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Book of Days

BOOK OF DAYS: A POET AND NATURALIST TRIES TO FIND POETRY IN EVERY DAY

Filtering by Tag: prayer flags

January 9: Oranges

Kristen Lindquist

Some days I just find myself craving a particular color. This morning I was drawn to orange--orange undershirt, some clementines with my cereal for breakfast, orange gloves as I headed out to soak up some sunlight. The need was stimulated, I'm sure, by my constant need for more warmth this time of year, as well as the mood boost the color offers when contrasted with the pale dirty snow out my window. It's a color that catches and embodies light, connoting Florida citrus and sunshine. Perhaps my body craves more Vitamin C to help me shed once and for all a niggling cold, and this attraction to orange is a way of getting me to ingest some healthful fruit.

The sight of tulips in my window near the fruit bowl helped satisfy my longing for this color, albeit not as tangibly as those clementines, which I devoured. 

And I've been fixating on a section of our prayer flag garland that sports five tangerine-colored pennants in a row, the only repetition in a string of 48. If I could translate those symbols, perhaps there's something I need to be learning there...

Fruit and flowers glow
in kitchen's weak, winter light.
Outside, dirty snow.

November 7: Prayer Flags

Kristen Lindquist

Every morning before beginning my day I sit at my desk and check my e-mail while looking out the window at my back yard. We live on the Megunticook River below Seabright Dam, so the water course is rather narrow here. But we can often hear the river's soothing rush. Birds move through trees that form a screen of sorts between our house and the water. Right now a flock of crows is noisily making its way through the neighborhood. Because most of the branches are bare, I can see where they land; their bodies bob up and down with each yell.

A hollowed stump holds a last lingering chrysanthemum, brave purple blossoms capped by a pile of fallen leaves. One tree retains most of its foliage, a young maple that was the last to turn. Its wide bright leaves, turned up to the morning sun like so many outstretched palms, scatter and twirl in all directions in a true shower of gold. A mosaic of russets and golds from maple, beech, ash and oak carpets our lawn. And our mossy-roofed shed sits in the middle, blocking the best water view, but also blocking our winter view of nearby houses that become very visible once the branches are bare. Our tiny space is contained in its way, bound by the river and a steep bluff, and a fence one one side. A neighbor's dog barks in the distance, and nearby someone chain-saws fallen branches, making firewood for the winter ahead.

A string of Buddhist prayer flags hangs above our shed door: blue, white, red, green, and yellow (symbolizing sky, wind, fire, water, and earth) against the white of the shed. When the wind flutters the flags, it spreads the blessings inscribed on each piece of cloth throughout the surrounding space of my yard, the neighborhood, the river...  This morning I notice that a maple leaf has landed exactly at the end of the string, gold leaf right next to a yellow scrap of fabric, as if it wanted to be part of the "wind horse." It too is inscribed with a mantra written in the calligraphy of its veins. The crows, chickadees, and busy squirrels will benefit from this blessing when it eventually blows away.

Fallen maple leaf
joins the string of prayer flags--
all spread their blessings.


(Unfortunately this was taken before the leaf positioned itself at the end of the string.)