Tuesday, June 3, 2014


At dusk a hummingbird half the size of my thumb visits the last of the lilac blossoms.

I watch it feed for longer than one would think possible.

The sun sets, and stars come out: some that I know, others I don't.

What do we mean when we say God?

Or west and east?

We become religious and a journey begins that ends far away from all churches.

In the forest, one kneels before the trillium, and prays where the brook turns, seeking lower ground.

What do we call it when one becomes willing to make contact with infinitude?

When one sees the inclination to name anything as itself an evasion?

Darkness permits some light and not others.

And it is always dusk somewhere.

I tell her I am afraid that when she leaves this time she will not come back.

I tell her I am not ready.

There are no envelopes wide enough to compass my fear, no letter frail enough to bear the shades of my gratitude.

It does not concern her.

When the hummingbird is gone, it remains.

When the light fades, another light comes on.

She walks lightly but I can see the impression her feet make in the grass.

For a moment, rather than follow, I watch the grass rise slowly in her tracks until you cannot say who passed or when.

Then I go on to where she waits, still and quiet, a little while longer yet.


  1. Funny, last night before going to sleep I thought of hummingbird nests and how a friend described them to me on Sunday - thimble-sized, edged with down, covered in lichen. I have never seen one and am astonished -- but not surprised -- at his power of observation.

    I read somewhere earlier this morning that Krishnamurti once said "we are boiling with fear." And I know he is right.

    Last night, the executive director of the organization Jessie works for was killed in a car accident, her deputy is in ICU. And this morning I feel myself, as the Indio Girls sing, "working through the grammar of my fears."

    How does one do that, I wonder, to finally rest on the other side?

    These sentences help ... it is always dusk somewhere.

    Thank you....Cheryl

  2. Yeah, this was a tiny little thing and it lingered at the bush so long . . .

    Thank you for sharing about fear and all that, Chery. Those moments when death brushes our lives - so close but no closer - are frightening, especially when they invoke our children. What can we do but learn from them? What can we do but give attention to the part of us that believes in death, believes in these bodies, believes in the world, believes in special relationships . . .

    Is Jessie shaken up by it? Kids are so resilient sometimes, but then others so ripe with anxiety . . . Serving them can be a balm. At least sometimes it is that way for me . . .

    And hey! You can write about it, bring to the surface your own grammar and lexicon, fear and what fear is not. Somebody somewhere needs it . . .

  3. I'm sorry to hear of the sudden loss and serious injury Cheryl to your daughters co-workers. The mind does immediately go to that deep well of fear upon hearing such news.

    May the Holy Spirit lead the way for now.

    You seem to be an open channel and as Sean suggested your dedication can be used for a greater good. To face that darkness means you are that light of dusk and dawn.

    This prayer from St. Teresa of Avila came to mind.

    Let nothing disturb you,
    Let nothing frighten you,
    All things are passing away:
    God never changes.
    Patience obtains all things
    Whoever has God lacks nothing;
    God alone suffices.

  4. Thank you, Sean and Annie, for your concern and helpful words. Your "somewhere somebody needs it...," Sean, helped me step outside my limited perspective. It was a much-needed reminder.

    And, Annie, your "...you are that light of dusk and dawn" resonated deeply. And the prayer of St. Teresa brings so much peace. Thank you for sharing it.


  5. Lovely prayer! Thank you for sharing it!