Elizabeth Cunningham

Author of The Maeve Chronicles

my news: from the pond
his from the wide world beyond
we meet at breakfast
I report water lilies
he reports London riots

I get up these days around 6:00am and go out to a small dock on the far side of the pond to practice chi gung and tai chi. I have struck a deal with my neighbor across the road, who is not only building a house and a barn but also constantly rearranges the contours of the land with a bulldozer: No earth-moving, nerve shattering, diesel-guzzling machines before 8:00am. It is to his credit and mine that we came to this solution peacefully. Our land situation is complicated and, on a small scale, very similar to the kinds of border/occupancy situations that have resulted in bitter, intractable wars.

This morning was the most beautiful yet, abundant mists after heavy rain, fresh clear sky. I wondered if it was all right to enjoy it so much when there are riots in London, Republican victories in Wisconsin, not to mention war and famine in various parts of the world, and all the personal tragedies the media insists on bringing to our awareness.

Then I remembered how dreams often balance our waking state. If we are unhappy, dreams can bring lightness. If we are flying high, we sometimes have hideous nightmares. As I sat on the dock after practice and noticed spider webs caught in the light, I thought: we are all in this dream; we are all dreamers. I am dreaming the joy right now. It is my job. I am not separate or disconnected from the nightmares. I am not oblivious or impervious. I am just dreaming my part.

My husband walks around in headsets listening to NPR as our larger radio doesn’t get reception. So I no longer hear the news (except from him). Sometimes I feel guilty for not staying tuned to the larger world. But this morning the world of the pond seems huge, as if the whole cosmos had gathered here with the mists that always circle counterclockwise, and the water lilies rising from their dark wet muck, the insects skimming the surface making ripples and the fish swimming up to catch them, and the birds and the frogs calling, and the squirrels upbraiding my cat till he creeps out of the undergrowth and returns to me for comfort. I can never know everything about this world. But I can spend this quiet attentive time in the morning. Now and then I can share some news. Here is some in the form of haiku (5-7-syllables) and tanka (5-7-5-7-7)

Indigo Bunting
can that really be your name?
Iridescent jewel
bringing blue sky, aqua sea
on bright wings to middle earth

the sun calls the mists
turns them back into fire
morning alchemy

Rise, great blue heron
wings green-blue, water and sky
small dinosaur, soar!

swimming in the mists
to the water lily cove
my cat stands lifeguard
trees singing with cardinals
fish nipping my beauty mark

mists circle moonwise
then rise on a ray of sun
now I know the way


I am enjoying these mornings, too. Eliz did not mention in this post what came to her about a new meaning for Lover of the World (one of my titles). For most of my life and hers, we have thought of the beloved as another human being, a soul mate. But what if your lover is the world, and you love the world back—and what if that love is just as erotic and ecstatic as any other?
Just sayin.’

Tim, please give me a blog post assignment soon.

Your combrogo,

5 Responses

  1. Elizabeth–

    Beautiful post, as always. I wrestle in the same way as you regarding not being more in tune with the state of the world. I do, however, look at it like this. We are incredibly empathic people. I am in some sort of physical discomfort most of the time, for no real qualifiable reason. I see it as some sort of physical intercession that my body is making for what the rest of the world is feeling. If I knew the actual details, it might actually make it worse…so I kind of like the idea of just letting my body take the action that it would automatically take without me adding anything to it by adding emotional distress from watching the news. We are blessed to live in a physically and spiritually beautiful place….it makes the rest of life feel livable.

    Crazy, I know.

    Maeve–Your assignments are coming. I know that you are recharging after the last round of work with Elizabeth in telling your story. It's alot to live through, so I hope you've been getting some rest. The world is getting ready to see you again. I love you. I hope you know that.

  2. tears of acknowledgment for these thoughts from the three of you… being connected to the wild beauty of my part of the earth and creating from my heart is as much as i can do right now the aches and sorrows of the world weigh heavily and sometimes all i can do is be and love… as imperfectly as it happens it has to be enough…

  3. So beautiful! I love the new from the pond. That is my kind of news, and all I need to know–that another soul is enjoying her surroundings and finding the magic in them. Sending love.

    Oh, and I'm right there with Tim's comment. I feel enough in my body too. No need to compound it with that which would keep me flat on my face.

  4. Maybe my cross is to be an insensitive, and walk around in the early morning with my ears tuned towards the morning's disasters. I think of it as a kind of penance.

    But, I am awed, Elizabeth by your beautiful blog. Thank you for witnessing. I see it with new eyes.