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From time to time I go on spiritual retreat to the New Camaldoli Hermitage (www.contemplation.com) in Big Sur, perched high above the Pacific Ocean.

It is an ideal setting to immerse oneself in nature’s beauty and in the silence of a contemplative community.

On a retreat there a couple of years ago, I wrote the following poem while watching and listening to the birds from my private garden space.

Blue JayLessons in the Wind

I listen
as the winds sing above treetops
and carry Jays
with their deep blue wings
up and further up
to this resting place between ocean and sky.

Listening to branches stirring and clashing
beyond my screen door
whipped about in sudden gusts
I am stunned
by the necessary calm of this room
baked as it is in generous afternoon light.

The earth is a swirling body of dust and ashes.
The earth is a still-point
amid winds of change.
What is called for is courage.
What is required is deep listening.
Without them we grow weary and afraid.
We are whipped about,
stirred by anger and clashes.

Listen to the wind I say.
It blows where it will.
It stirs life.
It lifts us on blue wings.
It sings.
Do you hear it?

Words (c) 2012 Mark Lloyd Richardson
Photo (c) 2012 Dallis Day Richardson

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