The smell of Earth
In my nose
Riches of home
© Salem Islas-Madlo 2015
The sound of water
In my ear
Whispers of home
© Salem Islas-Madlo 2015
Mists of divine thought
Formless pools of heaven
Presence in each breath
© Salem Islas-Madlo 2015
“Clouds are formless manifestations of water in gaseous form. Since clouds are water we must understand that water represents very powerful emotion able to create or to destroy, and either or, in creation and in death water remains fluid, it never becomes fixed.”
“Clouds are the mists of heaven and earth which represent the divine thought of “God” coming forth from source with great desire to manifest the unmanifest. In this we know that when we observe the formlessness of clouds in continual shift of movement and shape, it is as if we are looking into the pools of heaven, the sky, and seeing the universal possibilities of thought, movement and form.”
“Clouds represent divinity, pure thought and pure being, emptiness and everything. Clouds are creations of polar opposites existing as one in such a freedom of being they never become fixed in form, just like the flow of water clouds tell us to be free from everything yet as pure as divinity.”
“Clouds are dreams that make us ponder everything we don’t understand but are designed to search out. Therefore clouds are creations way of telling us never to settle in one thing or another because in doing so we become fixed and fixed objects always resist the natural flow of universal fluidity.”
“Be like a cloud, free and in heaven always shifting form and always moving through the skies of infinite space and timeless wisdom. To see and contemplate the clouds is to learn oneself just as it is in all of the elements of nature.”
-by the Community
*This excerpt was taken from: http://www.answers.com/Q/What_do_clouds_symbolize
*photos by moi, except the calligraphy of Thich Nhat Hahn taken from https://thecompassionategardener.wordpress.com/2015/08/29/clouds-never-die/
What is the story?
A sigh of resignation
As opposed to love
Rather not knowing
Waiting for the wind to tell
White chestnut blossoms
To dance with watery light
Before the heart falls asleep
© 2015 Salem Islas-Madlo
“WE ALREADY HAVE everything we need. There is no need for self-improvement. All these trips that we lay on ourselves—the heavy-duty fearing that we’re bad and hoping that we’re good, the identities that we so dearly cling to, the rage, the jealousy and the addictions of all kinds—never touch our basic wealth. They are like clouds that temporarily block the sun. But all the time our warmth and brilliance are right here. This is who we really are. We are one blink of an eye away from being fully awake.”
― Pema Chödrön
Gathers in the earth.
Tender. Invasive. Subtle.
Emerges a shining river.
When small, it is weak.
When great, it tumbles mountains.
Rendering great cliffs
Classic wisdom says there is nothing weaker than water, yet when united, it can become a titanic force. Like a tidal wave. Or a river that cuts through gorges. This is called yielding overcoming the hard.
Let’s look at it another way. Water does not overcome because it yields. It overcomes because it is relentless. It perseveres and does not give up. It is constant. Rock can block water. Rock can even hold water in a lake for thousands of years. Why can’t the yielding overcome the hard then? Because it cannot move. It cannot work its magic of being relentless.
Just as water must be able to express its true nature in a relentless way, so too must we simultaneously and relentlessly express our true natures if we are to be successful in life. Otherwise, we will find ourselves hemmed in by the hard walls of reality, and we will never be able to break through.
But how we we acquire such perseverance? We start small. As drops.
Take to the mountains. In-breath, out-breath. Drink from a mountain spring. Quench your thirst. Feel the cool clarity. Let your soul be renewed.
She had done something of which her father disapproved, although no one any longer remembered what it was. But her father had dragged her to the cliffs and thrown her over and into the sea. There, the fish ate her flesh away and plucked out her eyes. As she lay under the sea, her skeleton turned over and over in the currents.
One day a fisherman came fishing, well, in truth many came to this bay once. But this fisherman had drifted far from his home place, and did not know that the local fisherman stayed away, saying this inlet was haunted.
The fisherman’s hook drifted down through the water, and caught, of all places, in the bones of Skeleton Woman’s rib cage. The fisherman thought, “Oh, now I’ve really got a big one! Now I really have one!” In his mind he was thinking of how many people this great fish would feed, how long it would last, how long he might be free from the chore of hunting. And as he struggled with this great weight on the end of his hook, the sea was stirred to a thrashing froth, and his kayak bucked and shook, for she who was beneath struggled to disentangle herself. And the more she struggled, the more she tangled in the line. No matter what she did, she was inexorably dragged upward, tugged up by the bones of her own ribs.
The hunter had turned to scoop up his net, so he did not see her bald head rise above the waves, he did not see the little coral creatures glinting in the orbs of her skull, he did not see the crustaceans on her old ivory teeth. When he turned back with his net, her entire body, such as it was, had come to the surface and was hanging from the tip of his kayak by her long front teeth.
“Agh!” cried the man, and his heart fell into his knees, his eyes hid in terror on the back of his head, and his ears blazed bright red. “Agh!” he screamed, and knocked her off the prow with his oar and began paddling like a demon toward the shoreline. And not realizing she was tangled in his line, he was frightened all the more for she appeared to stand upon her toes while chasing him all the way to shore. No matter which way he zigged his kayak, she stayed right behind, and her breath rolled over the water in clouds of steam, and her arms flailed out as though to snatch him down into the depths.
“Aggggggggghhh!” he wailed as he ran aground. In one leap he was out of his kayak, clutching his fishing stick and running, and the coral-white corpse of Skeleton Woman, still snagged in the fishing line, bumpety-bumped behind right after him. Over the rocks he ran, and she followed. Over the frozen tundra he ran and she kept right up. Over the meat laid out to dry he ran, cracking it to pieces as his mukluks bore down.
Throughout it all she kept right up, in fact grabbed some of the frozen fish as she was dragged behind. The she began to eat, for she had not gorged in a long, long time. Finally, the man reached his snowhouse and dove right into the tunnel and on hands and knees scrabbled his way into the interior. Panting and sobbing he lay there in the dark, his heart a drum, a mighty drum. Safe at last, oh so safe, yes safe, thank the Gods, Raven, yes thank Raven, yes and all-bountiful Sedna, safe…at…last.
Imagine when he lit his whale oil lamp, there she —it—lay in a tumble upon his snow floor, one heel over her shoulder, one knee inside her rib cage, one foot over her elbow. He could not say later what it was, perhaps the firelight softened her features, or the fact that he was a lonely man. But a feeling of some kindness came into his breathing , and slowly he reached out his grimy hands and, using words softly like a mother to a child, began to untangle her from the fishing line.
“Oh, na, na, na.” First he untangled the toes, then the ankles, “Oh, na, na, na.” On and on he worked into the night, until dressing her in furs to keep her warm, Skeleton Woman’s bones were all in the order a human’s should be.
He felt into his leather cuffs for his flint, and used some of his hair to light a little more fire. He gazed at her from time to time as he oiled the precious wood of his fishing stick and rewound the gut line. And she in the furs uttered not a word—she did not dare—lest this hunter take her out and throw her down the rocks and break her bones to pieces utterly.
The man became drowsy, slid under his sleeping skins, and soon was dreaming. And sometimes as humans sleep, you know, a tear escapes from the dreamer’s eye; we never know what sort of dream causes this, but we know it is either a dream of sadness or longing. And this is what happened to the man.
The Skeleton Woman saw the tear glisten in the firelight, ans she became suddenly sooooo thirsty. She tinkled and clanked and crawled over to the sleeping man and put her mouth to his tear. The single tear was like a river and she drank and drank until her many-years-long thirst was slaked.
Then, while lying beside him, she reached inside the sleeping man and took out his heart, the mighty drum. She sat up and banged on both sides of it: Bom, Bomm!….Bom, Bomm!
As she drummed, she began to sing out “Flesh, flesh, flesh! Flesh, flesh, flesh!” And the more she sang, the more her body filled out with flesh. She sang for hair and good eyes and nice fat hands. She sang the divide between her legs, and breasts long enough to wrap for warmth, and all the things a woman needs.
And when she was done, she also sang the sleeping man’s clothes off and crept into his bed with him, skin to skin. She returned the great drum, his heart, to his body, and that is how they awakened, wrapped one around the other, tangled from their night together, in another way now, a good and lasting way.
The people who cannot remember how she came to her first ill-fortune say she and the fisherman went away and were consistently well fed by the creatures she had known in her life underwater. The people say that it is true and that is all they know.
~Clarissa Pinkola Estes~
*photo found on Pinterest via Luis Daniel Garza Fragoso
Hidden in bare branches
A crow cawed out his sorrows
He glided down to the water’s edge
In protest to greyish, white seagulls
Bobbing in sunlight sparkle
No one listened, or turned a head
To Mr. Crow’s cackles, lost
In the cold, brisk wind
So off he flew
Back to brothers
That he knew.
© Salem Islas-Madlo 2014
Artist: Beverly Brown