Tell the Truth


“What a life is ours!
Doesn’t anybody in the world
anymore want to get up in the
middle of the night and sing?” —Mary Oliver
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“Tell the truth about your wound, and then you will get a truthful picture of the remedy to apply to it. Don’t pack what is easiest and most available into the emptiness. Hold out for the right medicine. You will recognize it because it makes your life stronger rather than weaker.” — Clarissa Pinkola Estes
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“Tell all the truth but tell it slant —” —Emily Dickinson
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As high over the mountains the eagle spreads its wings,
may your perspective be larger than the view from the foothills. When the way is flat and dull in times of gray endurance,
may your imagination continue to evoke horizons.
—John O‘Donohue
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ENOUGH
by David Whyte

Enough.
These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.
This opening to life
we have refused
again and again
until now.
Until now.
*
“I always thought why didn’t somebody do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody.” —anonymous
*
“A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.” —James Heller
*
“There comes . . . a longing never to travel again except on foot.”
—Wendell Berry


Gratitude List:
1. All the ponderables of yesterday: The Woman in Blue, Our Lady of Fatima, the tragedy of Emily Dickinson, the Elder Mother, Blue Hydrangea. . . I cant’s say quite how they are all woven together, but they fit into the day’s tapestry.
2. Creativity
3. The trolls might be out there in force, but the wise and compassionate voices are rising.
4. Crickets
5. Book sale! I am going to the Book Sale at Overlook after school today.

May we walk in Beauty!

Crickets and Silence

glass

This evening, a group of people from my church is going to the airport to welcome a family from Ethiopia and take them to their new home.  May this become a safe and welcoming place for them, a friendly place where the children may grow up in the knowledge that they are loved and treasured.

Gratitude List:
1. Crickets
2. Those moments when Silence is my companion
3. Finding energy
4. Cool mornings (I am trying so hard not to be whiny and fussy about the hot afternoons in my classroom. It helps if I focus on the coolness of the mornings and live into that.)
5. Good literature

May we walk in Beauty!

Happy Number 49

49

I am turning 49 today.

Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon in 49 BC, though not, I think, when he was 49.

The number 49 is a square, of course: 7*7. Perfection squared.

And its digits, 4 and 9, are themselves squares of 2 and 3. Kind of cool, that.

I have also learned that, mathematically, 49 is a Happy Number. That’s delightful, and the mathemagic that makes it so is rather sweet: 4 squared (16) + 9 squared (81) = 97. Square and add those digits (9 and 7) for the number 130. Keep doing that–squaring and adding the digits–and if it’s a Happy Number Sequence, you find your way to 1. Wholeness and Unity. Mystery within the mathematical process. So, 1 squared + 3 squared + 0 squared = 10, and 1 squared + 0 squared = 1. Voila! It’s a Happy Number.

The US/Canada border is on the 49th parallel. Good boundary between friendly neighbors.

Many Asian traditions (Buddhism, Taoism, and others) believe that 49 is a sacred number, the number of days the soul hangs around before it moves on after death.

The website Affinity Numerology notes that the number 49 “resonates with focus, conscientiousness, and being realistic, generally with concerns about and directed toward solutions for humanity. The number tends to be both pragmatic and idealistic.”

The site also says that “When 49 decides to do something, it determines the method and steps required to accomplish it, then applies its focus to that method and those steps until the goal is reached.” Now, no matter whether one believes that there is something to this numerology stuff, of that it’s all a bunch of hooey, that’s a nice goal to seek for living in this year labeled 49.

Of course, I am actually beginning my 50th year today, but I will stick with our cultural method of counting and call myself part of the cohort number 49. This year I will wear the Happy Number badge, and focus on systematically accomplishing my goals–conscientiously, pragmatically, and with a healthy whiff of idealism.  May it be so.

Gratitude List:
1. This practice. It has deepened and anchored and changed me. My husband asked me yesterday whether I think it’s been good for me because I write the lists religiously, or whether it would work to just try to inwardly experience gratitude more. I think the latter would definitely be true for a thoughtful and grounded individual. For someone with my tendency to live in the moment, the writing of the list holds me down and keeps me on the ground long enough to look inside and look around. And reviewing my lists regularly adds to the sense of it all being an unfolding journey.
2. Goldfinches. Yesterday, I did the 2-mile Schmuck walk–up to the top of the hill, back down to the very bottom, and back up again to the house, a two-mile loop. As I was approaching the small group of trees at the top of Skunk Hollow Lane, watching four bright male goldfinches flittering through the roadside weeds ahead of me, a big blue pick-up went racing down the street past me, past the little grove of trees. Out of the weeds at the base of the tree, a flock of a dozen or more shining golden birds (along with their quieter consorts) flushed out of the weeds and spiralled up into the trees, like yellow leaves falling upwards, chittering as they flew. It was a holy moment, pick-up and all. I will now call those trees Goldfinch Grove.
3. Also on my walk, I watched our neighbor farmer Donny baling hay. It’s so satisfying to watch the baler pass–cha-chung cha-chung cha-chung, to feel the anticipation build, and then the click and flick of a perfect green bale flung into the wagon behind. And Donny always smiles and waves. Whenever he drives a tractor past our house, he always looks in to see if there are children to wave to, bless him.
4. Crickets and peepers and cicadas. The cicada roar can be deafening at moments, but it adds layers to the sound-texture of the place. Even the birds are silent and listening this morning.
5. I think that perhaps I have Turned a Corner. Two years ago, I was really excited at this moment, getting ready to step back into the classroom. That was a marvelous excitement, but an anxious one, too, filled with worry about whether I was up to the job. Last year was much better, anxiety-wise, but somehow I just didn’t feel very prepared, like I was still off-balance, a little unsure of what I was doing, of whether I was equal to the task. My friend Verlin has been telling me for the past two years that it’s in the third year that you catch your stride, gain your full confidence, feel on top of things. If the preparations are any indication, I think he is right. I don’t know if I have put a whole lot more time into preparations this season, but I think the time I have put in has been much more productive and focused. I need to remember to be humble enough not to assume that things will be simple and easy going forward, but I feel ready to face the tasks ahead.

May we walk in Beauty!

Sleeping Out of Doors

Little Sister

Gratitude List:
1. (What has held you?) Falling asleep to the sound of crickets and peepers, watching the fireflies twinkling in the feathery leaves of the walnut tree.  I have been reading of their decline, but have not noticed it here in the Hollow.  If anything, this year they are more prolific.
2. (What satisfies?) Watching how the children made an immediate home in the big tent, how they long to live outside.
3. (What delights?) My seven-year-old taskmaster.  Yesterday, it was all I could do to catch a moment to myself.  If I wandered away from the garage, he would find me and give me a ticket: No Parking, and tell me to get back to cleaning the garage for Monday’s shares.  He claimed he wanted to help, and he certainly did help quite a bit, but he also sat on a chair and “suggested” the next thing that I should do.
4. (Where did you meet the Great Mystery?) In flavorful food, in the morning sun on walnut leaves, in the whispery sound of a small person playing behind me.
5. (What draws you forward?) Three days of solitude approach.  I leave tomorrow morning for the Jesuit Center.  What an excited little monk-person I am.  How will I find stillness when I am squirming so much with the very anticipation?  (I think I will manage.)

May we walk in Beauty!