Attention

B4C0A454-579E-47EC-B306-E76CD25BDF24I have learned from living that activities of any importance eventually become ritual. This morning I am siting on my verandah. The sun is lazily rising to my left. The morning breeze gently carries the scent of peace, the songs of singing birds, and the soft swirling of the incoming tide. Before my eyes are coconuts, pineapples, lemon grass, breadfruit, the warm calm waters of the South Pacific. A lone mongoose scatters across the yard. Two butterflies perform their midair mating dance. Mosquitoes loiter at the front door hoping for it to magically open and permit their entrance.

“Not today,” I say to them in an unheard mental voice.

A gecko stalks a tired moth, then attacks. The moth flutters. A screen between them delays the gecko’s dinner and ensures the moth a few more moments of life. I sit here in a ritual of total awe and realize I am here for this purpose. I am a witness as well as a part of all this life right in front of me, and right now nothing else, absolutely nothing else, matters.

Mother’s Day

I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life. — Abraham Lincoln

I don’t celebrate any day for which Hallmark makes a card. It’s the commercialization of the holidays that turns me off. Don’t get me wrong — I enjoy ritual and have many of my own — but on days I choose and for events I deem important. Howling at the full moon is one of my favorite rituals. I don’t believe there is a card for that, yet.

That said, I will call my mom today but not because of Hallmark. (Mother’s Day is the busiest Sunday of the year for telephone volume according to a Pew Research Center report.) I believe mother’s should be celebrated every day in appreciation for the sacrifices they make not only in the process of birth but throughout our entire life.

One of the rituals I had as a child on Mother’s Day was the wearing of a carnation to church. If your mother was alive, you wore a pink carnation on your lapel and if your mother had passed you wore a white one. I was always surprised at the number of white carnations among the congregation. I was happy my mom was still alive to love me and to share her infinite wisdom.

My mom is still alive today but I don’t know how many more days she will be with me, so I celebrate every day as Mom’s Day. I think of her with every breath and call her on Sundays just to say, “Hi.”

For religious reasons my mother no longer celebrates holidays so I will celebrate today, Mother’s Day, for her. Happy Mother’s Day mom. I love you bunches.

Note: Mom passed July 12, 2012.

The Ritual

Any serious attempt to try to do something worthwhile is ritualistic. — Derek Walcott

It seems
almost ritualistic,
the way I step
across the bench,
face the sky,
squat down,
adjust my hips,
straighten my back,
and breathe deeply.
All to just sit—
and listen
to the sea.