Circle Unbroken

Our idea for this week, explored in all windows before this one, is that whatever we lose–or even give away–could come back to us–perhaps in the same form or in a different way.

Robert Frost, in “Birches,” has lost his childhood–literally and figuratively. The joy of his boyhood as “a swinger of birches,” has been lost, and life is “too much like a pathless wood.” Like the birches bent permanently by ice and storms, he cannot “right” himself.

In this state of disappointment or despair, in this state of “Losses” (window four), he longs for relief; but lest some fate “willfully misunderstand” and think he wants to leave earth for good, he suggests that the birch tree take him only toward heaven.

Perhaps this is what all losses do for us: take us toward divinity, toward understanding, toward a glimpse of a circle unbroken, even though on his plane we can only see half of the rounded whole.

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March 16, 2020

Many people think that Robert Frost’s poem “Reluctance” signals the author’s acceptance of the end of life, and though this is a possible reading, the poem was written in 1912/13 when Frost was not yet 40, so readers who read closely often infer that his weariness surrounds disappointment and loss. So what is there to do at the end of a love or a season when we feel broken?

In the last half of the poem, the author offers, if not a suggestion, at least a bit of hope when he writes, 

The heart is still aching to seek,

But the feet question ‘Whither?’ 

When we are most despondent, a small voice aching to seek often remains, perhaps buried, but at least whispering. Even if we do not know where to “seek,” we have clues. As the Inspiration window suggests, sometimes there are signs if we are quiet enough to listen and have even the slightest belief that signals and signposts can come our way. Those signs can appear in nature or other places surrounding us.

And, too, there is that still, small voice that emanates from within.

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At the heart of many cultural and most spiritual traditions lives the idea that only love prevails. This week as Valentine’s Day approaches, the idea of love and friendship mingles in this poem with mystical playfulness. Enjoy, and respond with your own “love” creation if you choose. Send to Julia.Gregg3@gmail.com.

 

February in Broad Ripple

The tenth morning in a row

                melted like pewter

(gray after gray)

onto the single striped awning

guarding the door of the modest shop.

 

Did a tiny bell jingle

as I walked in,

or did I imagine echoes

across the narrow aisles?

 

Twisting through stacks of leather-bound journals,

slipping past shelves of lacy, scrolling jewelry,

touching tags with twine and flowers,

lingering before papyrus rabbits

                              (asleep on a table in lamplight),

I heard the whispering.

 

The owner adjusted her reading glasses

and smiled before returning to her book.

 

Here you have it straight:

These ivory cards,

(bound loosely with ribbon

–each with a single heart)

quietly pulsed a wispy, “Pick me.”

 

My dear friend:

I knew that you must have one…

 

So I send this simple heart

like sunshine itself,

across a leaden February fog

to a place where you live

                               amid yellow wood roses

                              and the promise of an early spring.

                                                                                   –Julia

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