Daily Feather and Gratitude

Your Daily Feather

I didn’t have time to write this morning before I left for work.
1. Last night, we saw a bat flying between the barn and the sycamore tree. Bats are some of my favorite people.
2. Tonight on our walk, we saw a frog on the road. When I reached to try to move it from the road, it suddenly zig-zagged between my legs and off toward the creek.
3. Working in the Herb Room today. I might be an airy-fairy sanguine personality and a fiery Leo birth sign, and have a special affinity for Mama Ocean, but when it comes to herbs, the things that gets me most excited is the roots. Earth seems to be my medicine: roots and stones.
4. Kittens! Have I mentioned the kittens? I love little kittens. And their mama.
5. Cucumbers. They’re refreshing.

May we walk in Beauty!

“We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.” ―Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“You say you care about the poor? Then tell me, what are their names?” —Gustavo Gutierrez

Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” —Roald Dahl

History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, but if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.
—Maya Angelou

“Doors closing, doors opening. Doors closing, doors I’m opening. I am safe. It’s only change. I am safe. It’s only change.” —chant (I don’t know the author)

Vine and branch we’re connected in this world
of sound and echo, figure and shadow, the leaves
contingent, roots pushing against earth. An apple
belongs to itself, to stem and tree, to air
that claims it, then ground. Connections
balance, each motion changes another. Precarious,
hanging together, we don’t know what our lives
support, and we touch in the least shift of breathing.
Each holy thing is borrowed. Everything depends.
—Jeanne Lohmann, ‘Shaking the Tree’

Parker Palmer: “The only way to become whole is to put our arms lovingly around everything we’ve shown ourselves to be: self-serving and generous, spiteful and compassionate, cowardly and courageous, treacherous and trustworthy. We must be able to say to ourselves and to the world at large, “I am all of the above.” If we can’t embrace the whole of who we are—embrace it with transformative love—we’ll imprison the creative energies hidden in our own shadows and flee from the world’s complex mix of shadow and light.”

“It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.” —Mae Jemison

Instructions to Myself

Just two kids playing in their fort.

Instructions to Myself:
1. Make eye contact.  Even with the people you live with.  Especially with the people you live with–it’s easy to take their solid presence for granted and forget to look them in the eye.
2. Give people the smile they need.  Only some people need the broad and open smile.  Some need a quiet I-see-you smile.
3. Cultivate curiosity, not only about ideas and facts, but about people.
4. Ask.  Don’t tell. This is hard for me, because I like to tell. Learn to draw people out in conversation.
5. Don’t hide your awe. Sometimes people are just waiting for someone to show them the doorway into wonder.

Gratitude List:
1. (In Tanka)
Impossible things
that actually exist,
like the hummingbird.
how she hovers, how she hums,
how she flies like a whisper.
2. Also bats, which are creatures of impossibility.  How they dart and wheel in the circle of space underneath the poplar and sycamore trees, feasting on the wing, right here where we are, as if they enjoy our company.
3. The crisp, cooling crunch of cucumber.
4. All those owls.  Two or three screech owls whinnying in the bamboo grove, and further off, a great horned owl, echoing through the hollow.
5. The way Beauty surrounds us, taps us on the shoulder, breathes in our ears, wraps us in Her veils of wonder.

May we walk in Beauty.  Beauty ever ancient, ever new.

The Delegation

The dragon I drew on the driveway.  

“I do not see a delegation of the four-footed.
I see no seat for the eagles.” –Chief Oren Lyons, Onondaga

The wren is not waiting his turn to speak, nor should he.
He calls out into the clamorous room–his name, his name, his name.
The whales have been offering their words for some time now,
but no one at my table seems to be listening,
not to the whales, nor to the insistent chitter of the bats
who, though they have no place on the agenda,
are doing their best to make their voices heard.

Who will call the meeting to order?
Who will make sure that every voice is heard?

Gratitude List:
1. Add more caring adults to the circle of people who mentor my children: I had my first chance to watch the Wrightsville Little League coaches in action yesterday at their first game.  Our guys lost, but the coaches were excellent in their encouragement and their building of team spirit.  They were praising the kids for encouraging each other.  One hears horror stories, but there are wonder stories also.
2. The dawn is catching up to me.  The sun rises shortly after I do, and I have daylight to help me wake up more quickly.
3. Getting back to class today.  I love the break, but I get really antsy to head back into the classroom.
4. The right to vote.  I am going to believe that my vote counts, despite the voices inside me that bray and mock that hope.  But change does not stop with a vote.  We have to work for the justice we seek.
5. Blue jays.  They saunter through the sky like ruffians, like dudes, and they have absolutely no questions about their entitlement.  I like their bombast.  And their clear, loud whistles.

May we walk in Beauty!

Eagle and Butterfly

DSCN8468 DSCN8473

. . .and spider and little brown bat, whom we call Otis.  The bat’s full name, in Latin, is Myotis lucifugus, and when there are two of them roosting up in the barn, we call the other Lucy.  Screech Owl’s Latin name is Otus asio.

Gratitude List:
1. The bald eagle rising above the trees by the River on my drive home, pumping its wings as it rose toward a cloud that was rimed by a golden halo of sun.  I am sorry we have made them such a symbol of military force.  Writing about this eagle, I feel as though I must wade through layers and layers of shallow and odious symbology to get to the way it carried my spirit as it rose with powerful pulls of its wings, swimming upward through air, and how the sun lit the cloud from behind.
2. Monarchs buffeted by every little breeze and puff of air, making their laborious way southward.  So many of them.  Each sighting brings me a stab of joy. One fast truck can send them spinning and looping out of their way, but they persist.
3. Student music at school.  I am blown away by the talent of these young people.
4. Restorative Justice.  Discipline that thoughtfully encourages young people to look at the breach in relationships and how the breach can be mended.  Empathetic and compassionate accountability.  The principals at my school are wise and empathetic in their work with this, and this week we learned that the principal of our sons’ public school is also working with implementing restorative principles in the local school.
5. Cool air I can breathe in.

May we walk in Beauty!