Often when it rains I walk further than usual.
The ponds are impossible to read, and the tracks of deer soften and dissolve.
To be human rightly is to go with fortitude, which is to insist on clarity.
And patience always abides in the heart of the willing.
How long must I refuse umbrellas?
Water seeps into cracks in my shoes.
The deer grow still as I pass, waiting.
The badger ducks behind a fallen maple.
And patches of bluets fold their violet petals, as if to say I am not ready to bear the grief they bear.
Obstacles are the mother of patience, she says when I return to her too quiet.
A hidden complaint is still a complaint.
We bake bread in the kitchen without talking.
Four kinds of flour, sugar and salt in our cupped palms.
We make tea while it rises and pray.
Or rather, she prays and I watch her, stealing glances with downcast eyes.
Her mouth moves a little, often folding itself into little smiles, as if angels are whispering to her.
In the forest I wanted to be done with it: the spiritual search, the form it has taken, the wordiness that seems forever to attend it.
She is always quick to say that our yearning for peace is a gift, as is the means to make it the singular fact of one's identity.
She opens her eyes and says quietly, "patience is a form of charity and it is the only gift your brothers and sisters require."
When the bread is done and we slice it to eat, I ask if she wants to bless it, but she is already handing it to my daughters - everyone is smiling and happy - and she laughs and says "it is already done."