy median In the parking lot and as I looked Down at her, I realized her Impatience was going to cost her her very life — Killing frost is forecast for tonight.   ~ S.K. Orr

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  • Reflections

    The Shadow Of Isolation

    The robins were gone this morning when I arrived at work. Last night’s banshee wind must have driven them to a shelter, chilling them with reminders that the land is still in winter’s grip. In a recent conversation, someone mentioned to me that he never sees people wearing scarves anymore. When I replied that I wear them all the time, especially on walks, he frowned and said, “But they’re not in style.” I went away thinking about what an odd age this is. People do things not because they are sensible or helpful or health-preserving, but because they are in style. This is the sort of remark that reminds me…

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  • Reflections

    Beneath The Sheltering Limbs

    As I drove to work this morning in the dark, the mellow dark, the unseasonably warm dark, my mind scurried from thoughts of my daily life to thoughts of what I believe and once believed and perhaps will one day believe. When I pulled into my parking space, the headlights showed two robins beneath a bare burning bush shrub. They were hopping about in their way, pecking at the faded mulch beneath the burning bush. They looked directly at me. They did not fly when I exited the vehicle, but I was careful to give them a wide berth on my way into the building. As is my custom, I…

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  • Reflections

    Rise With Wet Wings

    I drove to work this morning in a black tunnel of rain. The trick for me is to resist being lulled into a drowse-state by the streaks of light on the wet pavement and the hiss-hum of the tires and the marching cadence of the windshield wipers. When I arrived at work, I had the place to myself for a short bit, and I made a silent prediction. As soon as my first coworker arrived, the prediction came true. The first words out of her mouth were, “What a dreary, miserable day.” Just now I went to get a cup of coffee and stood at the back door, watching the…

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  • Reflections

    Anno Domini

    The past two days have been unusually mild. Usually, New Years Eve and Day are cold and often blustery, but this year, we had the screen doors open, along with the windows, and the fresh air felt cleansing. I walked in the woods and the fields, enjoying the clouds scuttling above me and my un-numbed cheeks and fingers. I paused to retie my boot at a rotted, moss-covered stump, and a solitary honeybee wafted over and explored a vine near my foot. She was sluggish and cautious, but she seemed to know what she was doing. I watched her until she flew away, and after she was gone, I sat…

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  • Poems

    Carry My Ambition

    I cannot carry my ambition from One room to the next. No sooner do I Lift it to present it, it overflows And ruins the tray it sits upon. So I Am constrained to limit what I plan To teaspoons, which, if I hold my breath While gripping them in my palsied fist, Are adequate to take what I conceive From my battered kettle to the wind. ~ S.K. Orr

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  • Reflections

    Meditating In The Fields On Christmas Morn

    I arose this morning when my dog came to me and wished me Merry Christmas in her way. We went outside, and I walked in the fields as I do on so many mornings. My neighbor’s cows have been moved to other pastures, so my walk was more solitary than usual. The silence was profound and impenetrable. It seemed that the air was holy. I called a soft “Merry Christmas” to a crow who flew past me, the frozen fields ringing with his rasping voice. Frost adorned every blade of grass and every rock surface. The piper at the gates of dawn had a sublime view while tuning up this…

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