Isolation

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Isolation

(a partial inventory of things for which I grieve

in this time of pandemic)

 

Hugs and hands and friendly kisses.

A bar of soap in the dish, unremarkable and dry.

Going out to breakfast, pancakes and eggs, bacon

chatting with the waitress while waiting for you.

Driving to a meeting in town, boring, endless,

ordinary. College basketball. Baseball season.

Missing easy shots in tennis and losing my cool,

as if it mattered. Golden mornings passed

in silent meditation, my feet cold

on retreat, loving and being loved,

the soft sound of all of us breathing together,

as if it mattered. Being cold, being hot, wind,

rain, snow and sunburn. Sacred places,

Yosemite, The Grand Canyon, Dolomiti skies.

Cinque Torri at sunset, then again at dawn.

Parisian museums. Parisian meals. Parisian coffee.

Paris.

Venice in the morning. Eating gelato in Rome.

Eating more gelato in Rome.

Aging simply but still feeling young.

Not being classified as vulnerable.

Not being classified.

Not needing to sanitize the keys in order to loan the car

to my son. Seeing my sons. Holding them.

Seeing my infant granddaughter. Holding her

even if it still makes her cry.

The illusion of safety.

The familiar smell of my personal cocoon.

Never having to consider case counts, respirators

or exponential curves.

Believing myself to be harmless to others (or mainly so.)

Belief in a particular future.

The future.

The freedom to ignore a simple cough.

Taking a single breath for granted.

Believing that time is continuous, endless and free.

Ignorance of the gray man stalking the streets

counting breaths.

A committed belief in Death

as an abstraction.

 

© 2020 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com

leave the way you came

I’ve come to feel that we’re not truly isolated as long as we’re in the company of trees

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leave the way you came

 

early sun on old snow, the wind

speaking in the high trees — welcome

 

move slowly in stillness — listen

completely.  carry only respect

 

and reverence.  leave

the way you came

 

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© 2020 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com

one last chance

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walking empty streets

in a late season snow, alone — where

have we all gone? what in heaven’s name

have we done?

 

this unnatural natural

silence, the distant cry of geese

returning, desperate for a place

to land

 

a single light in a room at the back

goes dark, while the herd comes down

from the mountains, begins to reclaim

its place. fitfully

 

we sleep and dream of morning

breathing our wordless prayers

 

for warmth

for the resurrection of spring

for a second new covenant

for one last chance

 

to do better

 

© 2020 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com

 

 

in this ocean without shores

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Though the sun is out this morning, the sadness in the world right now is stunning. Probably close to a billion people in some form of lock down or quarantine, industries and wages brought to a standstill, thousands sick, thousands dead, thousands dying, thousands denying that the situation is serious

The ancient human lament – How did this happen? When will it end?

The Shambhala teachings say that when we break entirely from our habitual patterns, the tender heart of sadness emerges — and here we are, completely groundless, impermanence and dissolution manifesting in all realms simultaneously

a tenderness, a sadness so thick that we essentially bathe in it

Unable to swim home, we lie back, floating, and look to the sun, look to the vast and empty sky, rising and falling on the endless waves in this ocean without shores

without bottom,

without beginning,

without end.

 

 

Attending the Breath

 

SLC Sunrise

 

attending the breath

in the first grey light

of this winter morning

 

the sound of the wind

through the glass, this wind

 

that was blowing

before breath arose, this wind

 

that was blowing

before thought arose, this wind

 

that will blow long

after the very last thought

has blown away

 

 

© 2019 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com

 

 

Trekking Uganda 2019

Chimp

Just posted a new collection of photos on http://www.jfinkimages.com. This is a collection of primate images from several days trekking in the jungles of Uganda to visit Chimpanzees and Mountain Gorillas.

Here’s the blog link describing the collection:

https://www.jfinkimages.com/blog

And here’s the link to collection of images themselves. As always, if you play the slideshow with your computer’s sound turned on, there’s a soundtrack chosen to accompany the show- about 4 min in total.

https://www.jfinkimages.com/p38881393#hdcc3a1bb

Enjoy-

Jeff

 

laughter and tears

oldbones

 

laughter and tears

 

we were once shiny, undented.

had baby after baby with limitless

perfect futures. we had answers, speed

and never enough time. we

were accelerating. last night

fall came to this mountain,

the face of the grey man

peering through the glass. this morning

we sit beneath a weakening sun

the leaves blowing about our feet

like so many small broken things.

your hand is warm in mine, and just so

am I blessed — so little survives

beyond laughter and tears.

darkness falls.

the trees across the river

draw down their blood in silence,

brace themselves for winter.

 

© 2019 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com

 

 

remember

On a recent African trip, we spent time at the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Kigali, Rwanda. A profoundly disturbing place, the Memorial commemorates the Rwandan genocide which was launched some twenty-five years ago. They say that over one million men, women and children died, and that as as many as 250,000 are buried on the site of the Memorial. Bewildered, overcome and overwhelmed, I stepped outside into the garden and sat, eyes closed. I simply tried to feel the energy of the place. Below is the piece that emerged….

 

Remember

 

Remember

the birds fed here

and the dogs — there are always

dogs. the dirt aches, an endless low

moan. someone laughs, but the ache

continues. the shadows here

taste like salt

 

the souls of the children

hide in the trees, watching

they do not laugh, will never

laugh. silent and alone

they wait for rain

 

 

 

note- the image above is a photo of a piece by Daniel Arsham on exhibit in the Moco Museum, Amsterdam in September, 2019.

 

 

© 2019 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com