Happy Earth Day!

“The earth, the air, the fire, the water: Return, return, return, return. . .” –Libana song

Contemplative Research Journey for Earth Day:
Contemplate the earth you walk, right in your yard, your neighborhood, your town.
If you can, put your bare feet on earth today.
Think about the people who were here before your, and before them.
Do you know who were the indigenous peoples who lived on and hunted and farmed and fished on the land where you stand?
What do you know of the soil and the rocks and minerals of your place?
What feeds the life of the place where you are?

Contemplate the plants of your neighborhood.
Can you name three trees? Five? Twenty?
Who is in bud now? Who is in bloom?
There is so much more than grass in the grass. Do you know the names of all the plantfolk who provide the green carpets you walk on?

Contemplate the wingfolk and the four-footed people who share this space with you.
Can you tell one shining bird from the other?
Can you differentiate their calls?
Can you see evidence of the night wanderers?
Who might be visiting your yards and gardens and alleyways while you sleep?
And the tiny insect people that try so hard to live inside our houses.
Have you watched them make webs, tend to their own business, seek the dark spaces?

What about the waters of your place?
Where does it come from and where does it go?
If you have wild water running near you, take some time today to trail your fingers through it.

Touch earth. Touch water. Touch bark.
Listen for the messages in birdsong.
Smell the rising spring.
Breathe wind. Take ten deep outside breaths.
Greet the Beings of your place with love and gratitude.


Gratitude List:
1. The guarddogwoods are beginning to bloom. Even though I no longer hang poetic laundry on their branches, I always feel like poetry itself is blooming when they start to throw pink at the sun.
2. Wangari Maathai, Rachel Carson, Jane Goodall, Greta Thunberg, Berta Caceres–and all the fierce and joyful activists around the world whom they represent.
3. The many Beings of Skunk Hollow. The shine and the flutter. The wafting and the whoosh. The verdancy. The brilliance.
4. Golda’s Lake and Goldfinch Creek and Ezilie’s Spring and Cabin Creek and the Susquehanna River, and the Chesapeake Bay.
5. The promise of a new way. The hope of change.

May we walk, so joyfully, in Beauty!


Earth Day Words:
“The world is, in truth, a holy place.” —Teilhard de Chardin


“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.” —Henry David Thoreau


“You are your own cartographer now.” —Ralph Blum


“If we surrendered
to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.”
―Rainer Maria Rilke


“Every creature is a word of God.” ―Meister Eckhart


“The forest for me is a temple, a cathedral of tree canopies and dancing light.” ―Dr. Jane Goodall


“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.” ―The Onceler (Dr. Seuss)


“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.” ―Rachel Carson


William Stafford: “I place my feet with care in such a world.”


“A society is defined not only by what it creates, but by what it refuses to destroy.” ―John Sawhill


Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” ―Rachel Carson


“A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full or wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantment of later year…the alienation from the sources of our strength.” ―Rachel Carson


“Few words are so revealing of Western sexual prejudice as the word Goddess, in contrast to the word God. Modern connotations differ vastly from those of the ancients, to whom the Goddess was a full-fledged cosmic parent figure who created the universe and its laws, ruler of Nature, Fate, Time, Eternity, Truth, Wisdom, Justice, Love, Birth, Death, Etc.” ―Barbara G. Walker


“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.” —by Toko-pa Turner

Will You Answer the Call of Love?

A shadow is a kind of reflection.

Today’s Prompt is to write a correspondence poem. Mine will be about the elemental correspondences with the cardinal directions.

In the east, the birds are singing the day awake,
the breezes whisper through the branches,
and all the bells are ringing.
Inspiration flies in on golden wings.
Weave, spin, and cut the threads
with a two-edged blade of finest silver.
What is being born in you?

To the south, the sun is burning,
and that which came to you as woven light
begins to kindle and flame up.
Life force surges all around you,
and you feel your own fires rising.
Nurture the burning within you.
What is calling you to dance?

In the west, the creeks and brooks
tumble over stones and sand and clay,
on their way to rivers and bays and oceans.
Now is the time to listen to your heart,
to flow with the feelings that stream
through you and around you.
What is the message of your heart?

To the north, the wolves are howling,
where caves are hidden in the boulders.
The roots of things travel fathoms deep,
and earth is a solid base for your footsteps.
Your body is your home, and you must tend it,
listening for echoes from within the earth herself.
What holds and supports you?

Move to the center and feel the spirit swirling,
the place where wind and flame,
water and stone meet and quicken,
where animating breath meets life force,
where heart meets head, and stone becomes flesh,
and the Beloved calls you to Become.
Will you answer the call of Love?

Breath

It is time for another poem about breathing:
How you draw the air into your lungs,
so deeply, you feel it ready to escape
the bruised soles of your feet.

In-spire–draw the spirit inside you,
the breathing living breath, invite
breath, that wanderer, into your being,
feel it lapping at the southerly shores
of your lungs, filling the balloon of your belly.

The secret of breathing is the letting go.
You must never hoard inspiration. It dies
the moment it is chained or kept.
Let go. Breathe out. Breathe in again.

TOMORROW’S PROMPT:
Find your fire tomorrow, Fool. What burns within you? What passion ignites your spirit?

Gratitude List:
1. Wednesdays must be Osprey and Eagle days. This afternoon’s spectacle was on the way home from Liza’s house: An adult and a juvenile eagle, two ospreys, and a red-tailed hawk. Feels like portents and omens.
2. Deadnettle is still purpling the fields and the willows are getting jiggy.
3. Redbuds bursting into bloom
4. Watching Mama goose watching Papa Cardinal in the green bush
5. Ferns are unfurling. I think I might also be unfurling. Maybe you are unfurling, too?

May we walk in Beauty!

Feet on Earth

I was going to try to get a sonnet written today, but I just couldn’t seem to make it past the first quatrain, and that was thuddy and bumpkish. It kept wanting to be six feet instead of pentameter. I’m okay with that, if only I can get it to sing a little more. So a little free-verse for my tired brain tonight, and form will happen later when I can keep my eyes open.

Arrange yourself upon the earth,
feet in the soil. Feel the magnetism
of mineral and metal, the cool pull
of mud and moss and peat.

Do not worry. Already you have learned
the ways to walk upon the air,
to bridge the chasm on a rainbow.
Now it is time again to learn
to walk with gravity.

TOMORROW’S PROMPT:
The Fool takes to the Air. She’s met Water and Earth, so tomorrow takes us around to the realm of in-spir-ation, spirit, the butterfly-wing flash of thought and idea, AHA! Sanguine and playful, air may seem to be the Fool’s primary element, but there is always more to learn.

Gratitude List:
1. Hanging out with Keri and Bobby. Bobby is a good sport!
2. Student musicians
3. Student Credo statements
4. Putting bare feet on earth
5. Ice cream and apple fritters.

May we walk in Beauty!

Re-Integrating

tattoo

Quiet, thoughtful, tired today. So much to absorb from my three days of learning to keep circles. Now the work is to learn to apply and integrate the practice into my work, into my Work. And after three days of circling with twenty-five others, that specific circle itself must settle in like a seed and germinate within. And now, somehow, I must now reintegrate into the world outside the circle.

I think it would be good for me, sometime in the next two months, to sit in circle with people who are planning to vote for Trump, people who are planning to vote for Clinton, and people who are voting for Stein or Johnson. Perhaps some non-voters should be in there, too. I could not be the Circle Keeper, but I think I would come out of such an experience a much healthier person, hopefully less anxious, less furious.

Gratitude List:
1. Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Spirit
2. Autumn is in the air
3. The circles expand out and outward
4. Poetry, how it says things that cannot articulated in didactic words
5. We are more alike than we are different

May we walk in Beauty!

Walking on Air

DSCN9271

I guessed yesterday when my seven-year-old was playing with some other children during the Little League game, running up a dirt mound and jumping off, that he was feeling that flying feeling.  I asked him, and he confirmed that it did feel like he really was flying.  I remember running down the sloping front yard of our house in West Virginia, and knowing that my feet were actually skimming the earth, not really touching down.  Or sliding my feet down the steps, knowing that I was actually in flight mode, not really bound completely to gravity.

But there’s more to it, because even lately, in my middle age, I have had moments when something in the back of my head believes that gravity has less hold on me than it appears.  It’s not just whimsy, and it’s not that I am losing touch with reality.  It has to do with the staying power of dreams.  These days I rarely have the dreams where I am swooping and soaring, but I frequently have the skimming dreams, the walking on air.  And each time it happens, there is a skeptical place in me that tells me it is impossible,  but the wondering place in me reminds me that it has to be possible if it is happening, and so I wake up with a sense of knowing deep inside myself that I can walk on the air.  I don’t know if it’s a vestigial memory of early learning related to walking, or whether it’s a deep internal awareness of inner capacities–that I dream these things when I am about to break through some barrier in waking life, to do something that seems impossible.  I am fascinated by the way that the dream logic leaks into the waking world, the way that back part of my brain takes a moment to wake up and realize that the dream-reality and the waking-reality are different realms.

Gratitude List:
1. Walking on Air
2. Standing firmly on Earth
3. Being Immersed in the day
4. Being on Fire with an idea
5. Carrying on

May we walk in Beauty!

Learning to Fly

2012 October 053

Never fight a cloud.
Never grasp the wind
in your fists.  Wind is
meant to be ridden
like a rough colt.
Give yourself to it
as you give yourself
to the salt waves.
Let it buffet you,
twist and batter you.
Rise.  Breathe deeply.
Learn the pathways
of currents and drafts.

(First line found on an online “poetry generator.”  This is a very drafty draft, but I do want to write something about riding the wind, so I will let it be a place-holder.)

Gratitude List:
1. Watching a high school crew create a dramatic performance.  The students at my school and their directors did an amazing job putting together “The Sound of Music” last night.
2. Sleep.  This is a placeholder.  I am running on very little sleep at the moment, and will likely run a little low for the next couple of nights.  But I am grateful for sleep, for the little I can get now, and for the good rest I will get in a few days.
3. That lovely, lovely snow.  Simple frosting.
4. The sense of taste.  Isn’t flavor a marvelous thing?
5. Weaving the threads together.  People.  Meanings.  Ideas.

May we walk in Beauty!

Five Sacred Elements

<Prompt 17: Write an element poem>

I call upon the air,
the breezy inspirations,
the winds that bring ideas,
that cut through the muddle
like a sword of sharp steel.

I call upon the fire,
the passion that ignites,
creative force that excites
the Muse and drives
the enterprise, the energy
that awakens the spirit.

I call upon the water,
deep peace and dream seeking,
realm of the heart, and
keeper of intuitions.
The flow and the flood,
the ocean around us.

I call upon the earth,
the ground of our being,
the rocks and the stones,
the caves, and the bones
of the ancestors.

I call upon center,
great mystery and spirit,
the hub and the wheel,
the home and the fulcrum,
the life-force, the bringer
of balance and union.

Gratitude List:
1.  That lunch.  Wow.  Good friends, never enough time for conversation, food from all over the world.
2.  Lifetime friends.
3.  Good singing
4.  Old Turtle
5.  Feathers.  No, stones.  Both.

May we walk in Beauty.

Blessing

May the bright breeze of morning rouse your heart to singing,
May the fire of the noonday warm your heart to hopefulness,
May the cooling rains of evening wash your heart to freshness,
May the enclosing arms of the earth hold you through the midnight.

Walk in paths of the winds that awaken,
Walk through the fires that burn off the scars,
Walk in the waters that cool and renew,
Stand with your feet firmly planted on earth

Until you hear the voice of the wind,
Until you breathe the essence of the fire,
Until you smell the message of the waters,
Until you feel the heartbeat of the earth,
Until you see the sun rise
within you,
within you.

Prompt for Monday:

Write a poem about a secret or a lie.  I might tell a lie about myself, or make up a secret, or tell a REAL secret, perhaps.  But you’ll never know, really, what the truth is, eh?  Care to join me?

Gratitude List:

1.  A gripping historical account of the assassination of President Lincoln told by my 12-year-old nephew.  And the way my brother explains the patterns of ancient human history.
2.  The brightness of the half-moon, and the stars, tonight.
3.  Reading Mara’s poetry–awash in the language, in the imagery, in the mystery.
4.  A cloud above the Susquehanna, shaped like an eagle with a fish in its talons.
5.  Noticing.

May we walk in Beauty!

Passel of kids