One month later

04.11.21

It was one month ago today that we went to the hospital and learned that I was having a stroke. It feels like a lifetime ago. The last of the three girls left this morning, and we are alone to manage things ourselves. When Sarah arrived, just as I came home from the hospital, there were sunny and cheerful afternoons and we sat together on the bench by the water, and I was so grateful to be home, so optimistic about the summer days just around the corner. Even Easter was a pleasant day. But, yesterday, Joy and I cut short our walk when the grapple snow and hail pelted us in the face in a fierce and mean wind. The NOAA weather forecast this morning talked about how the temperatures will be 15-20 degrees below normal at the start of the week, with persistent winds.

There is no surprise in this fickle spring weather, and it matches up quite appropriately with my grind of therapy appointments and irritation at the pace of healing and recovery. And, after the pandemic, this slow “return to normal” fits right in with the tedious, frustrating time we are all in, still battered by a ‘cold wind’. Even with vaccines, we are warned about emerging out of our dark winter, to restrict non-essential travel, and not to gather indoors without masks. In our captive homes, which we are anxious to escape from, collective grief hides in the corners. Wasn’t it in The Waste Land where T.S. Eliot wrote, “April is the cruellest month.”

And, yet, late this afternoon, Don and I went for a walk, ahead of the squalls we could see coming across the lake, and I came upon my first daffodil of the season. It was such a small thing, but it felt like a ”profound change” and just what I needed on this day, one month later.

Spring and All, by William Carlos Williams

By the road to the contagious hospital
under the surge of the blue
mottled clouds driven from the

northeast—a cold wind. Beyond, the
waste of broad, muddy fields
brown with dried weeds, standing and fallen

patches of standing water
the scattering of tall trees

All along the road the reddish
purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy
stuff of bushes and small trees
with dead, brown leaves under them
leafless vines—

Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
dazed spring approaches—

They enter the new world naked,
cold, uncertain of all
save that they enter. All about them
the cold, familiar wind—

Now the grass, tomorrow
the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf

One by one objects are defined—
It quickens: clarity, outline of leaf

But now the stark dignity of
entrance—Still, the profound change
has come upon them: rooted they
grip down and begin to awaken

Here Comes April

03.31.21

I have been home from the hospital a week now, and we’ve settled into a kind of rhythm. It’s taken all three of us–me, Don and Sarah–to master the medication regimen. After an initial miscalculation of one of the drugs in the first days, and the scary rise in blood pressure, all three of us get involved in my twice daily ingestion of pills, some cut in half, and spread out on the green cutting board, as we double check the bottles for directions and the sheet of paper given to us by the doctor. I choose a delicious flavor of pudding to get them down my still dysfunctional throat. I may be the only person to have gained weight on a pureed diet. Between the milkshakes and Cream of Wheat with a big dollop of butter and heap of sugar in the middle, I am getting plenty of calories.

Now that I’m home, and starting to put the pieces together of what has happened to me since March 11th, I sometimes worry about this new journey I am on and what will become of me, as I lie awake in the bewitching hours of the night. Other than two times in which I dreamed I was falling, there have been no dreams in my nighttime head, and I am so used to wonderful adventures up there. But, the bedroom has been filled with luminous moonlight this past week, and when I close my eyes, instead of stories in my brain, there’s a slow-moving video of beautiful scenes which flow by in a clockwise direction. Last night, there was a winter forest with meadows glittering in the moonshine. Sometimes I’ve opened my eyes in the morning and thought for a moment that maybe this was all a bad dream. Even so, I can tell throughout the day that I am incrementally improving.

It’s been a thoroughly predictable end to the month of March with sunshine and snowflakes, calm water and raging winds. Part of our rhythm in this week has been late afternoons in the living room with streaming sunshine through the glass doors. I’m usually lying on the sofa, and Sarah sits in the big chair facing the water, with Chatpeau lying at her feet on the ottoman. We talk about how we can maybe put the kitty in her backpack when she flies home to California on Friday. As bedtime approaches during the lovely l’heure bleue , and the three of us sit together by the waning fire, the conversation is a soothing hum as my eyes begin to close.

Tomorrow we move into April. I used to grumble about April as a frustrating transition month between winter and summertime, full of wind and showers and too much cold. April requires patience and faith, reminding us that that there is, indeed, a ‘necessary and cyclical giving away,’ and belief that we will arrive in an unfolding new life.

“We are constantly astonished to find, that fully one half of any life and any conversation is mediated through disappearance and loss, which means that most human beings, not quite believing that this could be true, are at war with reality at least half of our time on this earth. Making peace with this necessary and cyclical giving away in our moveable, transient, hardly touchable world, is not only to make peace with our very selves, but to further our journey along the pilgrim journey of generosity, of giving the gift which to begin with, is hidden even from ourselves. Our vitality is linked to our vulnerability, to our willingness to be undone as much as to do, to let go as much as to take on, to allow ourselves to be found as much as to seek, to find our arrivals in having made great departures, even against our seemingly conscious will.” David Whyte

Spring Equinox 2021

03.20.21

“You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep spring from coming.” –Pablo Neruda

I write this from my hospital bed in Kalispell. Having suffered a stroke, I am into the second week here, with hopes I’ll be discharged to outpatient care this upcoming Friday. Rita has kept me in flowers as I make my way through the days. On the fifth day, I wrote in my journal that her daffodils showed off their golden ruffles, and Don told me that he heard a robin’s song down at the lake. He keeps me company by day, and at night, when I pull up the white cotton blankets from the foot of my skinny hospital bed, it feels like I’m covering myself with the love, prayers and best wishes of so many people who love and care about me, and about Don. It truly comforts me to snuggle in under all that warmth as I drift off at the end of a long day, hoping for a good tomorrow.

And, here it is, spring, once again. Just like it was promised to us. It always holds the promise of new beginnings and new growth, a time of transformation. I would like to be like the bear, sharpening my claws against the silence of the trees, knowing always how to love this world.

Spring, by Mary Oliver

Somewhere
a black bear
has just risen from sleep
and is staring 

down the mountain.
All night
in the brisk and shallow restlessness
of early spring

I think of her,
her four black fists
flicking the gravel,
her tongue

like a red fire
touching the grass,
the cold water.
There is only one question:

how to love this world.
I think of her
rising
like a black and leafy ledge

to sharpen her claws against
the silence
of the trees.
Whatever else

my life is
with its poems
and its music
and its glass cities,

it is also this dazzling darkness
coming
down the mountain,
breathing and tasting;

all day I think of her~
her white teeth,
her wordlessness,
her perfect love
.

In like a lamb…

03.07.21

 The Tibetan term bardo, or “intermediate state,” is not just a reference to the afterlife. It also refers more generally to these moments when gaps appear, interrupting the continuity that we otherwise project onto our lives. In American culture, we sometimes refer to this as having the rug pulled out from under us, or feeling ungrounded. These interruptions in our normal sense of certainty are what is being referred to by the term bardo. But to be precise, bardo refers to that state in which we have lost our old reality and it is no longer available to us. Lion’s Roar–Buddhist Wisdom for our Time.

March came in like a lamb last week. Every morning was peaceful and serene, and several of my cocktail hours were down by the water. Granted, I was wearing a parka and hat, and had to walk over frozen ground and patches of snow to get there, but the sun is now high enough off the horizon to give all the heat required to sit there for that hour. It’s been so quiet. Even the pair of Canada Geese has paddled by the shoreline in silence. There are two pairs of geese now sitting on the white ice of Johnson’s Pond, waiting to make their nests. Soon, we’ll hear the loons’ calls out on the water. And, this morning, there were two robins on my walk.

The weather forecasters claim there will be a cool down to more normal temperatures in the week ahead, but spring is creeping in, step by baby step. Much like life in the time of Covid, we’re in a holding pattern, as we peek out the door to see if its safe. “We have lost our old reality and it is no longer available to us”, in this time of bardo. We’re not sure what we can yet do, and in this uncertain future, people make different decisions on the right course of action. I have friends who left town, so they don’t have to answer the phone calls from people asking, “how did you jump the vaccine line?” The local bars and restaurants are now packed with cars on Friday nights. With our state mask mandate rescinded, even the UPS store took down their masks required sign, and I could see through the glass that employees were maskless. At the local post office, where they observe the federal mask mandate, the clerk thanked me for coming in to mail my packages, and thanked me for keeping her employed.

I have low expectations for the month of March. There is never any certainty about what the weather might be like from day to day, and it’s always a good idea to just be patient, ride it out, and look forward to April showers and daffodils. I’m back to reading Kenneth Grahame’s book, The Wind in the Willows. There is something so comforting in reading about the passing of seasons, the flow of the river in spring, and the dangers of winter in the Wild Wood, and how Rat and Mole show such kindness to all their fellow creatures. They are characters who know how to find home, whatever travails they encounter in their adventures. As Mole tells Badger:

“Once well underground, you know exactly where you are. Nothing can happen to you, and nothing can get at you. You’re entirely your own master, and you don’t have to consult anybody or mind what they say. Things go on all the same overhead, and you let ’em, and don’t bother about ’em. When you want to, up you go, and there the things are, waiting for you.”

It’s Almost March

02.28.21

“Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing.” 
― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

March begins tomorrow. Month by month, we’ve gone through a full year with Covid-19. When I look back at my photos from over this past year, I’m overcome with sadness about how hard it’s been, how this collective grief has been so exhausting. Although thousands are getting vaccinated each day, and Covid numbers overall appear to be rapidly improving, I swear I’ve shed as many tears this past week as I did back in the beginning. In just five weeks, Don and I will have had both shots, and I guess we’ll be safe to move out of isolation, without fearing Covid will kill us. We start talking about what we might do, but I just freeze in my tracks. Somebody wrote the other day that emerging out of this is likely to feel like when you’ve come out of a movie theatre mid-day, and are totally blinded by the harsh sunlight. It’s going to take some time.

The weather this last week of February has been very March-like, though on this morning’s walk, there was an especially hard and bitter wind, with snow swirling across the road. Each day, snow showers and sun showers have alternated with one another and the high temperature hovered around 35 degrees. A large flock of coots are hanging out on the water, close to the shoreline. As the waves roll in, they move up and down with the swells, and bunch tightly together when an eagle is in the neighborhood. They remind me of the videos I’ve watched of those amazing starling murmurations. In perfect harmony, the compacted flock rapidly moves across the water, to the right, to the left, back to the right, as the Bald Eagle swoops low over them, his talons nearly skimming the water. I’m often at the window, hoping that none of the dark birds at the edges gets scooped up into the sky. Don reminds me that eagles have to eat, too, but when there are four at once, swooping through our trees to hover over the water, their broad wings flat like a board, flanking the flock on all sides, I go out on the porch and make my presence known.

Snow still covers the ground, but we’ve heard the male blackbirds in the past few days, and the robins can’t be far behind. The sky often has big patches of that unique cerulean blue of springtime, and enormous towering white clouds, with intermittent squalls of snow which sweep across the lake. Watching out the window in bright sunlight yesterday afternoon, big snow flakes swirled around, and it looked like summer’s shedding of the cottonwood trees. Our weather forecast is calling for warming temperatures in the upcoming week, with 50 degrees come Friday. That’s hard to believe, but, I would guess the block of ice covering our road will melt. The spring, flowing down from the mountains east of us, is already revealing dirt at the edges. Bit by tiny bit, a new season is moving in, and this hard winter will soon be behind us. I’m looking forward to dusting myself off, taking a breath of new clear air, and moving on to the brighter days which are waiting for us.

Everything is Waiting for you, by David Whyte

Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice. You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the
conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.

Perseverance

02.20.21

‘”Go back?” he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!” So up he got and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter.’ – Chapter V: Riddles In The Dark. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

This week has plodded along, as slow-moving as trudging through deep snow. Everyday, I’ve shoveled our stone steps as snow bands leave behind an inch or a foot. Then the sun comes out for awhile, then the snow again. Our road has been plowed twice, and the UPS driver sends me texts that he’s can’t navigate its icy descent, so he’s left the latest book I’ve ordered in a neighbor’s carport up at the highway. I think I only took the car out one time to pick-up an order of groceries in town. I’ve grown weary of spending time online in search of a left-over Covid vaccine for Don; he’ll just have to wait his turn in a long cue for the next tier to become available. Our septic pump alarm went off early in the week, sending fears of a back-up like we had last Fall. It’s been easier to revert to frontier cabin living this time around, as I watch what the poor people in Texas have been living through. There’s been a Covid death in the family of one of my friends this week, and the birth of a baby girl in another friend’s family. Life moves on.

“I’m safe on Mars. Perseverance will get you anywhere.” #CountdownToMars.

Whilst we’ve had our dramas and traumas down here on Earth, a few days ago, the NASA rover, Perseverance, traveled 293 million miles over 203 days to land exactly where she was supposed to, and then sent out a tweet with photos of her “forever home”. She’s brought along a helicopter, Ingenuity, in the search for rocks to help us understand the origins of our beautiful blue and troubled planet. In Native News Online, I read an interview with the mechanical engineer, Aaron Yazzie, a Native American (Navajo, Dine’ tribe), who is a member on the NASA team, and thought how in the current times we live in, his perspective is vital.

“…For Yazzie, that has meant pursuing origin stories ingrained in him from childhood. Navajo children are told stories of how land forms and how constellations in the sky came to be in order to better understand their identity and their connection to the land, he said.

In another week or so, we will leave February behind, as we trot forward into the month of March–with our little swords.

‘You don’t really suppose, do you, that all your adventures and escapes were managed by mere luck, just for your sole benefit? You are a very fine person, Mr Baggins, and I am very fond of you; but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!’ – Gandalf, Chapter XIX: The Last Stage

Brrrr…

02.14.21

Cold Morning, by Eamon Brennan

Through an accidental crack in the curtain 
I can see the eight o’clock light change from 
charcoal to a faint gassy blue, inventing things 

in the morning that has a thick skin of ice on it 
as the water tank has, so nothing flows, all is bone, 
telling its tale of how hard the night had to be 

for any heart caught out in it, just flesh and blood 
no match for the mindless chill that’s settled in, 
a great stone bird, its wings stretched stiff 

from the tip of Letter Hill to the cobbled bay, its gaze 
glacial, its hook-and-scrabble claws fast clamped 
on every window, its petrifying breath a cage

In which all the warmth we were is shivering. 

It’s been brutal this past week. Lake fog shrouds the house all morning long. Chunks of ice clack against each other at water’s edge, and an occasional ice floe drifts by from the river channel, as hungry Bald Eagles fly in and out of the fog. As with most things in life, you have to keep telling yourself, “At least it’s not as bad as, say, White Sulpher Springs, MT at -44 degrees, or -33 degrees in Great Falls, or our poor Billings family. Our sanity has been salvaged on most of these extreme days by the blazing sunshine late in the afternoon, and by gorgeous sharp and crisp sunsets as the mercury plummets in the descending night. Any evening now, the new fingernail moon will greet us in the west, just as the sun leaves the sky.

On one cold and still afternoon, I walked out to the river which was mostly covered in ice, and watched swans and a crowd of geese loudly chatter as they bobbed together in blue slivers of open water. I imagined them sharing gossip about how March is just around the corner, and, don’t you feel the new warmth of the sun. In our house, there is a dramatic change in the light, from Winter’s darkest of days. By my final cup of coffee, the garage up the hill is outlined in early morning blue as I look out the pantry window. And, late afternoon sunshine beams into the living room, often with a blinding glare, that makes me move from chair to chair as I read the big fat book I bought to keep me going. Yesterday, I looked back again in my iPhotos library, to reassure myself that in every first weeks of March, there’s a shot of me sitting in bright sunshine on the porch off our bedroom, in a parka, but with sunglasses and sun hat, cold frosty beer in my hand at Happy Hour.

On Valentine’s Day morning, our forecasted high temperature is 14 degrees. A coincidence, perhaps, but I’m reading it as sign that better days–of all kinds– are not far off the horizon.

i

One year ago…

02.07.21

“The day and time itself: late afternoon in early February, was there a moment of the year better suited for despair?” 
― Alice McDermott

It was in February, one year ago, when we went to Finland to visit Joy and her family. We took an Icelandic flight out of Seattle. We had read what was happening in Wuhan, but reassured ourselves that we weren’t going to Asia. But, that morning, before we boarded the plane, we saw in the news that Seattle had just recorded its first death of someone with Covid-19. When we changed planes in Reykjavik, many fellow travelers were wearing masks. And, because thousands of Chinese tourists could not leave their country, for a popular February holiday at the North Pole, we were able to book a last-minute trip to Rovaniemi, and experienced a magical reindeer sleigh ride under the stars and the Northern Lights. By the end of the month when we flew back to Seattle, terror was everywhere, around the globe.

It’s been a long time now since we were all frantically searching for toilet paper and Lysol wipes. Who could have comprehended that a year later, there would be over 450,000 Americans dead from Covid; who would have believed that we would now be waiting in lines for a vaccine, developed in record time. Now, all the world is in a great hurry to get scarce and precious vaccines into arms, and outpace new and dangerous variants of the virus. To make our way out of this dreadful past year.

I was so hopeful a week ago, on the first day of February. It was a beautiful sunny warmish day with not a breath of cold wind. We put the Christmas tree out on the porch, and I celebrated the Celtic tradition of Imholc, or St. Brigit’s, with its rituals to welcome the new season on its way. Mainly, you’re supposed to dust out the cobwebs to clear space, so I dusted my living room. And, you’re supposed to embrace the warming air, so I sat on a rock by the water, delighted in the sunshine, and dreamed of spring and summer days ahead, in the company of friends and family, safe together. I hope.

Yesterday morning, it started snowing, and the cold we’ve missed out on all winter, is finally on its way. The NOAA meteorologist started the forecast discussion with, “Sound the trumpets–arctic cold and snow on the way!”, and concluded with, “The cold will be brutal, especially considering the very mild winter the region has seen thus far this year.” Why couldn’t this storm have been last month, closer to the Winter Solstice. I wanted a blizzard last month, but not now, when I am so longing for the lightness of spring. In the middle of the night, I heard the creaking and popping sounds of our house, as the wood contracted in rapidly falling temperatures. Did I moan, or was that the sound of the trees, or the roar of waves on the lake. I am feeling stuck in this ‘Dark Winter’ we knew was coming, and I’m exhausted by stories of vaccine shortages, the science articles about virus mutations, the questions about efficacy and silent transmission. I am anxious to leave the fever in our cabins and look for the promises kept to us, each and every spring.

Judging by the February poetry I read yesterday, next to a warm and cozy fire in my living room, grumpiness is often this month’s trademark, even without the presence of Covid-19. Yet, I do have to admit that the big snowflakes, swirling this way and that out my kitchen window this morning, look quite pretty, so soft and delicate, and it feels like a good day to be tucked into one’s cabin.

Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly…

January drags on…

01.29.21

I looked back through my blogposts, and it appears I am often grumpy at the end of January. Even my horoscope today confirms these are difficult days for a Taurus:

TAURUS HOROSCOPE JANUARY 29, 2021. It could seem as if you are riding a roller-coaster of emotions that may make you feel moody today. Maybe because you are feeling both good and bad emotions, you might find it more difficult to cope with the fluctuations. Making yourself aware of the fact that your emotions are constantly changing could help you detach from your feelings and make it easier to see that your feelings do not have to define your mood.

This month is taking forever. From the fear and despair of January 6th, to the relief and joy on January 20th, to the present reality of a viciously divided Congress, to the disastrous Covid-19 vaccination rollout, is it any wonder my feelings are a roller-coaster. Dangerous Covid-19 variants are popping up everywhere, and the disparity of worldwide distribution of limited vaccines is heart-breaking. “Vaccine scavengers” are invited to line up for any precious unused doses, so they don’t go to waste.

Well, February is just around the corner, and that’s something to look forward to. My mother was born in February, and Valerie came into the world on Valentine’s Day, so it is a month of love. My moods are often attached to ‘what were the skies like this morning’, and there’s a little excitement on that front. Forecasters are hinting that we may have a repeat of late February two years ago, when an Arctic blast appeared out of nowhere, bringing snow and temperatures so cold that Flathead Lake froze over for the first time in twenty years. I was alone here, with Don off skiing in Norway, and I will never forget standing on the porch at dusk, and how it took my breath away to watch and listen as the ice clacked together in front of my eyes. But, with January coming to a close, I would be remiss not to give credit for the Wolf Moon, which shines all night long high in the sky, reflected by snow, then spilling onto my pillow. Likewise, I would not want to miss pointing out how soft and ethereal is the weakened sun, as it glows on snow, during my morning walks.

Quarantine, 1918
by Faith Shearin

There were towns
that knew about the flu before
it arrived; they had time to imagine the germs
on a stranger’s skirts, to see how death
could be sealed in an envelope,
how a fever could bloom in the evening,
and take a life overnight.
A few villages, deep in the mountains,
posted guards on their roads,
and no one was allowed to come or go,
not even a grandmother carrying a cake;
no mail was accepted and all the words
and packages families sent
to one another went unopened,
unanswered. Trains were told
not to stop, so they glowed for a moment
before swaying
towards some other place. The food
at the corner store never came
from out of town and no one went
to see a distant auntie
or state fair. For awhile, the outside world
existed in imagination, in memory,
in books or suitcases, deep in closets.
There was nothing but the town itself,
hiding from what was possible,
and the children cutting dolls
from paper, their scissors sharp.

‘Wintering’

01.24.21

This was our sky on the eve of the Inauguration. I read it as an omen for better weather to come–“red skies at night, sailors’ delight’. We were in front of the TV at 6 am the next morning, wanting to make sure Trump’s plane actually went up into the sky and flew away, out of our sight. The morning dawn looked so beautiful on the White House. We watched all day long, holding our breath for the safety of the new President and Vice President. We loved seeing their children, hearing the glorious music, and Amanda Gorman’s electrifying poem. By the time Washington’s night sky was ablaze in fireworks, we’d finished off an entire box of Kleenex, and collapsed into bed, emotionally spent, the weight of it all suddenly off our shoulders.

The next early morning, looking at me over our computers, Don said, “Even the coffee doesn’t taste so good this morning.” The air was out of our balloons, the brief honeymoon was over, and we were back into the reality of the White House and Capitol strewn with dirty laundry, new variants of the virus springing up across the globe, and a Wild West free-for-all as Americans rush to get themselves on to waiting lists for limited vaccines. And, we are still in the month of January–deep into Wintertime Blues. While there is no snow, the temperatures have finally returned to their normal lows in the teens and highs in the twenties, reminding us this is the time of Winter.

I listened to a wonderful OnBeing podcast the other morning with Katherine May, author of the book Wintering…the power of rest and retreat in difficult times. I love how she says, “Winter is not the death of the life cycle, but its crucible.”

Plants and animals don’t fight the winter; they don’t pretend it’s not happening and attempt to carry on living the same lives they lived in the summer. They prepare. They adapt. They perform extraordinary acts of metamorphosis to get them through. Wintering is a time of withdrawing from the world, maximizing scant resources, carrying out acts of brutal efficiency and vanishing from sight; but that’s where the transformation occurs. Winter is not the death of the life cycle, but its crucible.

“It’s a time for reflection and recuperation, for slow replenishment, for putting your house in order. Doing these deeply unfashionable things — slowing down, letting your spare time expand, getting enough sleep, resting — is a radical act now, but it’s essential. ”

It was just what I needed to hear at the end of this January, even as I delight in the extra light at the end of each day now, accumulating at a rate of two to four minutes. Katherine May calls upon us to put our house in order, and to just be Present, in the seasonality of what is this time. And Billy Collins tells us just how hard that is to do.

The Present

By Billy Collins

Much has been said about being in the present.
It’s the place to be, according to the gurus,
like the latest club on the downtown scene,
but no one, it seems, is able to give you directions.

It doesn’t seem desirable or even possible
to wake up every morning and begin
leaping from one second into the next
until you fall exhausted back into bed.

Plus, there’d be no past
with so many scenes to savor and regret,
and no future, the place you will die
but not before flying around with a jet-pack.

The trouble with the present is
that it’s always in a state of vanishing.
Take the second it takes to end
this sentence with a period––already gone.

What about the moment that exists
between banging your thumb
with a hammer and realizing
you are in a whole lot of pain?

What about the one that occurs
after you hear the punch line
but before you get the joke?
Is that where the wise men want us to live

in that intervening tick, the tiny slot
that occurs after you have spend hours
searching downtown for that new club
and just before you give up and head back home?