Long, dark nights – brief, sunless days

A poem I wrote many years ago, re-written slightly.  Originally about Advent, it works well with Solstice, too. 

A cold dissatisfaction oozes poison into hours

of solitary boredom that once tasted summer’s warmth

and rejoiced in sensate ponderings of heaven’s languid clime.

 

Now prayers lie frozen on my lips these bitter, ashen afternoons.

 

Glossy catalogs and magazines lie orphaned at my door,

but I will not adopt their cheer

nor bed th’insouciant whoring of our winter holy days.

 

So melancholy punctuates the numbing march of time

into that darkened solstice of medieval isolation —

propelled into the farthest arc, forsaken by the sun.

 

Thus emptied into neediness, to famine and despair,

I search the yawning pitch-smeared void

and there behold a piercing Star!

 

No gaily burning candle nor twinkling hearthside glow,

this is the hard-edged hopefulness forged pure and straight of cosmic might,

arising out of nothingness toward Life’s salvific land.

 

My soul, a silent universe,

lies naked in its beam,

a prayer more fragile and profound

than any summer dream.

For warmth and life, nothing beats baking and eating tasty treats!  Steve made a Pear Rosemary quick bread the other day.  It filled the house with a savory aroma of sweetness, tartness and tangy evergreen. 

May your brief, sunless days be warmed with life, your long, dark nights with be warmed with love!

© 2014, poem and photographs, Priscilla Galasso, All rights reserved

Weekly Photo Challenge: Twinkle

Toes.  Eyes.  Live humans twinkle.  Is that from light cast upon them or from light within?

twinkle joshCarl Sagan says that “we are made of star stuff”.  My mother-in-law used to say that Jim was “shiny and pink” as a baby.  He glowed with the vibrancy of good circulation and white-blond hair, I guess.  I remember almost putting his eye out once when that twinkle made me just so curious that I wanted to touch it. 

photo credit unknown

photo credit unknown

That spark of life.  The cosmic, irreproducible result that drives scientists mad.  “It’s ALIIIIIVE!” No wonder we want to add that vibrant energy to our winter days, when we’re thrown into the farthest arc and missing the summer sun.

P1040432How do you remind yourself of the shimmer that is our existence on this beautiful sphere in this living Universe?  Do you surround yourself with round, sparkly things?

NYE tableOr do you simply look up from your life?

 

The lights are already hung.  The magic is all around us, even now.  Go outside and take a look!

in response to WordPress’ weekly photo challenge.

<a href="http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/twinkle/">Twinkle</a>

© 2014, essay and photographs, Priscilla Galasso, All rights reserved

Parenting: Then and Now

Preschool crush plants a kiss. “Isn’t that cute?!”  Mom takes a picture. 

Grade school crush writes a note.  Revelation: someone likes you.  Mom smiles. 

Middle school crush messes with your self-esteem.  Why and why not?  Mom worries. 

High school crush introduces adult intimacy.  Are there rules?  Mom intervenes. 

College crush invites self-exploration.  What if?  Mom doesn’t know. 

Post-college crush proposes solid possibilities.  What will I choose for myself?

Mom leaves it up to you and breathes relief. 

afterglow

The afterglow: 5 couples around the table, relaxed adult conversation. “Isn’t this nice?!”

Mom takes a picture.

Inside My Head: Fear

I noticed it right away.  My heart beat faster and my thoughts proliferated out of control.  Every twinge of muscle, of intestine, of nervous skin was magnified.  I wanted to run, to turn back the clock, to un-make this reaction.  I struggled to assert my Rational brain.  “Emotional reactions are not the Truth.  They are a human phenomenon, but they are not Right or Wrong.”  How do I act, what are my choices, given this rising tide of Fear?  I immediately decide on Function.  I later decide on Communication.  I notice that when I begin to dismantle the wall of Function, I feel very vulnerable.  My nose prickles, my eyes moisten.  I entrust myself  to a Listener.  I dare myself to be Honest. 

fearFear is at the dinner table, and we let it talk.  It is mostly about The Unknown.  What will happen?  What will my options be?  Will it hurt?  I am uncomfortable.  I squirm.  I weep.  I want to flee, but I stay put.  I keep talking.  Memories of pain join the conversation.  I don’t want to return to that place.  I realize that I can’t return to that place.  Each place is different.  Life moves forward; we flow with it.  Now that my emotions and thoughts are freed from repression, I feel movement in myself.  It is comforting.  I am unstuck, calmer.  And exhausted.  How much energy it takes to be afraid!  I will sleep, and use my energy differently tomorrow.

© 2014, essay and photograph, Priscilla Galasso, All rights reserved

Morning Thoughts: Finding True Place In Wilderness

I found an essay called “The Body and The Earth” by Wendell Berry in The Unsettling of America published in 1977.  It is an extremely articulate and broad analysis of that “spherical network” that moves fluidly from agriculture, to Shakespeare and suicide, to sexual differences and divisions, and more.  Here is an excerpt from the beginning which describes the mythic human dilemma:

“Until modern times, we focused a great deal of the best of our thought upon such rituals of return to the human condition.  solitudeSeeking enlightenment or the Promised Land or the way home, a man would go or be forced to go into the wilderness, measure himself against the Creation, recognize finally his true place within it, and thus be saved both from pride and from despair.  wilderness threshold

“Seeing himself as a tiny member of a world he cannot comprehend or master or in any final sense possess, he cannot possibly think of himself as a god. 

Big Basin Redwoods State Park

“And by the same token, since he shares in, depends upon, and is graced by all of which he is a part, neither can he become a fiend; he cannot descend into the final despair of destructiveness. 

pinnacles summit

“Returning from the wilderness, he becomes a restorer of order, a preserver.  He sees the truth, recognizes his true heir, honors his forebears and his heritage, and gives his blessing to his successors.  He embodies the passing of human time, living and dying within the human limits of grief and joy.”

edge 3Human limits.  Humility.  Our struggles, our desires, our wants, our hopes and feelings of elation are not the stuff to tilt the planet.  There is a rightness outside of our sphere.  I like to remember that perspective each time I encounter the “world wide web” of hype and OMG! and products and extracting resources and cruelty and pettiness. 

Peace on earth, Priscilla

© 2014, essay and photographs, Priscilla Galasso, All rights reserved

BE inspired … BE creative … BE peace … BE

The second issue of The ‘B’ Zine is out!  This is a collaboration of The Bardo Group (which considers me a contributing writer) and Beguine Again.  The theme for this month is “Preparation”.  I invite you to check it out, enjoy it, reblog it, and be part of the movement.  Peace!

THE B Zine, December, Vol.1, Issue 2 – Table of Contents with Links

THE B ZINE

BE inspired … BE creative … BE peace … BE

Volume 1, Issue 2

a publication of Bequine Again and The Bardo Group

This Month our Theme is

Preparation

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THIS SEASON in the Christian Church is Advent,  a time of spiritual preparation for birth of the Christ spirit in the hearts of human kind.

If you are not Christian, you might use this time and these practices as preparation for the birth of your highest Self as represented by the founder or a saint of your own religion or as an awakening to the Essential Spirit within. If you are atheist, you might see this time as preparation for the birth of the very best You.  Inspiration and suggested spiritual practice are gifted to us by Terri Stewart, Priscilla Galasso, JD Gore, and Rev. Tandi Roberts.

In this issue  we also look back with Corina Ravenscraft at November and its gifts of Gratitude and Rememberence as we cross the threshold into December.  Corina’s second feature is a celebration of December.

Jamie Dedes reviews Writing Your Self: Transforming Personal Material by John Kilick and Myra Schneider.  Working with this book might be a good way for you to kick-start the fast-approaching New Year. We have poetry from Jamie,  Joseph Hetch, Terri Stewart and Myra Schneider and a sampling of Naomi Baltuck’s singular photo stories, both inspired and inspirational.

Other features include a reflections on: an Ethiopian coffe ceremony with Karen Fayeth; life and isolation with Joseph Hesch, World AIDS day with Tracy Dougherty; the presence God with Liliana Negoi; and an artful medition by the Rev. Tendi Roberts.

You will find team and guest bios HERE along with links to their work and/or websites.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Features/Preparation

Slowly We Go, Terri Stewart

Prepare Ye – The Way and the Wilderness, Priscilla Galasso

Preparation, Frank Watson

Preparation Ritual, Tandi Roberts

I Knew Advent, JD Gore

Features/General Interest

For the Love of a Good Cuppa, Karen Fayeth

Lifting Stones, Lilliana Negoi

World AIDS Day, Tracy Daugherty

Rememberance and Forgiveness, Corina Ravenscraft

Seasonal Cheer, Corina Ravenscraft

Swann in the City, Joseph Hesch

Book Reviews

Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry, Jamie Dedes

Writing Your Self: Transforming Personal Experience, Jamie Dedes

Poetry

Finding Silence, Myra Schneider

Beneath the Surface, Joseph Hesch

You Just Missed it, Joseph Hesch

The Leaves Still Fall, Joseph Hesch

The Republic of Innocence, Jamie Dedes

Winter Is Here, I Know, Jamie Dedes

Photo Stories

Embracing the ‘M’ Word, Naomi Baltuck

The Many Degrees of Spooky, Naomi Baltuck

Virgins No More, Naomi Baltuck

It’s Never Too Late, Naomi Baltuck

Art

Light from Darkenss, Becky Withington

Illustrations:

Header: Adoration of the Shepherds, Gerardvan Honhorst (1622)
Above: Angel Gabriel’s Annunciation to Mary, Murillo (1655)
Below: A page from an 11th-century Gospel of Matthew (1:18-21) with Matthew 1:21, (35) providing the origin of the name “Jesus.”

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Advent Day #7 – Memory

scillagrace:

Thoughts of the past, love and war, surface this morning. I thought to revisit the day in my blog and this is what I found…

Originally posted on scillagrace:

One of the most fascinating gifts of the human brain is Memory.  On my Advent countdown, this is something to open with caution.  “When faced with his past, the strongest man cries.” (from a Dan Fogelberg song)  “Memory is like the sweetest pain…” (from a James Taylor song)  The question I must ask myself when I am drawn to memory is, “Is this useful?”  I could get sucked into the morose for hours, wallowing in widowhood, motherhood, womanhood, childhood.  What would I learn?  If it brings appreciation or perspective, very well.  If it gets me ‘stuck’, then it’s not so good.  Here’s my post from two years ago:

Christmas 1982

Ever had a piece of music bring up a memory, a time and place from the past, with such clarity that you felt you were actually there?  Last night it happened.  I came home from my…

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