Posted in mindfulness

Still and Small

My intuition speaks in strange ways sometimes. This morning, first, in the song “What a Feeling” which is a song I’ve never been particularly fond of. “First when there’s nothing but a slow-growing dream that your fear seems to hide deep inside your mind.” And then, I chased a lead: where does the phrase “still, small voice” come from? What? The Bible? I haven’t found inspiration in the Bible since before I was another person. It doesn’t matter where the words come from, though, does it?

“The Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the lord was not in the fire, and after the fire, a still, small voice.” — 1 Kings 19:11-12

It made me think of trauma. Whether you think God is testing you or just shit happens, you’ve been through the wind and the earthquake and the fire, haven’t you? Maybe you resisted the wind and thought, Damn it, why does this shit always happen to me? And you couldn’t see the purpose or if there even was one. And then more stuff happened, and more stuff, and by the end you’re standing in what seems like a wreckage wondering whyyyyyy, and then you realize that it all needed to go anyway, and there’s nothing left…

…. but the still, small voice. When you’re rubbed raw from all the fire and fury, and you stop resisting and just witness, get quiet, breathe, listen. I don’t know if it’s God’s voice or something from inside me, but I’ve heard it. Have you?

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Posted in Poems

Handful of Haiku

My World Literature professor gave us an assignment to write a haiku based on a photograph. I’ll be honest, I’ve always sort of hated haiku, because it always felt like an elementary school poetry to me. But age has brought me full circle to appreciate the brevity of words, and I loved this assignment so much, and I have so many photos I adore, that I couldn’t just do one. So here are a few drawn from my extensive photo library (all photos taken by me).

Beautiful dog glowing
In the late-afternoon sunshine
Is how I will remember you

My dog Rascal is 19 1/2 years old, and can’t walk anymore. We only have a short time left with him, but this is how I will always remember him, enjoying the sunshine and surveying his yard.

Tiny jeweled bird
Hovers to look me in the eye
Gift of her attention

I am fascinated with hummingbirds. They are so bold, zooming loudly across the yard, and hovering in front of me, as if demanding to know what my intentions are, then flickering away to sit in a branch and wait to see if I’m going to refill the feeder.

Rumble of hoofbeats
Noble creatures come at my call
Bringing their hearts to mine.

There is nothing in the world that sends chills down my spine like the sound of hoof beats echoing across the valley as my horses charge toward me for their dinner. Sometimes, I think they run just for my enjoyment.

Still waters ruffled
Rhythmic dip of my paddle
Peaces flows into me.

This is from City Lake in Coookeville, where I love to paddle because the waters are so calm and it’s filled with wildlife. It does not matter how stressed I am, when I get on the water all the knots fall out of my muscles and I reconnect with nature and myself.

All the world unfolds
Contemplation, vastness,
Utter smallness.

This is a photo I took at Stone Door overlook in Grundy County, of my son. In particular I love waterfalls and overlooks, and I am so thankful that Tennessee is full of both of them. Our state and national parks are places I can go to find myself again when I have chased my tail enough times to get lost.

Posted in Uncategorized

Lorraine Hotel & Civil Rights Museum

Here are a few pictures from my visit to the Lorraine Hotel & Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN. I highly recommend a visit.

The museum seems to be frozen in time, with old cars in the front, and a very 50s/60s vibe.

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Where this wreath hangs, on April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on this balcony.

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Further into the tour, you pass the room where he stayed here during his visit to lead black union workers in a strike for fair wages. The room is just as it was on that day, and the signs call for silence. The weight of it makes a deep impression.

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The walk outside has stations that tell about the strike and the workers.

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Inside, the exhibits tell about the struggle for civil rights from slavery to Dr. King’s day, and the present. This sculpture is a slaver selling a woman and her baby.

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And this one, in the same room, shows how cramped the holds were in the slave ships.

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And here is the bus Rosa Parks sat on when she refused to go to the back.

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A sculpture of her inside.

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These sculptures depict lunch-counter sit-ins that were organized all over the south, including many places in Tennessee.

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And this was the bus that was attacked and burned on the famous “Freedom Rides.”

I came away from this museum with the weight of privilege on me. With modern-day police fatalities and one in three black men falling victim to the industrial prison complex, we have made strides toward Beloved Community, but we are not there yet. We are still waiting on the arc of justice.

If you’re in Memphis, definitely give the Lorraine a visit.