Quietly study this

January 15th, 2009

The deadlines are past, the chance has run out, but you should quietly study this. The dinner is cold, the time has gone, but you should quietly study this. The bills are due, the check is late, but you should quietly study this. The clothes have shrunk, the socks have holes, but you should quietly study this. The market has tanked, the airplane has sunk, the world’s come undone, but you should quietly study this. The day is done, the year barely here and yet gone, everything yes everything disappears, but you should quietly study this.

Quietly study this and let go.

What a brilliant sky.

The teaching of the grandmother sycamores in my backyard.


  1. you know, i can pretty much agree with everything here…..late bills, my own worlds come undone… but today i had to remind myself i still had the sunset to look forward to

    Comment by Ashlea — January 15, 2009 @ 11:31 pm

  2. similar feelings today.

    Comment by Bridge — January 15, 2009 @ 11:56 pm

  3. lovely.

    Comment by Chookooloonks — January 16, 2009 @ 2:43 am

  4. Thank you Karen!

    Comment by Shalet — January 16, 2009 @ 2:48 am

  5. Studying the snow. And the other snow. And that snow too.

    Comment by TZT — January 16, 2009 @ 3:05 am

  6. thanks karen. that is something lovely to behold. and hold. what would i do without you?

    Comment by Holly — January 16, 2009 @ 3:52 am

  7. Wise trees.

    Comment by denise — January 16, 2009 @ 5:04 am

  8. A good lesson on my eldest daughter’s fourteenth birthday, when I feel that time is slipping through my fingers. Thank you.

    Comment by Jane_hates_Dick — January 16, 2009 @ 5:35 am

  9. Happy Winter!

    Incidentally, other readers, I just finished Karen’s excellent chapter in the excellent The Maternal Is Political, and you should orde your copy now! I find myself full of pleasure at being human after reading he work.

    Thank you again.


    Comment by Chris Austin-Lane — January 16, 2009 @ 6:53 am

  10. Thank you.

    Comment by Fiona Robyn — January 16, 2009 @ 9:39 am

  11. Anna and I took this lesson to our crape myrtles.

    It traveled just fine.

    Comment by Kelly Hudgins — January 16, 2009 @ 2:48 pm

  12. What is it about trees that makes me feel so grateful?

    Comment by Cat — January 16, 2009 @ 2:57 pm

  13. I love how they hold their arms to the sky.

    Thank you.

    Comment by Angel — January 16, 2009 @ 8:04 pm

  14. How do you so often say just what I need to hear? Thank you. 🙂

    Comment by ZenMom — January 16, 2009 @ 10:07 pm

  15. Thank you Zen Mom. But as you know by your very name, we have one mind, all of us, and one life. 🙂

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — January 16, 2009 @ 10:47 pm

  16. Thank you for this poetic reminder, dear Karen!

    Comment by Leah — January 17, 2009 @ 6:20 am

  17. yes, I will.

    Comment by curious girl (lisa) — January 17, 2009 @ 2:08 pm

  18. Karen, I’ve given you a blog award, even though they’re not so much your style. You can visit my site to claim if you’re so inclined.

    Comment by Kelly Hudgins — January 17, 2009 @ 3:45 pm

  19. Drifting in and out of sleep, I often have the remainders of these sort of dialogues suspended in my thoughts, and think “I should write this down”. You’ve done it beautifully Karen. I was so pleased to read this here in the light of day, on this most beautiful of early mornings here in South Australia.
    “Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars, and if you have eyes you will be able to see that their whole existence is joyful. Everything is simply happy” -Oslo

    Comment by Pam — January 17, 2009 @ 9:59 pm

  20. Deadlines past? Chance run out?

    Forgive me for being tediously literal, but I’m wondering about the book?

    Comment by Mama Zen — January 18, 2009 @ 3:52 am

  21. Mama Zen, so glad to know that you have my back. Literal or not so literal, these instructions always apply. Somewhere between the withered branches there is a book. I’m looking for it right now, and I know someday soon you can look at it too! Spring follows winter, just not always the day we want it to.

    But the check’s in the mail? That one is literal.

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — January 18, 2009 @ 4:37 pm

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