Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Little Comfort
















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser


I do believe that there are things out there
trying to get us to notice the miraculous.
There are choruses at sunrise, and colorful
mosaics – like stained glass windows –
crafted among the trees at sunset.

They say: “This is a house of worship.”

They say: “Listen. Look.”

They ask: “What is it that you have been praying for?”

And, I often sit with that question for quite some
time. I’ve prayed for a lot of things, usually not
realizing that I was praying at all. Usually, prayers
about brokenness – mine or someone else’s.

But now, I do choose to pray. Sometimes, silently.
Sometimes, through words shared with the world.
Never, big. Never, flashy. Often, I just want to bring
a little comfort to a soul – mine or someone else’s.

A poem can be a prayer.



© 2014-2017/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Coming Home: Learning to Actively Love this World"
Published by Talking Waters Press

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Sunday, December 28, 2014

My List




















How does one live a meaningful life? I asked this question.

***

A song sparrow chipped at dusk, three times, and started
me thinking about what it takes to know that out there in the
creeping dark, it is he, Song Sparrow, without a doubt, I hear
giving thanks for the pleasures of the day. So, I made a
list of requirements. I’ll read it to you.

1. Notice that you are not alone in the world.
2. Become interested in something besides yourself.
3. Engage in relationship.
4. Learn what makes a good offering.
5. Serve the other in this way.

That’s something.



© 2014-2017/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Coming Home: Learning to Actively Love this World"
Published by Talking Waters Press

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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Rosie in on the Counter Again
















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser


She said to me:  “I am important. You should see me.”
I said: “I do see you. You make it very hard not to see
you. You jump on the counters and bat at my face with
your right paw.” And, she said: “That’s not about me.
That’s about you.” Surprised, I inquired: “How so?” And,
she circled her lean tortoiseshell body, tail arced, gold-
green eyes chasing mine, and meowed, so sweetly:
“That’s my way of saying: You are important too.”



© 2014-2015/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Coming Home: Learning to Actively Love this World"
Published by Talking Waters Press
Available thru Amazon.com and other major retailers

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Berries




















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser


I could have picked
them. I didn’t. Red.
Round. Winter saying
something, boldly.
Maybe to the red
bird in the green-
boughed pine. Maybe
to me. But, I have a
thought. It’s about
beauty. Maybe it’s a
test. The important
kind. Maybe someone
up there wants to
know if you can see
a thing and praise it
and that is all. This
I’ve tried. I can’t do
it. Every time I walk
away, my heart is
full.



© 2014-2015/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Coming Home: Learning to Actively Love this World"
Published by Talking Waters Press
Available thru Amazon.com and other major retailers

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Short Poem
















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

I'm going to tell you a secret:

The holy is visible.


(c) 2014-2016/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Coming Home: Learning to Actively Love this World"
Published by Talking Waters Press

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Reason Enough




















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser


Today, I watched the sun wrap his long glowing
fingers around a pine’s narrow waist. It was a
lover’s embrace. I am sure of it. Daring things
are happening – beautiful and fearless. I want
to recognize them all. I want to tell about them.
This would be reason enough to stay for awhile
longer. This is reason enough to have come at all.




© 2014-2016/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Coming Home: Learning to Actively Love this World"
Published by Talking Waters Press
Available through Amazon.com and other major retailers

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Reindeer Games
















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser


Siberia is a place of the far North characterized by long winters, snow, and reindeer. The Tungusic are indigenous peoples of Siberia whose lives have long been dependent on an intimate and sacred relationship with reindeer – they are reindeer herders. The word ‘Saman’ (shaman) is a Tungusic word that connotes a spiritual specialist, someone who serves as a bridge between the ‘everyday world’ and the ‘spirit world.’  The shaman’s role is to engage with the spirit world (aka practice magic) in order to support the community, generally through visions, healing, protection, and resource abundance.

Snow
Far North
Reindeer
Magic

Amanita muscaria is the scientific name for a mushroom commonly known as fly amanita or fly agaric. It is a relatively large, attractive looking mushroom sporting a red cap specked with white dots. You’ve probably seen them illustrated alongside fairytales.  Amanitas generally grows under – and in a close ecological association with - conifers (pine trees). They contain the psychoactive compound muscamol which, when ingested, can induce hallucinations (including visions of flying), euphoria, and a ruddy complexion.  Dried mushrooms are, apparently, most potent. However, it is reportedly safer to experience the affects Amanitas by drinking the urine of someone or something that has already consumed the fungus.  Amanitas muscaria is a favorite Autumn food of reindeer.

Red and white
Pine trees
Flying
Reindeer games

In the Tungusic tradition, it was the shaman’s role to work with the spirit of the Amanitas mushroom – the holy mushroom. When it came time to gather them, he would do so ceremoniously, dressing in long black boots and a red and white fur-trimmed coat. He carried a large collecting sack. Once he had a sufficient number of mushrooms, he returned and distributed them throughout the village. When the snows became deep, it was common to enter the family yurts (large teepee-like structures) through a hole in the ceiling – which also served as an exit for smoke. Imagine, under the influence of Amanitas, how this rather jolly, red-faced man might look descending through the chimney with a “Ho, ho, ho!” And envision the mushrooms then being dried by the fire with care – strung together like garlands or, possibly, hanging in garments, such as socks.

Gifts
Chimney
Santa’s attire
Holiday decorations
Stockings

When the dried mushrooms were consumed during Winter Solstice ceremonies, would these peoples have seen the shaman flying in a sleigh led by reindeer? Perhaps. Stories of the various gods being associated with flying chariots date far back in human history – and various versions of the story claim the chariot was pulled by horses or, yes, reindeer. Thor was one such god. In the Old High German language, he was known as Donar. Interestingly, mythology also reveals links between the chariot and the Big Dipper – a star constellation which appears to circle the North Star over the course of a single night.

Super human
Flying reindeer and sleigh
All in a night
Guiding star

The North Star was considered sacred by indigenous people of the Northern Hemisphere. Because it seems to be a fixed point encircled by other stars, it was essentially their Axis Mundi – the center of the universe. To some of these peoples, the North Star adorned the top of the World Tree which connected the realms of the universe – underworld (roots), middle world (Earth), and upper world (cosmos - the realm of the gods and their chariots).  The shaman was responsible for climbing the World Tree and setting the star in place.

Or, so the story goes.


Remember to leave the cookies and carrots on the hearth.


(c) 2014-2016/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Winter: Reflections by Snowlight"
Published by Hiraeth Press (www.hiraethpress.com)

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Nuthatch Logic




















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser


Today, in the wood, I decided to converse
with nuthatch. “Nuthatch,” I said, “the
world seems upside down.”

And, nuthatch squeaked in the way
nuthatches do, and replied:

“I can see how you would see it that way.
I don’t understand how you people get
around the way you do,

All that blood going to your feet. It must
be hard to think.”

And, I could say no more.



©2014-2016/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Coming Home: Learning to Actively Love this World"
Published by Talking Waters Press
Available through Amazon.com and other major retailers

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Friday, December 12, 2014

My Dirty Windows
















Photo: (c) Jamie K.  Reaser


Someday you might visit. So, I need to tell you
this: I keep my windows dirty. I’m not a bad
housekeeper. My mother was. And, she’d say so.

I like the birds and feed them because I’ve heard
that you should feed the holy, and also because
it makes me happy to see them so delighted.
They are. You can tell. They have their ways of
expression, as I have mine. Though I’ll admit, theirs
are much better.

But, sometimes birds see things that aren’t there
and make bad choices based on these illusions.
Head first they go, hard, often.  The window
pane is not a forest, not the sky, not another set
of feeders full of tidbits to gleefully chip and
fluff about. But when the lighting is just so, they
don’t get this. Sadly. No.

Have you ever held one that hit and fell, lifeless?
The spirit goes out of winged ones fast. I suppose
that is because they already know how to fly. Or,
they already know which angels to call by name. Or,
they become angels. These are some possibilities.

So, do you now understand the smears and splotches?

Maybe. Likely not. I say this kindly. I’ll explain.

My windows are dirty so that I will remember to be
thoughtful, discerning. I’ve seen a lot of things in my
life. Some of them, I later found out, weren’t what
I believed them to be.  



© 2014-2016/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Coming Home: Learning to Actively Love this World"
Published by Talking Waters Press

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Monday, December 8, 2014

When I Knew
















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser


The long ringlets of white synthetic hair were so many; I could only make out a nose. The red and white fabric of his hat, jacket, and boots was shiny and soft to the touch, but synthetic too. And the wide black belt, plastic. Most notably, the sprig of holly attached to him, fake.

If this was Santa, he was a man of little fashion sense. And, cheap. What’s more, he was well preserved in a way that I didn’t care to appreciate. His hands were absent wrinkles. Not a one. Surely, Santa should be a grandfatherly man.

But there he sat, jollying it up on our floral couch with me in my floral dress sitting, suspicious, upon his lap. Yes, as he handed me a small gift wrapped in pea green tissue paper (it was the 70s), I was being told in no uncertain terms, “This is Santa.”

How very disappointing.

I decided to prefer the unknown, and magic.


(c) 2012-2016/Jamie K. Reaser
Published in "Winter: Reflections by Snowlight"
www.hiraethpress.com

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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Untitled
















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser


Maybe it’s fog, or mist, or a cloud in
fetal form, or maybe it is something else
that has come for a time to teach us to look
close in because we are so often set on far
horizons.

What is your perspective?

This is what I know:

that which
you can’t
see is what
turns a
hermit
into a
master.



© 2014-2016/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Wonderment: New and Selected Poems" (a work in progress)
To be published by Talking Waters Press 

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Friday, December 5, 2014

Maybe, Then




















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser


If you can’t hear the turkey tail and the bright green
moss singing on the rotted oak corpse, please don’t bother me.
If you can’t converse with a stone or
haven’t even thought about learning the language of birds,
Please move on.
Life is short. Each one.
I want my allegiances to be with lovers;
the kind that reach out and invite everything to touch them.
Two hands are not enough for this world
in my humble opinion.
There is so much to hold beyond fear, beyond hatred,
and so we must use our sensibilities to find each other.

Let my prayers be that you will hear the angels at the corpse
and listen for a long while to what the stones know
about the bodies that they have met.
And, the birds, the birds. Let me pray that someday, soon,
you will understand what they are saying about
the need to wake and rise.

Maybe, then, we could take a walk together
and be astonished
by the beauty of this world.

Maybe, then, a poet could be understood.


© 2014-2016/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Coming Home: Learning to Actively Love this World"
Published by Talking Waters Press 

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Old Tom
















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser


Nine years ago, a large-pawed tom sung his way into my
small cabin.  He’s not happy. At sunset he has been taking
to the window sill, waiting among the orchids. I watch. And,
I wait too, but not so earnestly. Eventually, I get distracted
by something else, a chore most likely, and that’s when it
begins: the growling, the arched posturing against the pane
that I should get around to cleaning sometime soon. “He’s
out there!” he says. “Another one!” And, I turn on the porch
light and confirm, “You are correct.” A lean brown tabby streaks
into the darkness. And, then I say, “Be nice. Don’t you remember
when you were scared and hungry and alone? It was not so long
ago.” And, he looks into me with sharp golden eyes, locked.
Annoyed, I think.  “I’m getting old,” he replies. “Our time
together is short. I will not share you.” And, to make his stance
clear, he turns and marks the front door, the threshold of our
shared life, our cozy home. Suddenly, I’m back in high school
Humanities class, studying mythology. Sooner or later, I recall,
the gods always get jealous.


© 2014-2015/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Coming Home: Learning to Actively Love this World"
To be published by Talking Waters Press in late 2015

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Robins in the Black Gum
















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

You can see how Summer was good to them,
their robust breasts gleaming in the mirror of
the afternoon sun, and they are cheery. They
have a way of speaking about things that sounds
as if rejoicing, never reluctant, and this, even
after the early season freezes put ice on the pond
already. But they are meaningful too, dropping the
black gum seed where it will grow, and holly,
and I saw them not long ago at the dogwood berries.
Brilliant red. People don’t think much about this
anymore, I know, but birds plant the forest. Other
animals do too. Squirrels, for sure. Yes, angels are
common among us and doing such good deeds. I
swear. How is it that we miss the grandeur of it all?


© 2014-2015/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Coming Home: Learning to Actively Love this World"
Published by Talking Waters Press
Available thru Amazon.com and other major retailers

Feel free to share

Friday, November 21, 2014

Where I Live
















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser


“Where are you going?” asked Crow.
“Home,” I answered.
“Is that a place?” asked Crow.

“It’s like a roost,” I said. “And,
 a nest. A roost and a nest combined.
Well, it’s where humans do most
things,” I concluded.

“Oh,” he replied. “Then why are you
out here in the woods with us
every day?”

“Because,” I answered,

“This is where I live.”


© 2014-2016/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Coming Home: Learning to Actively Love this World"
Published by Talking Waters Press

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Who Paints the Sky?




















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser


Who paints the sky? And, why has it
taken me so long to think to ask?
I want to know who is up there
to love, and how I can bargain, if
I might, for more days to end like
this one:

in attentiveness,
in wonderment,
in devotion.



©/2014-2016 Jamie K. Reaser
From "Coming Home: Learning to Actively Love this World" 
Published by Talking Water Press 

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Moose in the Rain
















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser


She thinks the face of a moose is as sad
as the face of Jesus.  But, Jesus didn’t look
sad when we met. And, the moose, he
was, I’d say, fully accepting of his awkwardness.

All my life, I’ve been trying to be that moose,

though, until now, I wouldn’t have said “moose,”
maybe “duckling,” because that’s the story I
remember being recited to me, repeatedly, during
an awkward  childhood; they, perhaps, thinking  it
a salve, but I’ve never looked and seen a swan
looking at me,

so when I saw him there, his fleshy proboscis
lipping shrubbery in the pouring rain of Denali,
his body his own and soaked in its true nature,
I thought:

“This is magnificent! I am a moose.”



©2014-2015/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Coming Home: Learning to Actively Love this World"
To be published by Talking Waters Press...soon!

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Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Black Dog




















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser


The black dog looks at me through big chestnut eyes
and says, “Someone couldn’t love me.”
And, I stroke his silky ears, and then his soft neck,
and I say, “If they loved you, you wouldn’t be
here now, with me.”
And, he wags his tail and, I think, smiles
as he exclaims:

“Oh, now I understand!”



© 2014-2017/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Coming Home: Learning to Actively Love this World"
To be published by Talking Waters Press 

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Now Available!




















"Jamie K. Reaser's newest collection of poetry is a celebration of simplicity. Written during winter snow storms, the poems explore the essence of the season and what it is to have the routines of modernity stripped away when the power goes out. In this simplicity reside the profound truths that Nature and human nature have to offer those who have the courage to sit still and get quiet enough to listen. Place your chair in front of a warm fire and take Winter: Reflections by Snowlight into your hands."

For more information, please visit: http://www.hiraethpress.com/books

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

When it Shows Up




















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser


When it shows up,
you should go outside and make offerings;
you never know what form a god, or
goddess, will take.

Sometimes it’s a wild thing, but more
likely a cat, or a dog,
once it was a sheep, really,
today, a white pigeon
- not a dove -

that I gave seed in my grandmother’s
cereal bowl, painted by hand with a fruit decor,
by someone who might now be
someone’s angel, or just gone,

I won’t claim to know how these
things work, although I do have
my ideas. As, I’m sure you have your own.

Who has lost their way?

Standing on my door step, I often wonder
which one of us

most longs to be found.



© 2014-2016/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Coming Home: Learning to Actively Love this World"
Published by Talking Waters Press 

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Every Evening




















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser


I am like the mother who has never
had children, and so is mother to them all.

I cannot rest until they are where
their four legs should be at nightfall:

in the barn,
on the antiques and bookshelves,
boxes and baskets,
several on beds, one with a
head on my very own down pillow.

How could we settle for anything less than
a sacred ritual? “Are you safe?” We ask
the other.

And, we don’t stop searching,

not
until we hear,

in some language,

“Yes.”



© 2014-2016/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Coming Home: Learning to Actively Love this World"
Published by Talking Waters Press

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Just
















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser


Who says, “it is just?”

Oh, Lord. It has been me.

Is the dervish just whirling?
White skirts entrancing white roses
and also the white sun.

Is the witch hazel just blooming?
Golden, spidery blossoms,
and in Autumn for goodness sake!

Is the chestnut-sided warbler just here
and then gone? No! Think of it thundering
those tiny wings across the Americas.
Twice a year.
You can’t do it. Not once. Nor can I.

Words can lead us to grace, and they can
call us away from the inherent sacred. “Don’t look.
Something might change you.”

OH!

I must stop.

This life is dedicated to Earth-praise,
to loving this unordinary world.

Words are my activism.
And, they are not just words.



© 2014-2016/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Coming Home: Learning to Actively Love this World"
Published by Talking Waters Press

Feel free to share