Monday, June 15, 2020 — summer break
I often look back a few years to today’s date. Some beauty requires standing still and savoring beauty in the present moment – remembering and listening, summer is a good time for both. During this year’s June days – so tense with uncertainty and anger and the weariness of spirit that has accompanied the uncertainty – reaching back to mid-June five years ago, when I had just returned from time on the Pine Ridge Lakota Reservation in South Dakota, caught my attention and invited some sacred remembering, per St. Ignatius’ teaching.
He calls this a “Repetition,” sensual remembering again as an anointing of the spirit that liberates your memory and imagination. (Spiritual Exercises # 118). What follows features one of Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali poems. More than that a recording of the Western Meadowlark which, for me., opens Pine Ridge deep in my soul year after year, the magical song of early summer.
Have a blest day, may it open into a week of improbable surprises that lasts this whole mid-June week.
from Tuesday, June 16, 2015
“This May and early June seemed to dance right by. Six weeks ago spring arrived, cooler than usual; this week’s mid-June rains, more dense and frequent than usual, bring some flooding and surging leaves and grass and flowers . . . lush early summer. It is one of summer’s arts to notice beauty as the pace of life eases back. During a week on Pine Ridge, a Lakota friend reminded me of the 25 year old who, fifty years ago, earned a nickname, “half fast.” Lots of affection and amusement encapsulated there; a sign of welcome for me I didn’t recognize at first, while I scrambled to keep up with my job and, hardly noticing, lived into adulthood. Nobody told me about the nickname until years later. .
I come to Pine Ridge each spring to listen to the Meadowlarks sing and to renew graces of life in this place of beauty and laughter and grief. The Rez 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.
Have a blest summer.”
p.s. A recording of the song of the Western Meadowlark.
p.p.s. Tagore may have written this prayer-poem with summer in mind; I don’t know for sure but it works for me.
Today’s Post – Gitanjali # 5
I ask for a moment’s indulgence to sit by thy side,
The works that I have in hand
I will finish afterwards.
Away from the sight of thy face my heart knows
no rest nor respite,
and my work becomes an endless toil
in a shoreless sea of toil.
Now is the time to sit quiet, face to face with thee
and to sing dedication of life
in this silent and overflowing leisure.