Gratitudes, Poems, Poetry Prompts

Poplar and Sycamore

Today’s Poetic Asides Prompt is to write a lone poem.

Some trees develop friendships, they say,
filling out their branches on the outer edges,
criss-crossing the air between them
with a fine hatch of lighter branches,
creating two halves of a single crown.

When they took down the old poplar,
seventy years old and ninety feet tall,
and rot-wood spreading from its heart,
half the sky in the hollow was revealed,
its other half still obscured by sycamore,
now lone and lopsided, missing half a crown.

Beneath the drive, buckled now by poplar’s knees,
are their roots still entwined?


Gratitude List:
1. Green grass, blue sky, puffy white clouds, and pink trees.
2. The children playing outside together
3. Serendipity and synchronicity
4. Traffic was a breeze this afternoon. (I know this one seems petty, but it’s a really big deal to me. On a good day, I can get to school in 25-30 minutes. The ride home can top 45.)
5. The water is back on. We have not had water since Friday when the pump failed. The plumber is now my hero, and I told him so.

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes, Poems

After All

Today’s prompt on Poetic Asides is to write a Poem titled, “After ______.”

After All
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

After all is said and done,
when you’ve won the battle,
when you catch your breath
and stretch your fingers to the sun,

will you still believe in all the words
and songs that led you to your path?
Will you remember all the guides
who walked beside you in the lonesome days?

Will you praise the small coincidences
of the wayside trees that brought you comfort,
and the sort of incidental shining stones
that made a trail for you to follow?

After the dust has settled,
after the room has stopped spinning,
after the dice have rolled the magic number,
will you stumble onward blindly

in the noonday glare, or will you pause
and rest a moment, give a knowing glance
toward the river and the willows, the pebbles
and the flaming trees of spring?

Will you sing a grateful poem to the day?
Will you kneel? Will you build an altar?
Will you dance? Will you pray?


Gratitude List:
1. Phoebe calling
2. Bluebird muttering
3. Fixing things
4. Water
5. Poeming

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes, Poems

Whom Shall We Trust?

During the season of Lent, the worship materials for the Mennonite Church suggest a more ritualized confession time, not particularly about confessing sin, but expanding it to confess what we believe. As part of the ritual, a few people each week are asked to come forward and bring their confessions in the form of a poem or a piece of art or a story or a reflection of some sort. Today, I have been asked to be part of the ritual, answering the question: “Who will trust in God today?” Here’s my poem:

Whom shall we trust?
When hurricanes and charlatans
destroy the weak?
When the meek are set
to inherit a world laid waste by greed?
When human need bats last,
long after lust for money, sex, and power?
Whom shall we trust
in this hour when so much has been lost?
When the cost seems too high
for such a simple thing
as resting in belief
that the Holy One has time
for grief about our trials and tribulations.

The pillars of the past no longer hold.
They’ve had feet of clay all along,
and wrong upon wrong upon wrong
has brought the ancient houses down.
There’s no more room here for illusion.

How, then, shall we trust?
Shall we just ignore the lancing fear
that tears our sense of safety from its moorings?
That bears us outward into territories
we’ve not known before?

Perhaps it’s not a matter
of ignoring what we face,
but rather an attempt
to place our anxious thoughts
within the context of the Greater Power.

I will put my trust in Mystery,
in that ineffable presence we call God,
in the Knowable Unknowing,
and in the One
who put on shoes like us
and trod the roads we walk,
and spoke as one who knew
the course of human suffering.
I’ll trust us to the Holy Wind of Spirit,
who hears our songs and knows our fears,
who causes us to rise, though we resist;
in our resistance fills our sails,
the wind that pulls against the kite
and makes us rise to higher height.

Perhaps nothing can be truly known,
no comfortable future gardens
sown with seeds of certainty.
But we can trust the certainty of seed,
the trusty breeze of Spirit
and the rains of the Creator
on these fields we bear within us.


Gratitude List:
1. The Little Sisters buzzing for pollen among the crocus and anemones
2. A fun afternoon of pond play yesterday with my kid
3. This man who makes the most amazing birthday cakes
4. The opportunities for my soon-to-be-teenager to learn to do the tech things he loves
5. Summer break is on its way

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes, Musings, Poems

Welcome, Spring!

We are two days in to the season of Awakening, of Hatching, of Breaking Open. Two days in, through wind and sunshowers, through gusting rain and rushing cloud. Last year, on the second day of spring, a foot of snow fell in the hollow. This year, a seemingly endless drench of rain.

In the season of Brigid, back in February, we felt the Earth stirring, noticed the sap rising, watched pull toward birth and sprouting. Now we feel the promise, watch the winter aconite drop seeds for next years golden cups, and Persephone’s footprints–all shades of crocus–springing up across the lawns, uncontainable by flower beds.

What, in you, is hatching now? What thing, which has lain long and silently within you like a seed in the darkness, now seeks the sun and breezes? Hold that thing within you, like a seed. See the rough, hard casing which has protected it in its dreamstate. Breathe in the sun of spring, the chill air biting as it enters, and feel your lungs, your belly, your capacity, expand. Watch the casing of your dreamseed break open, and feel the roots push downward within you. Feel the sprout nosing upwards to the light and warmth of spring. What is being born within you? What new capacity? What new heartspace? What plan and purpose? Blessed be your seeds. Crack open. Seek the sun. Feel the rains of spring caress your growing roots.

Gratitude List:
1. The groundhog who is nosing around on the hillside behind the house
2. A day off, to ponder and paint, and catch up on the work
3. The fog of winter is lifting
4. Watching the children grow and become so gallantly themselves
5. The seeds which are sprouting

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes, Musings

What the Holy One Can Do with Dust (Jan Richardson)

How day dawns in Skunk Holler

That title is a quote from Jan Richardson’s Poem “Blessing the Dust.” You probably want to read it today.

Today I am home from school with a sick child. It’s a nice chance for some slow, quiet time in between checking his temperature and beating him mercilessly at a game of Monopoly.

It’s Ash Wednesday, the beginning of that 40-day journey before Easter, a moon-bound season between the season of Brigid and the season of Ostara. As spokes on the eight-pointed solar wheel, Brigid and Ostara occur on the same days every solar year: Groundhog’s Day and Spring Equinox, ancient celebrations of the quickening of life in the earth, and the time of hatching and birth that is spring. But Lent is fluid, floating along the surface of the solar year, woven into the cycles of the moon and its dance with that Equinox sun. On Brigid’s February morning, we look to our shadows and consider whether the light we have within us will serve us until the spring. We take stock of our inner reserves and resources. In Lent, we take that question further, considering the question of enough.

During Lent, we look inward and wonder at the holes and spaces within. We see our lack, and instead of shrinking away in fear and despair, we say, “Yes,” and “Yes” again. Here is who I am. I know that I can be one who betrays the Holy One, one with the potential to deny my beloved. I know how I can cringe in fear, hide in shadow, whimper and whine in dread and shame. And I know, too, that I can walk toward those shadows within myself, because only in walking through those shadows will I encounter the shining lights that sparkle on the other side–also within me.

Last night, I gathered with a group of colleagues and students from my school to participate in the first of five Racial Justice Trainings (workshops? seminars? mentoring sessions?) that will happen throughout the spring. During the evening, our facilitator, Dr. Amanda Kemp, challenged us to keep a journal during these weeks of trainings, to ground and center ourselves so that we can hold space for transformation, to walk toward our fear, to challenge our assumptions and implicit biases. It feels to me like just the discipline to take up on this moon-clad journey toward Easter, to consider this time of training as my Lenten Work.

So often we get Lent wrong. We think we have to do penance for our evil ways, to enshroud ourselves in shame, to bewail our miserable selves. But when we simply throw it all off as just an exercise in self-flagellation, I think we get it wrong, too. This is a time to look realistically at who we are inside, what our strengths and our failings are. Lent is a time of discipline–not beatings and beratings, but careful training and thoughtful self-education. Amanda inspires me to take hold of this coming season as a time to consider my accountability, to look at the ways in which I participate in the unjust systems of today, just as the religious elite at the turn of the millennium participated in the destructive systems of their day. In this season, I commit myself to assess my inner world, to take stock of my role in the breaches and breaks, to walk toward my fears, to become a mender and repairer of the web.


Gratitude List:
1. Rest
2. Re-assessment
3. Seasons
4. Sunshine
5. Story

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes, Musings

Abide. Trust. Surrender to the Flow.

This morning on the way to school, a long, rangy V of geese flew over the highway. It took me a moment to realize that they were snow geese rather than the Canada geese we see almost every day. A few miles later another V slid through the low clouds, this one in perfect formation, only a dozen or so birds, and again, I needed to re-arrange my sense of what I was seeing. This was no flock of geese, but a small flock of swans, their long necks a clear sign of who they were.

A week or so ago, my friend Suzy and I were talking about what swans mean: grace, flow, surrender to what is, trust in the process. I needed that conversation. I have been feeling like I haven’t been trying hard enough to figure out how to make more time in my life to write. I feel guilty because I can’t keep up with the work of teaching, and then guiltier still because I am pushing the writer’s life aside while I try to make peace with the grading. Surrender to the flow, said Suzy. Abide. Trust. Stop trying to push the river. Flow with it instead. I don’t know quite where that leads me toward making peace with my teacher/writer divide, but it eases the pressure.

And today the swans, following the geese, trailing behind them those words: “You do not have to be good.” Because that’s always what the geese say, since Mary. And today in class, a student did a presentation on a poet. His poet was Mary Oliver. And his featured poem? “The Wild Geese.” So it’s message upon message upon message.

There are words racing across the sky, in birds, in snowflakes, in cloud formations. And flowing in the rivers and streams, across lakes and oceans. And scattered in pebbles and plant-life all around us on the earth. So much to learn from. So much to listen to. So many texts to be read and understood.


Gratitude List:
1. Swans and snow geese, and the Canadas too.
2. The talented teamwork of the cast of our school’s musical. They were amazing!
3. Leaning in to the hard questions
4. Reconciliations
5. Tea

May we walk in Beauty!


Monday’s Messages:
“Dominator culture has tried to keep us all afraid, to make us choose safety instead of risk, sameness instead of diversity. Moving through that fear, finding out what connects us, revelling in our differences; this is the process that brings us closer, that gives us a world of shared values, of meaningful community.”
―bell hooks, Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope


“Especially now, when views are becoming more polarized, we must work to understand each other across political, religious and national boundaries.” ―Jane Goodall


“When the people were great stones
we silently watched the dawn
we listened to the wind rushing over the mountains
we spoke the language of mist and dreams
and we could feel the pulsing rhythm
of the living heartbeat of the Earth.”
―Beth Weaver-Kreider


“A woman cannot make the culture more aware by saying ‘Change.’ But she can change her own attitude toward herself, thereby causing devaluing projections to glance off. She does this by taking back her body. By not forsaking the joy of her natural body, by not purchasing the popular illusion that happiness is only bestowed on those of a certain configuration or age, by not waiting or holding back to do anything, and by taking back her real life, and living it full bore, all stops out. This dynamic self-acceptance and self-esteem are what begins to change attitudes in the culture.”
―Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes


“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”
―Pema Chödrön


“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world at once,
but of stretching out to mend the part of the world
that is within our reach.”
—Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Gratitudes, Musings

Loosening Winter’s Grip

Has it been worse this year? I think it’s been worse. The dullness, the bone-weariness, the loss of zip and vim. The sleepiness compounded by insomnia, anxiety-ridden, with sudden nighttime joltings-awake. The Wintertime nightbird sitting on the chest, crying, “Shame! Loss! Devastation! Rage! Woe!” The burden. The Burden.

Winter is an enormous, lumpy, grey gunny sack full of dirty laundry that I must carry around on my back. It gets heavier and heavier by the day. Some years, it’s an act of sheer, daily endurance to make it through. There’s no extra energy to look around and see just how grey it’s all become. I just have to plod forward into the mist.

There are momentary compensations—shining blue days when sun sparkles on ice and snow, sky-heavy days when snowflakes whirl and dance through the air. Yes, momentary compensations. Breaks in the clouded heaviness. Few and far between. Just enough to keep me trudging in the direction of that pinprick of light in the far distance ahead.

And then the light begins to creep back in. The momentary compensations begin to string themselves together like shining beads. People like me, the ones who’ve been caught in Winter’s steely grey net—we lift our heads like small creatures catching a new scent on the breeze. We feel the wind in our whiskers, smell the freshness of the air, and catch a flashing glimpse of yellow aconite or blue-violet crocus.

We’ve still got a bit of a trudge until we can lay down the burden of Winter and roll in the warm grass of Spring, but knowing that the end is in sight makes the Burden lighter. It’s one of those things, for me, where I don’t know quite how bad it is until I’m coming through the other side. When you’re focused on the endurance, you don’t stop to wonder if this time around is worse than the last one. You just put the next foot forward.

And now, I have those shiny beads: earlier sun in the mornings, the aconite slipping out of the mud of the garden, the birds of morning singing their Springtime songs, the geese, the swans, the caress of warmth in the afternoon air.


Gratitude List:
1. Morning birdsong and the Hope of Spring
2. The fun of the Youth Group Auction, a night when we all come together to support the young people.
3. This kid here at the table next to me, carefully and deliberately putting together his new Ertl tractor model, which he got at the auction. He gets frustrated and stops, saying he can’t do it. Then his curiosity and will overcome his frustration, and he gets back to it, solving the problems that seemed insurmountable. (Hmm. I think I am telling myself a story to live by.)
4. Magical conversations. Not simply deep and thoughtful, but full of synchronicities that fill the air of the room like a humming web. Like it’s the two of you talking, and then maybe fairies or angels joining in, the Great Mystery guiding the stories and images.
5. Watching these children grow. Sometimes, I am sad that the babies are gone, gone, gone. But they are Becoming so delightfully themselves. Yesterday, the dentist removed a baby molar from Child 1, to make room for the big tooth coming in. It was his last baby tooth. Another step toward adulthood.

May we walk in Beauty!


Words for Sunday Meditation:

“Humanity, take a good look at yourself. Inside, you’ve got heaven and earth, and all of creation. You’re a world—everything is hidden in you.” —Hildegard of Bingen


“Because that’s what Hermione does,’ said Ron, shrugging. ‘When in doubt, go to the library.” ―J.K. Rowling


“Crystals are living beings at the beginning of creation.” —Nikola Tesla


“Don’t limit a child to your own learning, for she was born in another time.”
― Rabindranath Tagore


“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.” —Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee


“The real damage is done by those millions who want to ‘survive.’ The honest men who just want to be left in peace. Those who don’t want their little lives disturbed by anything bigger than themselves. Those with no sides and no causes. Those who won’t take measure of their own strength, for fear of antagonizing their own weakness. Those who don’t like to make waves—or enemies. Those for whom freedom, honour, truth, and principles are only literature. Those who live small, mate small, die small. It’s the reductionist approach to life: if you keep it small, you’ll keep it under control. If you don’t make any noise, the bogeyman won’t find you. But it’s all an illusion, because they die too, those people who roll up their spirits into tiny little balls so as to be safe. Safe?! From what? Life is always on the edge of death; narrow streets lead to the same place as wide avenues, and a little candle burns itself out just like a flaming torch does. I choose my own way to burn.” ―Sophie Scholl


“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.” ―Gilda Radner


“You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” —Anne Lamott


“And these children that you spit on
as they try to change their worlds
are immune to your consultations.
They’re quite aware of what they’re going through.” ―David Bowie


“A revolutionary poem will not tell you who or when to kill, what and when to burn, or even how to theorize. It reminds you. . .where and when and how you are living and might live, it is a wick of desire.” —Adrienne Rich


“Justice is what love looks like in public.” —Dr. Cornel West


“Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.” ―Gandalf, J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring


“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”
―Elie Wiesel


“As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation―either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.” ―Martin Luther King Jr.


“It helps to think of our swamps of despair as the necessary muddle before clarity. Actually, swamps are incredibly fertile places full of life. In mythology the heroine must cross such a place in her darkest hour, where she comes to face her unlived life―meeting each of the divine allies disguised as regret, doubt, and insufficiency which swell up from the mud of her despondency. If she is willing to consummate the full encounter, they will reveal themselves in service to the vitality of her true being.” ―Dreamwork with Toko-pa



Gratitudes, Musings

Paths Crossing

Last Sunday morning, two rabbits hopped companionably from northeast to southwest, and someone else trotted sort of purposefully from north to south. Probably this happened at significantly different times. Cat or fox seems to have been unaware of its potential prey-folk going the other direction.

This morning, a week later, most of the snow is gone. The sun is bright in the blue sky, and a murder has just passed through the hollow, a massive flock of crows, barking and yapping, making the very air tingle with their passing. I stood in the yard and watched them. I could swear one of them vocalized “Hello” from the lower limbs of the dying chestnut. In four or five of the trees in the lower part of the hollow, sentries had placed themselves, repeating five or six short quick yaps in a row, in succession: walnut tree sentry, then maple tree sentry, then locust tree, and so on. Changes are on the wing. Fly brightly, Wildfolk.


Gratitude List:
1. Thoughtful conversations with young people on topics of social media and race and personal accountability.
2. My school’s Lunar New Year celebrations.
3. Hundreds of crows flying through the hollow.
4. This sore throat doesn’t seem to be more than a little part of a cold (knock on wood). When I take a cough drop or drink tea, it feels so much better.
5. All the people working for a better world.

May we walk in Beauty!


“Whether through prayer, ritual, poetry, or song, gratitude solidifies our relationship with the living mystery. It rejoins us to the intangible wholeness from which we feel disconnected. As we remember ourselves to the holy in nature, we are forging our own belonging.” —Toko-pa Turner


“If you want to do the work of God, pay attention to people. Notice them. . .especially the people nobody else notices.” —John Ortberg


“There is no reality but Oneness. Open into that.” —Bahauddin


“Take a deep breath. Find the place inside you that remembers how truth feels; remember that there are kinds of anger that are more effective than blind outrage.” —Beth Weaver-Kreider (to remind myself)


Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” Remember: truth and justice ultimately always win.


“The goal of any true resistance is to affect outcomes, not just to vent. And the only way to affect outcomes and thrive in our lives, is to find the eye in the hurricane, and act from that place of inner strength.” —Arianna Huffington


“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” —All of us, now, continuing to take the words away from that senator

Gratitudes, Musings

Always More to Learn

Some of the things I have learned, or internalized more deeply, this week, in the wake of the clashing of worlds at the Lincoln Memorial last week:

* I am quick to jump into the dogpile, to join the mob. We think of mobs as being misguided bigots destroying the objects of their hatred, but there are also vigilante mobs that take justice into their own hands, destroying those who are rightly deserving of justice before reasoning justice itself can take place. And this makes the original crime scene so very messy. I think the internet this week has been a little like a vigilante mob, tearing into those boys before reasoning justice had a chance to take place. I might never be the one in the mob who yells death threats or speaks of punching and hitting rude children, but my own energy was certainly part of that mob, and I feel a little sullied by my egging on of the ones at the center.

* I am not ashamed of my rage at the obvious racism, only at my part in the dogpile.

* I think one of the reasons vigilante mobs form IRL and in the virtual world is because we don’t trust reasoning justice to intervene. In the current political climate, with our awareness of the terrible injustices committed by our government toward families trying to enter our country, with our own knowledge of the moral rot at the center of our administration, it is only natural that the mob feel like we are the only justice available when boys seem to be taking cues from our bigoted president to disrespect an elder with a drum.

* I think perceptions are at the center of this story. Those who watched the first video and saw (like myself) aggressive, chanting, jeering boys were not wrong, exactly, but we were not privy to the whole story. Those who watched the longer video and saw a slight difference in how the scene played out were not wrong, exactly, but we were not privy to the whole story. And mostly, I think it’s really important to look at Mr. Phillips’ perceptions. Viewing the second video caused people to question his veracity, but if you were to come upon a large group of mostly white boys wearing MAGA gear chanting and dancing to their sports chants in the direction of a small group of black men, what assumptions would you make? Who would you see as the aggressor?

* The Red Hat and Hatred: We’re that divided. If you support this president, please understand that it’s no longer as simple as us having a disagreement about how this country should be run. We who question his competency as president don’t just think he makes bad policy. We see a dangerous bigot who is not only racist and misogynist himself, but who brings out those things in his supporters. To us, MAGA hats are declarations of one’s own racism and misogyny. Red hat has come to signify hatred. Yes, we’re triggered, but we have reasons to be, and we need you to try to understand why, or we begin to question your intentions as well.

* Sports chants. I am not a sports fan, so perhaps I am not the person to discuss this. Or maybe that makes me the perfect outsider to explain what I see. Sports chanting is aggressive. Sports are rivalries and competitions, and while good sporting behavior is often taught and learned in the context of sporting competitions, the chanting and dancing often moves past simple support for one’s team into primal aggression. Whatever adult said yes to those boys responding to taunting by doing their sports chants was irresponsible and thoughtless. And watching the videos of past sports events at Covington Catholic, it becomes pretty clear that these boys took their chants to a fever pitch of aggression, and aggression which included clear racist markers. I struggle to believe their claims of innocence of the knowledge of the implications of wearing blackface.

* More on perceptions: Did the boys perceive themselves to be acting out of racism there by the Lincoln Memorial? I’m not sure we can say. But I do think, either way, that we can say it was a racist incident. Yes, they were provoked. Yes, they were unprepared. Yes, they were woefully and unconscionably un-chaperoned. But they were acting with all the signs and markers of completely unquestioned white privilege. I might be working to eradicate the racist biases in my own soul, but when I act unconsciously out of my racial biases, then I am being racist.

* Even when (especially when) stories are more complex than they appear on the surface, there are no two sides to racism, no two sides to disrespect for elders.

* Where were the chaperones? I think if we bring a reasoning sense of justice to this situation, the boys certainly need to be held accountable for their actions, but if they’re the only ones who receive opprobrium in this situation, then injustice has been done to them as well, and the real culprits are left to continue ignoring their culpability: the teachers and parents, the school administration, and the chaperones on this adventure. These children have not been taught to question their privilege. They’ve been taught to lean into it, to revel in it, even. They’ve been encouraged to take on the mantle of wealthy white patriarchy. They’re being groomed to carry on the traditions of powerful white men controlling the religious and financial and political institutions of the world. The real culprits, in my opinion, are the ones who are grooming them. Real justice will only be done when the invisible adults are held accountable.

* And the moment I point my finger at those people, I feel a ripple of a shock wave in my own direction. While my own teaching and parenting are geared, to the best of my ability, at tearing down those structures, at getting the young people of my life to examine their privileges and their biases, I know that I, too, work out of my own biases and my own privilege. We who parent and teach and mold the next generation have a great weight of responsibility. And the boys of Covington Catholic, and especially their invisible chaperones, draw that into high relief.

* Addendum: I am so tired of that picture. I feel so manipulated. I feel confused. I feel sullied. I feel the continuing outrage that flows from me, through those boys, to the president. I am so tired of that picture. But: It is a mirror. No matter who put it up, no matter their intentions, no matter the unclarity of the boy’s own intentions and perceptions, it is a mirror. It is a mirror. Can I dare to keep looking into it?


Gratitude List:
1. Mirrors. The mirror of Nathan Phillips and his drum. The mirror, ugly as it is, of the Covington Catholic boys–I will never learn to question my own privilege if I don’t have to confront it in the ugly mirror of my own assumptions.
2. The holy blue of winter
3. Being able to lay down the weight of first semester and focus on the work of second semester
4. How the cats come up and gently greet me throughout the day when I am at home.
5. Silence and solitude.

May we walk in Awareness.


“Like water, be gentle and strong. Be gentle enough to follow the natural paths of the earth and strong enough to rise up and reshape the world.” ―Brenda Peterson


“Tyrants fear the poet.” —Amanda Gorman, U.S. Youth Poet Laureate


In the very end, civilizations perish because they listen to their politicians and not to their poets.” —Jonas Mekas


“Are you enhancing your power to discern the difference between rash risks motivated by fear and smart gambles driven by authentic intuition?” —Rob Brezsny


“I think hard times are coming, when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies, to other ways of being. And even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom: poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality. Right now, I think we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. The profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable; so did the divine right of kings. . . . Power can be resisted and changed by human beings; resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art—the art of words. I’ve had a long career and a good one, in good company, and here, at the end of it, I really don’t want to watch American literature get sold down the river. . . . The name of our beautiful reward is not profit. Its name is freedom.” ―Ursula Le Guin


“I wonder how the world would be different if we grew down?” —Someone in my House, a few years ago

Gratitudes, Musings, Poems

Loosening Attachments

A few somewhat random thoughts, some drawn from yesterday’s discussions:
* Just as I want to loosen my attachment to the physical stuff that bogs me down and overwhelms me, I want to loosen my attachment to my sense of the infallibility of my perceptions. Admitting that my own perceptions may be fallible does not mean that I am relinquishing my core beliefs.
* About that loosening of attachment to stuff: Tidying, de-cluttering, un-hoarding, relinquishing–all this allows me to actually deepen my delight in the Beauty that surrounds me.
* In much the same way that loosening my attachment to stuff allows me to see Beauty more clearly, perhaps loosening my attachment to my righteous rage might allow me to see the complexities inherent in moments of injustice.
* I learned about Anonymous Collective Rage from a friend yesterday. I think I knew what it was, but I didn’t know it had a name. While I would never join those who write threatening letters and who call for violence against the young men from that school, my own immediate rage was part of the collective pile-on. I feel some shame at my quick leap into the fray. Still, that rage is born of a sense of justice and a desire to bring change.
* There are not two sides to racism or misogyny, or to mistreatment of elders. While events like the one that occurred in DC on Saturday might be more complex than they first appeared, disrespectful treatment of others based on their age or their race is unacceptable. Always.
* Could people who are experts in restorative conversations, in rebuilding peace in tense situations, offer to help moderate conversations between those boys and Mr. Phillips and his group? This could be a time for real healing and learning.
* I think that the time of Catholic boys’ schools is pretty much over. Time for a new model. They seem to simply be training schools for the patriarchy.

Gratitude List:
1. Yesterday’s time off. I needed the rest. I always need the rest.
2. Tidy drawers with clothes folded so I can see everything at once. Now I look forward to getting dressed instead of hating putting clothes on. I hope I can sustain it.
3. The lines of tree-shadow cast by the morning’s moon
4. That red eclipse
5. This is going to be a really busy semester for me–I have more preps than is ideal, but I love the classes I am teaching, and I love the kids in them. Last year was my first year teaching Speech, and although it wasn’t bad, I just didn’t quite have a handle on it. This year, I feel like I am much more able to pin down the perfect resources. Of course, I am only one week in, but already the course is taking shape with greater liveliness and interest.

May we walk in Beauty!


fire and flight

“In writing, and perhaps all endeavours, there must be a way which doesn’t simply do as men before us have done, but turns to its own erotic authority. The feminine voice comes from the body’s knowing. It is the writing of aches and ragged breath and dirty fingernails from climbing out of the underworld. It is the sonority of our words which is primary, not their definition. This voice is the howling of a child for its mother before language is even learned. It strives not for the objectivity which is removed from feeling, but rather sinks us deeper into the muck of it. It takes things personally. And it gives personally in return. There is no such thing as impartiality when you live in a body. And it speaks from the flesh and bone rhythms of that first belonging.” —Toko-pa Turner


“A noise annoys an oyster, but a noisier noise annoys an oyster more.” —Anonymous


“…The green earth
is your cloth;
tailor your robe
with dignity and grace.”
—Rumi


“When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.” —Thomas Jefferson


fire and flight

after the fire
has kindled
within you
patient gestation
of coals beneath
your heart
between
your ribs

fire within you
fire in the earth
fire in the fruit
the egg
the seed

flames will burst forth
and you will rise

you will know
your wings
you will
open your feathers
catch the breezes

the old world
of magic and monsters
will fall away
below you

you will dance
on pillows of cloud
you will swim
in rivers of air

you will hear your
true name
in the voice
of the wind
—Beth Weaver-Kreider