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March’s sunrays play the comedian, intent upon joshing buds erupting from rough canes of the forsythia bush next to my porch. For seven springs I have gloried in its abrupt flowering, fingered its yellow bell-shaped blossoms, studied its rain-soaked pendant shapes shielding reproductive parts, sorrowed over storms splatting spent-yellows within pools of mud; then, later noted its fruit: several winged seeds in dry capsules.

Such was also my experience of tangled mounds of forsythias in the nearby woods when able to walk the cinder path: their color wafting me to a wordless realm, their untidiness transporting me to a strange order that made total sense.

Yet, the process of unfolding happened too quickly, multiple lessons held over to the following year, if I remembered—Perhaps this year will be different.

An antidote to noxious noise roiling around the psyche is the Psalmist’s command: Be still and know that I am God. (46:10). When enslaved by obsessive thoughts, the ego has total control, and unless curtailed by a more powerful source, the hall of monstrous mirrors blackens, issuing despair or other addictive behaviors. Distractions and pills don’t help nor jags of self-pity.

When such disorders yelp for attention like puppies pulling at a toy, I pray for willingness to begin meditative breathing on each word of the command; over and over, I cycle them until they slow down and plunge me into deeper prayer. Then, I stroke each word with light.


suggests the critical invitation to accept my tattered psyche with all its contents, known and unknown, to deepen the spiritual practice of awareness, and to be grateful for the psychic growth I’ve achieved; its uniqueness is like none other.


sets in play a dynamic that soothes the wounded psyche, that recalls past experiences of stillness—especially along the Atlantic Coast—and that quickens additional spiritual efforts. The Sacred is rarely found in commotion.


speaks of the cumulative lessons internalized from suffering, colors the present moment, and co-creates with Creator God. Such knowing also expands psyche to be of maximum help to others.


echoes Yahweh’s burning bush revelation to Moses in the book of Exodus, and clarifies the identity of Jesus, used seven times, in the gospel of John. Life-long meditation on these texts have borne fruit in abundance.


names the ultimate of mysteries, the Ground of our Being to whom we transition in the afterlife. I’m humbled …

Plink—Plink—Plinkk—Plankkk … It was happening again—the raindrops—upon the chimney cover plate above me: soft, feathery at first, then pounding like hooves of galloping horses in the wilds. I hurried to the window and looked out. Not only would thirsty trees and shrubs benefit, but my psyche, always in need of deep watering, would thrive. Enthusiasm mounted. But that was weeks ago. In recent years prolonged dry spells have warded off such drenchings in our area.

This morning, though, an unexpected excitement seized me while listening to the radio: Cuban Landscape with Rain that was written by the Afro-Cuban composer and conductor Leo Brouwer. Despite the waning sun’s hastening dryness, for seven minutes it was raining in my study, thanks to the giftedness of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet. I was saturated with Beauty. It felt good …

YouTube has many presentations of Cuban Landscape with Rain for your inspiration.

Available on Amazon

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