Thursday, June 13, 2013

the tree we need

out of balance

the mother bear and her cubs found the Chinese Chestnut tree,
its sweet nuts just ready for her and her young,
so she climbed the tree and spent her day
breaking off branches and dropping them to the ground,
about 1/4 of the tree roughly pruned away
and the dead branches, stripped of chestnuts,
littered the ground like after an American picnic in the 1950s,

I watch squirrels assault my bird feeder
and I recognize that same mentality for “me and mine,”

when we humans stopped limiting our numbers
we did so not because we alone don’t care about balance,
instead, we alone have the power to fully act on our desires,

the bears’ hunger and ours are kin,

we humans need to fit ourselves back into balance
into a reality that won’t kill the tree we need to live.

by Henry H. Walker

June 11, ’13

awake to revelation

a transcendent reality

the West draws me. . .
I often say:
“Just throw a dart at a map of the West.
Wherever it lands, you can have an amazing adventure. . .”

when I get right down to it, though,
that’s what I feel about every day, wherever I am,

if I’m open to what the moment can release,
there’s a poem, a picture, 
a transcendent reality, always, 
just beyond a blind grasp,

that transcendent reality can be 
just within what we can notice
when we are awake to revelation.

by Henry H. Walker
June 5, ’13

Saturday, June 1, 2013

in tribute

Kim Marie Walsh

what a considered life she lived!

appreciative of beauty, wherever it could be found,
particularly in the classic perfection of ballet,
in the natural grace of the sunflower,
and in her two children whose casual studied sureness was a joy to her,
she was also blessed with a partner 
with whom the world could be so right,

Kim worked hard to help others be happy,
a rightness when she could take care
of a husband, a child, a friend, a colleague, a neighbor,

her cooking was amazing
and people were drawn to her table
for her delicious Manhattan rice salad,
her hatred of unhealthy food a powerful drive for her,
though she also was sure that food was supposed to taste good,
she tried whole wheat pasta and went back to white,
and desserts definitely needed the requisite sugar,
ice cream and dark chocolate a treat, though not to be over-indulged,

she loved to run,
with the body allowing the spirit to be free,
the world a wonder to appreciate as she moved lightly through it,

other places and countries gates through which she felt a welcoming,
with her beloved Dan, Hawaii, was where to go for a pre-honeymoon,
Duke Chapel where to get married,
Alaska’s wonder where to go for a honeymoon,

Kim grew up in the heartland, 
in the gorgeous rolling hills of Wisconsin,
her father a doctor, a general practitioner,
her mother, devoted to making a home,
coming east to college at Dartmouth
and loving English as a major,
loving books and the way they would transport her to another world,

then following a path like her father’s,
following her dreams to medical school at Duke,
practicing for a time, 
then directing medical services for Burlington and, after that, Durham,
settling into Blue Cross/Blue Shield
as a way to use her training and care for others
so that she could make the necessary decisions of what insurance would pay for,

Kim listened to her body
and counseled that one should not push the body beyond what it is capable of,
loving running but not pushing herself beyond what the body could tolerate,

how can anyone truly know the pain her body and soul felt the last years?
the nerves in her back demanding to be served,
particularly the sciatic nerve, who shouted at her,
and denied her the wonderful release of the movement of running,
her mind slipping into depression,
as gate after gate seemed to close around her
and pain filled every moment,
tears and withdrawal into her room
answers that only barely worked for her,

and she could not take it any more,

even in her last message,
she did her best to take care of those she loved:
that each could have done nothing more or better,
that it was her time,
and she acted on that sureness.

by Henry H. Walker
May 15, ’13