Aldon Hynes's blog

Nap Time

I remember nap time as a little boy,
lying on my mother’s bed
my mind not ready to sleep.

I would look out through the hallway
across the living room floor
and out through the
living room window.

The glass was uneven
and as I tossed and turned
I would see ripples of the world outside.

Elsewhere in the living room
was the small tea kettle
we used for playing games.
Who would be the first to find
the hidden tea kettle?

There was also the prism
which would turn plain light
into a rainbow
that danced across the floor.

When sleep finally came
It would be filled
with these magical objects.

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“No two snowflakes are alike,” they say,
but I don’t know who “they” are,
or why they say that.
They certainly haven’t been helping me
shovel my driveway this winter.

Scientists estimate that ten to the twenty-fourth
snowflakes fall each year,
Scientists estimate the earth is
four billion years old.
That’s a lot of snowflakes
and we haven’t even considered
man-made snow yet.

Heraclitus says,
“you can’t step in the same river twice”.
That river may be made
of the spring run off
of billions of melting snowflakes.

So perhaps, no two snowflakes are alike.
They exist at different times
In different places
made of different atoms.

Structurally, a snowflake I shovel off my driveway
might be the same as a snowflake
I sledded over when I was young,
or the snowflake that broke the camel’s back
as another roof collapsed.

The first snowflakes of the season,
met with much joy and excitement,
are now long gone,
though the high banks of dirty snow
pushed aside by snowplows
will last for several more weeks.

So, I’ll pause to wonder at snow falling on cedars
as Robert Frost wonders whose woods he’s in
and a cartoon character wants to build a snowman.

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“What word sums up your entire life?”
the online quiz asked.

And I thought to myself,
“None, yet. I hope”,
as I started clicking on a series
of mostly inapplicable pictures.

In the end
I got “influencer”
which isn’t too bad
but seems horribly incomplete.

Whom do I influence?
Myself? Others?
What sort of influence is it?
Is it positive, negative, or just is?
What sort of topics?
Politics? Arts? Sciences? Life?
Mundane? Profane? Profound?

So I told my friends
a word I got from
Judge Woolsey
in his opinion about
James Joyce’s Ulysses.

Parchment, from which one text was scraped away
and another text added,
perhaps, also, to be scraped away.

I think of the palimpsest as a tapestry
where you can still see parts of old stories
mingled with the new.
and how old stories of my life
weave into new stories
providing context and contrast.

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A Lenten Discipline

This year, I will focus on creating
and appreciating creation.

It is too easy to be morose,
to think about our frailty and failings,
both individual and collective.
We are reminded of this
on the incessant evening news.

Three young Muslims were killed today.
A tank car carrying crude oil exploded.
The cease fire is not holding.
Congress has reached an impasse.

The soundtrack of human suffering
plays on the car radio
as we commute to and from
the daily grind.

The numbed mind doesn’t see
the beauty of the young deer
foraging for food,
nibbling on branches
in the waist deep snow.

The numbed mind doesn’t see
the high five
the homeless man gives
to his buddy
who just got a job.

I will remember moments in nature
walking home alone
beside the frozen stream
and pausing to look
at the perfect pattern of ice
jutting out from a rock.

I will remember visits to the museum
walking reverently
towards the masterpiece
and standing to soak in
all the beauty someone else
had managed
to mingle with paint
and adhere to a canvas.

I will remember the cathedral moments
of childhood;
transcendence, and wonder,
of something greater than myself
in crowds of people
like me and yet not like me.

I will remember quiet moments
of childhood;
when I was hurt
or failed
and someone said,
“I love you.”

This year, I will focus on creating
and appreciating creation.

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The Seals

Two atoms collided on a small star
in a distant corner
of the Virgo Supercluster
emitting a small burst of light.

Several minutes later,
that light,
along with the light
of so many other such collisions
reflected off the skin
of a large grey seal
basking on a sand bar
at low tide
on Cape Cod.

This reflected light
entered the eyes
of a man sitting
on the sand
next to his wife
at sunset.

He reached out and touched her hand.

The touch,
the smells of the sea,
the sound of the surf
      and the seals,
fired off synapses
mingling serotonin and memories
in her mind.

Her mother had loved watching the seals.

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