Finding Peace

The past few weeks have been challenging. Like so many people, my spirit is fraught and frustrated by the ugly tumult taking place in Washington yet I can’t look away. More than ever, I find myself searching for glimmers of hope, integrity, possibility.

Waking up to a cloudy October morning, I purposely treated myself to a quiet, restful day, doing my best to tune out the travesty of the Kavanaugh confirmation.  I headed first to where I usually turn for rejuvenation and reflection: a morning walk in nature.

10-6      swimming river

While I typically walk in silence to fully savor the sounds around me, this morning I popped in my ear buds to continue listening to an episode of On Being with two of my favorite poets: Padraig O Tuama and Marilyn Nelson.  Pure, nourishing soul food….

On Being: Choosing Words that Deepen the Argument of Being Alive

Followed by pure, nourishing real food (though, truth be told, I wanted a pizza)….

salad

And as the perfect nightcap to an October Saturday, I flipped between episodes of Dateline (who doesn’t love Keith Morrison on a Saturday evening?!) and my favorite Georgia Bulldogs vs. Vanderbilt.

dawgs
Go Dawgs!

A much-needed day of peace uncovered in the simplest of joys.  Happy Saturday, everyone.  Tend to yourselves, cultivate peace.

Beans and Rice, with a Poem

I recently discovered a new poem. One of the benefits of reading voraciously is that you are constantly learning, traveling, unearthing, sharing, exploring, questioning, wandering, growing, and discovering. And aren’t those some of the best bits of life? Some of the very actions that give us meaning and purpose?

Poet, performer, librettist, and professor Douglas Kearney read the poem in an online course I was taking (“Sharpened Visions: A Poetry Workshop” via Coursera), and I immediately fell in love with its exquisite colors and concrete images, simple–though anything but.  I replayed Kearney’s reading of the poem several times that week and in so doing discovered another poet to enjoy and introduce to my students–Kearney himself.

And then I did the next obvious thing, the only possible choice….I cooked up a hot, steaming plate of beans and rice (tossing in cilantro, chunks of fresh garlic, and Sriracha for kicks) and devoured the delicious simplicity of the dish.

Enjoy this poem, and then go and cook up some beans and rice of your own to relish. It really doesn’t get much better, does it?

“Red Beans” by Victor Hernandez Cruz

Next  to white rice
it looks like coral
sitting next to snow
Hills of starch
border
The burnt sienna
of irony
Azusenas being chased by
the terra cotta feathers
of a rooster
There is a lava flow
through the smoking
white mounds
India red
spills on ivory
Ochre cannon balls
falling
next to blanc pebbles
Red beans and milk
make burgundy wine
Violet pouring
from the eggshell
tinge of the plate.

 

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