The Teaching


Schooled to the rigors of religion, if I took nothing else away
from those origins it was faith; faith that a child’s prayers
would be answered by forces unseen, and I took root
in that faith like fieldstone, anchoring my small body in cracks
and crevasses formed by flooding time, a snake secreting low
and tight, protection sought in the shade of midday,
giving nothing away, not a breath, shutting out the discord
of voices, dissonant sounds that soothed the ears of others
with that tinge of the familiar;

Sitting in newly-mown grass, breathing in the herbaceous bouquet,
eyes attuned to breaks in the pattern, movement underneath,
always underneath, what moved in shadow most fascinated,
pill-bugs rolling tight when threatened, millipedes threading
through miniature thickets, grasshoppers navigating the tangle,
smell of damp pungent earth drawing eyes and nose closer,
seeking level with a world unto itself, and I never ceased cringing
while watching careless feet stomping thoughtlessly upon
unseen realms, Jack and the Giant, gentry and the dispossessed,
disparity a background hum in the grace of my limited freedom;

Trudging up arid mountain trails or down into gushing streambeds
suited best, the mentholated air of eucalyptus mixing with the dank odor
of leaf mulch swirling in eddies and under boulders, fishing wet mats
out with my hands to bury my nose in that humid bouquet while the rest
of the world disappeared into a collage of confusion to which many
accustom themselves while a rupture grows like an aneurysm in the center
of the soul until that longing bursts forth like a swimmer breaking surface,
a yearning to gulp oxygen like life itself, that corporeal kinship
with the earth, a silent whisper, Return.
Return to me, and be whole.

images Β©Bela Johnson 2019

11 thoughts on “The Teaching

  1. Dearest Bela, oh how your words flow and speak, I am listening with headphones right now to this magical music on YouTube entitled “Into an Enchanting Forest || Magical Celtic Music “.. And your words took me deeper into that Magic my friend..
    The grass today on our lawns was mowed the first time this year.. Today I spent time in the borders, marvelling at the colours springing forth, and rescued a lady bug which had come indoors on the washing, putting it on the pansies which in one pot had got infected with white fly on a wall hanger outside..

    Thank you for sharing your muse Bela and the beauty of what surrounds you..
    Love and Blessings dear friend ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish we had more ladybugs. We don’t see many red w/black spotted ones, more the black ones. But hey, I’ll take all I can get in this garden. They are such fabulous creatures. I would order them online, but nobody ships to HI sadly, due to our Ag restrictions. Yet somehow coqui frogs and fire ants have gotten a pass and they are truly pests. We don’t have coquis yet, our community has a group that is most vigilant, but we are connected to the east end valleys, and it’s only a matter of time. Still, we will try, because the sound is deafening and we live in such utter peaceful quiet.

      Love and blessings back, Sue! Enjoy your garden! I have spent weeks getting my front garden in shape, and have had a fabulous 27 year-old helper. And her male friend came and spread gravel into all the newly-constructed pathways. Perhaps I Will soon get you some photos!! It’s been a tremendous job. And our tree trimmer brings loads of mulch when he has them, but I could use mountains of the stuff just now. 1/2 acre of planted landscape eats it up pretty quickly. But hey, I don’t have to pay for it and he’s a wonderful soul who has most recently brought me a little soursop tree! I am over the moon about that – it’s going in a space vacated by a large giant loquat that up and died, and neither of us can figure out why, except it just wasn’t meant to be ‘there.’ And I have wanted a soursop for over 20 years – it’s not easy to find – nurseries don’t generally carry it. But its fruit and leaves are medicinal and the fruit is OUT OF THIS WORLD!! Like a blend of pineapple, melon, banana, and strawberries – kind of. Not quite. ❀ ❀ ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I just had to look up a soursop tree, and its fruit.. Never heard of one before and was fascinated to learn, and watched a video on how they do not like the cold temps and drop their leaves and it can take up to another two years before they fruit..
        Sounds like your garden has had a real make-over Bela, lots of work and love poured into it.
        And I am smiling as the Universe delivers even after 20 yrs, lol πŸ™‚
        Enjoy your weekend my friend ❀ ❀ ❀

        Liked by 1 person

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