Steven J. Sweeney

Tried to meditateBefore fly-tying class—nymphs, tonight—Without kenneling the dog.She was of one mindAnd single purpose, but her breathWas not being watched with awareness.I sat on the floor, her domain,Her whiskers and wet tongue on my hands--Too hard to dismiss as “thinking . . . thinking . . . .”And then the movementIn my hair, in this,The buggiest room in the house.Box elders, twice, and from my collarI swiped away a stink bug.Not quite fully enlightened,And as the incense stick burned out, anyway,I arose, to turn my practiceToward a #12 Mustad nymph hookWrapped with hair dubbing and wing-cased,A bug that might someday hook me in the earDuring a lazy forward cast on some river,Continuing in that other timeThis lesson in mindfulness.

Steven, coming up on 58, is an editor of law-related publications, an oil painter, a beginning practitioner of the middle way, and the maintenance go-to guy on a small property with an aging log house, a lot of old stuff that needs fixing, and a lane that drifts in heavily during winter, a season during which he will be tying new flies for the next catch-and-release trout season in Minnesota. He lives with his mindful English springer spaniel, Mona Lisa, his root instructor in "Now."