Connecting with the Universe through the Distilled Quiet
by Peggy M. Fisher, guest contributor
(photo: Tarah Dawdy/Flickr)
Growing up in the thirties and forties, we engaged in the universe at our doorsteps. Summer was my favorite time. We caught June bugs in our hands and placed them in jars with blades of grass to feed them as we listened to their buzzing sounds.
At dusk we caught neon fireflies in the palms of our hands, released them, and watched their travels to hidden destinations as far as we could imagine. Unpolluted skies made the stars endless as we explored our planetarium.
At night the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper were always there for us to sight. But we used our paired visions to find an animal figure. Shouts of “Look. Look. Over there!” filled the air as we claimed our spaces.
Thunderstorms and golf-sized hail balls hitting our window panes were common and scary, as our parents reminded us: “Sit and listen to God’s anger.” Through the listening came the understanding of how we could improve our lives. We attempted to do that in the silence. Radios were turned off, there were no televisions.
After the storm we flung our doors open and rushed outside to look for the rainbow of regeneration in the east sky. The children and adults laughed together about the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, a fable we all enjoyed. Now the stars are covered by the polluted skies, but the full moon can still be seen.
As a young nurse working in the emergency room when there were shootings, stabbings, and non-stop bedlam, we shook our heads and said: “It must be a full moon tonight!” We believed that a full moon sent people to places they never went, doing things they never would do.
The years have gone by and now I look for the birds outside my window in the morning as I stretch my body to yoga. When I see a bird swoop down from a tree and cross my window, it is my sign that we are all connected with the universe. This revelation harmonizes my spirit.
But the most sacred spaces I have are spent in my moments of daily meditations as I examine my soul with all of its imperfections. Through the distilled quiet I observe life and know that its not a cakewalk, but a struggle of deaths and resurrections. But I have learned how to make the winters scarce.
Peggy M. Fisher is an author living in Camden, New Jersey. She is the author of several books, including Lifting Voices: Voices of the Collective and has been published in several anthologies, most recently in The Story That Must Be Told and Poetry Ink 2010.
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For those of you still stuck in the office or waiting at home for the night’s activities. The Friday video snack is back.
The Qatar-born photographer Khalid Mohtaseb has received quite a bit of attention for his striking footage (below) of the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake using a still camera (Canon 5d Mark2, if you must know) and a pocket dolly. The technical specs are fun to discuss, but it is his choice of shots and the person behind the eyes that connect me with his subjects. Even the collapsed buildings are put into context by the people moving through them, and not the buildings being the main character. I like that about Mohtaseb. People matter. They’re art forms in and of themselves.
But, I decided to lead off this post with his montage of Lebanon and Egypt. There’s so much happiness and carrying on in the grittiness of circumstances. Children swinging and twirling and playing; young men squatting and smoking and laughing. Even the silent places have a sense of peace about them; the parched, cracked earth teems with life and optimism. If you clicked on one thing, I didn’t want you to deny yourself this slice of singing beauty.
For a few minutes, I’m transported and know somebody else, some other world — and then remember my wife and children and find my silent smile. Time to find home.