Sunday, June 29, 2014

Article: House to Haven

House to Haven:  This original article was written in 2007 and published in an edition of the Gold Canyon Ledger.  I share it today as I consider the shift in energy and intent since the first labyrinth was started.  It was never finished.  Now, however, there is a new labyrinth underway on the property.  It's a pretty good thing.

It is just past midnight and the moon is not yet full.  I am surrounded by houses in the small Maricopa County pocket that is considered East Mesa.  It’s a corner lot, yet there is no sharp turn, as the road gently passes in a rounded curve.  In the not so far away distance, I can hear the rush of traffic on U.S. Highway 60. It is 2007, and I am but the toss of a stone away from my old modular home, yet I might as well be standing atop a Tor in ancient Briton.  I have walked to this Place – a slow, silent walk, alone with my thoughts and my God.  Time melted away; space shifted and changed.  No longer am I surrounded by squat palms and leafy ficus; rather, the trees have grown to oak and willow.  Around and around from where I began I have come to this: in the center of a great spiral, I sit and drink deep the air that no longer tastes of desert, but reminds of a long-ago summer.  This night, I wrap my arms about my knees and lean back to gaze upon the stars.  The stars are a link between the times, another reminder that I am connected by Spirit to all who have gone before and to those who will be.  From this place upon the mystical Tor I sense my present-self upon the desert stones and know that it is time to return.  Standing once more, I begin the descent from hillock to valley, from dreamtime to realtime.  Around and around I walk, taking care not to step upon a line.  The path is narrow and I do not want to traverse where I should not go.  The cool Brithonic summer breeze shifts to warm and shifts again to desert summer heat.  At the end of the path I turn to gaze upon the way I have come.  This small labyrinth is once again but a simple spiral carved into my yard.  It is a Mystery that it should have so recently been a passage between the worlds.

It has long been a dream of mine to have a home of my own, where I could create a space that is both homely and holy, both spiritual and mundane. Finally, with a little help from my church community, I was able to purchase my own home.  The day I moved in, I was struck by the way it was situated on the property. Smack in the middle of my little quarter-acre lot, this 1980’s modular home has been expanded to 1800 square feet and has a nice porch and two “out buildings.”  To me, it has an old farmhouse or cottage feel to it.  Standing in the dining area, I noticed that the kitchen window faced almost directly west – the master bedroom at the other end, directly east.  This placed the front and back doors – almost exactly parallel – at the north and south, respectively.  The center of the home falls somewhere between the dining room table and my private office; placing the axis mundi, the sacred center or heart, in perfect alignment with the place where we gather to share in good food and discussion as well as with my personal refuge for deep thought and written expression.  In honor of this sacred center, I planted my walking stick, along with its cronies of cane and broom, palm and branch, upright in their green urn against the wall between these two rooms. Wind chimes hang at the windows and doors in each direction: bright winged faerie to the east; iron sun to the south; dolphins to the west and dream-catchers to the North.  Above the table hangs OM, the eastern symbol of the Word of Creation.  At the entry to the hallway hangs a tiny birdhouse chime.  This is the indoors, and no matter how messy the mundane, Spirit can still be felt and heard, for we have prayed it be so.

Outdoors, Spirit is discernable even in the broad of daylight, despite the normalcy of a neighborhood founded on the retirement dreams of the not-quite wealthy.  A huge tree in an adjacent garden-yard plays host to a multitude of birds.  Citrus in other yards make fragrant boundary-markers.  Upon my own land, we are surrounded by short palms planted along the street.  One tall palm stands near the home, three shade trees thought to be ficus rustle leaves in the breeze, providing home for hummingbirds and other small flying creatures.  Small palmettos and ironwoods of varying age and size grace the yard.  Two huge agave stand guardian to my front door, and all about the land are planted various things.  Each season, I have discovered a new surprise.  This March I discovered along the north wall of my home an Iris.  One night I breathed deep and discovered the scent of incense– it brought to mind deep green forests, rich dark soil and golden amber.  That night I wandered my yard and found the exact spot to place my labyrinth.

The labyrinth is a most profound path to that which we seek.  A deliberate, silent walk to the center of a labyrinth is a sublime experience.  The seeker of meaning can look deep within from the center and find his or her place in the universe.  For the religious mystic, it is a corridor to the Presence of God.  Since the first time I walked a labyrinth, I’ve wanted my own.  I wanted one that was organic, carved out and stamped into the ground, surrounded by trees, open to the full moon and the scattered stars.  My labyrinth has finally come to be “under construction.”   It is a simple spiral.  Between the ficus and the cactus, there is room enough for a comfortable five-cycle walkway to a center just large enough for one or two to sit zazen, should they wish.  Three or five could gather, standing, should they plan an arm-in-arm meditational hug.

The circle has been cast, the lines drawn with staff and hoe.  I have walked it, meditated in the heart of it, yet there is much to do be done.  I have yet to acquire the rocks or scalloped garden edging I wish to use to mark the path.  Rains and watering overflow have added greenery and rocks where there should be hard desert dirt.  I will need to clear the land completely on bended-knee.  Like a woman who has taken vows, I will make it a prayerful process.  Zen-like, I will ask the invading plants their forgiveness as I tear them away.  I will take hoe to ground and scrape free the loose dirt and the small river-rock.  Once again, I will walk the spiral calling forth the path that has begun to diminish just a bit.  When it is finished, we will be able to walk the path barefoot and when we reach the center, we shall be able to throw hands to the sky and declare our part in the Infinite.


Until then, there is a faintness of path, yet I know it intimately and privately.  I walk it beneath both the moonlit sky and the dark-time.  I listen to the night-birds as they call, and hear the almost silent movements of rabbits and other small desert creatures as they go about their nightly lives, whatever they may be.  About the yard, I have scattered playful things: garden gnomes, faeries and angels.  Each new item I add to the yard, each basil or rosemary, each wildflower or vine, each gnome, butterfly or tacky pink flamingo is a declaration that this is not only home to a small community of humans, but that it is also Sacred Space.  It is a Haven.  With the completion of the tiny labyrinth, it will be so much more.

© May 2007 by Suzanne B. Jacobson

The original "House to Haven" Labyrinth


Poem: Labyrinth

In a town that is not a town,
on a corner that is not a corner
outside a house that is not a house,
in a grove that is not a grove
I stand.

I am within a circle
that is not a circle;
between worlds
and between times.
It is just past midnight
and the moon is not yet full
I am but the toss of a stone
away from my home,
yet I might as well be
atop a Tor in ancient Briton

I have walked to this Place –
a slow, silent walk, alone with
my thoughts and my Gods.
As I walked, time melted away;
space shifted and changed. 
No longer am I surrounded by
squat palms and leafy ficus;
rather, the trees have grown
to oak and willow

Around and around from
where I began I have come to this:
in the center of a great spiral,
I sit and drink deep the air
that no longer tastes of desert,
but reminds of a long-ago summer
Beltane has passed; the Goddess
has met Her Consort.

All that remains is an echo
of that night’s rapturous screams
This night, I wrap my arms about
my knees and lean back to
gaze upon the stars

The stars are a link between the times.
From this place upon the mystical Tor
I sense my present-self upon the
desert stones and know
that it is time to return
Standing once more, I begin
the descent from hillock to valley,
from dreamtime to realtime
Around and around I walk,
taking care not to step upon a line
The path between the times
is narrow and I do not want to
traverse where I should not go.
The cool Brithonic summer breeze
shifts to warm and shifts again to
desert summer heat

At the end of the path I turn
to gaze upon the way I have come.
This small labyrinth is once again
but a simple spiral carved into my yard
It is a Mystery that it should have
so recently been a passage
between the worlds.

©2007 as prose
Poetic Revision © 12 May 2010
By Suzy Jacobson

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Poem: Sunset

She took up smoking in her later years
Not the thin white paper cigarettes
Of her forebears but dark,
Deep-flavored cigarillos, held
Loose between two fingers, deep drags
And heavy sighs of satisfaction
Once a day, perhaps two, sitting back
Gently running a finger around
The lip of her glass, a taste of
Sweet Moscato or sherry, like a
Delicate Amantillado, sweet revenge
Against a life of discontent
Beneath a great arbor of Lady Banks
She found pleasure in the garden he tended
The subtle scent of basil, the fragrant
Desert soil wet with the evening libation
Dusk darkening, the two of them counted
Diamonds as they glittered into sight,
One by one, the sun slipping into a crimson west
When the night lay full upon them, the last
Draughts of spirits poured out as memories
Tobacco crumbled into ashtray, an offering of sorts
They took one another’s hand like teenagers, laughing
Left behind the sleeping garden, cat curled in his corner
Night birds singing familiar melodies, coyote in the
Distance reciting desert poetry, accompanied
By the rhythm of lover’s dreams, expectant


© 17 May 2014 – Suzy Jacobson Cherry

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Poem: Cygnets

It is the rhythm,
This sense of

Separation, this loss
Breath held,
Forgetting to inhale

A life in
Syncopation

Time stopped, hanging
On memories faded
Without them

What reason to exhale?

Hear the metronome
Accept the new beat
It’s a new verse

It is the rhythm
This sense of
Expectation

© 7 May 2014


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Poem: Choice


What choice is there?

This life of promises,

Broken; walls appear

In unexpected places,

Dreams shift and darken

in the fitful sleep

of daily life.  The

dull plodding, the

shuffle of unwanted

burden, responsibility

Where is the bright hope

of youth?

O oblivion of childish

hopes, carnival of

lost innocence/innocents...

remember?

Turn the shuffle of

disillusion to the lift

step, move,

lift, step, move, lift

step, move of

walking meditation


In the center, choose

your Way out

of the dark



(c) 24 March 2014

Suzy Jacobson Cherry



Photo from Buffalo Niagara Gardening


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Poem: Under Stars











Under stars
They lay prone, backs
Flat, bending blades
Fragrant grasses,
Fresh mowed autumn
Fingers interlaced, they
Speak of the vast
Unknown, silently
Aware of attraction
Mysterious electricity
Tingling, unspoken yearning
This moment of eternity,
A memory


© 6 September 2013

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Poem: This Autumn Day

There is Love
This Autumn Day
Though sweltering in 
Desert heat
And the knowledge
Of fires and the 
Burning political unrest
In far away places
There is Love
Knowing that though
Hearts burn with
Unrequited desire, and
Souls burn for freedom
While children sink
Below the depths, still
In the light of Faith
There is Hope
In the warmth of Hope
There is Love
Always
At the tips of our fingers
In the corners of our hearts
In the shadows of tears
Though sweltering in
Desert heat
This Autumn day
There is Love

(c) 17 August 2013