We settle ourselves in order to begin.
It is a matter of thought, she says at last.
We sit out back as the sun rises, clouds trailing across the hills.
Birds come to the feeder: cardinals, chickadees, grackles, finches.
Her joy at seeing them is infectious.
It is my joy, too.
Thought can solve problems in the way a hand can lift a hammer, she says.
But it cannot end itself.
It is like your breath, which moves naturally, without apparent effort on your part.
Thought, like breath, will not of itself lead you to God.
I bring her coffee heavily sweetened.
We spend hours studying attention.
The sun rises and the day grows hotter.
Bees drowse in the clover, heavy with nectar.
We differentiate between awareness and attention.
She encourages me to be less surreptitious with my love of the Oxford English Dictionary.
Who questions the gift is ungrateful, she says.
And who is ungrateful merely chooses to remain outside the benevolent nest of the Divine, to the dismay of all.
We walk to the corner of the yard where the hawkweed grows.
Before it we are still a long time, not talking.