1. The glorious compensation for these darkly claustrophobic mornings is that we get to see the sunrise clouds on the way to school. I love sunrise clouds and sunrise skies.
2. Challenges. Our chapel speakers this week have been issuing challenges: See the sacred goodness in every person, turn off social media for two days, look for a situation in the world where dehumanization is happening and figure out how you can change that.
3. Fuzzy warm cats
4. A new good fantasy book to read: Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone
5. Raquel Vasquez Giilibrand’s chapbook Tales from the House of Vasquez. I read it yesterday, and found myself walking around chanting: madre, madrina, madrone. . . Mythic, legendary, ancestral: I love her poetry. It was like living in a dream while awake.
May we walk in Beauty!
John Philip Newell writes, “Knowing and naming brokenness is essential in the journey toward wholeness. To look life straight in the eye, to see its pain and to see its beauty—this is an essential part of glimpsing the way forward.”
“Change is the essence of life; be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become.”
“The hardest spiritual work in the world is to love the neighbor as the self—to encounter another human being not as someone you can use, change, fix, help, save, enroll, convince or control, but simply as someone who can spring you from the prison of yourself, if you will allow it.” —Barbara Brown Taylor
“As long as I live,
I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing.
I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood,
storm, and the avalanche.
I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens,
and get as near the heart of the world as I can.”
“The world is our Mother. If we destroy her, where will we live?”
“It helps to think of our swamps of despair as the necessary muddle before clarity. Actually, swamps are incredibly fertile places full of life. In mythology the heroine must cross such a place in her darkest hour, where she comes to face her unlived life – meeting each of the divine allies disguised as regret, doubt, and insufficiency which swell up from the mud of her despondency. If she is willing to consummate the full encounter, they will reveal themselves in service to the vitality of her true being.” —Toko-pa Turner
Today’s prompt is to write a love/anti-love poem. I ended the day today sort of exhausted, partly because of the incredible resistance I am getting from some students in my Creative Writing class.
I see it in your eyes when you ask the question
(the loathing, the defiant refusal to accept)
“Why do we have to study poetry?”
And in this moment I do not know how,
after all these years of this work,
to hand you this gift
that I love so deeply,
which you so staunchly refuse.
It’s about your own power,
I want to tell you,
about your power to say
exactly what you want to say,
to take that roiling mass of uncertainty
that slides out from behind the tough mask
you put on for me,
to take all that and give it words,
to sort it, to speak your truth,
to know the beauty and the strength
of your own words, to find your way
Now. Close your eyes and open your hands.
1. My contemplative friend Handsome Joe, how he cocks his beak to look at me as I pass. Paddling in his pool in the creek, or strolling through the green grasses of his estate.
2. The red sprouts of peonies lifting their heads by the shop.
3. The first fern fiddleheads unfurling.
4. They say that every cloud has a silver lining, but it’s their azure and indigo underbellies that capture me.
5. The challenges and delights of belonging to a community.
May we walk in Beauty!
1. The shining eyes of my students. I am carrying some of them a little heavily these days, as I become aware of the weighty anxieties that some of then hold within them.
2. Last night’s dinner. Jon cooked small shells, and mixed them with peas and spinach in a cream and parmesan sauce.
3. My new pen. I finally did it. I ordered myself a real fountain pen. It is sleek and shining and beautiful. (Unfortunately, the ink I ordered is coming in a separate package, so I need to wait a little while to try it out.)
4. Challenging and respectful conversations. I really like when people respectfully challenge my ideas. It helps to keep me honest, for one thing, but it also helps me to hone and define the ideas which I do find most compelling.
5. I know I say this one often, but it is two of my daily moments of delight: Crossing the Susquehanna on the way to and from school. I love this River. I love how it holds not only the idea of place but of time, how you can see the remnants of the ancient fishing weirs that the Susquehannocks used for catching fish.