Review of “Under the Wild Ginger”, by Jeffrey D. Willius
Publisher: Bunker Hill Publishing (October, 2012)
The first book from Minneapolis-based writer Jeffrey Willius introduces us to the concept of “seeing generously” and begins with:
Do you remember how it felt when, as a child, you first discovered some little creature or flower you’d never seen before and when, moved beyond speech, all you could manage was a breathless wow?
Written in a format with a statement followed by an explanation with vivid descriptions of the senses, the reader is placed into a moment and then guided toward the wonder that lies within. Jeffrey will flex his poetic muscle often and leave us breathless with lines such as these from “Find your moon shadow”:
Sun shadows fall heavy on the earth – stark,
stretched, hard-edged forms, so common we barely
notice their attachment any more.
Moon, though, lays down her strokes gently, subtle
shades of black on black. Knowing her time, she
works best when facing both earth and sun.
In here we are reminded of Dogen’s “Moon in a Dewdrop” as the underlying Zen-like qualities and being at one with everything, emerges through awareness of what is within and without and our connectedness. So much lives in each and every object.
The path to more wonder, and its internal instincts of awareness, starts with the self as “You needn’t go far, just beyond the borders of your assumptions”. From there, the wonder deepens each day as the daily grind is paused for a moment through the focus of all of our senses in looking at everything around us, no matter its presence or significance.
While a few of these stanzas will resonate with most people and be familiar (and some will be a pleasant surprise, and leave you asking yourself why did I not think of that – “Compare the two sides of someone’s face”), they all have a purpose. They serve as a gentle reminder and offer a bit of clarity through the fog that is life, such as “Don’t think too much” and cause us to stop and look at something in a different light, such as “Listen for the laugher of water”.
Overall, this was a pleasant read and help to bring a bit of peace and calm while I looked out the window at the last rays of light and wondered.