I met her on-line. Why should I be surprised? It's a gathering place where I've found such amazing people.
We did the social media dance (following, friending, linking) and one day I discovered she lives on my ocean side. Not just that, but she lives on my mountain, crosses my river. She has seen my cliffs perhaps as many times as I have, maybe more.
It only seemed fitting to have her to tea. So she came. Joan P. Ball graced my dining room. We ate scones. I drank green tea; she drank Harrod's Afternoon Blend. I ate chocolate. I don't remember if she did. Time raced. She slipped on her funky leather high-heeled sandals and was gone...
But not before giving me a piece of art made by her husband Martin. Black on wood, with a path that speaks of "Journey."
"I thought," she said. "The path. Your art pilgrimage. It seemed..."
Before she closed the door, we also spoke of gratitude. I told her how I'd "failed" at practicing it and instead had received it as a gift during my year of outdoor solitude. She said she thought "failing" at gratitude practice might be not an ending but a beginning, something to turn over in one's palm perhaps... to examine and handle afresh. Yes, perhaps.
I pondered this and decided I will not go back to gratitude lists— cold lines that took me nowhere. I will write "for" poems (as in, thankful for). I don't know how often. But here is the first...
For life yet again,
and girls with long dark
For you, sleeping there,
pulling me close in
For poetry that calls
to life beyond what
to be. For me loved
by You. I should embrace
Journey Art, by Martin. A gift from Joan P. Ball.