[image: Dietlind Wolf of Hamburg, Germany]
Some days you have to turn off the news
and listen to the bird or truck
or the neighbor screaming out her life.
You have to close all the books and open
all the windows so that whatever swirls
inside can leave and whatever flutters
against the glass can enter. Some days
you have to unplug the phone and step
out to the porch and rock all afternoon
and allow the sun to tell you what to do.
The whole day has to lie ahead of you
like railroad tracks that drift off into gravel.
Some days you have to walk down the wooden
staircase through the evening fog to the river,
where the peach roses are closing,
sit on the grassy bank and wait for the two geese.
– Philip Terman
This poem by Philip Terman reminds me of spring cleaning: opening all the windows, letting the fresh air blow through… something I find myself missing during winter months. My spirit gathers a film of dust on it, as if dormant along with the trees and flowers. With cabin fever having set in, I read this poem and wander outside with him, rock on the porch all day, walk down a wooden staircase, hear the river gurgling by, and touch the soft, peach, rose petals. He’s painted a dream and through it, I remember what it is to trust, to walk where I feel led, to meander, to be open to what’s inspiring in any given moment, to be present, undistracted by judgment.
Usually, when I think of the practice of being present, I think of all things serious. I think of labyrinths, the art of Japanese tea, sitting meditation. I think of the season of Lent — a season we are soon approaching. Lately, though, with the help of Philip Terman and other artists, I think of being caught by inspiration, falling in love with something that makes us come alive. The same openness, the same trust, the same willingness to let go of judgment is also available when inspiration leads the way.
As we are caught by inspiration, I pray for gentleness. Gentle with the sharp edges we meet. Gentle with the fog. Gentle with alive wonder. Gentleness that allows for freedom. In one step, and then the next, and the next…
in the spirit of opening windows,