Now and Then — Hermann Hesse

Where I live in Utah, it is the time of year when these lilies bloom. I think of them as Tiger Lilies. In my yard there is an interesting deep purple mixed with yellow. There is also another that blossoms as gold and red. Flowers still have a way of representing an abundance to me. Growth. Life. Beauty. They call out some of that energy in me.

I’m grateful to Shawna Lemay for her post that includes the Hermann Hesse poem that I’ve copied below. Hesse, was a German writer of the 20th century. I remember stumbling across an old, and quite warn copy of Siddhartha when I was in my early 30s. I read it and reread it, enjoying the awakening that it brought. And Shawna’s thoughtfulness in her posts and photos are often centering to me.

This morning, with lilies doing what lilies do in my yard, a part of me wanted to only post the last piece of Hesse’s poem. To focus only on the new flowers. To focus only on the beauty. Not on the desolate that is this human learning, and not on the exhausted that accompanies surrender and initiation.

Yet, it all goes together. Yes, coming to terms with this holism, and accepting it as it is, as continued journey — well this is what I suppose wise ones of every culture have been pointing us to for centuries.

So, thanks to Hermann Hesse, for not just the nudge to new blessing, but also for the witness that comes from the realness of broken wings.

Now and Then
by Hermann Hesse

Now and then everything feels wrong and desolate,
and sprawling in pain, weak and exhausted,
every effort reverts to grief,
every joy collapses with broken wings.
and our longing listens for distant summons,
aching to receive news filled with joy.

But we still miss bliss
fortunate fates elude from afar.
Now is the time to listen within, 
tend our inner garden mindfully
until new flowers, new blessings can blossom.

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