The Goblin Rumpus began at exactly 2:48 AM with a sweet falsetto yawp from Little Thor. I went out into the hall to see what was happening, and about a dozen cats were zooming through the halls, bouncing off the walls, skittering down the stairs. My daytime brain knows that there are only two cats in the house. My nighttime brain knows that there were at least a dozen cats performing the Goblin Rumpus–a couple of them were indigo gray with shining golden eyes, and the others were orange blurs.
Today I am turning fifty. Growing up. I’ve completed a half-century here.
If you follow the numerological significances of things, five is the number of the hierophant or teacher, and zero is the number of the fool. Doing a little wizardry with the numbers of my birthday and birth year, my birth number reduces to 5, so it appears that I am coming into my own this year, and carrying the madcap, free-spirited nature of the fool with me. This is the year to focus on my work as teacher and fool. I’ll take it!
I feel like this is my birthday poem:
“The Seven of Pentacles”
by Marge Piercy
Under a sky the color of pea soup
she is looking at her work growing away there
actively, thickly like grapevines or pole beans
as things grow in the real world, slowly enough.
If you tend them properly, if you mulch, if you water,
if you provide birds that eat insects a home and winter food,
if the sun shines and you pick off caterpillars,
if the praying mantis comes and the lady bugs and the bees,
then the plants flourish, but at their own internal clock.
Connections are made slowly, sometimes they grow underground.
You cannot tell always by looking what is happening.
More than half a tree is spread out in the soil under your feet.
Penetrate quietly as the earthworm that blows no trumpet.
Fight persistently as the creeper that brings down the tree.
Spread like the squash plant that overruns the garden.
Gnaw in the dark and use the sun to make sugar.
Weave real connections, create real nodes, build real houses.
Live a life you can endure: make love that is loving.
Keep tangling and interweaving and taking more in,
a thicket and bramble wilderness to the outside but to us
interconnected with rabbit runs and burrows and lairs.
Live as if you liked yourself, and it may happen:
reach out, keep reaching out, keep bringing in.
This is how we are going to live for a long time: not always,
for every gardener knows that after the digging, after the planting,
after the long season of tending and growth, the harvest comes.
“In these cataclysmic times, living in what Michael Meade calls the ‘slow apocalypse,’ despair can be dangerously seductive. Our lives may feel inadequate to the terrible momentum of our times, but it is in those moments that we must remember the difference between despair and grief.
While despair traps us in the bog of despondency, grief carries us into life. Grief calls us into a deeper engagement with those things that we love. And even as we are losing them, grief wants to exalt their beauty.
“If we let grief move us into expression, it will sing the blood into our songs, colour the vividness into our paintings, and slip the poetry between our words.
“Rumi says, “All medicine wants is pain to cure.” And so we must cry out in our weakness, our ineptitude, our beautiful inadequacy and make of it an invitation that medicine might reach through and towards us.” —Toko-pa Turner
“I have always been spiritually promiscuous, lying down with any God who will have me. When I drop down into these ancient texts, I feel the breath of the God of Love on my face. It makes me crazy. In the very best way.” —Mirabai Starr
“By virtue of the Creation and, still more, of the Incarnation, nothing here below is profane for those who know how to see. On the contrary, everything is sacred.” —Teilhard de Chardin
“A library is infinity under a roof.” —Gail Carson Levine
1. Fifty mostly satisfying years on this Earth.
2. Okay, even if I am working on less sleep today, the delightful thrill of a springy little cat walking begging for attention in the night–walking all over me, bringing me his new favorite toy, purring and snuggling.
3. Goldfinches: how they fly, how they twitter. Their purpose is joy.
4. Everything is Sacred, indeed. Grateful for the words of Teilhard de Chardin
5. The promise of a massage sometime in the next few months when I really need it. My guys gave me a gift certificate for a friend who is starting up her own business. Win-win! I love it!
May we walk in Beauty!