One Thousand Gifts

One Thousand Gifts
 
I counted to one thousand
Gifts on Friday, June 27, 2014;
The same day I wrote a poem
“Table of Grace” for Ann Voskamp.
I did not know this at the time
As I transcribe from a journal
Of scribbles once a week to a another journal.
She who taught me
To count gift and after gift. Today
Seven tomato plants growing
In the garden. Two jalapeno plants
And two rows of beets.
Three rows of lettuce.
Two eggplants. Twenty-five
Bright yellow marigold plants.
One large butterfly bush. Zinnias
Bordering on the garden
On three side. There is
Much to see. A pink clematis
Growing up the garden arbor.
A garden gate opening into
The slate path leading
To the ripening red tomatoes
And green jalapenos.
I keep looking.
I keep counting.
Three basil plants.
Cilantro. Tarragon. Oregano.
In the middle of the garden
The garden fountain spray and
Birdbath. Three purple
Finches drinking at it and
A monarch butterfly circling 
The garden. I keep looking.
What am I missing?
The six decorative croquet balls.
The cucumber vine I am 
Training to grow up the arbor.
A gargoyle on the fence.
The cosmos.
Fern-leaf dill. Parsley.
A bright red fuchsia plant
Potted in a painted yellow colander
Hangs from a garden hook in the corner
Of the garden. In this journal
I started counting on Tuesday, April 1, 2014.
I have been counting all along.
Years I ago I wrote:
 
There is an Edward Weston photoOf a woman naked on the sand

Perfect too as my son is here bathing

This morning and there is

Danielle running back toward

The wildflowers, her red and green

Party dress blowing round her as she

Twists and turns round the dreams

And nightmares going on for days

And days until she has settled down

To catch her breath and stand alone

In the field among the flowers

Her dog whose journey is the same

Standing beside here alert and steady

Her mind at peace overflowing

No reason to hurry anywhere

She holds something in her hand

And she laughs and laughs and laughs

When I woke

In the middle of the night

I saw a black bear outside

I heard a baby crying

At the window the bear

Stood and he knocked

I opened the door and invited him

Inside he sat on the couch

I offered him tea

I told him I read

Some people say we are the dreams

Of animals, their nightmares, he spoke

As someone who knows and rising

From the couch he said “Come

Come with me.” I climbed

On his back and we

Walked out the door

And he took me to a time of long ago.

And last summer I wrote
A poem called “Our Path:”

Without incident we walked
And every few minutes I talked.
Good dog, Good dog.
On we went through the park.
All the time my dog here
There, everywhere
A scent sensation.
And when I wanted
To stop to photograph
This late September early morning
I said, Freddy, sit, and he sat
And he waited and when I said
Okay on we went
Our way past Meadow Trail And Beaver Brook.
This is my path. Our path.
We came to a hill.
I huffed and puffed to the top.
And my dog wagged his tail To the top.
We made our way Home.
I cut zinnias.
Red, orange, yellow, cream
And purple cosmos
For a vase that rests on a table
Next to my garden.
Soon I will be dead-heading
All the cosmos and zinnias flowers.
There must be thousands!
Still bright and bold and colorful In the garden. I change
The water in the three bird baths.
I prune the rose bushes and I am
Not sure at all of what I am doing. I water
The potted plants. So many bumblebees!
They fly from zinnia to zinnia
To cosmos to cosmos.
They do Their job.
Never I imagine
Thinking I am so busy today.
They follow their path.
Gary Snyder wrote: 

“Reality-insight says get a sense of immediate politics and history, get control of your own time; master the twenty-four hours. Do it well, without self-pity. It is as hard to get the children herded into the car pool and down the road to the bus as it is to chant sutras in the Buddha-hall on a cold morning. One move is not better than the other, each can be quite boring, and they both have the virtuous quality of repetition. Repetition and ritual and their good results come in many forms. Changing the filter, wiping noses, going to meetings, picking up around the house, washing dishes, checking the dipstick—don’t let yourself think these are distracting you from your more serious pursuits. Such a round of chores is not a set of difficulties we hope to escape from so that we may do our “practice” which will put us on a “path” — it is our path.”

I made dinner. Black beans
And rice. And wine.
And our dog and cat
Slept as we watched Nashville.
And I am Blessed.
Our house.
Our family.


So I reached one thousand gifts
A few weeks ago; the gift was
Visiting my mother-in-law and
Ann has taught me the counting
Ceaselessly, the praying ceaselessly
Is another gift, grace and gifts
From God; a poem
Of my life, a symphony and
Have I shared with you 
The sounds in the garden?
Listen.