begin again the story of your life

Da Capo
by Jane Hirshfield

Take the used-up heart like a pebble
and throw it far out.

Soon there is nothing left.
Soon the last ripple exhausts itself
in the weeds.

Returning home, slice carrots, onions, celery.
Glaze them in oil before adding
the lentils, water, and herbs.

Then the roasted chestnuts, a little pepper, the salt.
Finish with goat cheese and parsley. Eat.

You may do this, I tell you, it is permitted.
Begin again the story of your life.


the simple act of putting something down

I’ve been writing in these notebooks for five years now. When I began, I thought they would be great to look back on several years later, the same way those old pictures of my parents looking younger fascinated my brothers and me. What has surprised me is that looking back two weeks is just as good. These little notebooks have revealed just how much we forget, even when it’s so easy to capture almost everything with our cameras.

I’ve told friends that, in a fire, the Moleskins would be the first (and perhaps only) non-living thing I would make sure I had in my arms on the way out the door. I keep them on our bookshelf, in random order, and reachable to the kids so they can pull them down whenever they want. And whenever they do, I think of that little red box of family pictures, and I’m reminded of just how valuable the simple act of putting something down can turn out to be.

—David Neibart, from “Documenting the Over-Documented”


habitable and humane

The plain fact is that the planet does not need more “successful” people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every shape and form. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these needs have little to do with success as our culture has defined it.

—David Orr, from “What is education for?”


desire

The deep longings of our hearts are our holy desires. Not only desires for physical healing, but also the desires for change, for growth, for a fuller life. Our deepest desires, those desires that lead us to become who we are, are God’s desires for us. They are ways that God speaks to you directly…Desire is a key part of spirituality because desire is a key way that God’s voice is heard in our lives. And our deepest desire, planted within us, is our desire for God.

—Reverend James Martin, SJ, from this article


the hardest love we carry

Hope and Love
by Jane Hirshfield

All winter
the blue heron
slept among the horses.
I do not know
the custom of herons,
do not know
if the solitary habit
is their way,
or if he listened for
some missing one—
not knowing even
that was what he did—
in the blowing
sounds in the dark.
I know that
hope is the hardest
love we carry.
He slept
with his long neck
folded, like a letter
put away.


made precious

I am made precious by her love. And if one day she does forget she had a daughter named Celia and tells me what a pretty name that is, I will give her a card with many underscorings, and a song for her birthday, and a daughter for all seasons. And she will be made precious by my love.

—Celia Watson Supel, from this blog entry


still chugging along

There’s nothing romantic about the belching, wheezing bus I take every night from Times Square to my New Jersey hometown. The trip is bookended by grouches: a uniformed dispatcher at Gate 412, who yells at us weary commuters to stand in a straight line, and my own beloved kids, whose initial excitement to see me fades to a lament over the weird bread I packed in their lunches. But in between verbal assaults, as my chariot lurches through the Meadowlands at dusk, I sink into a plush seat with a good book and settle peacefully, gratefully into my life’s best approximation of alone time.

This contentment surprises me every time. Maybe I’m relieved that somebody else is in charge for a change; or maybe, between the battling bands of home and work, my bus strikes just the right note of white noise. It’s the only part of my day that’s completely predictable, when I’m one in a million and lost in a crowd, which is a delicious feeling for a mother of three. When the sun finally drops, and the dim overhead lights fail to illuminate my page, I glance out the window into the reflection of my own eyes. There you are, I think. Still chugging along.

—Elisabeth Egan