Seek

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Find the beauty

in curls of smoke

and heathered sky over

sugar-snow frosted trees

 

In cold so deep

it shimmers in ice crystals

suspended in the air

 

Find the beauty

in sharings of laughter

and stilted conversation

between estranged family

 

In aching longing

and hopes near hopeless

and joyful renewal

 

Find the beauty

in doe-soft brown eyes

carried on spindly legs

through drifts and trees

 

In open heart and innocence

stubbornly strong and wishful

fighting life’s jaded edge

 

Find the beauty

in me.

-KJ Roe

 

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This Is Why

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Autumn lake – PC KJ Roe

Dear Friends and Family who have been subjected to the mess that is my car,

This is why. Why there is always a stash of life vests, and paddles, and extra clothes, and fishing gear, or winter gear, and snow shoes, and extra gloves, and sleeping bags. Why there’s always a book bag of notebooks, pens, pencils, and books.

Because, after a stressful day at work, I can be here. Here, floating between earth and sky, skimming along the tops of reflected clouds, nature’s quiet voice a balm to my mind. Here, separated briefly from daily cares, surrounded by reminders of the quietness of creation. Here, where the immensity of this beauty puts perspective to the smallness of my problems.

This is why, when you see me post pictures or hear me talk about my weekend, you rarely hear about me cleaning and doing chores. They happen (perhaps a bit less often than they “should”), but they are not priority.

You see, I’ve lost enough to know better. I’ve lost enough people in my life to know you don’t take loved ones for granted. You don’t miss an opportunity to say I love you or to give a kiss or a hug.

I’ve seen enough ugliness and hatefulness to appreciate every bit of beauty I can find.

And I’ve lived through just enough heartache to know that you must seek peace, and hold it when you find it.

None of it is guaranteed. Life is time-limited. Relationships, experiences, and adventures are limited by that time. So, given a sunny day, a good snowfall, a few moments with someone I care about, I hope I always choose to live in the moment. I hope I choose beauty.

I hope I live up to life.

-KJ Roe

Nebula

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Worlds lie behind her eyes
Galaxies of unexplored beauty
Tragedies and comedies
And whole long lives
Hopes and dreams
Endless loves and broken hearts
Landscapes lit by
Impossible light
Oceans of longings
Fed by Elysian rivers
Mountains flung against

Preternatural skies
Craggy peaks lined by
Vales and valleys half-seen
Traced by mists
Depths indiscernible
To naked eye
Breadth and width
Only to be discovered
By the most dedicated of souls

-KJ Roe

 

 

 

Elemental

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Water calls my name
The undersides of waves
Clarity
The foam illusory
Soft to touch
The violence of the whitecaps
Clashing in battle
The changing of the tide a
Moving boundary
A million shades to tease
The eye
Blues, greys, greens flecked
With silver light
The peace of unconquerable
Ferocity
Teasing the shore with its
Siren call
My soul gasping, straining
To answer

– KJ Roe

In the Wait

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Snowfall is playing peekaboo with us, leaving a surprise dusting in the morning that melts away by evening. The lakes lie partially covered by ice, tempting my kayak just to try it, just one more time, before the water is completely cloaked in her winter blanket. My snow shoes await their re-christening, leaned in a corner with freshly-loaned-to-me poles. It’s a time of transition as one season melts into another.

Life echoes nature. I, too, await new adventures in a sparkling, renewed landscape. I march on with the days towards an eventual twilight. Each morning, the sun rises on both the mundane and the vast realm of possibility. It sets on daily tasks and dreams half-glimpsed. Stars appear, glinting in a murky depth far away, almost close enough to touch.

Amidst it all, the Wisdom of Ages settles on my shoulders, whispering in my ear:

“This is beauty. This is mystery. It is knowing and wondering and hoping, feeling the tug of limitless possibility, the depth of truest loving, the simultaneous realization of your smallness in the universe and your great worth in my eyes.

This is the visual, breathe-it-in-deep definition of priceless, incredible, glistening creation.

This is the treasure of my heart.

This, my darling, is you.”

-KJ Roe

Precipitous

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Sing me your lullaby
Dancing on a tin roof
Pattering and pounding
In soothing rhythm

Tell me your verses
Of evaporated hopes
Gatherings of condensation
And falling in a new land

Whisper my name
In ripples on still waters
In chattering of dripping eaves
And kisses on shivering leaves

Grant me sweet release
Cleansing my tangled mind
Sliding on moon-white skin
Seducing me with liquid touch

-KJ Roe

Ripple

This isn’t about money. It’s not about race, or religion, or gender, or politics, or what we ate for breakfast. Not really.

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My heart aches as I read about the tragedy in Las Vegas, about the pain inflicted on so many families at once. Those who were injured or killed, their loved ones, the survivors who were somehow spared direct physical injury, the first responders, the medical teams, police, even the mortuary workers… All of these people were directly impacted. Each person will have his or her own version of trauma from the experience. Each person will likely relive various moments over and over. Pain, anger, disbelief, looking for someone or something to blame – these are all effects of trauma. Trauma leaves scars.

But scars mean that there has been healing as well.

Healing requires care. It requires support.

Our bodies, at the most basic, cellular level, know this. When we are wounded, our bodies respond immediately and send their own kind of “first responders” – blood carrying specialized cells to create a safety net that eventually turns into a bruise or a scab, and sometimes, eventually, to a scar. Adrenalin shoots through our limbs, preparing us to fight, flee, or freeze. The pain receptors of the nervous system kick in to help us know things are bad and need to stop. At some point, numbness, often followed by pain. Following the pain, healing.

Our bodies know to respond with vital support.

Our minds and our hearts – our words and our actions – need to follow suit.

This isn’t about money. It’s not about race, or religion, or gender, or politics, or what we ate for breakfast. Not really.

It’s about humanity. About us losing our understanding of what it means to be a living, breathing, loving, hurting, mistake-making, struggling human being.

It’s about recognizing that everyone else is a human, too, and struggling in ways we can’t even guess.

It’s about extending grace and understanding and, when needed, forgiveness to everyone we meet, in person or online or in whatever format.

It’s not a competition over who’s been hurt more or who’s been stepped on or who’s smarter or more well-informed.

None of those things can be quantified and proven, because it is a matter of perspective, resilience factors, personal experiences, and a million other details that are impossible to determine absolutely.

None of those arguments solve the problem. They only increase the divide and exponentially increase the likelihood of additional tragedies perpetrated by those caught up in the rhetoric of whichever side of whichever argument.

In this competition, no one wins.

This isn’t about winning. It’s not about who’s wrong or right.

It’s about holding onto our humanity. Each hateful comment, each hurtful action, feeds the fire of divisiveness and malignancy. It grows the tumor of turmoil and grief.

It’s about peace – individually chosen peace, lived in individual lives, day by day. If we hold peace in our hearts and live it in our actions, if we salute each person on the planet as another living, breathing, struggling human being – just like us – if we remind ourselves of it each time we are provoked to angry reaction – if we just admit we make mistakes, too, and not one of us is perfect – then we do not want to hurt our brothers and sisters in humanity. We leave no ground for hatred and cruelty to take root. We can find within us the strength to offer kindness instead.

If we do this, we might begin to turn the tide of rising tragedy. Even if, as one person, we do not turn the tide, we will not have sped it along. Our contribution will be a drop of kindness in the ocean of humanity, and that drop can ripple out in waves beyond our knowing. At least, for that moment, we might shine a bright light in what is too often a dark world.

That’s a legacy worth leaving behind.

“There is no path to peace. Peace is the path. – Mahatma Gandhi

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” – Mother Teresa

“…be a reservoir of joy, an oasis of peace, a pool of serenity that can ripple out to all those around you.” – The Archbishop Desmond Tutu

-KJ Roe