Maker’s Monday

Look at that violet and indigo swirl of cloud above the barn.

Not much to say today. I’m going to make masks, make zines, create writing prompts for a project, crochet the arms of a doll I started over the weekend. Read. Make a cherry cobbler with the sour cherries my neighbor gave me. Watch for Beauty. Plot the Revolution. Pet cats. Stretch and walk and learn some more Spanish. I suppose that’s my Gratitude List for today–looking forward to a week of making and noticing and working on inner transformation in order to keep participating in world-changing events of the day.

May we do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in Beauty!


“I sometimes visualize the ongoing cycle of racism as a moving walkway at the airport. Active racist behavior is equivalent to walking fast on the conveyor belt. The person engaged in active racist behavior has identified with the ideology of our White supremacist system and is moving with it. Passive racist behavior is equivalent to standing still on the walkway. No overt effort is being made, but the conveyor belt moves the bystanders along to the same destination as those who are actively walking. But unless they are walking actively in the opposite direction at a speed faster than the conveyor belt—unless they are actively anti-racist—they will find themselves carried along with the others.” —Beverly Tatum


“The Holocaust was not the holocaust until it was too late.” —James Regier


“People are hard to hate close up. Move in. Speak truth to bullshit. Be civil. Hold hands. With strangers. Strong back. Soft front. Wild heart. ❤️” —Brené Brown


“We cannot tire or give up. We owe it to the present and future generations of all species to rise up and walk!” ―Wangari Maathai


“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.” ―Joseph Campbell


“Every person who has ever achieved anything has been knocked down many times. But all of them picked themselves up and kept going, and that is what I have always tried to do.” ―Wangari Maathai


“It is the people who must save the environment. It is the people who must make their leaders change. And we cannot be intimidated. So we must stand up for what we believe in.” ―Wangari Maathai


“How many kinds of beauty exist in nature? A sunset’s beauty is not the same as a river’s beauty is not the same as a newborn’s beauty is not the same as a kind act’s beauty is not the same as an old oak tree’s beauty. And yet, they are the same. Why do you think that is?” —Jarod K. Anderson


“The eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time. . . . To protect what is wild is to protect what is gentle. Perhaps the wilderness we fear is the pause between our own heartbeats, the silent space that says we live only by grace. Wilderness lives by this same grace. Wild mercy is in our hands.” —Terry Tempest Williams


“The extremists are afraid of books and pens, the power of education frightens them. They are afraid of women.” ―Malala Yousafzai


“There is no exquisite beauty without some strangeness in the proportion.” ―Edgar Allen Poe


“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ―Mark Twain


“It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know the sense of wonder and humility. ” ―Rachel Carson


“…drink in the beauty and wonder at the meaning of what you see.” ―Rachel Carson

Repairing America

Anything we do, no matter how routine or mundane, can be a ritual, a prayer, a magical spinning of webs of healing. This week, as I have been repairing a quilt, I have been pondering/praying/spinning webs for the mending of the raggedness of the world.

When we got engaged over thirty years ago, Jon and I bought ourselves a glorious Sunshine and Shadow wedding quilt. For a few years, in one of the places we lived, we hung it on a wall, where it was fabulously set off by the natural woodwork of the doorways and window sashes of the house. But for much of our marriage we kept it in storage, waiting until we had a perfect wall again to display it. About ten years ago, I brought it out and said that a marriage quilt belongs on a bed. If it gets damaged by everyday use, so be it. We’re looking a little bit more ragged and worn ourselves than we did back in 1990, and it just felt wrong to keep something so symbolic tucked out of sight out of fear that it might become damaged.

And it has indeed become worn and ragged, but only in one of its colors. The heathery olive green was apparently a less sturdy fabric than the rest, and over time, it became completely shredded. It was my intention to go to a fabric store and try to match the color exactly, but I just don’t ever seem to find the time to make excursions like that, and so I put off fixing it for a couple years. Finally, during lockdown, I began to wonder why I was so attached to the replacement color matching the original exactly. I had some green with the same intensity of vibrancy as the other colors in the quilt. So I cut some patches and started to cut away the old and tattered fabric. (I didn’t think to start photographing the process until I had already repaired eight of the patches.)

And while I have been appliqueing the new patches into the design, I have been thinking about the raggedness of brokenness in our world, and especially in this country, where things have actually never NOT been ragged and torn. Unlike our wedding quilt, which began in beauty, and which represents a marriage and family that respects and values the true humanity of all its members, this country may have had some beautiful aspects when seen from a distance and through certain lenses, but the colors in the American quilt were created from the blood and bones and sweat of enslaved people and from the genocide of those who lived here before the Europeans came along with their ideas of Empire. This quilt we call the United States may need to be completely remade in order to create a thing of true and lasting beauty.

What are the elements and colors of beauty and grace that we think we want to keep when the quilt has been repaired? Democracy? What a lovely and marvelous ideal! But it’s never actually been a true and shining democracy for all of us. Can we find a fabric to replace that one? This time, let’s choose a strong fabric, one that weaves us ALL into the warp and weft, that offers everyone a voice. It’s going to take a great deal of energy and time and personal labor to cut away the ragged and corrupted edges of that one, and stitch the new and stronger pieces in its place.

We’re going to need to examine our communal ideals, one by one, and carefully trim away the ones which have become torn and tattered so we can stitch new, more vibrant colors made of stronger, more inclusive fabrics into their places. Perhap then we can save this quilt of a country. ‘Til all is said and done, we’ll probably be replacing the batting and backing, tearing out rows of quilting, finding new threads and better materials. The next version of this American quilt may not look much like the original, and that is a good thing. The original was never so vibrant and meaningful as so many people thought it was. It’s always been corrupted, moth-eaten, and tattered. Now is the time to create a true America, the one we thought we had, but real and solid and vibrant.


Gratitude List:
1. Fixing, repairing, mending
2. Contemplating, praying, spinning webs
3. Creating, making, designing
4. Listening, absorbing, holding space
5. Stretching, breathing, unbending

Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly–in Beauty!


“That’s the way things come clear. All of a sudden. And then you realize how obvious they’ve been all along.” —Madeleine L’Engle


“In all religious systems the danger is that the logical structure and rational doctrine will obscure the mystical vision.” —Bede Griffiths


“Note to self today:
Do not feed the monsters.
Monsters are those thought threads that denigrate and disrespect self and others.
Some are wandering thought forms, looking for a place to land and live.
Some are sent to you deliberately or inadvertently. They can come from arrows or gossip, jealousy or envy. Or from just…thoughtlessness.
Instead, have a party.
Invite your helpers to the table. Give them something to do. They want to be helpful. And just celebrate.
Feed the birds.
Second note: A positive mind makes a light slippery surface and anything not of it, slides off.” —Joy Harjo


Omid Safi: “In many languages, the words for “love” have a connection to words for “seed.” In Arabic and Persian, a word for love (hubb) comes from the seed that is planted in the ground. Sometimes a seed of love is planted in the heart’s ground through a glance, a touch, a word. The seed of love falls on the heart’s soil. Is it a hardened earth, a rock-covered surface, one that will have the seed washed away with the first water? Or is it a soil that has been prepared, tilled, softened up, opened up again and again and again, ready to embrace the seed of love that would surely come?”


“We need better government, no doubt about it. But we also need better minds, better friendships, better marriages, better communities.” —Wendell Berry


“A spirituality that is only private and self-absorbed, one devoid of an authentic political and social consciousness, does little to halt the suicidal juggernaut of history. On the other hand, an activism that is not purified by profound spiritual and psychological self-awareness and rooted in divine truth, wisdom, and compassion will only perpetuate the problem it is trying to solve, however righteous its intentions. When, however, the deepest and most grounded spiritual vision is married to a practical and pragmatic drive to transform all existing political, economic and social institutions, a holy force – the power of wisdom and love in action – is born. This force I define as Sacred Activism.”
―Andrew Harvey, The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism


“If you’re really listening, if you’re awake to the poignant beauty of the world, your heart breaks regularly. In fact, your heart is made to break; its purpose is to burst open again and again so that it can hold evermore wonders.”
―Andrew Harvey


“I pray for the gift of silence, Of emptiness and solitude, Where everything I touch is turned into prayer:”
―Andrew Harvey, Light the Flame: 365 Days of Prayer


“Now, it’s not like Jesus was against name-calling or anything. He slung around Hypocrite, Fool and Brood of Vipers with the best of them. But I find it fascinating that Jesus reserved his name-calling for the religious community and never for the broken down or broken hearted. Never for the excluded. Never for the lonely. Never for the outcasts.

“Interestingly, Jesus doesn’t tell us to love the sinner; Jesus tells us to love our neighbor. And then Jesus goes on to define our neighbors as those who are despised, rejected, excluded, ignored, and bullied.” –Beth Woolsey

Poem a Day: 26

Today’s prompts are Noodle, and Change. I couldn’t figure out how to add the noodle. Maybe the poem itself is something if a noodle. . . .

Change Surreal
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

Step by step, prepare.
Spare a stare, don’t glare
but glance, this instance,
an instrument of intent,
bent on being, on seeing,
seeming seamless,
streaming, steeling
steady, ready for
reasons, for seasons.
The horizon not so horrible,
not the terrible terminal,
only an internal intersection,
new direction derelict.
Any edict an educated
editorial, tutorial surreal.
Real deal delivered.

Into the Dark, December 19

Every year at this time, I feel the anxiety and restlessness begin to rise within me, and the cold settles into my bones. Every year, I need to consciously ease my spirit into the season. This year, from the beginning of December until Epiphany, I will set it down here on the blog. May we journey into the darkness with intention and tenderness.

Do you feel how it approaches?
The shift?
The transition? 
The time of the change is nearing.
In each of our whirling dances about the sun, we have two moments when we spin furthest from our star: the solstices. While I feel it in the summer’s languid play of days, I am more keenly aware each year in the quiet dark of winter. Just two more days and we will be at one of our furthest points from the sun, and here in the northern hemisphere, our face is tilted away. 

Today, my word will be unclench. My shoulders, mostly, but my breathing, my forehead, my gut, as well. I have noticed myself naturally doing it in the past week–stopping, pausing, sighing, letting the tensions drain downward and away.


Gratitude List:
1. The Donor. Yesterday, we learned that someone has donated a sum of money to begin the process of updating our oldest classroom building. I love this building, but teaching in August and late May can be nearly impossible as students melt into their desks. This money will begin the renovations which will bring my hall some air conditioning.
2. Geese raggedly embroidering the sky
3. Magenta clouds
4. Strong female characters in books. In my reading lately: Antigone, Katniss Everdeen, Jane Eyre, Cordelia
5. Rhythm

May we walk in Beauty!


“…and I am out with lanterns, looking for myself.” —Emily Dickinson


Never Broken

I am my own Home, now.
Wherever I move
the Light –
It moves with me.
I open all of the windows and the doors
so that God can come and go easily.
I don’t know why God takes such delight
in this House I call “Me”.
This place
where hearts come to be broken.
At the end of the Long Day I always ask.
“God? Why, hearts to be broken?”
And God always replies,
“Never broken, dear Lover _
only Opened.”
—Em Claire


“Find the antidote in the venom.” —Rumi


“Only two more days of the walk into the darkness. I am so grateful for the way the light kept finding me today. I’m not really on the edge, and I am not losing it, but I feel the edges of the panic, the sense of claustrophobia. I like the darkness. I love the inward-turn of winter, but always, at the edge, there’s the. . .well, the edge. So. There’s the Sun. And Stars and a growing Moon. And Mother Darkness. Comfort me. Disturb me.” —Beth Weaver-Kreider (from several years ago)

Into the Dark, December 15

Every year at this time, I feel the anxiety and restlessness begin to rise within me, and the cold settles into my bones. Every year, I need to consciously ease my spirit into the season. This year, from the beginning of December until Epiphany, I will set it down here on the blog. May we journey into the darkness with intention and tenderness.

This week in Creative Writing class, students have been presenting poetic forms of their choice, and we’ve been exploring writing in each one. I particularly love working with poetic forms and ideas that fracture meaning by re-arranging words, like in Billy Collins’s joke form, the Paradelle, which uses two repeated lines, and then re-mixes the words in those lines. Abstract poetry, too, often makes use of fractured and oddly mixed words to create a sense of meaning that transcends the direct line of thought. As intentionally goofy as Collins’s form is, it does something sort of exciting to the brain to shift words around and break up their linear meaning.

Habits and rhythms can become ruts. When I have my winter blinders on, trudging through the muck of dark and cold just to get through it, I find that the linear tracks I am making sometimes become deep and worn ruts, making it hard to find meanings in the days and moments other than the ones that make the direct and prosy sentences of my days. I need to rearrange things on the pages of my days, step out of the worn tracks, break the sense of the sentences, shift the meanings. Add a new thing today, even if it’s a new stretch in my yoga routine. Drop another habit, perhaps the quick check of email or FB when I get home from being away.

Here is an attempt at a Paradelle. I’m not sure if it works to put serious thought into a joke form, but it feels satisfying to use the fracturing of the the form to break up the mental trudge:

Walking through the haze of winter days.
Walking through the haze of winter days.
My feet step in the same weary tracks.
My feet step in the same weary tracks.
Through the step of haze, the weary feet,
my winter tracks in same walking days.

I’ve worn a rut both long and deep.
I’ve worn a rut both long and deep.
Confined myself to pooling shadows.
Confined myself to pooling shadows.
To a rut I’ve both shadows confined,
pooling deep both worn and long myself.

And made myself a hidden prison.
And made myself a hidden prison.
Of raw endurance and force of habit. 
Of raw endurance and force of habit.
Force. Prison. Endurance: myself of raw,
and made of hidden and a habit.

Winter and a force of  endurance,
walking in a haze, same feet, shadows:
the raw and hidden habit, long and confined,
both to step through the weary prison rut
worn tracks of my pooling deep, 
I’ve made days of myself. Myself.


Gratitude List:
1. Long, deep mornings to write
2. Tree-shadows against the sky
3. Hunger that wakes me up
4. The way my students react with a natural aversion to injustice in literature.
5. Twinkling lights

May we walk in Beauty!


“How does a woman know? She listens. She listens in. Like light on waves.” —Margaret Atwood


“Every moment is a gift of life.” —Thich Nhat Hanh


“Only a fool knows everything.” —African proverb


“Note to self: If you want to have loving feelings, do loving things.” —Anne Lamott

Keep Pushing


Not intending to be maudlin here. I don’t know quite why the carvings of skull wings on 17th century gravestones is so fascinating to me.

Gratitude List:
1. Doing things. Channeling the unsettledness into working for change. Keep up the writing and calling, folks. Keep your Senators’ and Representatives’ feet to the fire. Demand that they be fully informed of the truth of what is happening. Send them the images and the videos and the news reports. Require them to respond.
2. Hours of professional development this afternoon with a colleague who just retired, and in passing on two challenging but fun classes to me.
3. Listening to a Terry Pratchett novel. I love reading the Tiffany Aching books, but to really get the accents right, you can’t beat an audiobook. I’m listening to Hatful of Sky. Really disappointed I couldn’t find Wee Free Men.
4. Butterflies
5. Colorful stones. I am oiling the collection of stones I found on Race Point Beach. It’s taking a while because I am soaking them for hours in the oil before polishing them. They come out with slightly matte colors compared to the brilliance of being in water, but the colors are definitely brighter than the dry ones.

May we walk in Beauty!


Quotes for the Day:
“I do not understand the mystery of grace — only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.” ―Anne Lamott
***
“[E]ducation is not just about utilizing a particular curriculum, or ensuring that critical reflection in a community follows a particular formula. It is full of intangible and random events. It is not just taught in the classroom, but lived in the midst of the community in ways that are not even fully quantifiable.” ―M.S. Bickford on the educational theories of John Westerhoff
***
“The trouble with trouble is, it starts out as fun.” ―Anonymous
***
“One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. . .give it, give it all, give it now.”
—Annie Dillard
***
“You can tell people of the need to struggle, but when the powerless start to see that they really can make a difference, nothing can quench the fire.”
—Leymah Gbowee
***
“There are opportunities even in the most difficult moments.” —Wangari Maathai
***
“Throughout my life, I have never stopped to strategize about my next steps. I often just keep walking along, through whichever door opens. I have been on a journey and this journey has never stopped. When the journey is acknowledged and sustained by those I work with, they are a source of inspiration, energy and encouragement. They are the reasons I kept walking, and will keep walking, as long as my knees hold out.”
—Wangari Maathai
***
“If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”
—Joseph Campbell
***
“I’m a Zen Buddhist if I would describe myself. I don’t think about what I do. I do it. That’s Buddhism. I jump off the cliff and build my wings on the way down.”
—Ray Bradbury

Making Sense

Today’s prompt is to write a poem about the senses. One day when Ellis was about five years old, we had a conversation, and we came up with twenty or more senses, beyond the five they teach in kindergarten. Here are some of them.

Praise for the senses
that anchor the soul to the body,
that cushion the spirit in flesh,
that stitch us together.

For the sight and sound and hearing,
yes, and taste and touch,
and also for the sense of warmth,
and balance, and gravity,
for the sense of what impends,
and the sense of presence,
of self-knowledge, of an inner world.

For the sense of direction,
the sense of time that passes,
of knowledge of what has gone before,
and the sense of duty to others,
the sense of truth, of justice,
the sense of humor,
and the sense of belonging.

Praise for the threads of sense,
the bridges from these islands
of individual humanity
to the world that surrounds us,
and the small universes
of each other.


Gratitude List:
1. The faint rings on the end of Sachs’ charcoal grey tail.
2. The bottoms of his paws, how trim white fur surrounds the black pads of his toes.
3. Advil, when the sinus pressure gets too intense.
4. Four classes are mostly graded for quarter three.
5. How change makes us reflective.

May we walk in Beauty!

Still the Child in the Forest

Today’s prompt is to use a city or town name as the title of a poem.

Wrightsville
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

A ferry-step across the Susquehanna
from the town where Suzy Wright bought acres
and lived among her men: brothers and father,
though she never let herself be tied to any man.

Did she cross, too, here at the shallows,
where the Susquehannocks made a weir,
where they strung nets between rocks for fish,
waded out to gather mussels from their beds?

And this side became the wild frontier,
the land beyond the river-boundary.
These hills were wild, untamed, and game-full,
the lands beyond European civilization.

Like Suzy who lived on the other side,
the town on this side grew up unfettered,
wilder, more free than its married cousins
which tamely reside in pampered grace.


“Choosing to be honest is the first step in the process of love. There is no practitioner of love who deceives. Once the choice has been made to be honest, then the next step on love’s path is communication.”
― bell hooks, All About Love: New Visions
*
“Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps because I am afraid, and he gives me courage.”  ―Gandalf, J.R.R. Tolkien
*
Let the rain come and wash away
the ancient grudges, the bitter hatreds
held and nurtured over generations.
Let the rain wash away the memory
of the hurt, the neglect.
Then let the sun come out and
fill the sky with rainbows.
Let the warmth of the sun heal us
wherever we are broken.
Let it burn away the fog so that
we can see each other clearly.
So that we can see beyond labels,
beyond accents, gender or skin color.
Let the warmth and brightness
of the sun melt our selfishness.
So that we can share the joys and
feel the sorrows of our neighbors.
And let the light of the sun
be so strong that we will see all
people as our neighbors.
Let the earth, nourished by rain,
bring forth flowers
to surround us with beauty.
And let the mountains teach our hearts
to reach upward to heaven.

Amen.
―Rabbi Harold Kushner
*
I place in the hands of Time these stones:
the story of this day,
the people I have been near to,
the songs the Fates have whispered in my ears,
the colors that haunt me.

See how they turn to mist,
how they glow for a moment–
red, then golden, then blue–
then dissipate like ash blown by a wind
before I can register
that they have lost their substance.

Where does memory go
when it flows out with the tide,
when it slips down the drain,
when it is blown out with the morning fog?

I am still the child in the forest,
walking blind through the swirling mists,
under the shadows of the great trees.
With each forward step on the trail,
a little bird flutters from the pathway behind,
a bread crumb in its beak.
―Beth Weaver-Kreider
*
“When I stopped trying to change you, you changed me.” ―Rachel Macy Stafford


Gratitude Lists:
1. Guidance Counselors. Some of my students carry so much pain. I am grateful knowing that when I send a distraught student to the Guidance Office, she’ll receive the tender listening and help that she needs. Thank you to all my friends who are Guidance Counselors: You are saving the world.
2. Lasagna. Jon made a delicious spinach lasagna for supper tonight. We devoured it.
3. A heated house
4. Living with cats. I’m conflicted about what we humans have done to cats and dogs in domesticating them and breeding them, treating them like things we own. But we have co-evolved, and we are now responsible to care for them. I love the daily inter-species interaction.
5. That view of the hills of York County as we crested Mt. Pisgah on the way home: golden field of corn, then a green field, then a fringe of brown trunks of leafless trees, blue mountains behind, and a tangerine sky in the back with a fringe of migrating geese.

May we walk in Beauty!

Love is the Bridge


I am obsessed lately with what happens to the little tree when I photograph it with a kaleidoscope camera app and then run it through my usual filters. I want to spend more time thinking about threes and sixes. I suppose this is two and six: the reflection of the original view, and then that combination shifting into a triple reflection. It’s so satisfying.

Today’s prompt is to write a thing poem. Write a poem about an object.

All the poems are about bridges,
all the words, all the books, the letters.
Sometimes the bridge is so fragile,
and we walk across a word on air:
“Gentle,” we breathe,
and step across that chasm
between the solid dj
onto the swaying eh,
before we find our feet
on the rolling nn in the center,
and onward we skip to t, to l,
each word a bridge, a web
we cast between us
across the airy distance.


“Don’t be ashamed to weep; ’tis right to grieve. Tears are only water, and flowers, trees, and fruit cannot grow without water. But there must be sunlight also. A wounded heart will heal in time, and when it does, the memory and love of our lost ones is sealed inside to comfort us.”
―Brian Jacques
*
“Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.” ―Winston Churchill (Did he really say that? I like the point, so I am still putting it here.)
*
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the Earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” ―Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder
*
“Love is the bridge between you and everything.” ―Rumi
*
What do you do
when the gods of the dreamings
offer you maps for the journey?

How will you answer
when the night-folk cry out:
“Give us the hope of our meanings!”
―Beth Weaver-Kreider
*
“Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.”
―Bob Dylan


Gratitude List:
1. Sachs’ subtly striped tail. He’s a basic elegant charcoal and white cat, with no other markings except for the hint of striping at the end of his tail. A little bit of wildness underneath his staid and stoical veneer.
2. Turning back the tides of helplessness and hopelessness
3. Studying geography. I love geography. I am obsessed with learning the countries of the world. And my youngest has to know his continents and oceans for a quiz this week, so we’re having lots of fun doing geography games right now.
4. A warm shower on a chilly evening.
5. Soup. Before he went to work this morning, Jon Weaver-Kreider put some veggies and sausage in a crock pot, and when we got home we had a fine and tasty stew.

May we walk in Beauty!

Women Who Are Tied to the Moon (1 of 2)


I usually write a poem a day in November. Today, during a Study Hall when I couldn’t concentrate on grading, I pulled up a couple Rilke poems about autumn and tried my hand at translation. I had forgotten how extremely satisfying it is to translate poems from German. This gives me three poems to post today, so in the interest of blog brevity, I will create a second post tonight in order to post the poems.

“It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like, so long as somebody loves you.” –Roald Dahl, The Witches
*
“For women who are tied to the moon, love alone is not enough. We insist each day wrap its’ knuckles through our heart strings and pull. The lows, the joy, the poetry. We dance at the edge of a cliff. You have fallen off. So it goes. You will climb up again.” –Anais Nin
*
“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson
*
“On such a day each road is planned
To lead to some enchanted land;
Each turning meets expectancy.
The signs I read on every hand.
I know by autumn’s wizardry
On such a day the world can be
Only a great glad dream for me–
Only a great glad dream for me!”
–Eleanor Myers Jewett, “An Autumn Day”
*
“Change is not merely necessary to life, it is life.”
–Alvin Toffler
*
“In the morning I went out to pick dandelions and was drawn to the Echinacea patch where I found a honeybee clinging to one of the pink flowers. She seemed in distress, confused and weak. She kept falling off the flower and then catching herself in midair and flying dizzily back. She kept trying to get back to work, to collect her pollen and nectar to take home to the hive to make honey but she was getting weaker and weaker and then she fell into my hand. I knew she would never make it back to her hive. For the next half hour she rested in my palm, her life slowly ebbing away as a thunderstorm started to brew. I sat on the earth waiting for death with her. The lightening flashed over the mountains, a family of turkeys slowly walked the ridge, a wild dog keyed into what was happening circled past us. The trees appeared startlingly vivid and conscious as the wind blew up and the thunder cracked and then her death was finished. She was gone forever. But in her going she taught me to take every moment as my last flower, do what I could and make something sweet of it.” –Layne Redmond
*
Let me seek, then, the gift of silence, and poverty, and solitude, where everything I touch is turned into prayer: where the sky is my prayer, the birds are my prayer, the wind in the trees is my prayer, for God is all in all.
–Thomas Merton
*
“Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful.”
–Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, author of Frankenstein
*
“Learn to tell the story of the red leaves against water.
Read the alphabet of walnut branches newly bared for winter.
Become literate in the language of cricket and of wren,
of the footsteps of skunk and the changeability of weather.

Interpret the text of the wind in the hollow.
Scan the documents of cloud and constellation.
Enter the tale of rose hip and nettle and sassafras.
Study Wisdom and she will find you.”
–Beth Weaver-Kreider
*
Audre Lorde
“For women, then, poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action.

Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest external horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.

As they become known and accepted to ourselves, our feelings, and the honest exploration of them, become sanctuaries and fortresses and spawning grounds for the most radical and daring of ideas, the house of difference so necessary to change and the conceptualization of any meaningful action. Right now, I could name at least ten ideas I would have once found intolerable or incomprehensible and frightening, except as they came after dreams and poems. This is not idle fantasy, but the true meaning of “it feels right to me.” We can train ourselves to respect our feelings, and to discipline (transpose) them into a language that matches those feelings so they can be shared. And where that language does not yet exist, it is our poetry which helps to fashion it. Poetry is not only dream or vision, it is the skeleton architecture of our lives.”
*
November
by Clyde Watson

November comes
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.

With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.

The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring.
*
“Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving.” –Khalil Gibran


Gratitude List:
1. Poetry
2. Poets
3. How dreams seep into waking
4. How waking seeps into dreams
5. Form and freedom

May we walk in Beauty!