Gratitude List: 1. Yesterday’s dawn: How the sky was a living breathing indigo until the horizon cracked open in magenta, a tangerine orange glow slowly seeping through. 2. Persephone’s footsteps, the crocus and anemone popping up everywhere. We have a large clump of white crocus in a patch of green chickweed by the porch. We usually only have one or two white ones. 3. Crows 4. Puzzles 5. The steady, unflappable people. If you’re feeling anxious about politics or viruses or the economy or whatever, find one of the Unflappables and bask in their settledness.
Gratitude List: 1. The shiny children 2. I finally saw a tiny Priestess gathering pollen for her Lady. And now the crocus and windflowers and daffodils are opening. The tiny narcissus on the neighbors’ bank are open. Lots of pollen for the Little Sisters. 3. A restful weekend 4. Henry and his grandfather flying a kite. It went SO high! 5. The constant murmuring of the bluebirds in the little woods at my parents’ house. I have no doubt that they were telling each other stories about my dad.
May we walk in Beauty!
“Awake my dear, be kind to your sleeping heart; take it out into the vast fields of light and let it breathe.” —Háfiz
“For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.” —Thích Nhất Hạnh
“Only until all human beings begin to recognize themselves as human beings will prejudice be gone forever.” —Amelia Boynton, Civil Rights leader
“Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.” ―Rabindranath Tagore
“It is time for women to stop being politely angry.” ―Leymah Gbowee
“Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.” ―Franz Kafka
“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.” ―Rachel Carson
“Don’t die ’til you’re dead.” —Mississippi John Hurt
Before I begin the rant, I want to make a point about Vice Presidents, in light of everything I am about to say. The choice of Stacey Abrams or Kamala Harris as a running mate would go a long way toward attracting my vote, if there’s any choice left in this debacle of a primary campaign by the time it reaches Pennsylvania. Elizabeth Warren, too, of course, but the loss of Warren in the race was only the most recent blow in a line of killing the vast diversity of the overwhelming field of candidates. (I’ve never been sure what to do with Gabbard, and I’m not sure she knows herself.) (Also, I know that Sanders, as a Jewish man, still brings a little diversity–it’s not simply two old white men remaining. Just two old men.) (Ugh. And now I sound really ageist. In this context, the default seems to always be old white men, so that’s part of the story.)
I wrote this rant in pieces yesterday between naps as I was resting to fend off the worst edges of a bad cold. That bit was successful, at least, and I am feeling much better today.
Today, I am an enraged middle school girl. I am a third grader stamping her foot at the unfairness. I am a high school girl rolling her eyes at the absolutely stupidity of it, a college girl sighing yet again in defeat. All of these girls in me had their absolutely valid reasons for rage, and I cannot see over my own middle-aged rage to deal with the echoing memories of theirs. Mine. Ours. The layers.
I just have to say it. This has been a triggering experience for me. I find myself flashing back to younger versions of myself, living this fifty-two-year-old experience along with my college self, my high school self, my middle school and elementary school selves. I don’t remember the first time I noticed that a girl could be smart and articulate and shiny and dynamic, but she couldn’t beat out a goofy boy with a sense of entitlement. For anything. She couldn’t be heard above the clamor of an angry boy, no matter how lucid and smart her own ideas.
This is how it’s been my whole life: A brilliant girl tries for something—some honor, some leadership role, some place—and a goofy boy with a sense of kingly entitlement begins to talk about the inevitability of his own winning, and suddenly she has completely disappeared. No matter that she has a plan for EVERYTHING. No matter that she can talk her way around that boy ten times before he has put together a coherent sentence. No matter that she was born for this. And so he wins.
And today the goofy boy and the angry boy win again, beating out the brilliant girl who has been invisibilized and now erased.
I’m just tired.
I can live forward through this. I can “get on board.” Goddess knows, I am experienced at that part of the story. Still, I just get tired of hearing people talk about the inevitability of her disappearance from the story. And when the goofball wins, he gets the brilliant girl to assist him. Or the angry boy gets the nice girl to help him. Because they need her in order to truly succeed. But then everyone says, “Look! She’s got something anyway, doesn’t she? She should be happy now. Satisfied now. Everybody wins.” And she ends up doing his work for him or putting out the fires he starts. And he gets the credit. And the next time a girl is running against a boy, everyone says, “Now don’t be too hasty. She really can’t compete. If we want to keep the bullies at bay, we need a good strong boy to take the reins.”
I will vote for whichever of these boys takes the nomination, but I will do it with the rage of a middle school girl who has repeatedly seen her brilliant girlfriends completely marginalized and ignored for goofy and angry boys who have controlled the process for her whole life. I will be happy if she gets to be a good strong vice or cabinet something. Absolutely. But I will know, with the heart of my 12-year-old self, that she was always the best choice: Elizabeth, Kamala, Amy.
Gratitude List: 1. Feeling better. That first nap–three hours of serious sleep–felt like the most rejuvenating part of the day. Even the tossy-turny nature of last night’s sleep hasn’t thrown me back to the exhausted state of earlier in the week, and I feel like I can fight off this cold. 2. Friday. End of the week. Faculty Hymn Sing before school (every Friday–how lucky am I?), the International Women’s Day chapel planned by students. It should be a pleasant day. 3. Daffodils 4. The crocus are blooming, too, and in some strange and wonderful places, way out of the beds. Crocus always remind me to let myself leak outside the boundaries. 5. Nimbleness. How my child just leapt onto the bench to straighten the curtains. I think that one of my physical goals for the next part of this year will be to develop greater nimbleness. I think I have become more sedentary rather than less, and it is affecting my nimbleness.
Some years, the messy beds out front have been filled with crocus by now, and windflowers were beginning. Even though I’ve been panicky about a spring come too early, I think perhaps my sense has been skewed. These two yellow crocus are the first in our beds, though on a drive through a residential neighborhood, we saw some yards just filled with crocus. I am always excited when they overflow the beds, but I have never seen them spill so carpet-like across the lawn. The aconite, at least, have begun to spread. When they go to seed, I will sprinkle seeds along the front bank and hope they come up there next spring. I think crocus spread underground. I will have to look that up.
Meanwhile, let’s spread beyond our bounds just a little bit today, shall we? Breathe in, breathe deeply. Hold it for a brief second. Breathe out. Expand. Send your breath and your roots and your seeds outward, beyond the tidy pathways that block growth. In. Hold. Out–Grow. Expand. You belong in the wide open spaces. What joy you bring to others as they see how you carpet your vast new green places.
Gratitude List: 1. I keep getting chunks of the work done. 2. This is show week. I’m tired already, but also excited to be part of the energy, and I love being part of something like this with my child (he’s on sound; I am singing in the pit). 3. I am applying for a writer’s thing this summer. There is very little chance that I will be chosen, but the daydreaming about it is giving me lots of energy and helping me to hold onto this piece of my identity with more intention. 4. How stretching and breathing work together, literally and metaphorically. 5. It’s 6:15, and the sun is coming up!
Today’s prompt is to write a metaphor poem. I have been contemplating the Sufi concept of the Divine Beloved, so a metaphorical search for the nature of the Beloved seemed apt.
She is a whisper
in the breeze,
into the wilderness,
of your true name.
She is a crocus
in the wild wood,
escaping the borders
of the gardens,
catching the gaze
of your downcast eye.
She is three crows
into the tempest,
claiming the sky,
to take wing.
1. Perhaps it’s the increased exercise, but I am getting better sleep again after about a week of ache-filled nights.
2. How people look out for each other. The three grandsons looking out for their grandma as she’s moving out of her cottage and into personal care.
3. The singing in church this morning. It’s always good, but it’s just so lovely to lead singing and stand in front and hear everyone making music together. Sacred and holy.
4. Pink trees. Pink. Pink. Pink. Pink.
5. Yesterday’s weather. (There’s a hidden grumble in that one, I think, but there’s definitely a promise of warmth to come, even if it takes another week.)
Last year at a wedding shower, I received a sweet little aloe in a little round pot. Today, I re-planted it and its four babies. “Where there is love, there is life. –Mahatma Gandhi,” said that little tag attached to it. My how love has grown! May it always be so. May love find a way. Blessings to Hugo and Philip. May their love be a blessing to others.
Gratitude List: (I didn’t do one yesterday, so I am taking liberties today.) 1. A whole flock of turkeys in the field across from Flinchbaugh’s this morning.
2. Bees in the windflowers and crocus.
3. The blue eye of speedwells all across the lawn.
4. Bluebirds murmuring around the hollow.
5. Phoebe looking for a place to nest.
6. Hot tea with milk and honey.
7. Warm sunshine
8. The scent of spring rain: petrichor is the word I’ve heard for it.
9. Green ink
10. The magic of writing: fonts, typeface, the alphabet, calligraphy
11. The Book Fairy has struck again! The children have half a new bookshelf of new things to read.
I went through a period of time when, instead of gluing down the pieces of a collage, I would just set them together, and then photograph them. I carried with me a little box of collage elements for months, arranging and rearranging them. I don’t know if this was a good and interesting artistic process or a symbol of something in my brain that was unwilling to commit to permanence. Still, some of the photos that I took then continue to grab at strands in my unconscious, like this one.
Gratitude List: 1. The way crocus refuse to stay within their borders. While I do believe in good, strong, safe boundaries, I do think that those crocus escaping out over the lawn have a special message.
2. Good strong boundaries.
3. Breathing room.
4. The poem that is beginning to form.
5. How language shapes and creates ideas. How ideas hinge on the language used to express them.
The crocus spring up.
Persephone is rising.
My heart awakens.
Gratitude List: 1. That green Cholula hot sauce–poblano and jalapeno–that Jon bought yesterday. At the risk of sounding like a food snob: It was revelatory.
3. The little elves in the house who got up at 6:15 to start making birthday preparations for their dad.
4. Jon Weaver-Kreider–I don’t mention him here very often because I don’t want to intrude on his privacy by throwing him into my public spheres, but he could be on every gratitude list I make.
5. Loreena McKennitt–I haven’t listened to her in a long time, but a photograph this week sparked a memory of her music, and I am rediscovering her.