Many Forms of Comfort

August 23, 2020

Minneapolis Restaurant photo by Michele Montserrat

Another 2018 poem…

The Forms of Comfort

There are many forms of comfort –the comfort of feet tracing your well-worn patterns from bed, to stairway, to kitchen, to table. The comfort of the smell of fresh coffee brewed. The comfort of the taste of tea on your tongue.

There are many forms of comfort – the comfort of a lover asking you to tell them where it hurts, the comfort of being received without reservation, the comfort of giving Love your undivided attention.

There are many forms of comfort – the comfort of a good book at the end of the day. The comfort of a glass of wine at the end of a day. The comfort of a lover’s embrace at the end of a day.

The comfort of the sound of children playing in the park.

The comfort of hearing the frogs in the spring.

There are many forms of comfort – the comfort of thunderstorm’s boisterous break in summer’s heat breath. The comfort too of a northern lake in July.

The comfort of a warm blanket between you and the icy bones of January.

There are many forms of comfort – there is comfort in the rhythm of breath, the comfort of reading the sun as it rises, the comfort of the resolution to yesterday’s nagging problem.

There are many forms of comfort – the comfort of scratching your dog behind his ears, the comfort of receiving a letter in the mail, instead of adverts and bills.

The comfort of reading that letter in the sun which streams through your front porch windows.

The comfort of a fire at midnight.

The comfort of the shade at noon.

There are many forms of comfort – the comfort of finding out for yourself, the comfort of trusting in the process, the comfort in admitting when you don’t know everything.

There are many forms of comfort – the comfort of trusting in the earth, the comfort of trusting in doubt, and the comfort of openness.

There are many forms of comfort – the comfort of knowing you’re doing your best, the comfort of knowing you have places to be, the comfort of following the spark of inspiration to it’s never-ending end.

March Equinox 2019

August 1, 2020

Photo by Chris F on Pexels.com

Adapted from some writing I did on March 20, 2019…

It’s the spring equinox where I live in the northern hemisphere of the planet. We hear small birds chipping in the shrubs, as usual. And the cardinals have announced their borders, just outside the windows of my studio at home.

This spring day opens with a bullet-grey sky and it feels like a refuge, feels like a comfort. The losses seem only an opportunity for turning life over to a place more deliberate, more desired, more conforming to what’s lovely in the mind. The sparrows and cardinals carry on, their calls unheeding human plan or posture. Their hunger and their home seeking drive them, and they seem to call you to look out here at your other face, reflected back to you through the smell of an ice-water stream rushing over rocks, finding the downhill Way.

Frederick Miller spring Eden Prairie, MN photo by Michele Montserrat

The trilling cardinal breaks through the rumble-hush of cars moving through melting snow, moving past my street. I hear more birdsong, to cure the hollow, and the mist of regret lifts, no longer tendrilled. These songs bounce lightly around the crown of my heart, and a palace of delight opens there.

Up and down and down again into the earth, the place where these leylines of bird, branch and grass begin. I will end here too, someday, when the body agrees to join with the entropy that is a fact of life, denied until the appointed time, spontaneous and unstoppable, winding life stream of love and catastrophe come to rest at last.

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chaska, MN photo by Michele Montserrat

The rumble-hush of a passing car; the birds are silent now outside my walls. Their territory proclaimed, cardinal and sparrow have likely moved to forage. Still, the piping of an unknown one in the canopy. And then the silence is cut through and scalded open by the screaming of a bluejay.

Suddenly – no sound. And now – chipping sparrows mob the cedar again, a burst of some hunger or intrusion pulling their chorus along. Crunching tires on an icy street, and the metallic needle-shot sound of breaks applied, as my neighbor moves her car out of our street, heading west into her day.

I have been pulling this life together for four years now. These choices give great blessings of time to write, to create art, to dream, and to know better than ever what is really in my heart. To follow the thread of creativity and give it form in color and rhythm, or to line up words that evoke the internal landscape to visible appearance. The paintings are my healing face reflected, and the words show the way to become more alive, focused, and free.

Asphodel Meadow by Michele Montserrat

The Problem…

July 22, 2020

This seat on the couch – I am mixing up the morning to see what comes of different postures. Provoking a new strand of this thread of Willing-by-Ink on dead trees. The surface texture broken on the plain expanse of cream-colored paper – a lined, effortful intent.

And there it is again, tension in the upper back and neck. Relief happens with a shoulder hunch and neck revolution, accompanied by a slight crinkling when tendons flex. The stretch is THERE… right in the middle of my upper back.

Realizing success in perseverance, in the effort of continuing the flow of inspiration, an overcoming of the inertia of decades. No regrets, but why did I not take up this from of art before? Was I betting on the lottery of slothful indulgence to pay off in the end?

The problem, the Buddha said, is that you think you have time.

Photo by Michele Montserrat

Puerto Rico, still Preciosa.

“…Y así le grito al villano yo sería borincano aunque naciera en la luna ” -Juan Antonio Corretjer

(“and so I shout to the villain: I would still be Puerto Rican if I was born on the moon”)

Omar Z Robles

OZRG1264 Carla Sofía Curet

“Preciosa te llaman lo bardos que cantan tu historia, no importa el tirano te trate con negra maldad…” – Rafael Hernández

I just made it back from visiting my home country of Puerto Rico. It is the first time I get to visit since hurricane María swept through, almost exactly 5 months after. It was an incredibly emotional and difficult trip. I found myself fighting the tears more times than I can recall. Five months after the hurricane and my island, my people, my family still carry open wounds from that horrendous day.

During my visit I gathered so many terrifying stories from my friends and relatives about their experiences during and after the hurricane. They told me about how they stayed up all night holding doors and windows for hours as the wind was about to burst into their homes. About how the extreme heat wave…

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Hidden Falls

I think I need to stop by Hidden Falls today, to visit the cathedral poplars and their murmuring by the river. June mornings, where you listen to sprinkling music of poplar leaves and become young again, shoulders loosening on each breath of the moist loamy sand-filled sun air. Armskin smelling like summers spent dirt-streaked and skinned kneed. Let’s forget that step toward the grey, for a moment, and conjure birdsong moving over skin. Down the sand let’s walk to the clearing by the river, when all the body was legs and belly and breath, warm and humming with the light of a June summer morning.

lupines