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
“I am not afraid of storms, for I’m learning to sail my ship.” –Louisa May Alcott
“The only way to live is to accept each minute as an unrepeatable miracle.” –Margaret Storm Jameson
“Be the silent watcher of your thoughts and behavior.
You are beneath the thinker.
You are the stillness beneath the mental noise.
You are the love and joy beneath the pain.”
–Eckhart Tolle *
One of my own, beginning with an Aldo Leopold quote. I read the Leopold essay again yesterday with my Academic Writing students in preparation for our Cause and Effect essay:
“We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes – something known only to her and to the mountain.” –Aldo Leopold
Only the mountain knows perhaps
where the green fire is kindled
how the viridian flame leaps
down the slopes and into the hollows
how it broods in the deep crevasse
enkindles in every womb
caterpillar and field mouse
wolf and deer and human
how it shines behind the eye.
Perhaps the desert too
has pondered with the mountain
the quiet licking emerald ember that
touched by the merest drop of moisture
tenders into flame
the impossible sprout from the seed
With That Moon Language
Everyone you see, you say to them, “Love me.”
Of course you do not do this out loud; Otherwise,
someone would call the cops.
Still, though, think about this, this great pull in us
Why not become the one who lives with a full moon
in each eye that is always saying,
with that sweet moon language,
what every other eye in this world is dying to hear?
–Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky
Gratitude List: 1. Cheesy bread and eggs for supper
2. Life Force, green fire
3. Collages and strippy poetry
4. When he isn’t yelling or whining, this kid is always singing or making jokes
5. Good Work
“What comes, will go. What is found, will be lost again.
But what you are is beyond coming and going and beyond description.
You are It.”
Gratitude List: 1. Lemons and limes, which is to say: that which refreshes.
2. Bumblebee photobombers, which is to say: that which surprises and delights.
3. The Sufi poets, which is to say, that which deepens and enheartnes.
4. The great-horned owl in the poplar tree, which is to say, that which awakens and reminds.
5. This fuzzy fellow sleeping here beside me, which is to say: that which trusts and belongs.
I want the strength and comfort of this tree these days. She is one of the ent-folk, I am sure of that, with a gnarled and twisted trunk and veils of leaves.
Oh, Turkey! Friends, we have such a big bowl of hurt to hold these days.
It helps if we all hold it together, I think.
Interlock our prayers like fingers, like bright threads.
This one for Turkey,
this for Nice,
that for your friend who is caught in a cycle of despair,
this for my friend who is waiting for her new heart,
for our cousins and companions who are anxious and worried
as they tend to their loved ones who are ill,
for those who lead us in the fight against racism every day,
for Baghdad, for Bangladesh, for Istanbul again.
For those baby birds who are fledging.
I will add some bright stones that I found in the bean patch today,
some feathers that found me on my walk,
the bright yellow faces of toadflax.
Will you add your rainbow, your twinkling eyes, your hopeful smile?
Gratitude List: 1. (What has awakened you?) Keeping my heart focused on the Noticing, in inner and outer worlds. Also, laughter.
2. (How have you encountered Mystery?) In the calling of the young red-tail–the cycle of life always continues.
3. (What has given you cause for wonder?) Watching children create ideas in their heads and then make them with their hands.
4. (What has nudged you forward?) The constancy of work to be done, in many different places. Learning to juggle the work.
5. (What do you offer the day?) More holding, more noticing, more listening. Laughter. I will find laughter in the day. Also, twinkling eyes–I will seek out twinkles.
Here in the green
where the wren is calling
and earthworms begin their work,
you can sense the great heart
of the whole,
Gratitude List: 1. Awakeners. People (both the mentoring and the challenging) who wake up something within me that wants to be more whole, more real, more alive.
2. Love wins. Love will always win. Put down your stones and walk away. Love wins.
3. Field Trip. Today I am taking a personal day to be a mom rather than a teacher. First graders are going to the Science Factory.
4. Hafiz. “Your heart and my heart are very, very old friends.” They are, aren’t they?
5. How some people center their wisdom in their compassionate hearts. That’s the direction I want to go, too.
There is no prompt up yet, and I have to head to school. I’ll do a second post later today with the poem.
Gratitude List: 1. Awakenings: Yesterday in a short story, the girl’s boyfriend and his mother offered to help in a chaotic moment at the restaurant. The dad went out to wait in the car. This was an incidental sentence in the story, but two of my classes stopped the story and complained about the dad. They expect more of men these days.
2. Companionship: This bright boy sitting beside me and reading as I write.
3. Redemption. Grace. Restoration: We don’t always live up to the possibilities. The people we care for sometimes break or trample the trust we put in them. Still, we find room for grace. Today’s grace may be fragile, may be temporary, but I will nurture the hope it offers with everything I can give it, like the tiny, impossible flame we tended at the fire pit a couple weeks ago, giving it our breath, feeding it, believing it would catch.
4. Solitude: Not yet, not yet. But last night I began my first dreamings for my contemplative solitude retreat this summer.
5. Growth: Sometimes the daily minutiae of teacher-work can make it seem like there is no growth, or that the growth is too small, too slow. When I step back and look at the progress of students’ work from last year to this, it suddenly becomes clear, like looking at that small oak tree out on the hill. I cannot see its day-to-day growth, but when I look at it over time, I can see the miracle of its growth.