listening to the past

listening and pondering

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊  ◊ Voices from any age can provoke our listening.

The journey of writing Wisdom From the Central Deep: renderings from “Living Philosophies – A Series of Intimate Credos” began when I pulled a book from the lowest shelf of my husband John’s old oak bookcase. The book’s worn black cover and dulled gold lettering nearly obscured it behind leaded-glass bookcase windows.

I’d pulled out the book simply to smooth the tissue paper-thin cloth binding that had torn and curled down along its spine, exposing edges of yellowed pages. The cloth responded to my touch by resuming its curl.

I opened the book, then, to try again to smooth the cloth curl. My action failed.

So I opened the book and began to read.

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ For a decade I listened to the voices in that book. To voices of twenty-two eminent people of the late 19th and early 20th centuries who contributed essays to the book.

I heard truth and challenge in their words.

I heard poetry as well.

The essays became the core of my daily meditation for three years. Then, as I read and reread, I began to form poems of my own from words and ideas of the essayists.

In turn, the twenty-two poems I devised became my daily meditative core for several years.

Over time the poems seemed to invite me into conversation. So I penned my reflections, not trying to stay within the confines of meaning of the poems, nor within the body of thought of the essayists. As I contemplated the poems I tapped into personal narratives that wanted, too, to join the conversation.

Consequently, each of the twenty-two essays I wrote to accompany the poems are, in truth, reflections. They cast light on who I am by incorporating memories from past experience that fit with my present ruminations.

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ It has been and continues to be a fascinating journey of listening.