Thursday, December 24, 2009


I dreamed I was walking in the snow. It was not dark but gray and gloomy. Narnia-like I came to a street lamp. It gave only a golden glow but the pole was ornate with intricate carvings. I circled the pole again and again as I marveled at the time and craftsmanship required to produce such a work of art. Then I saw a small piece of paper stuck into the pole. I pulled it out and although I could not read the name I knew it was for me. So I opened it and found a $20 bill. I had no pockets in my jacket or my pants. So I folded the paper around the money and put it in my shirt pocket. "Thanks," I said to the pole, "that's all I need." I went on through the snow and saw a tall woman walking ahead of me. Soon I was beside her. She was really much taller than me but took short steps so we could walk together. Without stopping she told me, "All men want to be heroes." I wanted to ask her, "What do women want?" But I heard myself say, "George Bush Jr. had every opportunity to be heroic but he did not choose to be a hero." She stopped walking and so did I. We turned to face each other. I saw that she was a black elder with white hair tucked under a blue hat. "Child," she told me, "he was not a man." Then we just walked along in a comfortable silence until I woke up.
"All my thoughts are decorating the Christmas tree of mediation with the rare gifts of devotion (for Christ)," Paramahansa Yogananda. I have read that meditation is good for the heart if it can be maintained for 20 minutes. So this can become a rare gift that we give back to ourselves.
Alfred Tennyson grieved at Christmas... like many of us do and he wrote: "...over all things brooding slept/ The quiet sense of something lost." Mae Sarton knew a certain man who climbed a certain mountain every Christmas Day "to pay his respects to the sacred eminence." Mae drove to a friend's house on this day in 1982. She said it was "a journey made through the thickets of memories."
On such a day in the long ago I gathered six grandchildren and promised to show them the beaver channel. In fact I said we'd follow the trail so we would see the world from Beaver's point of view. So like the pied piper without her pipe I led them along until we came to a great tangle of trees and brush. I wanted to go around but the children protested. Brandon persuaded me that if we went around we would not see the world as Beaver saw it. So I got on my belly and dragged myself along through the snow. On the other side I crawled out to wait for my loved ones. Brandon emerged laughing. One by one the others followed. We laughed joyfully as we brushed snow off each other. We continued on until we reached the river. We climbed up on the beaver lodge and I told them a story. Then we followed the river back to the road and walked home on happy feet. Mary Oliver has written, "I want to sing a song for ...someone young who had not lived his life and never would."

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