fall
Skyline, Fall - 2008

Earthlines
By Diane Pendola




Born of the Wind

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            These are the first days of fall.  This time of year the shadows lengthen, the light turns golden and the wind begins to move.  I feel my own spirit lift as the cool breezes stir after the still heat of summer. I breathe in the clean scented air of the rising autumn rains and slowly a sense of renewal begins to spread through my being.

            I’m reminded that in the three languages closest to the heart of the Judeo-Christian tradition, Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, the words for wind, breath and spirit are interchangeable. The Hebrew word Ruah, which is identical to the Aramaic, makes it’s first appearance in Genesis 1:2: ...there was darkness over the deep and God’s Ruah hovered over the waters.  In other words, God’s Spirit hovered over the waters, the Sacred Breath, the Holy Wind.  In Greek the word is Pneuma .  Pneuma is gender neutral in Greek, but in Hebrew the word Ruah is feminine and implies a feminine divine presence.

            Jesus probably spoke Aramaic.  It was the common language spoken in Palestine at the time. I find it interesting to shift some of the best known expressions of Jesus from the usual translation of spirit to wind or breath.  When I do, suddenly the wind itself, the air I breathe, my very breath is an immediate experience of the presence of the sacred.  Jesus breathed on them and said, receive the Holy Breath. Receive the Holy Wind. (John 21;25)  How might we change if we received each breath we take as the breath of God? How might our relationship with the air–the very vitality of life– change if we perceived the wind, not simply as a sign of the Spirit but as the Spirit?

            Meditators often take the breath as a focus of their attention.  The breath is empty of thought.  One might say it is empty of ego and thus becomes a vehicle for a direct experience of the sacred.  For beginners this focus on breath can seem banal, boring, insignificant.  After all, what can be special about the breath? It is with us always.  Exactly!  Just as Jesus said:  I am with you always; yes to the end of time. (Mt. 28:20)  How do we experience this abiding presence? Through the spirit, the breath, the wind.   

 

            It is in the context of these reflections that I offer these two poems, inspired by the Wind.

 

 


The Fullness in My Hands

By Diane Pendola

 

How can my hands be full of the wind?

But they are. They are full

of energy invisible, pregnant,

taut as skin drawn tight

around the pulsing womb,

full of the sound of the drum-beat.

 

And my hands, they move,

they undulate like a wave.

They shape, they create,

they vibrate with heat.

My eye sees fire

bursting from my palms.

 

How can my hands be full of flame?

But they are. 

They are full of the light

that does not hurt but heals,

burning away the dross,

the doubt. the dread,

 the dead-wood and the dry blame.

 

How can my hands feel so?

But they do.  Oh touching

an infant’s tender crown

and the soft down,

reaching like fingertips into

the most delicate under-belly,

the stroke of a kittens’ fur,

a puppies’ velvet nose,

or the petal of a rose.

 

How can my hands see so?

But they do.  An eye opens

in every pore, pouring out

 

Light, oh

Love, oh

Wind

 in the beginning and

Wind

in the end.

Wind–

the fullness in my hands.

 


 

When I die

By Diane Pendola

 

When I die

lay me upon the earth

and let me listen

one last time to the Wind.

And let me feel,

one last time the Wind

on my body.

And you can watch

as my Spirit rises

to become one with this Wind,

finally and utterly:

one with the Wind

who has wooed me

all my life,

who receives my breath

into her breath

as we move clouds

across the broad sky.

 

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©Diane Pendola, Fall 2008. 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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