Charlene Langfur

The Big White Cloud on a Desert Night Under the Yellow Moon Every night I walk out into the nightas if for the first time.It is a Buddhist practice to act as if it is the first.Tonight, my honey colored dog is waggingher tail at the moon, she is leaping in the cold air,I am waiting for the cactus flowers to bloom, to seeif they have bloomed overnight, yellow dazzling orbsin the middle of difficult thorns.The fan palm trees hang over us, their green leavesand fonds glowing in the streetlight.Before my walk I read how Buddha likedto take a walk every night on the same stone pathas the night before, walking to the top of the mountainoverlooking the Ganges. He talked oftenof how we always had to have a path, a first time pathand I think about Buddha’s birthday this month as I walkand what Buddha said about not giving up on happiness,how we need to walk past our problems until another daypushing sadness away with impunity.And even now when I am isolated in a pandemic,I know this must be true, each day a first.Here in the desert under the light of the moon,the bluish stars in the sky shining over me,my dog leading the way over a small patch of sand,past a cactus flower in bloom, dreamy,wild with color, ready to open into the sun bymorning. And love will come back again, I am sure of it.Tomorrow night, we will be back again andwe will be here , yes, we will be here touchingthe petals of the flowers, walking as if forthe first time under the round yellow moonon a desert night sky, black, starry, good as it gets Refuge Ringing the Korean meditation bellat the first light of day,walking my honey colored dogas far as my legs will take us.Later, Espresso coffee, a bowl of organic oatmeal.Calmness follows me as if thereis no other choice even as it takes practicebreathing, learning to love new ways of living,taking less, touching the fan palm leaveson the way out the door for luck.Smiling at what’s too small to mention.Learning to propagate violets in the gardenon the front porch and waiting for the firstsprout no matter how long it takes, andI wait for the green headed lizard to show upin the garden as it does every day this time of year,climbing the wall, running from the sun’s big heat.The lizard always makes me think aboutdreams and memories. Soon, the aloe plants willneed repotting again, the brown rice needsteaming with some asparagus. I’ll add garlic in itfor good health. This is how it is in 2020,staying inside the house in the desert summerheat, sketching with #2 pencils, wavingat the moon out the window like an oldfriend. The news of the day local. Kissingmy dog on the head goodnight until tomorrow. Simple Things Every day I work at what I am able to do,collecting my dreams when I wake upletting them go like the birds flying south.I walk out into the world each daywith my honey colored dog leading usalong, exploring what is around us, cactusin flower, lizards chasing sunlight andshadow, the aloe plants thriving this timeof year, fat with life. I ring the Koreanmeditation bell first off in the morningand listen as the sound travels in the air.Later I’ll cook brown rice and carrotsand steamed asparagus. I do this allslowly now in the pandemic as ifthe ascension of the ordinary isat the center of everything we do in life.Soon the new moon will break in the blacksky, and I always remember lovewhen it does, when I stand under it, or walkingunder the starry night sky, the fan palm treesaround me, green leaves over-head.I look for what’s green in the desert,what steadies life. Tomorrow, I’ll beplanting the seeds again, one by one, inchesdeep, set to bloom in a week or so,the tiniest sprouts opening with the light Charlene Langfur is an organic gardener, a Syracuse University Graduate Writing Fellowship holder and her most recent publications include poems in EMRYS, INLANDIA MAGAZINE, BLUE MOON POETRY REVIEW, NORTH DAKOTA QUARTERLY and a series of poems forthcoming, in WEBER-THE CONTEMPORARY WEST.