Skyline, Spring - 2005

By Diane Pendola

Life At Home

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Now the oak trees unfurl their tight buds


into fresh yellow leaves,


feathery in their arrival so soon


from the Source of wing and wind.


Now has song risen again in my soul,


finding voice in the chanting cadences of life's ebb and flow.


Now the rooster crows.


Now the wind rises.


Now the woodpecker drums against the oak's trunk.


Now branches scrape across the roof of the loft


where I sit scratching these words across the page.


Life is now.


Life is this.


It enters me:


circulates as blood, as breath;


awakens in my mind;


lifts itself into word,


into song,


into prayer.


Life whispers itself, i am;


shouts itself, I am. I Am!


It shapes itself


through tongue and breath,


brain and bone into embodied being:


life at home in me.




May We Know Who We Are

Keep it simple, I tell myself.


What is our work if not simplicity itself.


Simplicity. Beginners Mind. Second Innocence.


Becoming again like a little child.


Cultivating relationship.


Enhancing relationship with each person, each creature, each being.


Taking time to listen.


Having enough quiet within, enough space,


to actually hear and receive the gift, the presence of another.


Inviting awareness of our communion,


our relationship with each and every other being.


I am because you are.


I am because the trees grow and speak


in the language of the heavens


like the wings of angels beating in the wind.


I am because of the wind, blowing


across the seas and the continents,


carrying the atoms of everything that has lived,


expanding in my lungs and sending breath back into theirs.


I am because the sun rises in unspeakable glory,


rests its light in the sparkle of dew,


the green of grass, the yellow of daffodil


and sets in my soul, and names me there.


I am because I've grown up out of this world,


its song in my song, its rhythm in my heart,


its beauty woven into the fabric of my bone and sinew.


I am because the world is.


We exist together or not at all.


We go into the future together


or wither as the root of our soul life is severed at its core.


As though we can go forward without


the polar bear, the elephant, the gorilla;


without wilderness and reverence


for the interior depths of the non-human other;


as if we can be fed by machines and nurtured by consumption.


I am because everything else is.


May we nurture all other beings.


May we discover ourselves.


May we know who we are.


Milking The Cow

 She grazes in the green, green pasture. Black and solid as an oak log, her short legs carry her up the hill at a surprisingly brisk pace at the sound of my voice. She stands at the gate, ears forward, eyes alive with kind intelligence, expectant. She's longing for the grain I have in the blue bucket. For that she stands, willingly allowing me to attach the lead line to her halter. For that she follows, to a sturdy post where I tie her and place the bucket of rolled oats and molasses on the ground before her.


As she eats, I gently wash her udder with a warm cloth. I prefer the side with less hair on her bag. Yes, remarkably, one side is hairier than the other! And I've caught those hairs, as I've squeezed her teats, and gotten a kick in quick reproach!


Having prepared her bag for milking, I allow her calf to join us. I separate Baby Bossie in the morning in order to build her appetite, and Mama Bossie's willingness to let down her milk, for both of us in the afternoon. The heifer takes mama's milk into her warm, moist mouth, happy sucking sounds ensuing. On the opposite side I begin squeezing a teat, first with thumb and forefinger and then down the length with the rest of my hand as I hold a milk bottle with the other. The thumb-sized teat is slack at first but begins to fill as the calf works and soon the milk is flowing. Mama settles into a soft-eyed trance. Chickens come close, looking for scattered remains of grain, even sucking a little milk through their beaks from the last cream I strip into a special bucket for the feral barn cat.


Tomorrow morning's coffee will be full of green, green pasture, soft-eyed intelligence, the touch of wind and the feel of milk flowing through my hand. It will carry the stroke of her coarse flank and my fingers twining the locks of hair that curl so cutely between her attentive ears. It will carry the calf's bawling and the sweet smell of creamy foam on her hard rubbery mouth as she sneaks over to my side, butting me away as though I were her twin.


I will reflect deeply on the milk in my coffee and find no reason for regret or rancor there. 




*  Our cow is a Dexter, a small breed, listed in The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, as rare. Many of the unique livestock breeds that have grown up alongside human communities for centuries are in danger of extinction. For more information check out www.albc-usa.org.






To imagine the body




Your body, our body,




with the sweet earth,


chantrelle scented.



Orange light of the sun






from the dark secret


soul of the world,


crowning now,




for the wild wanderers,




proliferating in reckless




for the satiation of any


and all


who would partake


of this fibrous fruit,


this delicate body


of edible light!

©Diane Pendola, Spring 2005. You are welcome to print or make a copy in electronic form for personal use or sharing with interested persons as long as the copyright notice is not removed or altered. Please do not print it in any other publication, or sell it, by itself or as part of another work, without express written permission of the author.

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