Sunday, October 16, 2011

This Shining Moment in the Now

I've been at a loss for words for many weeks.  Susan and I have been harvesting, getting the kids back to school and one started in hockey.  We've been cutting and splitting cords of hard wood  for the kitchen stove that will warm us in the winter months to come.  Susan has been collecting seeds to save and doing the painting chores we've been putting off. One day soon I'll be putting a new roof on the leaky old barn.  Every day slips by so quickly in the moment to moment activity of mowing fields, repairing the tractor and hauling in material for compost.  I first heard Garrison Keillor read this poem by David Budbill on The Writers Almanac back in 2005.  A copy now lives on our refrigerator and it perfectly describes Autumn days here on the farm.  I thought you might like it too.

       - JQ

This Shining Moment in the Now

When I work outdoors all day, every day, as I do now, in the fall,
getting ready for winter, tearing up the garden, digging potatoes,
gathering the squash, cutting firewood, making kindling, repairing
bridges over the brook, clearing trails in the woods, doing the last of
the fall mowing, pruning apple trees, taking down the screens,
putting up the storm windows, banking the house—all these things,
as preparation for the coming cold...

when I am every day all day all body and no mind, when I am
physically, wholly and completely, in this world with the birds,
the deer, the sky, the wind, the trees...

when day after day I think of nothing but what the next chore is,
when I go from clearing woods roads, to sharpening a chain saw,
to changing the oil in a mower, to stacking wood, when I am
all body and no mind...

when I am only here and now and nowhere else—then, and only
then, do I see the crippling power of mind, the curse of thought,
and I pause and wonder why I so seldom find
this shining moment in the now.

(Listen to Garrison Keillor read this poem on NPR's, "The Writer's Almanac." 
- requires Real Audio player)

(Update)  Coincidentally IBSPEI is having a Social Forum on Weds., Oct 19.  

IBS/Prince Edward Island Social Forum
‘It’s the Poets Who Really Know What Time It Is’
Wednesday October 19, 7:00 p.m.; 114 Upper Prince St.
Pete Seeger said, ‘There is a time for every purpose.’
In the, Dead Poets Society, John Keating said, ‘There's a time for daring and there's a time for caution, and a wise man understands which is called for.’
William Faulkner wrote, ‘It is the poet's duty is to write about things that have not yet begun...... sometimes while there is still time not to do them.’
Jim Munves said, ‘It’s the poets who really know what time it is.’
Tonight (Wednesday, October 19th) we invite you to bring your poetry (an original or an old favorite) to share. Something that reflects what time it really is.
The Institute for Bioregional Studies Ltd. (IBS), invites you to join our Social Forums. Since 1995, IBS programs have engaged concerned citizens to discuss issues and exchange of ideas in the hope that such activities will be a catalyst for community growth, social development, and action.
Each forum begins with a potluck dinner, followed by a presentation and informal discussion.
For more information, visit our www site at: or write to us at  

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