Those of you readers who don't know Althea personally may have been wondering why the posts have stopped. In the midst of the bustle and work and joy and planning of life, there is sorrow and loss. Sometimes it's expected, sometimes it is sudden- but it is never easy.
We lost Althea in September. And we feel that great loss, that hole in our world, every day.
And while we are saddened, she is free.
But she leaves us so much of herself in her writings. I found this poem while sorting through pages she wrote back in late '96 or '97, after her first encounter with the big C- but not her first encounter with Buddha. And I offer it up, as a prayer.
Whats with me? Every puddle I come across, dripping down, a drain pipe,
floating organe pine needles in a clear pool lined with smooth stones, sand, pebbles, mud--
Every puddle I want to bend down and drink from.
Face to earth. A kind of healing worship.
Then I hear a car swoosh by a street or two over and I remember where I am.
And I don't fall to my knees.
But there is something with me. Something with me and I long to bend down,
to bend down on this earth and touch my lips to something cool and moist,
and to leave my tears in it's place.
I do not know when I am going to die.
But this only makes me ordinary.
It's true for everyone.
We do not know when we might die. it might be anytime.
I watched summer rattle full bloom over the mountain,
as autumn began to turn tide I thought
take this now. It is so much.
Open your arms wide. Take this. It may never come again.
Walking every morning round the lake, round the path, round the trees turning,
the birds turning, the smells turning, the rich heady compote of fall. I thought
take this in.
You'll have to open wider if you hope ti fit this all in.
Don't blink or turn away- take it this rich rich gift.
This glorious gold you've heard so much about but do you see it do you taste it because
it's only here for now, for this brief moment- and you oh lucky one are here with it.
Taste it now, and put away your sorrows.
The world is a big place.
Open wide for this may never come again.
Be sure it won't.
Each season happens only once.
It is our fallacy that they repeat, our convince, our illusion.
This moment, it won't come again. It is your gift.
I don't know how to tell you about winter- the beauty of things bare and cold.
Every twig it's own shape against the velvety mud. Carved against the low white sky.
Each thing precious.
The woodlands are like ancient jewelry each tiny thing supporting the beauty of another.
A kind of fillagree work, so vast so intricate.
The red berry hanging on that vine, the black bird that comes to eat it.
How could one hope for more?
I am more conscious then i ever was of prayer--once more this makes me only ordinary.
And my most common prayer?
dear god, open me wide.
-- Althea Hukari