Summer break for the Work Day/Hard Time List

Thursday, May 31

Much of this May I have been learning how to prepare for hip surgery (on June 20); learning again since this Beaumont Hospital surgical team already replaced my left hip early in 2008.   This year that team will replace my right hip.   Lots of prep work; remembering how to manage a walker and get around my Jesuit house slowly and carefully.  One major difference between 2008 and 2018;  2008 the surgery happened Jan 14 and recovery had it’s time and disciplines play out well before May, when I try to spend time on Pine Ridge.

For this year’s pre-summer break post, I went back to May 27, 2016 when my contextual paragraphs talk about the sensual experience of Pine Ridge for me.  I won’t get to Pine Ridge this year so this post serves as a contemplative thanksgiving for what Pine Ridge has meant to me all these years.   Next May?  Days on the Rez and days with Lakota soul friends once again.  Who knows?  I might stand still in the badlands and let meadowlarks woo me with their spring songs until I am dizzy.

By the time August arrives this year I have a hunch I’ll be walking like a younger man.

Have a blest early summer,


john sj

Today’s post

Friday May 27, 2016  –  “Enough. These few words are enough.”  David Whyte

“Remember sunscreen” —   Pine Ridge, SD is about 3400 ft above sea level,  sun shines more directly here than in Motown at 300 ft elevation.   In most years, about a week after commencement and Eastern Market Flower days, I pack for a week on the Pine Ridge Lakota Reservation.  It sits in western South Dakota; you can see the profile of The Black Hills 70 miles off to the north and west;  you can stand still near wild Badland formations, created mostly by wind.  Improbably with desert-like terrain,  you can also stand still to listen to meadowlarks, and frogs, in marshy water holes 100 yards across.   It’s because I lived here a long time that this particular beauty melts my soul and refreshes my spirit.

So do conversations with soul friends of 40 years or more.  I come to Pine Ridge to renew the origins of my adulthood in this place of beauty and laughter and grief.  It slows my steps and my breathing.  And reminds me that the normal work year has ended and summer has begun.  There’s  still plenty of work time but the pace is different.   For you too, I hope.

I looked for a short poem that reminds me of why I come out to Pine Ridge each year.

David Whyte wrote the poem, “Enough.”  Readers of the list have heard it before.   Below the poem are 3 wisdom sayings learned on Pine Ridge over the years.

Have a blest weekend.


john st sj

Today’s Post

Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.

This opening to the life
we have refused
again and again
until now.

David Whyte, Where Many Rivers Meet

a wisdom-saying born on the Pine Ridge Lakota Reservation
“Time spent baking bread follows the pace of yeast”

“Motorcycling alone; I move as a  tiny person in a vast world”

“If I pause long enough, I  hear the sound of grass growing,  and trees, each at its own pace.”


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