Saturday, June 30, 2012

Bowl 15: Carol

We could not be more different.
She in her gold bracelets and designer sunglasses.
Me in my second hand clogs and sunglasses bought for $1.69 at Building 19-1/2.

She stares straight ahead as I seat myself on her bench.
And listens politely as I describe my offer.
"My hands are not so beautiful," she says.
"Beautiful hands are not the point," I reply.
Although to me all hands are beautiful.
The worn and the cared for
the supple and the gnarled.
All reflecting the journey of our lives.

We talk of art, and we come closer.
We speak of Christo's Gates
and the beauty of multiples.
Of how dozens of flowers of a single kind can be breathtaking in its symmetry.
And how a bouquet of wildflowers brings a different joy in its diversity.

Then she speaks of her grandson's first birthday party.
With 12,000 gold balloons to welcome the guests.
And the lake and bridge that was created for them to cross over into the party.
And my mind boggles
And I can't help but think of the hundreds who might have been fed, 
even just for the price of the balloons.

And yet, she receives the bowl with grace and gratitude.
"I'll have to make tea now," she says with a smile.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Bowl 14: Ani

I am captivated
by a display of poems written by children
in the window of a bookstore.

People stop. . .  pause . . . move on.
Then someone stays.
We read in silence for a time.

Are you a poet? I ask.
No, she smiles, but I love poems.

We read on, separate and together.
Then I offer a bowl.

Look she says, it matches my outfit.
and it does.

A happy accident.
Like finding poetry,
or a kindred spirit,
right in the midst of everyday life.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Bowl 13: Sean

He has stood near clinics since 1987,
talking to women and "saving lives."
I approach trying to keep my heart open.
He is not someone I normally move toward.

He is friendly, with the calm confidence that he is doing "God's work."
He tells me he been a street counselor for many years, 
some of them full time - living on $15 a week and the generosity of friends.

"It's always wrong to kill," he says.
And I agree -- it is, in fact, the first precept.
And yet I know that being human, we destroy life all the time,
knowingly and unknowingly . . . 
being human, we do the best we can.

And I also know, as a woman, the relief of knowing
that I would not be a mother before I was ready,
and the lingering pain of deciding to end the possibility of life.

Life moves through everything
forming and re-forming.

In a perfect world all babies would be loved and cherished.
All beings would be nourished, safe, and healthy.
In this perfectly imperfect world, living beings suffer in so many ways.
and though we may not agree,
we can still move toward one another
keeping our hearts open,
knowing that being human, we all do the best we can.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Bowl 12: Alinda

I am in a bright, clear space 
surrounded by tea bowls.

the work of master hands --
from the infinitely subtle
to the rough essence of earth and stone.

"which are your favorites," she asks.
and I am dumbfounded --
 each is so alive in its own being.

earth, air, fire, water
body, mind, spirit
all transformed. 
become a vessel to hold tea.