Awakening Dragons

Album cover of “Martha’s Dragon” by Cantiga on Spotify. If you know the artist, please let me know! I have been unable to track them down.

In the fairy tale, the myth, the religious text, the story: there are two sisters, one dark and one light, one radiant and one beastly, one beautiful and one ugly, one pure and one profane. Sometimes, perhaps often, they are the same woman, two halves. As the patriarchy tells it, the pure one is malleable and tractable, dutiful and kind and good. She is holy, as long as she is holy, and then she is the Other One. The Other sister is wayward, deranged, defiled, dirty, and dangerous. She is likely a prostitute. She may be possessed of demons.

Think Eve and Lilith. Eve was the pure one. Until she wasn’t.

Think Isis and Nephthys.

Think Inanna and Ereshkigal.

Think beautiful Helen and avenging Clytemnestra.

Think Mary and Martha of Bethany. And these two are interesting, in their dance between the poles of acceptability and disgrace. Mary of Bethany (my friend says we need a book of Mary for Dummies, there are so many Marys) is the sister of Martha and Lazarus. But even that is in dispute. Some scholars look at references to Martha and some modifications on the initial scroll that indicate even this dyad was perhaps one person. As the story is most often told, however, they’re two women, who with their brother Lazarus are best friends of Jesus. Mary sits at the feet of Jesus and receives his blessing for it. Martha asks Jesus to get Mary to help him, and is lightly scolded for it. Mary the contemplative, Martha the scold. Martha the dutiful, Mary the shirker. Things get interesting when you read the scholarship that suggests that Mary was the same person as Mary Magdalene, the best best friend of Jesus. Although there is almost no evidence that the following is true, this Mary carries the legend of being a prostitute, who hosted seven devils that Jesus cast out of her. Even to tell this story, I am conflating Marys, allowing the confusion about Mary the sister of Lazarus, Mary the sister of Martha, and Mary Magdalene to stand.

More lore: In the Catholic folklore of the French countryside, when the Marys (who knows which ones?), Lazarus, St. Sara (daughter of one of the Marys and probably Jesus) and maybe Joseph of Arimathea, set sail on the Mediterranean to escape persecution, they end up on French beaches. It could happen. It is also a convenient way for European folks to transport the sacred stories of their Middle Eastern-centered faith to their own lands. In the legend, Mary Magdalene (Bethany) lived out her life in a grotto-cave that you can still visit today. Martha lived in a seaside town that was beset by a dragon named Tarasque, who was in the habit of eating people. The villagers appealed to Holy Martha, who sprinkled Tarasque with holy water and tamed the ferocious beast. She walked the tamed creature into the town, where the villagers attacked it with sharp spears and killed it, poor thing.

St. Mary the radiant lives a holy hermit life in the mountains. Her sister St. Martha takes the more practical and worldly life and tames a dragon.

So here is where I pick up the story. Mary and Martha, radiant and beastly sisters, both with Mar- as their name-root. Mar, meaning “of the sea,” meaning “bitter,” meaning “beloved.” Maybe the pairing is too convenient. Perhaps I am creating something that isn’t there. But that’s the thing about stories. They become ours as we pick them up and work with them. The Keepers of the Patriarchy have been using these stories for their own purposes for centuries: Women, be dutiful, be pure, be careful, be attentive, be hard workers, be pure. For if you aren’t, you are that Other One. And even if we look at this story with a metaphorical psychological lens, we see Martha taming the dragon. Does the dragon represent women’s sexuality, power, passion, drive? Good old Martha tamed that stuff right out of Tarasque, enough that the righteous spears of the village could destroy the fearsome thing.

But if we look at this story as we do fairy tales, uncovering the layers of religious and psychological patriarchy, we see a sister who devoted her life to contemplation, and a sister who engaged with dragons. We can look at Martha outside of the realm of a woman who works with the patriarchal village structure to tame dragon-nature, but as a woman who engaged with dragons, who awakens dragons. I know it feels like the opposite of the Tarasque story, but it feels like something is more deeply embedded here, that practical Martha is one who tends to the dragons, like the Tarasque story both hides and encodes something essential about this shadowy sister of the radiant contemplative. Think Martha the Dragon Whisperer, Martha the Tender of Dragons.

I’m seeking to reawaken my own dragon, the passion and fire and fierceness that I know was a part of a younger me, a past self (either in this life or lives previous), that I know is part of the birthright of women, and of my own family line (although it is sometimes hidden in those genetic spirals). I’m grateful to my friend Chris and her references to Sharon Blackie’s talk about dragons in Hagitude for leading me to the lair of the dragons.

I love the image from the cover art of Cantiga’s album “Martha’s Dragon,” where the saint rides the dragon in a joyful spiral rather than taming it for slaughter. Perhaps I will ask St Martha to help me awaken and tend to my own wild and fierce inner dragon, so I may find both my fire and my flight.


Gratitude List:
1. Following the fire in a story
2. The thoughtfulness, professionalism and good-heartedness of my colleagues
3. Grey as it is, I know that the light is returning
4. Making new habits
5. So many good books!
May we walk in Wisdom!


“If you want to change the world, you have to change the metaphor.” —Joseph Campbell


“Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough.” —Emily Dickinson


“Adults keep saying: ‘We owe it to the young people to give them hope.’ But I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.

“I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.” —Greta Thunberg, 16-year-old Swedish climate activist


“Create your community. Be good to each other. And do not look outside yourself for the leader.” —Dr.Clarissa Pinkola Estes


“The opposite of death is not life. The opposite of death is birth. Life has no opposite.” —Eckhart Tolle


“Compassion is a lifetime business. You can’t say something like, ‘I will have compassion on Monday, Thursdays and Fridays only. But for the rest, I will be cruel.’ That is hypocrisy.” ―Israelmore Ayivor


“Stop being horrible in the name of God.” —John Pavlovitz

Truth AND Dare

Art by AI and EWK: “The Naked Face of Truth”

Today’s prompt is to write a truth and/or dare poem.

What will you dare for truth?
Will you look inside yourself,
past the veils of arrogance
and self-importance,
beyond the doors of certainty,
to claim doubt and humility
as guides and guardians
to lead you safely
over pathways perilous
to the place where she resides?
Can you bear her glowing nakedness,
her fierce regard, her clarity?
Will you dare to seek her unreservedly,
without artifice or guile?

There is no choice–
of truth
or dare–
for the greatest daring
is in the choice you make
to seek the open truth.


Gratitude List:
1. My classroom plants. Today, I added an aloe plant that my nibling Keri was giving away. It’s in a mug shaped like a Viking head, and it makes me smile every time I see it. I am calling it Snorri Sturluson, of course.
2. The incredible emotional intelligence of some of my students. One of their beloved former teachers died last night, and their processing of their loss is tender and beautiful.
3. Even on the perilous pathways, we are not alone.
4. Divergence. It is in divergence that transformation is born.
5. Also, the creativity of students: We have open lockers at our school, and one student has painstakingly created a miniature apartment in the top of hers for her Black Panther character doll. There’s a bed and a bookcase and a refrigerator and a tiny Christmas tree with presents, and pictures on the wall and a couch, and LED lights strung up around the inside of the “room.” Such delight and magic shared with everyone who passes by.
May we walk in Beauty!


“Healing comes in waves and maybe today the wave hits the rocks. And that’s ok, that’s ok, darling. You are still healing, you are still healing.” —Ijeoma Umebinyuo


“No matter where we are, the ground between us will always be sacred ground.“ —Fr. Henri Nouwen


“The truest art I would strive for in any work would be to give the page the same qualities as earth: weather would land on it harshly; light would elucidate the most difficult truths; wind would sweep away obtuse padding.” —Gretel Ehrlich


“‪The fact that these words and the jumble of lines that create their letters has no real, inherent meaning outside of a human context, yet they hum with life, is a wonderful reminder that what we imagine can easily become real and powerful simply because we decide it should be so.‬” —Jarod K. Anderson, The Cryptonaturalist


“Writing at the library. Surrounded by thousands of books, windows into other minds. Some of these writers are living. Some are not. Neatly ordered rectangles of concentrated human life and intellect. A book is certainly a kind of ghost and libraries are pleasantly haunted places.” —Jarod K. Anderson, The Cryptonaturalist


“The beauty of the world…has two edges, one of laughter, one of anguish, cutting the heart asunder.” —Virginia Woolf


I know nothing, except what everyone knows —
If there when Grace dances, I should dance.
—W.H. Auden


“I do believe in an everyday sort of magic—the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, works of art and the like; the eerie appropriateness of moments of synchronicity; the whispered voice, the hidden presence, when we think we’re alone.”
—Charles de Lint

On Third Thought. . .

Today’s prompt is to write a second thoughts poem. Lately, I have been meditating on how my second thoughts actually tend to do me in, cause me to negate the need for healing conversation. I have worked so hard to avoid rushing into conflict with my Leo nature, roaring and biting and scattering the bullies and thwarters of justice, that I have slid into a passivity–especially when I am the one who has been harmed–that just wants to let it go and not make waves. But that’s not the answer either.

I think I need a confrontation,
need to stage an intervention,
offer explanations,
make a fuss, make a mess,
try to force a transformation.

On second thought,
you catch more flies with honey.
You can lead a horse to water,
but can you really make her drink?
Do you think it is essential
to stir the cauldron of community?
Better leave the sediment
to filter slowly to the bottom.

On third thought, however,
if we leave the bad behavior unremarked,
then bad behavior’s normalized,
and the bullies and their backers
and their frightened silent bystanders
are never called into account
for the harm they caused
or were to fearful to prevent.

First thoughts are too fiery,
often too filled up with passion
to bring about a change.
And second thoughts may look like peace,
but only lead us to repression in the end,
sweeping all the clutter
to the back of the closet.
Wait for third thoughts to arrive
and your heart will find the rhythm,
and the pathway to a resolution.
You’ll find that you can take
the fire of the first, mix it with
the modulation of the second,
and create a pathway forward
through the maze.


Gratitude List:
1. Remembering a good soul today
2. The generations who have come before
3. Third Thoughts
4. Naps
5. Wise elders
May we walk in Beauty!


Good advice from my friend Barb: “Find and wear your orange hat honey. There are 750,000 deer hunters in the yard today.”


“We have all hurt someone tremendously, whether by intent or accident. We have all loved someone tremendously, whether by intent or accident. it is an intrinsic human trait, and a deep responsibility, I think, to be an organ and a blade. But, learning to forgive ourselves and others because we have not chosen wisely is what makes us most human. We make horrible mistakes. It’s how we learn. We breathe love. It’s how we learn. And it is inevitable.”
—Nayyira Waheed


“Only those who attempt the absurd
will achieve the impossible.”
—M. C. Escher


Blessing for the Visitor
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

May you who wander, who sojourn, who travel,
may you who make your way to our door
find rest for your tired feet and weary heart,
food to fill your bellies and to nourish your minds,
and company to bring you cheer and inspiration.
May you find comfort for your sorrows,
belonging to ease your loneliness,
and laughter to bring you alive.

And when your feet find themselves again upon the road,
may they remember the way back to our door.


“A seed sown in the soil makes us one with the Earth. It makes us realize that we are the Earth. That this body of ours is the panchabhuta—the five elements that make the universe and make our bodies. The simple act of sowing a seed, saving a seed, planting a seed, harvesting a crop for a seed is bringing back this memory-this timeless memory of our oneness with the Earth and the creative universe. There’s nothing that gives me deeper joy than the work of protecting the diversity and the freedom of the seed.” —Vandana Shiva


“I’m fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in.” —George McGovern

Online Dating, Sort Of

I imagine that The Job Search is something like online dating: You find a potential match, make a plan to meet up, and then pore over everything you can find out about them on the internet. You imagine yourself in a relationship together, ponder their statements about who they are and what they like and the difference they make in the world. And sometimes, before you actually meet on that first date, you sort of fall in love already. In order to make that first date go swimmingly, you envision yourself in the relationship, and you already feel the thrill of possibility. And you know that they’re checking out others, too, and you don’t want to seem desperate for them to notice and like you more than all the rest, so all you can do is be yourself, and hope that’s enough.

Sigh. That’s where I am now, envisioning myself as belonging to and contributing to the work and vision of a particular institution, as though it’s already happened, as though they’ve said yes to me in the way I have already said yes to them in my gut.

And what if they don’t like me as much as I like them? What if, what if, what if? I would be mightily grateful for your good mojo, prayers, energy, magic, tomorrow around noon EDT as I interview for a very exciting possibility.


Gratitude List:
1. Possibilities–hoping, dreaming, envisioning
2. Energy bites (oats, pb, honey, raisins, etc.)
3. Time alone
4. Great Crested Flycatcher, meadowlark, horned lark, all the birds
5. Visual symbols for the inner journey.
May we walk in Beauty!


“God is our mother as truly as God is our father…. we come from the Womb of the Eternal. We are not simply made by God; we are made of God.” —Julian of Norwich


“Everything that is in the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth, is penetrated with connectedness.” —Hildegard of Bingen


“But we [writers] are crucial. That is what I hope you have learned. We listen for and collect and share stories. Without stories there is no nation and no religion and no culture. Without stories of bone and substance and comedy there is only a river of lies, and sweet and delicious ones they are, too. We are the gatherers, the shepherds, the farmers of stories. We wander widely and look for them and gather them and harvest them and share them as food. It is a craft as necessary and nutritious as any other, and if you are going to be good at it you must double your humility and triple your curiosity and quadruple your ability to listen.” ―Brian Doyle


“What if your drive to experience pleasure isn’t a barrier to your spiritual growth? Consider trying out the hypothesis that cultivating joy can make you a more ethical and compassionate person. Imagine that feeling good has something important to teach you on a regular basis.” —Rob Breszny


“Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems,
You shall possess the good of the earth and sun, (there are millions of suns left,)
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through
the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books,
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me,
You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self.”
—Walt Whitman (Happy Birthday!)

The Happy Medium

After setting out on the journey into the woods, or to the cliff’s edge, or through the deep and shadowy valley, the Fool encounters a series of individuals, wise mentors who offer the Fool help, advice, skills, and wisdom.

The first of these is traditionally called The Magician or Mage. I like the term Mage, because it reminds me of the three Magi of the legends that came from the “wise men from the east” who visited the Christ Child. I am also enamored of Madeleine L’Engle’s Happy Medium, who can see into the patterns of the cosmos. For now, I am calling this one the Medium. This advisor to the Fool has ready access to all the tools of water, earth, air, and fire, and has a deep spiritual capability to visualize the change they wish to see in the world, and then the inner fortitude to make it happen. The Mage or Medium doesn’t just let life happen to them; they happen to life. So the Fool, who has set out without any real planning or purpose other than adventure, receives here the training to develop a vision, to make a plan, to create what they want in the world.

I feel a little like I am the Fool seeking the Medium’s wisdom right now. How can I use the skills and tools that I have to draw to myself the Next Thing? How can I put my own thoughts and ideas into the world, envision a future, plan for what I want, and make it happen? All while maintaining the winsomeness of the Fool.


Here is a poem about Magic, for the Magician:

The Magic of Language
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

Listen to the wisdom of the sage.
“What is language, but a kind of magic?
Here am I, in my own organism, my tower of Self,
and you there in your own lonely keep,
and how shall we bridge the gap between us
but by language? These webs of sound
we string together, we cast them through sky,
drawing out threads of meaning,
as with a wand, fiery threads of sense.

“We build this bridge on air,
scratch symbols on a page with feathers,
and stories flow like water between us,
borne on gossamer strands
of word on word on word.
We manage and tend our loneliness
by weaving cloths of language.
How can we find each other in the shadow
but for the flow of speech we offer
and the magic of these words upon the page?


Gratitude List:
1. Well duh! That was no indigo bunting! It was a blue grosbeak. I should have known that. I’ve seen and identified both in recent years. But my brain blipped, much as it does when it mistakenly equivocates unequivocable things in math-world. So yay! Blue Grosbeak!
2. I love Kindergarten! I love the stories. I love the shining eyes. I love the wiggliness. I love the dreaminess. I love the restfulness. I love Miss Nikki and Miss Abby, and I love being Miss Beth.
3. Putting Difficult Things behind me. No, I’m not going to start repressing Big Feelings, but you can only spend so long looking at the devastation of the wildfire before you start to clean up and replant and rebuild.
4. Foreacre Furfamily! We HAD to do something about the barn kittens yesterday. This is the second time a cat has given birth in the barn (that we know of). I think people drop off their cats at farms, and then the feral population burgeons. Last night we had a near tragedy involving some of the kittens and a mower, so we put out the call for someone to come take the kittens and the Foreacres responded! They have all five kittens safely cared for, and they even took the mama after we trapped her, so she can be fixed. I love people who care for animals.
5. Energy. Today is the first time in a long time that I haven’t felt a pressing need for a nap.
May we walk in Beauty!

*#4 is really a rant. Please DON’T abandon your animals at farms in the country. Yes, there are mice in the barn for a feral cat to eat, but there are also bird’s nests all over the woods, and baby bunnies, and we want to enjoy the birds and the bunnies. And when you abandon your cat, someone else will have to be responsible for dealing with the offspring, and for getting the animal fixed.


“The Word is not a pet. The Word is the wildness behind creation, the terror of a black hole, the atomic violence of burning hydrogen within a sun.” —Madeleine L’Engle


“I stand before what is with an open heart. And with an open heart, I dwell in possibility.” —Macrina Weiderkehr


“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”
― Ida B. Wells-Barnett


“Somewhere in the world there is a treasure that has no value to anyone but you, and a secret that is meaningless to everyone except you, and a frontier that possesses a revelation only you know how to exploit. Go in search of those things.

Somewhere in the world there is a person who could ask you the precise question you need to hear in order to catalyze the next phase of your evolution. Do what’s necessary to run into that person.” —Rob Breszny


“Pain travels through families until someone is ready to feel it.” —Stephi Wagner


“The object of terrorism is terrorism. The object of oppression is oppression. The object of torture is torture. The object of murder is murder. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?” ―George Orwell


“Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, that person sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” —Robert F Kennedy


“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil it multiplies it.” —Martin Luther King Jr


“The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose.” —Frederick Douglass


“Only if we understand, can we care. Only if we care, we will help. Only if we help, we shall be saved.” ―Jane Goodall

The Fool’s Mission

Another poem about the Fool:

Begin at the End
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

Begin your road at the ending,
as the last pathway rounds the bend.
Dance to the lip of the chasm–
place your foot upon a bridge of rainbow.
Keep your eyes upon the distant wood,
your ears tuned to the song of undine and dryad.

Remember, your road is a circle,
and everywhere you are is the start of your journey.
Your road is of water, of vision, of air,
of heartbeat, illusion, and wisdom
a pathway of fire and smoke.

Feel how the sky under your feet holds you up,
how the earth at your back is made only of dreams,
how the only way forward is light and color,
how a distant harping draws you onward.


Gratitude List:
1. Indigo Bunting at the feeder: Impossible blue
2. New endeavors. I’m heading off to kindergarten in a moment
3. Just now, half a minute after I typed #1, the Bunting flew straight to the window. I was terrified that he was going to crash into it, but he flew up and hovered and looked in at me for several wingbeats! Holy holy holy!
4. Orchard Oriole
5. Silence
May we walk in Beauty!


“No matter where you are from, your dreams are valid.” —Lupita Nyong’o


TO MAKE A PROMISE
by David Whyte

Make a place of prayer, no fuss,
just lean into the white brilliance
and say what you needed to say
all along, nothing too much, words
as simple and as yours and as heard
as the bird song above your head
or the river running gently beside you,
let your words join to the world
the way stone nestles on stone
the way the water simply leaves
and goes to the sea,
the way your promise
breathes and belongs
with every other promise
the world has ever made.

Now, leave them to go on,
let your words alone
to carry their own life,
without you, let the promise
go with the river.
Have faith. Walk away.


“Feminism requires precisely what patriarchy destroys in women. Unimpeachable bravery in confronting male power.” —Andrea Dworkin


“True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.” —Brené Brown

Coming Out of the Fog

The Poet in Spring by Me and the Wombo AI

It’s been a long, hard winter. There’s no other way to say it, except for the cliche. Slowly, as the days warm and the sun returns, I am finding my way out of the Winter Blues layer of the brain fog that has been swirling around me. As I try to grab the bright threads that will lead me out of these mists, I am jumping once reaching the golden thread of National Poetry Month to use the discipline of daily writing to reenergize me.

This year, I’ve made a slideshow (with Slidesgo template) with pages for prompts and daily poems. Several of my students have made their own slideshows, and we’re sharing them with each other so we can read each other’s work throughout the month. Click the link above, if you want to read mine. Here’s today’s:

Gratitude List:
1. Daily contemplation of the changes in the trees.
2. Beginning to walk out of the fog a little.
3. My students and my colleagues. This school is a wonderful place.
4. Yogurt and grapes and granola–a healthy, reliable lunch
5. You, Beloveds, how you’re there, so steady, doing your Work, and I can feel the strength of that even when I am wandering about in the fogs of my brain.
May we walk in Beauty!


Words for the Day of the Holy Fool:
“The fullness of joy is to behold God in everything.” —Julian of Norwich


“Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible.” —Carl Jung


“Poems are maps to the place where you already are.”
—Jane Hirshfield


“Be still, and the world is bound to turn herself inside out to entertain you. Everywhere you look, joyful noise is clanging to drown out quiet desperation. The choice is to draw the blinds and shut it all out, or believe.” —Barbara Kingsolver, High Tide in Tucson


“When you do not know you need mercy and forgiveness yourself, you invariably become stingy in sharing it with others. So make sure you are always waiting with hands widely cupped under the waterfall of mercy.” —Richard Rohr


“All four gospels insist that when all the other disciples are fleeing, Mary Magdalene does not run. She stands firm. She does not betray or lie about her commitment to Jesus—she witnesses. Hers is clearly a demonstration of either the deepest human love or the highest spiritual understanding of what Jesus was teaching—perhaps both. But why—one wonders–do Holy Week liturgies tell and re-tell the story of Peter’s threefold denial of Jesus, while the steady and unwavering witness of Magdalene is passed over—not even noticed? How would our understanding of the paschal story change if instead of reflecting upon Jesus dying alone and rejected if we were to reinforce the fact that one person stood by him and did not leave? For this story of Mary Magdalene is as firmly stated in scripture as the denial story. How would this change the emotional timbre of the day? How would it affect our feeling of ourselves? How would it reflect upon how we have viewed, and still view, women in the church? About the nature of redemptive love?” —Cynthia Bourgeault, Episcopal Priest


“When I feel this fog rolling in on me, I light fires of affection in the hearts of others. I tell them in tangible ways how the life they live makes me live mine differently, how precious and important they are to the rest of us. That fire then becomes like a beacon which burns through the grey and which I can sail towards.” –Toko-pa Turner


It’s good to leave each day behind,
like flowing water, free of sadness.
Yesterday is gone and its tale told.
Today new seeds are growing.
—Rumi

The Lore of The Lady

Art by Mockingbird+AI

On the night before Brigid’s Day, they say, hang a cloth out of doors, where The Lady, when she passes by, will touch it. Then in the coming year that cloth may be a comfort wrapped arounda sore throat or aching head.

Oh, I know science, and I listen hard to those who know it better than me, but I also know comfort, and a star-kissed, moon-kissed, chill-kissed scarf left out on the night of The Lady would indeed be a comfort as I sip my lemon tea with honey.

And so a blessed Imbolc night to you.

May your hearth be warm and cozy.

May you and your beloveds be hale and healthy and hearty.

And may your words be wise and well-chosen.

A red scarf to wind about my neck for comfort.

Gratitude List:

  • A great bunch of students in my classes this semester.
  • Courses that offer me a creative outlet.
  • I slept for 8 hours straight last night.
  • Salmon patties for supper, with spinach and refried beans.
  • You, and you, and you!

May we walk in Beauty!

“ In the dark times, will there also be singing?Yes, there will be singing.About the dark times.” —Bertolt Brecht


“No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.” —Virginia Woolf


One of the old names for today is Candlemas, when we acknowledge how the light has been within us all along, how much light we have to offer. Take stock of your candles. What is the small flame that you can offer the world in this moment? What is the fuel that you share?Perhaps you are already doing it–tending daily to children or calling your senators, teaching teenagers to ask discerning questions or planting seeds for the crops that will feed your neighbors, healing bodies, gathering friends, listening. Today, this week, this month, do that work like a prayer, like a magic spell. Do it with intention, knowing that your work is changing the world, that what you do is fighting the forces of wanton destruction and power-mongering. —Beth Weaver-Kreider, Mockingbird Chronicles, Feb 2020


We are not alone. You are not alone. Reach out. Take hands. Build the webs. Ask for help, and be the helper.Let’s situate ourselves so that we are always ready–strong enough, centered enough, grounded enough–to step up and do the work of love and compassion and justice, to stand up, to stand between, to risk, to raise our voices, to be the fierce and defiant hope for the future we want to create. —Beth Weaver-Kreider, Mockingbird Chronicles, Feb 2020

Synaesthesia

Last night, I had a bizarre synaesthesia dream in which I could see the colors and patterns of pain. My heel was throbbing, and with each pulse of pain, a different square square would appear in front of me, almost like a square of fabric, with colors and patterns. As the pain changed, the colors changed, and focusing on the images made the pain less intense.

When I woke up, my heel was actually aching. The pain that I live with is not intense or debilitating. It’s mostly just the aches and pains of aging. I go through cycles when I feel like everything is inflamed, and then long months of low-grade aches. I’m not spending a great deal of time thinking or worrying about the aches lately, so the dream is interesting, perhaps just a manifestation of the momentary sensations. But I’m really grateful for the crossing of senses that the dream offered me.


Gratitude List:

  • Shiny new semester with a clean slate.
  • Color
  • Chicken corn noodle soup for supper with crusty rolls, and Jon who made it
  • Three day week
  • Cats

Daughter, the songs of women

are the first words of children

—Abby E. Murray, in Rattle Magazine

*****

“Our vitality is inextricably bound up with creativity. Like a tree whose expression is fruit, giving our gifts is what keeps life pushing through our veins. It’s what keeps us feeling alive. As anyone who has strayed too far from their creativity knows, without it every corner of one’s life can fall prey to a terrible greying spread. As Kahlil Gibran writes about trees in an orchard, ‘They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.” —Dreamwork with Toko-pa

******

“If we want children to flourish, to become truly empowered, then let us allow them to love the earth before we ask them to save it. Perhaps this is what Thoreau had in mind when he said, “the more slowly trees grow at first, the sounder they are at the core, and I think the same is true of human beings.”

—David Sobel

*****

“We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” ―Martin Luther King Jr.

*****

Ursula LeGuin, in the Introduction to The Left Hand of Darkness:

The artist deals with what cannot be said in words.

The artist whose medium is fiction does this in words. The novelist says in words what cannot be said in words.

Words can be used thus paradoxically because they have, along with a semiotic usage, a symbolic or metaphoric usage. (They also have a sound—a fact the linguistic positivists take no interest in . A sentence or paragraph is like a chord or harmonic sequence in music: its meaning may be more clearly understood by the attentive ear, even though it is read in silence, than by the attentive intellect.) 

*****

“I think being motivated is naturally built-in to one’s vocation. When you walk a path you love, there is something deeper calling you forward on it, like a beautiful question that can never be answered. In the hard times you may turn away from it, but a part of you knows you’ll always turn back because you can’t give up on what you love, even if you try.

In the end, I think the real work is not finding inspiration, but attuning to it. So when I’m not feeling inspired, I know somewhere along the line I’ve been distancing myself from life. This feeling of being separate from ‘something greater’ is usually brought about by numbing habits; so I’ll take myself to the forest and let my senses be reawoken and warmed back to life. I think pleasure is really the gateway to feeling connected and inspired.” —Toko-pa Turner

*****

“Then one day I was walking along Tinker Creek and thinking of nothing at all and I saw the tree with the lights in it. I saw the backyard cedar where the mourning doves roost charged and transfigured, each cell buzzing with flame. . . . The flood of fire abated, but I’m still spending the power. Gradually the lights went out in the cedar, the colors died, the cells un-flamed and disappeared. I was still ringing. I had been my whole life a bell and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck.” —Annie Dillard