Almost Daily

One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words – Goethe

Most mornings, I remember to read a Daily page from David Kundtz’ lovely book, Quiet Mind: One Minute Mindfulness.  It is part of what I call my Morning Practice … I’d call it Daily Practice but that would be a lie.  I am easily distracted, especially in the morning and Almost Daily Practice sounds dumb.   What I like about Goethe’s list is that each item takes only a few moments , in keeping with the title of Kundtz’ book, where as my Morning Practice takes over an hour.   But I do listen to music as I write in the morning (hear a little song, check).  At the moment the song is Cast Your Fate to the Wind by the Vince Guaraldi Trio.

And on my desk is A Year in Impressionism, which offers a fine picture for every day.  Today’s was Woman and Child in a Garden, 1884 by Berthe Morisot.  Lovely.

As much as I love the written word, I have never been a fan of poetry.   Oh, yes, in my years as a closet writer, I’ve written my share of poems written mostly because it seemed that a literate man should write poetry.  I recall that my wife’s very literate friend, Joanne, was impressed that I wrote poetry for her but that was probably because she never read it.  But inspired by Kundtz’s essay, I have added Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems (just as Geothe prescribes) to my morning reading, opening at random to a page.  Today’s was Morning Person by Vassar Miller.


God, best at making in the morning, tossed
stars and planets, singing and dancing, rolled
Saturn’s rings spinning and humming, twirled the earth
so hard it coughed and spat the moon up, brilliant
bubble floating around it for good, stretched holy
hands till birds in nervous sparks flew forth from
them and beasts—lizards, big and little, apes,
lions, elephants, dogs and cats cavorting,
tumbling over themselves, dizzy with joy when
God made us in the morning too, both man
and woman, leaving Adam no time for
sleep so nimbly was Eve bouncing out of
his side till as night came everything and
everybody, growing tired, declined, sat
down in one long descended Hallelujah.

To me it was, as my brother-in-law, Norm, used to say, a head-scratcher, probably because it’s more bible-science than I care for. And I haven’t a clue why it is a Good Poem but I’m going to keep trying … Almost every day.

Then we come to the reasonable words.    Such a challenge in the Year (Plus) of the Virus.   It is so easy for a mild to moderate depressive to pass the day with cranky thoughts, fortunately most kept where they belong, in the basement of my brain.   But I am fortunate to have a lovely wife, who brings out the best in me, and family nearby.   And in a year in which we moved away from all our friends to snowy Utah, I am fortunate to have letter writing friends, and texting friends and zooming friends that I talk to almost daily (there’s that damned almost again) on an assortment of topics, most of them reasonable.  I don’t use this term often but I am blessed.

What are the four small things you want in your day?

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