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A Grateful Haiku

via A Grateful Haiku

What are each grateful for at this time? We live in unusual times. As I go through my daily routine, I read articles and posts about how this is a time to rethink what we value and what we are each grateful for in our lives.

Tanya wrote a haiku about the symbiotic relationship between a monarch butterfly in its larval stage and milkweed. I often overlook how nature provides a sense of harmony I have to look deeper to see. When I look past the monarch butterfly’s beauty to its larval form I understand it exists by taking bites out of the milkweed flower’s beauty.

In that vein, when I read the comments, I realized it was “dueling haiku” between Tanya and Stephen. I appreciated what lay beneath the surface of the post and was grateful for their poetry skills. After all it is National Poetry Month.

Thich Nhat Hanh reminds me to find the extraordinary, I look past and beneath the surface of the visible to uncover hidden beauty. Yesterday, it snowed and was cold, below 0 Fahrenheit (about 20 degrees Celsius), and there was beauty. I took this picture of a tree in our front yard with the clear sky in the background. If it had been January, not the end of March, it might have been easier to see beauty. I remind myself we need this snow to melt and add to a needed water table so we might grow and harvest later in the year.

Front Yard with Fresh Snow March 31, 2020

I recently wrote about challenges of being unable to teach in a university setting. At my age, the doors appear closed. As I reflected and wrote, I realized my days, as a teacher in some formal way, might be over. Quite frankly, we do not value the wisdom elders have to offer. Emerging from this sense of frustration and despair was a sense something else was calling me: to write in various ways. This is a form of teaching perhaps and a gift I had not been grateful enough to have.

Yesterday, a colleague and I were advised we were accepted to write a peer-reviewed article for a special edition of a journal. This is asecond peer-reviewed article in several months that has been accepted. For that, I am grateful. In being grateful, I need to look past how things appear superficially and re-cogize there is more I am becoming.

I leave you with this beautiful video from the late Israel Kamakawiwo`Ole or IZ as he was known.


17 responses »

  1. He’s so wonderful. He’s certainly missed. When my cousin and I were in Hawaii, we went on a tour and our guid played his uke and sang this son in his honor, apologizing for never being able to do it justice, since IZ was the only one who knew how to sing it. Everyone sang and it was so wonderful.

    • I love his singing and, on top of that, I love Louis Armstrong’s version of What a Wonderful World. When IZ does his version of that and Over the Rainbow, I am in pig’s heaven.

  2. Ivon, don’t be so sure elder’s voices will not be respected in the future. If you’ve not checked this out:
    Or not, but I find it immensely comforting, to know elders all over the world are uniting in a vision for a world more in sync with Mother Nature.
    Take good care.

    • Thank you for sending the link Bela. I pulled it up to take a look and will explore it thoroughly. What I mean is we often look for what is new and shiny. I am reading Parker Palmer’s latest book: On the Brink of Everything and it is an interesting perspective, which is helping me look at this differently e.g. writing is a gift.

  3. Ivon, I read Palmer’s book a couple of years ago and found it comforting and deeply satisfying as I consider what I can offer now…rather than what I used to offer when I was still in public service here in the US. I suppose I’ve been giving even more thought to it now, in the midst of the pandemic. I often wonder what my gifts are…what can I offer? So I write, I listen. Both are important, especially in times like these. Both require a different pace. I wish you well and offer my congratulations.

    • Thank you Carrie. Yes, that is the message I take from Parker. He is telling me to not look to the past in such a fixed way, but to reimagine what I am doing based on gifts. I agree. We are probably thinking more about where we are, what we can do, and the role of community in times like these.

  4. Blaine Thompson

    Congratulations on the journal article!

  5. Thank you for our insightful offerings. We don’t always know hen it’s time to move on. (I’m enclosing a poem for you on that theme) and perhaps you will continue to teach in the wider world, now that you are more free to do so. Keep on Keeping on, Friend. Bless you and Peace to your noble heart, Tasha

    Until We Know

    The petals of a flower open slowly, unseen
    in their immediacy: clocks of completeness,
    showing the time of life.

    There is no timepiece more accurate.
    The sun warms them to opening
    until they know.

    How do we know the time of our fullness,
    or the approach of our emptiness?
    Unseen, our petals open and close.

    Invisible moments are measured
    By heartbeats, how many?
    The heart ticks now.
    Tasha Halpert

  6. So sorry Iz is gone.

  7. My daughter is a vocal instructor at a community college and a university. The shelter-at-home rules have forced her to give vocal lessons online, which has been a challenge. The students hate it. Computer technology does not provide the human interaction that giving music lessons in person provides. I’m praying that the COVID19 crisis ends soon so that we can all get back to normal.

    • It will be interesting to see what normal looks like on the other side. You are right Dawn. There are some things virtual interaction is not the best thing. Teaching in any way is one of those. I follow a number of teachers on Facebook and Twitter. The lack of being with each other in a classroom has been the number one loss.


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