Tonight is Christmas eve.
It has been raining all day.
It has been raining all week.
It has been raining all month.
I cannot remember when it did not rain.
What I know about rain.
Rain is not like snow.
It soaks into the ground
if the ground will drink it.
It swells up the rivers.
It is very, very wet.
When it rains, it is green.
It is not white.
It makes the sidewalk glisten.
It makes the snails and toads happy.
You can swim in tropical rain.
Christmas eve in the tropics,
does not feel like home.
It feels like home and the tropics
put together in a sort of new
kind of desert, sweet and spicy.
Even without the cold,
I still feel warm and cozy inside.
I am programed to wind down,
to snuggle up with my family,
to anticipate something,
though I do not receive many gifts.
Christmas is not celebrated in
my house to honor Jesus,
though in the back of my head
I am singing “Happy Birthday,”
because Mother always made
a angel food birthday cake for
baby Jesus. It is just what she did.
I hear all the complaints about Christmas.
And I hear all the complaints about
“Happy Holidays.” I am here to tell you
none of it matters in the end.
The only thing that matters is that
we try to be kind to one another.
That is my wish for this year.
I wish for all of us that we simply
see the beauty in one another.
I wish for all of us that we are able
to open our hearts instead of hide
behind the popular outrage of the day.
May we all learn to speak kindly
and to demand this of our celebrities.
May we also find it in our hearts
to lay down our opinions, our
attachments, our anger, our fear,
and just trust that the world
will be an okay place if we take that
first scary step on the path toward
focusing on how we can help
instead of how we can protect ourselves.
May we all remember how Jesus lived
his life. May we never limit his life to
one miraculous event, but we trust
that he embodied something larger
than we can even know if we do not
open our hearts wide, wide, wide,
just as he did.
I heard a Gospel song today
talking about how “I am bad,
but You are good,” talking about
Jesus. I wish for all of us to turn
this wisdom toward ourselves,
to see the Jesus inside all of us,
for just as he was man, we, too,
embody full potential for grace,
wisdom and unconditional love.
I give thanks for having the truth
continually revealed to me,
even though it hurts a lot sometimes.
I am thankful for the teaching of the rain.
It is teaching me patience. It is putting me
in my place. It is reminding me that life
is messy and beautiful. It is reminding
me that I often live in fear of anything
that is less than perfect and that I also
do not like to be inconvenienced.
I love the rain. I love the sun.
I love myself when I am blue in the rain.
I love myself when I am shiny in the sun.
I love you when you make me smile in the rain.
I love you when you dance in the ocean
while the rain is falling and the bugs are biting.
I love my kids like they were my own flesh and blood.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Cheerful Solstice.
See most of you in 2014!
Is it the winter solstice on this side of the world?
I am ever so confused.
It is the longest day here so it must be the summer solstice.
But there, it is dark and magical.
Here is rain still. So much rain.
Rain and termites and baby toads
and a lone orca out there in the Indian.
The Christmas tree sits in the room,
lighting up the night while the frogs
croak to their wives about the same ‘ol thing.
There are a few gifts, there is joy, there is music.
This is enough for us.
We are Buddhists enjoying our tree.
Finally I have settled into this tradition.
It is cultural and ingrained in us.
We love Christmas for all that it means.
Friendship, family, light in the darkness,
a time of coming together, of forgiveness.
My children will not get many presents this year.
What is revealed is that they love the ritual
more than anything, they also love the touch stone.
We all need touch stones especially when we are
thrown out of our culture by distance.
We take a moment to put up the tree…
Well this year, I dragged the already
decorated tree home from a friend’s house
who went to the States of the holiday.
We take a moment to listen and learn
Christmas music, we wrap a few gifts,
we think about Christmases past,
we love each other a little deeper.
For me, I listen to the rhythm of the Earth
as she speaks her time song,
how the sun and moon let us know
who is really in charge here.
We miss our friends and our families.
But I do not miss the craziness of this
time of year in the States. It is so
peaceful and quiet here. So relaxed.
So very, very relaxed, and did I mention,
Tonight the clouds parted and revealed
a sky of brilliant twinkling stars,
some we cannot see in our hemisphere.
It is a lovely to stop on a hilltop and
look up into the blackness at the
heavens above and think about our
pale blue dot traveling through space.
Home doesn’t feel so far away
after gazing into space.
What if we lived on Mars?
Where am I from?
I do not know.
But the mountains
call me by name.
They pull me to
their rocky shore,
the steep cliffs,
the bare expanses.
The tundra makes
me feel tall and
careful where I step.
I love the ptarmigan.
Picas peep at me
sometimes when I rise
at sunrise after
a restless night on rock.
Marmots have mimicked
my serious demeanor;
they remind me to
keep it light and to bark.
The beach holds treasures;
I have pocketed many.
The mountains hold
my heart pounding loudly.
They are my lover,
my brother, my mother.
They are the guru
that I never seem to meet.
Home is not about there,
but my family I cannot deny,
for it is made up of ice,
granite and peaks so grand.
I will give up the land of plenty,
for gold speckled hills again.
The mountains keep me on
my toes; refresh my spirit too.
Ahh, to taste the mountain air.
To feel the crispness wrap
around my shoulders again.
To fragrant myself with pines.
My family is the earth,
I come from the tribe
of vistas and ruggedness
for as long as I can breathe.
I was born there, high on
a peak surrounded by others,
looking down on me with
steadfastness and strength.
In the night they call out my name,
in the most gentle way,
for they do not miss me,
they just want to know I have a home.
A bird flew into the window,
knocked himself out cold.
I warmed him in my hand a little,
his silkiness I did behold.
Then he came back to life,
and flew into the air.
I don’t know if he learned his lesson,
but he sure don’t seem to care.
His beauty shimmered past my head
as he took to majestic flight.
His purpose in life is to fly
and sing and eat and alight.
No, he sure don’t seem to care,
about his deathly mistake.
I hear him singing now
about how the sun is awake.
so here i am sitting, late at night,
when sleeps eludes me because i
went to sleep too early with the children.
so here i am sitting in a quiet night
after so much rain, too late to go for a walk,
too late to enjoy the sun, the surf, the day.
i remember now, how the rainy season
is not as magical as i once thought.
how it comes and floods the mind with
the impure thoughts of depression,
apathy and lethargy. i cannot withstand
the darkness for many more days.
i remember this feeling, like scabies,
an over all itch that i should not scratch,
that longing to go home. indeed i have
taken to fantasizing about my bed there,
and a nice hot shower that doesn’t sting.
i have started to live my life there. you
may say that it does not sound like i am
living in the moment, but it is all part of
this moment, the planning, the existing,
the longing, the watching of the rain
as it soaks into the thirsty ground making
everything green once more.
i no longer miss my friends. it has been
just that long now. there is very little
that i truly long for, except respite from
a long, long vacation. i know what awaits
me is full of timelines and movement,
perhaps snow storms and flooding too,
but there is no place like home, and i am
currently tapping my ruby slippers together.
someday i will wake up in my humble bed,
smelling the smells of denver and reveling
in the familiar.
living here can feel like living at the end
of the earth, it is just that far away.
island fever starts to settle in, i must
check my fear that i cannot find a way
off this island, like some stranded cast
away. every time the seaplane gets
canceled due to rain, the fear is fed.
i have a vision of ourselves from up
above, four people stuck like fly paper,
to the edge of this piece of land, water
all around, no boat, no plane, no way out.
for us who reside in the middle, it is a
foreign place to find oneself on the edge of
land, fenced in behind by the thick jungle.
to step foot in that jungle is to sign up
for getting lost and consumed by the earth
itself. i like to be where i can see the horizon
over the earth itself, no over an ocean where
i would surely drown if i were to ‘go that way.’
i love the ocean and the jungle and the land
and her people. i have breathed in the scene
and it lives inside me now. i have been finger
tips length away from the soft hair of the
orangutan, been privy to the arguments of
proboscis monkeys, charged by a macaque.
i have peeked beneath the surface of the ocean,
have hiked in the wet forests. i stood facing
my fears once more, have grown a little, i suppose.
i feel ready now to reenter my own land with
fresh eyes and a heart full of gratitude.
i am ready to land myself once again in a place
that i can hang my hat, stay for awhile, eat
good food with good friends in a good house
in a good place where i have built a life for myself
but it has been good to step out of the illusion
for awhile and step into the illusion of another
possibility and put on my binocular eyes to observe
what it’s like for others and myself living a life
in place such as this.