Gratitude of Resistance: A couple different ones today. 1. Yesterday’s chapel, led by Latinx students. Students from the Dominican, from Puerto Rico, from Colombia, from Guatemala, and from Honduras stood up and spoke about culture and foods and people from their countries. On Wednesday, they had asked students from around campus to write their stories of experiencing discrimination based on their race. In chapel, students stood up and read these stories, as though they were coming from their own voices. It was really powerful. 2. Getting home. Yesterday afternoon was really trying for me. School was let out just before noon for the snow, and the drive home on the highway was a white knuckle experience. We couldn’t make it up Cool Creek Road. But there were beautiful moments in the story. We took refuge for an hour or so in the home of friends who live at the bottom of the ridge. Rochelle gave me coffee in a mug that says: “I love you. That’s all.” Our sons did computer whiz-kid stuff together in their den, and their sweet puppy Ophelia washed my face with kisses and snuggled on my lap. It was a moment of serene and utter safety in the midst of an anxious trip. It gave me courage to get out and try again. We made about 8-10 attempts on the hill until a plow finally came through at 4:30 and we made it up to the top. It was such a relief to get home and snuggle with cats and sit in the living room with the whole family.
Gratitude of Resistance Six: Red. Yesterday it was a symbol of a community united to support our wider grieving community. After two students at Warwick were killed in a terrible car accident on Friday, word went out to schools around the county to wear red (Warwick’s color) this week to support our sister school as they come to terms with this great loss. On both Monday and Tuesday, LM’s halls and classrooms were red. The willingness of people to share in the griefs of strangers and acquaintances has been moving and inspiring. People are quick to live out of their best selves when called upon to be present for those who hurt. May it be ever so.
Gratitude List: 1. Chicory everywhere! Bluer as sky, blue as Mary’s robe, blue as my beloved’s eye. Joy on the roadside.
2. Cucumber rounds with cream cheese. Perfect. Just perfect.
4. Novels. Stories. Narrative. They teach me who I am.
5. Biscuits and gravy.
May we walk in Beauty!
Words for Wednesday:
“While the impostor draws his identity from past achievements and the adulation of others, the true self claims identity in its belovedness. We encounter God in the ordinariness of life: not in the search for spiritual highs and extraordinary, mystical experiences but in our simple presence in life.” ―Brennan Manning
“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.” —Frida Kahlo
Rob Brezsny ft. Clarissa Pinkola Estes:
“Devote yourself to your heart’s desire with unflagging shrewdness. Make it your top priority. Let no lesser wishes distract you. But consider this, too. You may sabotage even your worthiest yearning if you’re maniacal in your pursuit of it.
Bear in mind the attitude described by Clarissa Pinkola Estés in her book “Women Who Run with the Wolves”: “All that you are seeking is also seeking you. If you sit still, it will find you. It has been waiting for you a long time.”
Speculate on what exactly that would look like in your own life. Describe how your heart’s desire has been waiting for you, seeking you.”
“Don’t worry, spiders,
I keep house
―Robert Hass, Field Guide
“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” ―Albert Einstein
“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” ―Terry Pratchett
“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself; I am large—I contain multitudes.”
“The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind.” ―Friedrich Nietzsche
“Women, if the soul of the nation is to be saved, I believe that you must become its soul.” —Coretta Scott King
“If you bring forth what is within you, what is within you will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what is within you will destroy you.” —Gospel of Thomas
“If a child is to keep alive [her] inborn sense of wonder, [she] needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with [her] the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.”
“The ultimate measure of a person is not where [he/she] stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where [she/he] stands at times of challenge and controversy.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.
“The weight of the world is love.
Under the burden of solitude,
under the burden of dissatisfaction
the weight, the weight we carry is love.”
“What have you done for color?”
“Beauty is whatever gives joy.”
—Edna St. Vincent Millay
“In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth.” —Rachel Carson
with tender ferocity
and ingenious empathy
and wild compassion”
Have you caught the rustle of wings
as the train rushes through,
hardly slowly to stop at the station?
Have you felt the breath in your ear
as the quiet sun leaps from the ridge
and touches your face like a lover?
Have you noticed the shadow that darts
just at the edge of your vision
as the river flows with purpose
under your ancient bridge?
And suddenly, before you–
before you can take another breath,
the madness is upon you,
the craving has taken you,
the pen is in your hand,
the words glow and bleed
beneath your fingers.
“Dreams make the inner life substantial, giving it dimensionality, colour and form. Ritual is the further enfleshment of the unseen; a way of feeding that which is nourishing you so that your living conversation with the holy in nature grows in strength and vocabulary.” —Dreamwork with Toko-pa
Gratitude List: 1. Snow sure is pretty
2. By hook or by crook, I am ready for the new semester to start today. Now if only I can find a few hours to finish up last semester’s grading. . .
3. I’m getting a whiteboard in my room, which will be nice and easy. I will, however, miss the beauty of chalk work. I’m a secret chalk artist, and I do love to leave little drawings on my board. But the surface was really rapidly wearing away. The other sad thing is that one of my own high school memories of this room is of walking into the classroom and seeing the same green chalkboard filled with Mrs. Banks’s neat and beautiful cursive notes. There were some of us who sought to emulate her handwriting. The more notes, the better–we got more practice copying the beauty.
4. The way you can’t keep a group of English Teachers on a focused conversation because everything comes back to grammar and pedagogy.
5. Chocolate. You know how it helps Harry Potter recover from the dementor attacks? Yeah.
We are saying goodbye to Fred today. His confusion about his sudden blindness and the constant pain despite medication have made his life one of endurance rather than contentment. Fred is a mensch of a cat. He’s been quick to express his needs and wants, quick to respond to those of others. He took his work seriously, whether it was upping the harvest of mice and voles when we brought babies home from the hospital, or patrolling the perimeter of the farm for irregularities, or welcoming visitors to the farm, or monitoring the feasts at break time. He gave the best kitty hugs and head boops. We will miss him terribly, at the same time that we are feeling relieved that he will no longer suffer.
“First things first, but not necessarily in that order.” —Doctor Who
“There are few things in life more heartwarming than to be welcomed by a cat.” —Tay Hohoff
“I love cats because I love my home and after a while they become its visible soul.”
“A little drowsing cat is an image of perfect beatitude.”
“Cats are connoisseurs of comfort.”
“There are two means of refuge from the misery of life — music and cats.” —Albert Schweitzer
“Be wary of any influence in your environment which dismisses or judges your enthusiasm. Without it, we would become anaesthetised to life itself. Anyone who demands this smallness of you is in danger themselves and may have contracted this insidious, deadening monotone. Enthusiasm is the vitality of spirit expressing itself through us and its grace in our voice should be welcomed and cherished. The word originates in the early 17th century, from the Greek enthousiasmos meaning ‘possessed by god.’ Now, more than ever, the world needs your enlargement, your weirdness, your fiery crescendos of rebellion from boring.”
—Dreamwork with Toko-pa
Gratitude List: 1. Spontaneous moments of joy: Little voice in the next aisle over in the grocery store: “HAAAAA-we-yu-ya! “HAAAAA-we-yu-ya!” A little bit of Handel, and pitch perfect.
2. Purring, the sound of contentment
3. The way cats teach us Presence
4. Our family in Campbelltown have been visited by a white hummingbird–magic is all around us, if we would care to look.
5. Clearing spaces. We gave away the piano yesterday, and we’re setting up a bedroom for Ellis in the “little room” upstairs. Now other things can shift, and other kids of clearing will follow.
(The babies are coming up in the greenhouse. We will be selling tomatoes this summer.) Gratitude List: 1. How prayer changes the one who is praying.
2. That sliver of a new moon that rode low in the sky last night as I was driving home.
3. Warm breezes.
4. Chickadee’s spring song. “S-weeeeet?”
5. Knowing when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em.
Tonight, a new set of Shaman Words. A Magic Spell. A Prayer. An Incantation for Healing.
I will say that I breathe and mean that I am praying.
I will say the drums are throbbing in the night
and mean that your heart beats
to the rhythm of the earth’s heart,
strong and measured,
strong and measured,
strong and measured.
I will say sparks rise from fire
and mean my thoughts fly to you.
I will say the River flows to sea
and mean your blood flows
through its royal chambers
in the manner it is meant to.
I will say the hunting lionesses
gather on the plains
and mean that the women
are fierce in their prayers for you,
that the mothers
are wild in their magics
to see you whole again. Gratitude List: 1. The good words of Conrad Moore. Sometimes the best words are the ones that unsettle, that cause a little discomfort, that admit to anger, that shake us from our complacency, to wake us up, and break our status quo. Jesus called the spirit the Comforter. Sometimes the people need a Discomforting Spirit to bring renewal.
2. Watching live theater with the boys. I am the House Manager for the plays–in charge of the ushering. I took the boys with me to different shows of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat this weekend and they helped usher and then watched the show. Nothing cuter than watching a five-year-old absorbed in a musical, eyes wide, clapping at the end of each song.
3. Thaw. Warmth.
4. It’s International Women’s Day–I am grateful for Jane Goodall and Wangari Maathai and Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth and Mary Oliver and Joy Harjo and Malala Yousufzai and Leymah Gbowee and the suffragettes and the herbalists and witches and midwives and mothers and sisters and daughters and word-weavers and artists and farmers and teachers who have gone before.
5. The heart.
Aunt Lizzie (Elizabeth Weaver) and
Grandma (Marian Weaver) quilting. Is that Aunt Gladys or Aunt Sharon in the front?
Today is the third day of All Hallows, the day of All Souls, remembering particularly the ancestors, and those we love who have died. My experience of grief has so often been grieving with people I love who have lost someone. So today I am thinking of Eli and of Peter, of Julie and Raymond, of Joyce and Elaine and Gerald, of Cory, of Lee, of Harold. And I am thinking of my grandparents, of Aunt Lois and Uncle Victor and Uncle Irvin, of Uncle John and Aunt Anna Lou, of Uncle Paul.
Today, for All Souls, A Gratitude List for Ancestors and Loved Ones: 1. for Ellis Kreider, Jon’s father, gentle and twinkly, earnest and thoughtful
2. for Grandma, Marian Weaver–I still miss her
3. for Aunt Lizzie, who could tell you stories all day without a pause
4. for my blood ancestors and those of my children, for that marvelous branching and intertwining, like feathering tree roots going back and back
5. for the ancestors of this place, the people who walked these woods and hills, hunting and foraging, traveling, centuries ago
May your memories hold you.
(Oh, and Happy Birthday, Mockingbird! I missed it. Yesterday was the birthday of this blog. I began it last year as a place to put the poems that I write in response to Robert Brewer’s Poem-a-Day Challenge. I got caught up in the whole experience of the days of All Hallows this year, and missed yesterday’s poem. Tomorrow I will begin that process again. I may have to double up my poems for a couple days to catch up.)