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Steven J. Sweeney


Tried to meditate
Before fly-tying class—nymphs, tonight—
Without kenneling the dog.
She was of one mind
And single purpose, but her breath
Was not being watched with awareness.
I sat on the floor, her domain,
Her whiskers and wet tongue on my hands--
Too hard to dismiss as “thinking . . . thinking . . . .”
And then the movement
In my hair, in this,
The buggiest room in the house.
Box elders, twice, and from my collar
I swiped away a stink bug.
Not quite fully enlightened,
And as the incense stick burned out, anyway,
I arose, to turn my practice
Toward a #12 Mustad nymph hook
Wrapped with hair dubbing and wing-cased,
A bug that might someday hook me in the ear
During a lazy forward cast on some river,
Continuing in that other time
This lesson in mindfulness.

Steven, coming up on 58, is an editor of law-related publications, an oil painter, a beginning practitioner of the middle way, and the maintenance go-to guy on a small property with an aging log house, a lot of old stuff that needs fixing, and a lane that drifts in heavily during winter, a season during which he will be tying new flies for the next catch-and-release trout season in Minnesota.  He lives with his mindful English springer spaniel, Mona Lisa, his root instructor in "Now."