New post on http://www.jfinkimages.com. Just returned from hiking in Torres Del Paine National Park in Chile. Enjoy!
Click the slideshow button, click the X to go full screen
A Joyful Circle – the Final Lineage Poem. And so we come full circle in this series of Lineage Poems. Like medieval astronomers who took the earth to be the center of all things, so does our ego create the illusion that this individual life is the central point of reference in the infinite sweep of time and generations. Past, future, and at the fulcrum, this single life. And I suppose it couldn’t be any other way, however flawed this cosmology of self.
As I write this, I’ve been down for two weeks struggling to recover from pneumonia. It’s honestly been a frightening time. In an earlier post, I mentioned that my only brother died a short time ago, of lung disease as it happens (https://oldbonesnewsnow.com/2022/03/19/sunrise-and-sunset-the-wheel-of-life/.) So losing the ability to breathe triggered both fearful memories and simple animal fear. Just today, it finally feels like my breathing is softening, and the air is beginning to flow.
And also just today, our next grandchild has begun the long, messy, painful, risky and extraordinary process of pushing into this world.
A joyful circle. I wouldn’t have missed a minute of it
And I pray that I will have many, many, more to experience
Little boy, I weep with joy at the prospect of meeting you!
Grandson, Son, Husband, Father, Father-in-law, Grandfather, Ancestor
Two closing poems to bring this home, the first from several years ago
old man in the wild untended fields of my heart sits an old man. the day is late but warm and the low-angled light spreads like butter over the tall grass. his beard is white gone beyond gray, and his hair, long and thin shifts with the wind. he wears a multicolored vest stitched with threads of silver and his boney white feet sit bare upon the land his hands, held still on his long legs, bear the scars of a lifetime of choices -- he sits beyond judgment beyond expectation -- he’s been waiting for a very, very long time he breathes as I breathe his blue eyes are clouded now from having witnessed a life while in the distance the witches’ voices rise in round to the beating sound of his heart he has always known this song has always known all of the songs we are each of us sorcerers all singers of one single deathless song
And a final word written very recently
only that they say it’s our habits, habitual tendencies that are reincarnated, like a wind blowing through a window left open in a newly constructed house. and this makes sense to me – I haven’t suffered enough trauma in this one life to be as confused as I seem to be so I must have swept these old wounds into the womb with me, an intangible blanket of familiar mistakes to keep this newborn warm now, as I stare down this narrowing hall I pray to whatever powers there be to allow me to direct more precisely the next go-round when the last breezes blow and this basket of bones finally fails may only one thing pass into the next life-- may I carry forward only the tender warmth of my fingers as they touch the cheeks of those I have loved most in this world that and only that May these words be of benefit to all sentient beings
To explore more poetry with buddhist themes, click here:https://www.shambhala.com/buddhist-poetry-a-reader-guide/
Shadow People – When the Lineage Merges and Generations Fade. It’s rather easy to look back, to be the receiver and say that “she contributed this, he offered that.” And then children emerge, and very soon you can sense it all begin to flow away, of everything beginning to pass.
When small, there’s a sense of “mine” in one’s children — “my son, my daughter.” But this is a terrible illusion.
In fact, we are theirs.
As Persian Poet Khalil Gibran said in his remarkable poem, “On Children,”
“…their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.” https://poets.org/poem/children-1
But a downstream lineage requires an injection – a partner, a husband, a wife to be inserted into this stream so it can flow onward. And right there begins the obsolescence. Suddenly it’s apparent that you no longer matter quite so much, even it takes time for this to sink in,
that you’re rapidly becoming little more than an old story
someone your child might recall years from now
and, if you’ve been very fortunate,
And while this is natural, it does bring with it the opportunity to love in a completely different way. This is not the love born of biology, nor is it a love shaped from an accumulated lifetime of shared experiences.
This is a love born of learning, of tolerating (in both directions, of course,) of getting to know, of bumping against each other, of embracing, of creating new shared experiences, and ultimately, heaven willing, of standing together to support the launch of the next generation.
Lineage. True Lineage.
shadow people they begin as shadow people two-dimensional, replaceable appearing only for a moment then fading, leaving only a name a story to be laughed about over dinner translucent satellites in temporary orbit around this child you’ve birthed and fed, the one you’ve poured your life into, saw fall and stand again, then mature into the rich three-dimensional life you see before you who one day brings home another and suddenly you sense that this just might be “the one” the one that takes root in the rich soil of your son, the one he now turns to before you, the one who clearly holds all of his new secrets, the one who’s ear hears all of his dreams and though you try to be happy for him and for “them” you can already feel yourself beginning to thin, to lighten, to lift ever so slightly above the floor where they now stand together can feel yourself darkening and spreading up the long wall as the sun drops low in the sky stretching the day’s last shadows which even now are beginning to fade as day inevitably progresses into night
In case you missed it, here’s a link to the Sixth Lineage Poem – This Father’s Imperfect Love: https://oldbonesnewsnow.com/2022/03/01/this-fathers-imperfect-love-sixth-lineage-poem/
The second of three Collections of photos from Africa this last October is now up on my photo site, Jfinkimages (see the link below.) This is a larger set of images from the Okavango Delta in Botswana. While there was still water in the Delta, much of it was pretty dry. Nonetheless, we were still able to spend serious quality time with a wide array of of wildlife, highlighted by encounters with three groups of predators: African Wild Dogs (including witnessing a kill,) a brother and sister pair of Lions, and the most beautiful female Leopard I’ve ever seen!
Here’s the link: https://www.jfinkimages.com/p305060048#hdf04ccea
The link will take you directly to the Collection where you can either click through image-by-image, or click the “Slideshow” button in the top right – personally I like to run the Slideshow in full-screen, but of course, I’m biased!
Many thanks to Rob Barbour at Epic Private Journeys for orchestrating yet another “once in a lifetime” safari experience (https://epicprivatejourneys.com/) and for Mapula and Tuludi Camps for their terrific hospitality and expert guide services (https://www.okavangodelta.com/the-okavango/)