Grieve and Adapt

Here is a picture of Erebus. He is the most beautiful person in the house. Everyone else is beautiful, too, of course, but Erebus is a rock-star of beautifulness. Even when he is being a goofball.

Self isolation.
Social distancing. No, physical distancing with social connection.
Exile for the Good of the Realm.
Altered days.
Strange times.

I’ve noticed my friends posting on social media all the things they can offer for the good of their communities during the time of Exile: help with educational questions, coffee conversations, spiritual direction, free online yoga sessions. . .

What a marvelous trend! I jumped on that one. I can sit here in my holler with my family feeling sorry that I can’t do anything, or I can offer what I am able by internet. Let’s do that!

Here are some of the things I can offer. If you need my help with any of these things, comment here, and we’ll figure out how to get in touch by email, or find me on Facebook, and we can connect there.
1. I am an English teacher, so if your kids are struggling with grammar or writing, or the deep meaning of an assigned piece of literature, I am delighted to help. In other disciplines, I can help you find resources. I have taught grades 3-8, so I have a fairly well-rounded knowledge base.

2. If you need a poem, let me know. I love to search for poems. If the one you need hasn’t been written yet, I will try to write one for you.

3. I am going to post my daily quotations here every day in case you need some grounding inspiration.

4. I am posting a poem a day (at least during weekdays) on my Youtube channel. I am not professional, and I can’t seem to get rid of the glare on my glasses, but if you need to listen to poetry, you can check that out. I’m doing it for my students, so I figured I might as well offer it here.

What can you offer for the good of the community? Can you afford to send some extra dollars to the local organizations that are caring for our most vulnerable neighbors in these times? If you have friends who are out of work, are there ways you can help them through this time?


“I want you to act as if the house was on fire. Because it is.” —Greta Thunberg


“When I say it’s you I like, I’m talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more than anything you can ever see or hear or touch. That deep part of you that allows you to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive. Love that conquers hate, peace that rises triumphant over war, and justice that proves more powerful than greed.” —Fred Rogers


“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” —Friedrich Nietzsche


“When you teach your daughter, explicitly or by passive rejection, that she must ignore her outrage, that she must be kind and accepting to the point of not defending herself or other people, that she must not rock the boat for any reason, you are NOT strengthening her prosocial sense, you are damaging it—and the first person she will stop protecting is herself.” —Martha Stout


“If you will, you can become all flame.” ―Abba Joseph


“Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.” ―Maya Angelou


“Rage—whether in reaction to social injustice, or to our leaders’ insanity, or to those who threaten or harm us—is a powerful energy that, with diligent practice, can be transformed into fierce compassion.” ―Bonnie Myotai Treace


“It looked as if a night of dark intent was coming, and not only a night, an age. Someone had better be prepared for rage.” ―Robert Frost


“There’s something in us that knows we came here to give. The notion is the opposite of a consumer society. The consumer society says we came here to get, and we’re going to consume everything there is. But the old idea is that we came into the world gifted, and culture is our way of giving. That’s our way of being natural and participating in the natural world.” ―Michael Meade


Gratitude List:
1. My back doesn’t hurt this morning. There were a few moments yesterday when I wondered whether this might be something that would be chronic. I have rarely had back pain, and it usually goes away in a few hours. This was two days of some pretty serious pain. I think I overdid the steps, and strained it on the fast uphill walks I have been taking.
2. Online yoga. So many thanks to my friend Yasmin for her FB yoga yesterday. I didn’t make it through the whole thing because my back hurt, but I think it’s what set me on the path to healing those muscles.
3. All the caring souls. All the care-mongers (apparently that’s a word now, and the Canadians made it so–look it up).
4. That particular shade of light brown (burnt beige?) of last year’s leaves on the purple Japanese maple. They have dried, over winter, to this lovely tender shade. Actually, many shades.
5. Adaptability. There’s nothing for it, but to adapt, day by day and sometimes minute by minute. Don’t forget to acknowledge the feelings of loss as they come. And then adapt as necessary to the new normal. And remember, this is not forever.

May we walk in Beauty!

Coping

This is going to sound whinier than I mean it to be. It’s just a reality. Kind of funny, actually, when I’ve worked my way to the other side of it.

In summer, troubles just roll off your back. In winter, they stick together and compound each other, like those little fuzzy seed balls that stick to your socks when you walk in the fields. They catch hold of each other and suddenly they’re one big mass, and you can’t really separate them from each other. For example, the car was hit by a deer, and the light switch in the bedroom broke, and the Prius tail light is out, and the kitchen light and the bathroom lights burned out on the same day, and when we did get a new car, the front light was out, and then the water pump starting gasping like it was going out of business. In summer, you fix things and then you move on. In winter, you feel the weight of cosmic fate pounding you down with each little thing. And so many of these tiny things had to do with lost light, it began to feel like someone was making fun of me: “You feeling a little anxious about the shorter days? The loss of light is bothering you? Let’s try this.”

Ugh. Tiny, minor details. Nothing to get fussed about. You fix stuff and you move on. In summer. In winter, you gripe about it, and you feel burdened, and then you fix stuff and move on.


Gratitude List:
1. There is a frog who lives in the springhouse. This knowledge makes me happy.
2. Sun streaming in to the hollow
3. The sleeping silence of a Saturday morning house
4. The Givers. Lancaster raised $10.5 million for charitable causes yesterday. I kept the ExtraGive main page and the page for our school on the board all day yesterday, and kept refreshing it for my students to see. Thank you, Lancaster, for giving your time and money and hearts to help build up our community.
5. The vibrant browns of late autumn. The salmon-beige beech tree leaves in the understory of the woods along Ducktown Road. The leathery burnt-orange of this oak up the hill. The auburn oak across from Flinchbaugh’s.

May we walk in Beauty!