Saturday, May 10, 2014


"Simple Gifts"
-along a desert trail-

In her book of poems, The Kingdom of Ordinary Life, Marie Howe offers a very insightful look at everyday life lived in the fast lane. I particularly like her poem, Hurry. 

We stop at the dry cleaners and the grocery store
and the gas station and the green market and
Hurry up honey, I say, hurry hurry,
as she runs along two or three steps behind me
her blue jacket unzipped and her socks rolled down.

Where do I want her to hurry to? To her grave?
To mine? Where one day she might stand all grown?

Today, when al the errands are finally done, I say to her,
Honey I'm sorry I keep saying Hurry -
you walk ahead of me. You be the mother.

And, hurry up, she says, over her shoulder, looking
back at me, laughing. Hurry up now darling, she says,
hurry, hurry, taking the house keys from my hands.

I like this particular poem so much because it pretty much summarizes the story of my life - at least my life in my earlier years.  If you change the gender,  the people in the "Hurry" poem could easily be me and my now-adult sons back in the years when they were still children. 

In fact I am thinking about this poem today because today is Saturday, and in our house Saturday was always a day we did the stuff that we couldn't get done during the work week - errands and chores, shopping, cleaners, car wash, get the boys to their games.  In my mind's eye I can still see us all scurrying along from one task to the next,  "Hurry up we have lots to do!" the boys lagging those few steps behind. 

Now that they have become adults, I tell my kids that they work too hard - whenever they come to visit us, the computer is always in hand, checking on projects for work or school- lot's to do, hurry up.  I wonder where they learned all that? 

In my case, "Saturday" wasn't the only day for "hurrying up." I pretty much lived the first part of my life in a state of "hurry." Life in the fast lane - always planning ahead, moving from project to project, event to event, up the ladder, onto the bigger and better. 

I truly do wonder how much I may have missed in the present by spending so much time keeping my "eye on the prize."

It's always pretty quiet around our house out here in the desert, but Saturdays seem to be an especially quiet day, particularly in the early morning as I sit out in the garden and watch the sun come up - just the sounds of birds and wind chimes, and the garden fountain. 

In my quiet time today I reflect on a Buddhist teaching about  a "quiet mind." I am truly trying to adopt and foster a "quiet mind" in my own life nowadays. Actually you don't have to be silent to have a quiet mind. But you do have to try to lead an uncluttered life, not  driven by desire for more, bigger, better, newer.  A "quiet mind" is a mind that isn't always "hurrying."

Where do I want her to hurry to? To her grave?
To mine? Where one day she might stand all grown? 


  1. Thank you for these words. Thank you for the reminder and invitation to a "quiet mind." I especially liked the accompanying poem with its question: "Where do I want her to hurry to?"

    1. Daniel, I appreciate your comment. I see you as a person with a "quiet mind."

  2. I love to read your blog every Sunday night, I'm always in a hurry to get this or that done for someone, Sunday is a time to slow down. Thanks for reminding me

  3. I really enjoyed read your post. The poem was great!

    Where do I want her to hurry to? To her grave?
    To mine? Where one day she might stand all grown?

    This reminds me to take the time to be in the present. In all my business I often forget to be still. Once in awhile, I must be still and allow the present moment to teach me that there are so many messages are here, exactly where I am, in front of me, now.

    Thanks again.

    1. Elizabeth, thanks for the comment. Enjoy the here and now.