Let Me Be Poetry Celebrating Summer Solstice waterfall

Let Me Be: Poetry For Celebrating Summer Solstice

Poetry For Celebrating Summer Solstice

Oh, the water lilies. See how they seem
to open wider out of their own opening?

Let me unfold like that—without thinking,
without assuming I’m already open enough.

Let Me Be Poetry Celebrating Summer Solstice

 

Do not let me close up, all stiff and stoic,
like a walnut that will not crack.

Don’t let me become the one who groans
when someone else starts to rhapsodize
about the fragrant wisteria in spring.

Why is being hardened a respectable, desirable thing?

Let me be soft.

Let me always sigh as I bite
into ripe watermelon, juice spilling in runnels
of pink down my chin, down my neck.

Let someone else stand beside the waterfall
and explain how its negative ions work,
and let me be the one getting drenched
and falling in love with the sheen on the rocks.

Let Me Be Poetry Celebrating Summer Solstice waterfall
Waterfall near Cascade Locks, OR

 

Let me not leave my signature like the woodpecker,
but let me chant endlessly on summer nights
in the way that the whippoorwill does.

And why not?

Why not praise the slender-bodied weasels
who turn white then honest brown?

Both colors are equally lovely.

Why not enthuse
over the bulky walrus that has adapted to stay warm?

Oh, let me be warm and give that warmth back to the world.

Let Me Be Poetry Celebrating Summer Solstice sunrise
Celebrating Summer Solstice Sunrise over the Salt Flats, Wendover, Utah

 

It’s so easy to turn cold, to poke fun, to accuse, to be cool.

Let me be a fool.

Let my thoughts of how the world should be
jump away like a mob of wallabies.

Let me not find pleasure
in making things small or putting others down
or rolling my eyes or criticizing.

Let me be silly.

And gushing with praise for whatever

is the nearest thing I see—
a twig in the rain, a rock on the trail,
a red leaf that has already let go.

~ Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

I fell in love with this poem after reading it on A First Sip. In times like these, when the world seems to be turning upside down, I thought it right to share these words – reminding us to slow down, pay attention and find pleasure in the smaller moments of life.

How would you finish the phrase, “let me be?”  Please share your thoughts in the comments below, and enjoy the summer solstice.

Words are the spark that ignites my soul.

I am a collector of language in all forms and believe the extraordinary beauty of the written word must be shared.

These monthly posts, inspired by another’s words, are my gifts of beauty and spirit, shared with love.

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Easy Ways To Embrace A Healthy Lifestyle

At this point in life, I’m learning that things that used to be easy in my twenties, like sitting cross-legged for hours on end, just aren’t quite as simple now. Or running a 5K. Or staying up late to go to see The Cure in concert night after night.  Passing 50 last December was certainly a milestone I’m proud of. But I’m equally proud of the work I’ve done to embrace a healthy lifestyle. I’ve realized that while some things used to be easier in my twenties and thirties, many struggles I had back then have ceased to be as anxiety ridden. I’ve learned that embracing a healthy lifestyle means more than just counting calories and getting enough sleep; I’m learning that for me to feel whole and balanced and joyful requires a few key elements.

Easy Ways To Embrace A Healthy Lifestyle

Setting boundaries

Like many working moms, I struggled in my thirties with how to balance my teaching career with motherhood. I wanted both. I knew I needed to work outside the home, and I felt the opposing pull to stay as close to my babies as possible. I tried every schedule I could think of. I switched schools, changed the subject I taught, and quit then worked part-time then quit again. Finally, after six years of this yo-yo life with teaching and mothering, I landed in the right school with the right schedule. In the fourteen years since, I’ve become adept at drawing the home/work boundaries. I didn’t grade papers when the kids were awake. I took time off to drive on field trips, and volunteered in their classrooms. I was home (mostly) in the afternoons and did the things with them that I wanted to do. It wasn’t always easy, but setting boundaries then has prepared me to set boundaries for myself. I draw a line between my work life and my creative/at home life, and rarely cross it.

Contributing to my community

When my four-year-old son started karate, one line of his daily pledge was to ‘contribute to my community’. I loved that message, and because of him we took it seriously. I tried to weave age-appropriate acts of giving into our lifestyles, and to teach my children that you get what you give. I love simple acts of kindness like bringing our neighbors some fresh cookies out of the oven, or bringing the kids to visit their great-grandmother at the senior center. We evolved into more involved, planned contributions such as trash pick up around our favorite creek, or cooking and serving meals at the homeless shelter. As teens, I’ve taken my kids to help improve schools in Nicaragua and am encouraging them to study and find jobs in order to make the world a better place.

easy ways to embrace a healthy lifestyle

Getting outside every day

In my twenties I used to love to run. Now, I love to walk. And I’m ok with that. yes, I have to walk much farther to burn the same calories as running, but to me, walking is meditation and exercise. I walk the dog, walk to errands, and walk to socialize with friends. I love to walk in cities I’m visiting, or along the beach. In the mountains, there’s nothing better than walking along a trail and just paying attention to what’s around me. Sometimes I listen to podcasts, but often it’s just me and my dog, and my teens (if I’m lucky!). A daily dose of nature lifts my spirits and reminds me that I’m just one small part of a very big universe.

Enjoying the ordinary moments

When my kids were little, I was obsessed with videotaping everything. I’m old enough that smart phones didn’t exist during their early years, but I faithfully recorded life from behind the lens, then followed up with daily journal entries. Looking back, our favorite memories aren’t necessarily the ‘big’ moments of life; instead, we love seeing the ordinary ones, the moments of everyday life when smearing yogurt on their faces made them giggle, or running after them when they rode their bike down the street, or just noticing the book we were reading or the car we drove up to Tahoe one summer. Now that I’m older and more reflective, I’m embracing those daily, extraordinarily ordinary moments. With one kid in college and one still a teen, my ordinary moments are less likely to involve my children, allowing me to slow down and really pay attention to the curve of the branches of a tree outside my window, or how the clouds flirt with the sun on an April afternoon. I treasure the first blooms in my garden and the way my students’ eyes light up when they understand what I’m trying to teach. Enjoying the ordinary moments leaves me joyful and grateful even on the most difficult of days.

easy ways to embrace a healthy lifestyle!

Eating well

I love to cook. A Saturday spent shopping and baking and preparing a creative meal for my family is one of my favorite ways to show my love. I’m a rabid fan of Food Network, having grown up on Julia Child and The Galloping Gourmet. Now, my love of eating well has transfused to my son, and we get downright giddy together in the grocery store. For a sixteen-year-old, he has sophisticated taste buds and reminds me to think about the flavor profile and what we’re eating, sticking to foods as pure and unprocessed as possible. Restaurants are a special treat; we’d rather spend a Sunday watching over a slow-cooker full of authentically spiced carnitas, or rolling out our own dough for cinnamon rolls. Eating well, to me, isn’t just about keeping a calorie count – it’s about indulging in food as a simple pleasure and displaying my creativity and caring towards my family.

It’s never too late – check out these fun and easy ways to embrace a healthy lifestyle with Chobani Simply 100! I’d love to know what you love to do!

Easy Ways To Embrace A Healthy Lifestyle

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Zen Living

Time moves forward, despite all my desperate attempts to hold onto what is right now. The trees outside my window spring forth with emerald tendrils, the golden acacia unfurls in spires of circular sunlight. Life, in all its extraordinary ordinariness, pushes forth. If I had great patience, I would stand still, and practice living in the moment. I would pause, breathe, and let the whirlwind of life pass over me.

When I feel overwhelmed, I turn towards nature and beautiful language. This exquisite poem is from Poetry (July 2001).

zen living

Zen Living

BY DICK ALLEN

Birdsongs that sound like the steady determined tapping
of a shoemaker’s hammer,
or of a sculptor making tiny ball-peen dents in a silver plate,
wake me this morning. Is it possible the world itself can be happy? The calico cat
stretches her long body out across the top of my computer monitor,
yawning, its little primitive head a cave of possibility.
And I’m ready again
to try and see accidents, the over and over patterns
of double-slit experiments a billionfold
repeated before me. If I had great patience,
I could try to count the poplar, birch and oak
leaves in their shifting welter outside my bedroom window
or the almost infinitesimal trails of thought that flash and flash
everywhere, as if decaying particles inside a bubble chamber,
windshield raindrops, lake ripples. However,
instead I go to fry some bacon, crack two eggs
into the cast-iron skillet that’s even older than this house,
and on the calendar (each month another oriental fan
where the climbing solitary is dwarfed . . . or on dark blue oceans
minuscular fishing boats bob beneath gigantic waves)
X out the days, including those I’ve forgotten.

If you love nature and want to spread some zen living to someone who needs it, Pro Flowers is offering a discount now – just click here: http://www.proflowers.com/discount-codes.aspx.

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Where Do You Find Your Inspiration?

Inspiration.

I’m always looking for it.

When my kids were little, sometimes it was simply inspiration to get me through the day with a smile on my face.

Or inspiration to trust that I knew what to do, and that everything would turn out all right.

I still look for inspiration on that one.

I remember thinking that there must be some secret handbook that I missed out on – you know, the one that had all the parenting answers?

I never have found it, so I decided to write my own. That’s when my blog, mamawolfe, was born. It’s kind of when I was born, too.

Yosemite with kids

I realized that just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, everything I really needed was inside of me-I just needed to get quiet and trust that the answers would come when I needed them.

Some people call that prayer. I call it writing. Walking. Meditating. Slowing down. Getting outside. Centering.

My inspiration.

It’s been twenty years since I started to become mamawolfe – twenty years of loving fiercely and thinking deeply. It’s funny how having kids can turn us into the people we were always meant to be, isn’t it?

This month Bonbon Break launched their “Inspire” series, and my essay about small and mighty moments is one of the to be first published. I wrote it at the end of the summer, when I was struggling with change (one of my triggers, I’m learning). I’d just finished an end of the summer family trip to Yosemite, full of love and laughs and fresh air and mind-blowing views. And lots of time to think as I walked along the trails, feeling small yet mighty in the midst of all that majestic beauty.

I realized that when I need inspiration, looking for the extraordinary in the ordinary, being present right here, right now, and looking for the big messages in smallest of moments will usually give me the answers I’m looking for.

I’d love to have you check out my post, “Small and Mighty Moments”, and let me know where you find inspiration. I can use all the advice I can get!

And be sure to check in all month with Bonbon Break as they continue to share inspirational wisdom from their group of talented writers.

 

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Finding My Muse: Searching In Tahoe Snow and Pine Trees

Along the way via mamawolfeto2
Along the way via mamawolfeto2

I set out to find my muse today. Long dormant under piles of paper, loads of laundry and unwashed dishes, her elusiveness is starting to wear me down. Like the moment when you realize your body doesn’t react they way it did twenty years ago, panic begins to take over. Perhaps she’ll never return? Is there something I’m doing wrong? Maybe it’s just not meant to be this way.

Certain she won’t be found within the four pine paneled walls of the cabin, I zip up my vest, grab a camera and head out. The perimeter of the lake is blessedly free of snow, and as I walk I feel the rhythm return. The roads are quiet, the birds have returned, and the sun hovers before dusk. I can breathe deeply, matching the pace of my boots along the pine cone and broken branch strewn path with the breath in my lungs.

Snow art via mamawolfeto2
Snow art via mamawolfeto2

To my right I see the sun glistening through the pines, casting sparkles on what remains of the winter snowpack. It’s fading fast around here; trickles of run-off moisten the path beneath my feet. It’s funny how nature creates such unintended art. I’m fascinated by the randomness of it all; some places deep with ice, others down to the bare earth that will remain until next fall.

Something tells me not to go in my usual direction; she’s not there. I turn left instead of right, past the sign declaring to all that this is not a through road. There is no outlet. Stubborn, I continue.

Love via mamawolfeto2
Love via mamawolfeto2

Someone has created a bench out of cast off logs. Sitting on the edge of the meadow, I imagine returning next month. I suppose I’ll find mule ears just beginning to poke through the muddy dirt. I notice nature’s destruction next to me-it looks like love in my eyes.

The wind whistles through the pines, calling to me. I stop, intent on hearing her words. What does she want me to know? Stop teasing me…I’ve been waiting too long for this.

Pine tree
Pine tree (Photo credit: GaggieITMI)

Making my way to the end of the road, forced to turn around and retreat, I heard it. The whispers again. This has got to be it. The perfect place. Stopping to listen, wait, and absorb her message. In the trees, on the earth, all appears as it should be. Tangled branches push through, waiting for the moment to leaf out. Dusty brown leftovers of something long ago bloomed bend in awkward posture from the weight of the snow. Lime green spikes of grass poke up, the afternoon sun bringing them back to life.

Crossing the road towards home, I continue to see signs of life amongst the schizophrenic ground. Strength shows in the patches of sunlight. It’s there somewhere. I see it. I hear it.

I know it.

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Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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