A poem from the book Dewdrops On a Lotus Leaf: Zen Poems of Ryokan (1758 – 1831) Translated by John Stevens
I love all of Ryokan’s poems; this one especially speaks to me of summer and special occasions.
How can I possibly sleep
This moonlit evening?
Come, my friends,
Let’s sing and dance
All night long.
Under the vast sky:
Beneath the cherry blossoms.
Plucked from fields,
Full of croaking frogs:
Float them in your wine
And enjoy every minute!
PS (float the roses, not the frogs) haha
Dance by the Light of the Moon
This poem recently came to mind as my daughter and her cousin are in Paris and my son and daughter-in-law are in bliss on a small sunny gulf island on the west coast of Canada. Wildly different places in every way with entirely different yet magnificent possibilities for loving the night. This poem reminds me how, now and then, we just need to say yes to the awesomeness of the balmy starlit night and forego sleep as we dance by the light of the moon. (or the light of the Eiffel tower at midnight)
And furthermore, I feel gifted yesterday and today with stunning images of outer space from the James Webb Space Telescope. I’m sure that you have all seen them but just in case here is a link. When we look up into the night sky we can picture so much more than what is visible to the naked eye.
Our birthdays and the birthdays of those we love are a perfect time to take the temperature of our lives. For instance, my temperature today is full of joy and love because my son Rob is celebrating his 53rd Birthday. And because I am a meaning maker I find it significant that the images from the Webb Telescope were released at this time. Why? Because the day I brought Rob home from the hospital, was the day the first human walked on the moon. And I was excited, enthusiastic and in love with this little baby and the possibilities for his lifetime.
I still am.
Not in a simple-minded way but rather in a curious and questioning and action-taking way. Things look dire right now in the world but science itself confirms that we don’t know the whole picture; we don’t have all the answers and there are many possibilities to be discovered and uncovered. If you are reading this you are still alive so there is every reason to have hope. And as you read, there are brilliant and also ordinary people in every part of our globe working to solve problems and to prevent them. Doing what they can to make things better and not be a hindrance.
Life was never designed to be easy, from what I see, but it works best when we all do our part. And part of that is not to succumb to despair but to wake up, get up, and ask what can I do today in our little tiny corner of the world to make things a little better for others. And don’t forget your own dear selves.
Sorry to make you blush Rob, but I’m going for it. Kindness, curiosity, problem solver, cyclist, photographer, “writer” whiskey connoisseur, tech wizard, beloved and devoted uncle, researcher, life partner of Allison of the wildflower garden, the best son, (and grandson), and even a friend of the deer. (Or so it seems when this guy appeared just outside the breakfast room this morning.
I am ever so grateful to be your mother and that you are celebrating another birthday today, July 13th. Thanks to Zoom, WhatsApp, and every other communication device I can almost taste the delicious birthday cake and I get to be part of the festivities, toasts, and laughter.
The banner photo is Allison’s birthday card for Rob, a paper wildflower garden made with skill and love.
Ordinary Days, and special moments, are not to be ignored or missed. These are the things that count the most.
Happy Birthday, Rob. I’m so glad you were born. I love you to the stars and back.
1:) I am in favor of splurging with words while we can and while our loved ones are still alive. Words are powerful. They can be used as gifts or as weapons. I want to learn to use mine more wisely.
2:) Sing while there’s voice left. We mostly don’t get the fact that we are mortal. We know everyone else is mortal, of course. :-))
3:) I invite you to tell someone you love that you love them. No reason to keep them guessing.
4:) May this season of summer not slip away unnoticed. And finally, I am so very grateful that you keep showing up here each week. I send my warmest and best wishes to you all. Take heart. Find the beauty and spend time with people whose company you enjoy. As always, Trudy