Monday, April 29, 2013

the best strains to be released

teachers, at our best

teachers, at our best, 
are supportive companions for a time
for our students, 
who are on a quest to find the holy grail
that is who they are:

on one level we teachers impart information,
and that can be good,

on another level we can work to make sure
skills are addressed, learned,

when we are at our best, though,
we are companions who see the best in our students
and we can help them see the best in themselves,
and to embrace it,
for once students embrace the reality of the best
that calls to them from within and without,
they can then make themselves 
into who will make a positive difference in the world,

today I luxuriate in 
rekindling the fires of connection 
with student after former student,

and I am humbled by how well student after student
has figured out who they are at their best,
and how to manifest that best 
with their children and with their careers,
many in ways that make sense to me as a calling,
with the job as a doorway 
through which the world can pass 
and become better,

the world becomes a better place one person at a time,
and can do so even faster as the ripples from each life
touch and lift other lives,
as the best within strains to be released.

by Henry H. Walker
April 27, ’13

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

of Boston this week

a dark time, and a light

with my psyche
winds whirl and whip at me,
the unspeakable can happen
in a world close enough to me to notice,
and despair can pull tears from my eyes,
a darkness can fall over my hope for a time,
and it can feel hard to breathe, to move,

another wind can come up, clear away the blocking fog,
and I discover something beautiful, too, has happened,
a newness born, a hope that bursts toward the future,
a building up that defies the breaking down,

within our world, within our psyche,
multitudes of paths open and close all the time,

we love the paths that go up and toward the light,
we need to also clearly see the paths
that call to us of darkness.

by Henry H. Walker
April 19, ’13

Monday, April 22, 2013

the iron needle aligns

to align or to resist?

iron, if allowed to move with little resistance,
aligns itself with the ubiquitous, invisible, demanding
magnetic field of the Earth,

it must feel right for it to do so,
and it must feel a strain within its very self
when it knows how to be, and it can’t be so,
so like how one can feel

about getting right with that of God,

the cardinal directions pull at us
as if we too are iron needles,
we need to know where we are,
we need to know where everything else is,
and we need to fit ourselves in the world around us,
every morning the Sun rises and can center us,

every evening the Sun sets and can center us,
clouds out of the south or out of the north,
out of the west, or sometimes out of the east,
can tell us what’s happening,
whether a reality of cold or heat, of sun or rain,

first we need to know where we are within the whirling world,
and then we need to choose how much
to align ourselves, or how much to resist, the currents around us,

only when we know the board of the game
should we then choose how to play 
with the precious piece of our time.

compass courtesy of Google images
chiastolite crystal from Lancaster, MA
photos by me

by Henry H. Walker
April 17, ’13

Sunday, April 21, 2013

how well the race is run

the relay race of parenting

how hard it must have been to be in that greatest generation,
to have to deal with Depression and World War,
and all the prices that had to be paid if one were to endure,

today I touched a small piece of that price when I imagined a bit 
of how little our parents had time with their grandchildren,
my wife and I were born with our parents near 40,
for them marriage, and children, had to be put off
while the world struggled to right itself,
I’m not able to really imagine starving 
or being blown up or shot,
or of PTSD shell-shocking me,

however, I can cry when I think of a father away from a child,
or of a father never knowing a grandchild,
for me it’s like how much easier it can be
to grasp the tragedy of one than to grasp the tragedy of many,

I watch my son near 40 be extraordinary as a dad,
today I hear of him taking his near 4 month old son
for a stroll to a waterfall near his Minnesota home,
and I tear thinking how much my father would have loved
to be there to see that, and to celebrate it,

as parents we run in a relay race, and we know our stretch,
we know something of the hand-off before,
something of the hand-off after us,
too often we can’t know enough 
of how well the race continues to be run.

by Henry H. Walker
April 17, ’13

Monday, April 15, 2013

making hay

the glory of spring

throughout March, and into April,
the nights flirt with freezing,
and the days hold back from an enthusiasm of heat,
so plants hesitate to come forth,
no stalk of asparagus is yet up in the garden,

in the last week, though, heat returns,
eighties and sun seem to snap their fingers
and the trees take off from sharp lines to fulling leaves,

distance blocked by green factories
ready to make their own hay,

usually, dogwood blossoms wait to follow the leafing,
this year they both crowd to the front of the line,

at the same time my cherry trees
erupt like great white torches

which draw tiger swallowtail butterflies to them,

pairs of butterflies circle each other
and spiral up and down like double helixes,

this spring is noisy with birds
who love the food plentifully provided
and tend their eggs which each hope to be predator, 
and not prey,

pine and oak pollen coats everything,
turns rain puddles yellow,

and annoys many into allergy,

we humans don’t stop when it’s dark outside:
we work into the night,

we humans don’t stop in winter
and we can exhaust ourselves by spring,

plants and insects, birds and grazers, thrive now,
we humans need summer and fall to fill our bodies,
though our spirit fills with the glory of spring.

by Henry H. Walker
April 12, ’13

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

where flowers are. . .

a wildflower centers

even one wildflower
can be so exquisite
that no photo, no words, 
can really hold it close enough
to let it sing
the way it does
through the eye to the soul within,

and when, like today, every step on a trail
reveals garden after garden
of mossy rock ledges showcasing flowers,

of banks of trillium and blood root,

of hepatica and rue anemone,
and more, and more,
every step is a new showcase,
and then, when we climb past that extravagance,
within the drier world of heath
trailing arbutus subtly bedazzles us,

like bees to nectar, many are drawn here today
with book and camera and tripod,
and easy sharing of discovery,

for like the poet John Clare, two centuries ago,
we know that where flowers are,
what we know of God is, too,
and something deep within us feels released,
and free.

by Henry H. Walker
April 6, ’13

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

moments hide within every step

destination, and the journey itself

“you’re almost there,” he encouragingly says to us,

while Joan and I mosey up the trail,
marveling at this flower and that,

a few minutes ahead is a waterfall,
and we are going there,
we will stop and savor it,
and we will turn around after,
so it is a destination for us,
yet it’s not the reason for our hike,
this whole dell of wildflowers in old growth woods
climaxes our stroll today here in this gorgeous valley,
the waterfall the literal highpoint,

what jars me about his innocent, well-meaning comment
is an assumption that the end is most real
while I feel every moment of the journey should be glory,

I love the waterfall when we get to it,
and I snap picture after picture 
to hold a bit of its storm-fed glory 
spotlighted by a bright afternoon sun
whose return we love,

I also love each flower--
the sharp lines of the trout lily,

the proud white trillium,

the ubiquitous hepatica,
the exquisite lacy phacelia,

I stretch out onto the ground to photograph them all,

a goal can get us onto the trail,
yet we often need to stop and sense the moments
that can hide within every step.

by Henry H. Walker
April 5, ’13

the present of water

to write in stone

I like to write in stone,
though I don’t do it much,
mostly I “etch-a-sketch” with my students
and I usually don’t know when what we’ve sketched together
holds in this memory and self enough to matter,

I’m proud of stone steps I laid down to the creek:
no mortar, careful choosing and placing,
a rightness to their look and function,

much of a stream is the present of the water,
and it can flow fast 
and the water before me, that is, soon isn’t,

the rocks endure and shape what the water can do,
though in the long run they too are ephemeral,

I recently looked down 
and a rock at my feet looked out-of-place,
when I picked it up it looked to be a hand axe,
carefully crafted unknown years ago
by someone gifted to write in stone,
and then it was lost,
until the craftsman in me found it,
and I joy that what we craft might be found again,
though loss is deeply inherent
in the stream of each life.

by Henry H. Walker
April 4, ’13

Monday, April 8, 2013

to inventory the neglected

release the pressure

all sorts of pressure are just underneath my surface of self,
the energy can be subsumed in the busyness of action,
like steam to power the machinery of work and duty,

when I start to release myself from doing,
I loose my control of the turmoil within me,
no apparatus then forces the energies to do work,

so in the middle of the night
I wake up and fears and doubts work at me,
I feel fearful for what might happen,
I can feel guilty for what has happened,
I sense the dark forces within me,
I remember this and that decision,

I work to inventory what I have neglected,
to face what I fear,
so that in my psyche the energies can flow true.

by Henry H. Walker
April 4, ’13

Thursday, April 4, 2013

the "aha" in child development

Max Thorin Walker, At 3 Months

in our arms
Max feels solid, sure, and stretches himself with careful abandon,
as he begins to come fully into his physical self,
no longer quite so soft as two months ago,
then often ready to curl up as if to be back in the womb,
now he lengthens and increasingly moves his body to suit his whims:
his hands and arms, his feet and legs, open and close, initiate and withdraw,
move to express who and how he is as an entity opening himself to the world,
and venturing action upon action to see how it goes,
though much seems random and exploratory,
he moves the way a dancer moves after years of study,
with each part of the body a tool with which to express,

how a randomized intuition, plus stimulus and effect,
produce such actions is a wonder in itself,
his eyes, like his hands, move as seems right
in the eternity that every moment is for him,

when I have him in my arms,
my heart holds me enough that I know
to change my rhythms to fit his, 
to follow his lead,
so I meet his eye with mine,
his smile with mine,
his laugh with more and more of my own,

we dance together in a connection
that works for him and overwhelms me
with just how wonderfully joyous Max can be,
and with how honored I am that how I am with him 
helps him to be there with me enough
to smile, to laugh, 
and then to know how and when it’s time to move on,

for us, opportunity meets preparation,
as our three months old grandson pulls himself up to new plateaus
where he feels sure enough to break free
into noticing, then approving, than laughing,
and when it is one of us whose eyes he meets
and who then gets a smile, a laugh,
smiles and laughs cascade back onto him
and for long moments nothing else matters,

as eyes meet and happy approval bubbles out of both of us,
a piece of rainbow or the wall, or even just a patch of the ceiling,
also can get a smile and a laugh,
and Max’s default position seems often to be joy in just being,

as I have him cradled in my lap,
like this writing pad is now,
his body held by my crossed left leg,
his head on my knee,
I watch him to learn from his attention
more of what’s going on inside him,
his eyes focus first on one hand, then on the other,
he makes the connection that there is a connection
between what he sees and what he feels,
his left hand just days before found its way to his mouth
for the thumb to be sucked,
and he sucks his thumb now easily and readily,
and he seems now to discover
that he can be conscious and decide what to do with his hands,

moments later he discovers his feet,
I watch him think and move,
I hold each foot, move it around in front of his eyes a few times,
then I hold my palms up, facing his feet, and just in reach,
he methodically presses foot onto hand, withdraws, repeats,

the next day I watch him closely again, and he remembers,
concentrates, works at getting how impulse leads to action,
and he begins to get that some of the world might be in his control,

inductively, he discovers,
and I watch him learn and apply each lesson,
he works hard, every muscle, every neuron firing,
it’s like he runs a marathon between every nap,
or maybe it’s like he goes 100 miles per hour,
then shifts into Park, closes his eyes, and conks out,

child development can reveal itself in “aha” moments that deserve goose bumps.

by  Granddaddy, Henry H. Walker
March 31 and April 1, ’13