Into the Dreamtime, Christmas Morning

Inner and Outer Worlds, Sunrise

Blessings to you this morning, whether you are spending it in quiet contemplation or amidst the chaos of children and relatives, whether you are filled with a sense of longing or a sense of belonging, whether you are satisfied or whether you are wishing to change your lot. May your heart find the light. May your soul be restful in the shadows. May you know yourself to be a part of the web of things.


Gratitude List:
1. The inner and outer worlds
2. Darkness and light
3. Peppermint meltaways
4. Mary’s Canticle
5. You. Always You.

May we walk in Beauty!


“From the halls of power to the fortress tower,
not a stone will be left on stone.
Let the king beware for your justice tears
every tyrant from his throne.
The hungry poor shall weep no more,
for the food they can never earn;
These are tables spread, ev’ry mouth be fed,
for the world is about to turn.

My heart shall sing of the day you bring.
Let the fires of your justice burn.
Wipe away all tears,
For the dawn draws near,
And the world is about to turn.”
—Rory Cooney, from “Canticle of the Turning”


Making the House Ready for the Lord
by Mary Oliver

Dear Lord, I have swept and I have washed but
still nothing is as shining as it should be
for you. Under the sink, for example, is an
uproar of mice–it is the season of their
many children. What shall I do? And under the eaves
and through the walls the squirrels
have gnawed their ragged entrances–but it is the season
when they need shelter, so what shall I do? And
the raccoon limps into the kitchen and opens the cupboard
while the dog snores, the cat hugs the pillow;
what shall I do? Beautiful is the new snow falling
in the yard and the fox who is staring boldly
up the path, to the door. And still I believe you will
come, Lord: you will, when I speak to the fox,
the sparrow, the lost dog, the shivering sea-goose, know
that really I am speaking to you whenever I say,
as I do all morning and afternoon: Come in, Come in.


“I am a hole in a flute
that the Christ’s breath moves through
listen to this music
I am the concert from the mouth of every creature
singing with the myriad chorus” —Hafiz


“May I be the tiniest nail in the house of the universe, tiny but useful.” ―Mary Oliver


“We’re all just walking each other home.” —Ram Dass


“I learned from Whitman that the poem is a temple—or a green field—a place to enter, and in which to feel.” ―Mary Oliver

Be Namers

Last night, we watched Spotlight. I recommend it, particularly at this moment in history. It is about the Boston Globe team that broke the Cardinal Law story. It’s sobering to be shown how we allow ourselves to be numbed and deadened to the open secrets that are everywhere around us, how we fail to investigate. It was also inspiring to see a good investigative team do its work, and bring truth into the light. It was disheartening in the extreme to realize at the end that, like the perpetrators he moved from diocese to diocese, Cardinal Law was simply moved to another post of high power in the church, where he continued to do damage in the form of fighting against women’s agency in the church.

How can we further commit ourselves in these days to being Namers, Truth-speakers, Light-shedders, so that people will stop listening to the voices of the powerful over the voices of their victims? We may need to see some institutions implode. We may need to help them to do so.

Gratitude List:
1. Jon put out suet cakes, and the woodpeckers have been coming in. This one seems to be a little mutated, with larger white patches on the back of its head. Perhaps a juvenile not quite at adult plumage. It does look a little like it doesn’t know how to comb its feathers.
2. Welcoming the season of Yule.
3. Lights and music and cookies and the smell of pine
4. Vacuumed floors
5. This one boy is always our holiday DJ, setting up his speakers behind or in the tree. Now he is dancing through the house as he plays Pentatonix.

May we walk and dance in Beauty!

Three Crows

crows1
This is a public domain stock photo that I filtered. I wanted an image of three crows in a tree.

Today we packed up Christmas. I like to keep the decorations up through the twelve days, but then we need to get our space back. The tree makes me feel claustrophobic after a while, and the rug needed a good vacuuming to get the needles out. Suddenly the living room has space again. We’ve let Lego-land completely take over the library floor, so it’s especially nice to have a mostly empty floor in one room at least.

As I was standing in the breezeway getting up the courage to go out in the cold and take down the wreath and bows, a pair of house finches flew in and sat on the wreath, checking it out for winter quarters, perhaps. I decided to hang the wreath (minus the bow) from one of the trees out back so they can use it if they want.

The person who loses out the most from the Christmas clean-up is Fredthecat. The tree had become his haven. He loved sleeping beneath it. Jon is thinking of buying a ficus to give Fred a tree to sleep beside. Now that’s a good man. But I already knew that.

Gratitude List:
1. Fox prints by the pond. Yesterday after school, Joss and I went walking in the snow by the pond, and we saw fox prints: eight prints and then a three foot space, eight more prints and a three foot space, then eight more prints again. That fox was running. At one point, there was a little spot where someone had scrabbled in the soil, and a little mouse hole was exposed. We figured that the fox got a little snack. But then we noticed that a set of rabbit prints converged with the fox trail, and so we wondered if the fox got a dinner. There were more rabbit trails around, so perhaps the rabbits and fox were out at different times. My Christmas wish was to see a fox. Knowing one was racing through yesterday after the snow makes me feel as though my wish was partly granted.
2. I saw a flock of turkeys today, crouching along a bramble patch on a snowy field.
3. Three crows in a winter tree against a winter sky. There’s something primal and elemental about three crows in a winter tree. I saw two such groups in my driving today.
4. Supportive colleagues.  Wise collaboration with curriculum design.
5. Packing up Christmas. Moving on into January.

May we walk in Beauty!

Give Yourself to Love

roots

Another year has dawned, Bright Ones! And of course time is a human construct. Where we begin to count its passage on this Wheel of the Year is utterly arbitrary. I like how it has come to be that we create a passage, a doorway in time, here in this place of winter, just after we have swung around the sun again and begun to whirl in toward Equinox. I love the Days Out of Time marked by the twelve or fifteen days of Solstice or Christmas to Epiphany. I revel in the dreamtime of these days.

I have been mining my dreams again for the word or phrase that I will take into this year. Several years ago, I woke up one morning with the word Palimpsest in my head. It became my word for the year, the idea that we live in layers, simultaneously experiencing the past and the present. The next year was Bridge. The next, Mystery and Secrets and Impeccability. And last year’s phrase was Bold Wise Counsel. Ooh. That was important. What will be my word for this year, I wonder? I have begun to wait until the Dreamtime of Twelvenight is officially over on Epiphany, so I will give myself these next five nights to settle. I think because we celebrated Epiphany Sunday at church this morning, I am particularly impatient this year.

Join me? Keep particular watch on your dreams (daydreams, too) and conversations in the coming days. What images keep coming back? What songs present themselves? What names keep surfacing in conversation? Be like the Magi, who followed their intuition and a star through the dark nights to seek their truth. What will be your words and images for 2017?

Here is a poem I wrote in 2015 about the impatience and the anticipation of seeking out the word or idea that I will use to shape and mold my story for the coming year:

Waiting for the Dreams
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

While I wait for the dreams to be complete
while I sit at the feet of winter
listening

waiting for the little bell to ring
for the sound of rushing wings
for the things born in darkness
to take form
to rise up–

while a vulture flies across my window
red root and plantain nourish and heal me
a lynx crouches by a granite outcrop in the meadow
the storyteller raises her voice in a chant of longing
and a silent girl turns the corner ahead of me

I sit down to work
and sleep overtakes me:
One more vision for the road
One more message for the journey

Gratitude List:
1. Give Yourself to Love. What a song. I loved Mindy and Jared’s version this morning.
2. The Magi–colorful, messy outsiders who followed their intuition and a star: What a story about stepping into the unknown dark to seek their truth with only the stars and their intuition to guide. Mindy’s tales of magi this morning: Giving, Resisting, and Being Honest.
3. Dinner with the family, reflecting on the ways in which our parents have inspired us, considering–in their presence–some of the legacy they have given us: noticing beauty, advocacy, mentoring others, using their own voices to empower others. The story of Grandpa wanting to send my mother to college, how Uncle Moses and Aunt Lydia told him to send her to EMC, which is where she met my father. The story of Joe Shenk introducing them, and of their first “date.” How series of decisions come together to make a story happen.
4. Those vultures, sunsheen on their black feathers, kettling above Columbia this morning.
5. An afternoon with my college friends. Dear, dear thoughtful people. There’s never enough time together, and yet even a few hours is satisfying. What a profound blessing it is to have friends who are family.

May we walk in Beauty!

Keep Waiting, Keep Listening


I took this last summer with a mirror filter with my son’s camera.  Angels everywhere.

Last night’s dreams don’t feel like any place to gather large and thoughtful ideas for the year, but here goes:

  • I got a ticket for parking my dune buggy in a handicapped space.
  • I spent a lot of time waiting for something to happen, in a bar, with someone named Conrad, a quiet and comfortable presence.
  • What looked like a dauntingly enormous tankard of beer was suddenly a quiet cup of steaming coffee in my hand.

Perhaps it was all a reminder to keep waiting, keep listening (like Conrad), accept responsibility for myself even when I don’t realize that I have broken the rules, remain temperate and awake.

Gratitude List:
1. The long Sabbath of Christmas Break, impending.
2. Answering well, then disengaging.
3. The way One Small Boy loves to make Christmas.
4. A life free of boredom.
5. All the creative ways in which people birth their dreams.

As salaam aleikum.  Shalom.  Peace to you.

Growth

A caution, from William Stafford:

“If you don’t know the kind of person I am
and I don’t know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in
the world and following the wrong god
home, we may miss our star.”

found poem
A found poem I put together a year ago.

Gratitude List:
1. Cleaning and shifting in order to make room for Christmas.  Changing up the routine.  Even Mzee Fred, the old man cat, changed his routine: we couldn’t bear to kick him out last night–he looked so peaceful sleeping under the tree–so we left him there, and he didn’t come yowling up the stairs at 3:30 in typical fashion.  I woke him up this morning.
2. Taking a day’s break from the news.  I may do it again today.  Only a few moments at day’s beginning and day’s end. . .  Bringing the Contemplative and the Activist into balance.
3. Pattern and texture and line.  I have started exploring the meditative possibilities of Zentangles and doodles again, and am loving the way it helps me notice things, to pay attention.  It can get obsessive, as it did the other day when a girl with amazing braids walked into my class–I wanted to sit down and draw them.  She had braided several little strands of fishtail braid and then she braided those together.  Layers of line and texture.
4. Mercy.  Like dawn, like light streaming in, illuminating the dark corners.
5. How we grow together in wisdom.  One of us says something, and it sparks a new idea for the other.  Together we refine and develop and grow and share.  Isn’t it lovely how that works?  Thank you for being open to working new wisdom together.

May was walk in Beauty, in Mercy, in Wisdom.

Rocks and Light

Gratitude List:
1.  Necessary Conversations: Heavy, beautiful, powerful, sad, life-giving
2.  Music with the Family: Val’s fiddle, “Helpless and Hungry” behind “What Child is This?”, Isaiah’s clear voice singing “No Wind at the Window,” and “The Lord Bless You and Keep You”
3.  Maklubbi.  However it is spelled, it was a delicious Christmas dinner.  And wonderful wine.   And the figgy pudding.  Always the figgy pudding.
4.  Dutch Blitz.  I am getting so slow.  I need to practice, if I am to keep up with these young people.
5.  You.  You.  You.

May we walk in Beauty.  And Light.  So much Light.

Oh, and rocks.  #6 is Rocks.  Susquehanna’s rocks.  Hezza’s rocks.  Goldfinch’s rocks.  The Apache Tear that I wear at my heart.