Seeing Things

You know how you look up and the cloud isn’t actually cloud, but a camel riding on the back of a whale? I love having a brain that does that with everything. There’s a lighter section of bark at the base of the beech tree at the top of the bluff that looks from here like an Egyptian hieroglyph of an owl. There’s a section of sky-space between the branches of the neighbors’ trees that looks like the head of a rhinoceros. Once my mind says, “That looks like. . .” there’s no going back. So every day when I sit down to work, I look out and see the rhino. When I eat lunch, I look up and see the owl. When I lie down to sleep, I look up at the uneven plaster on my ceiling and see the old woman about to tell me something wise.

And it’s sweet and fun to enjoy the whimsy of this, to take delight in the play of imagining. But the fact that my deep subconscious brain is choosing these images for me gives it a more significant edge. Owls and Rhinoceri might just be the companions I need for this particular journey: Insight and Belligerence. Wisdom and fierce solidity. And a Wise Old Woman about to give me advice from my ceiling: Trusting the inner crone who is even now Becoming.

What do you see today? What images are prodding your Deep Self to awaken?


Gratitude List:
1. That stripe of scarlet running down the back of the red-bellied woodpecker’s head. The morning is still grey and dim. There’s no direct sun to make that scarlet glow like that. Some inner fire of life force lights him up.
2. 5/4 always reminds me to pull out the Brubeck and listen. I feel like I get better at math when I listen to Brubeck. Plus, I just always feel like everything just might work out when Brubeck is cutting those rhythms to fit the bar.
3. The neighbors’ redbud tree out my window here–in full bloom.
4. Images caught in the net of the Deep Self
5. Oriole calling. Have I mentioned Oriole? What a joy to hear him back again!

May we walk in Beauty!


“My ego is desperately. . .trying to get the experiences that I think will fill me up and make me happy again. But no matter how much I try, it doesn’t work—because it’s not in the content of experience that I’ll find happiness, but in the quality of my attention and presence in any experience I have.” —Russ Hudson


“Joy doesn’t betray but sustains activism. And when you face a politics that aspires to make you fearful, alienated and isolated, joy is a fine act of insurrection.” ―Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark


SOMETIMES
by David Whyte

Sometimes everything
has to be
enscribed across
the heavens

so you can find
the one line
already written
inside you.


“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” —Margaret Atwood


“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.” —Ella Fitzgerald


“To hope is to gamble. It’s to bet on your futures, on your desires, on the possibility that an open heart and uncertainty is better than gloom and safety. To hope is dangerous, and yet it is the opposite of fear, for to live is to risk.” ―Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark


“Your opponents would love you to believe that it’s hopeless, that you have no power, that there’s no reason to act, that you can’t win. Hope is a gift you don’t have to surrender, a power you don’t have to throw away.” ―Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark

Poem a Day: 11

Today’s Prompts were New World, and Control.

The Crone Speaks
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

How will you enter the new world when you get there?
How will you even know you when you have arrived?
Will a score of gleaming knights on black stallions
ride across a causeway, trumpets blaring?
Will the forest path end abruptly at the top of a windy cliff
high above a roiling green sea?
Will there be a hidden doorway behind a veil of vines
in the back corner of a neglected garden?

I see how it is with you, Princess.
You knock on the door of my cottage—
so brave of you to come to the witch for advice.
You’ve got all the steps memorized, don’t you?. Admit it.

One: Learn to spin and to weave.
Bake bread. Learn to sing.
Speak the truth, but in stories.

Two: Take a walk in the woods,
though all have warned you against it.
Don’t forget to put into your pocket
the doll your mother gave you.

Three: Be kind to the Old One
sitting at the crossroad
who asks for your bread.

Four: Offer your service to the crone
who lives in the cottage
made of wishes and bones.

You’re a conscientious follower of the tales, you are.
No leaf unturned, no story left untold.
You have folded your heart
into an origami bird, ready for flying.

The only crumb you missed
on the way to the house of the witch
is this one: The whole point,
my dear—the sole purpose
of this journey
is that you learn one thing—
You must relinquish your control.
Offer the story to the birds who come
to collect the crumbs on the pathway.
The Old One who asks bread of you
seeks not the loaf you have carefully prepared
for the purpose, but the one
you’ve been saving for yourself.
Your mother’s doll will offer good advice,
but the tool you most need you will find on the way.

This story, your story, isn’t intended
to follow the formula you studied with such care.
The truth you found so dear in all the others
will not guide the plot of your own.
The Guide you seek might be a tree,
or a stone, or a wide shallow river.
Find your own signposts.
Seek your own star.
Learn your own recipes
for kindness and bread.
And please, close the door on your way out.

In the Desert


Mary at the tomb.

The way out of the desert, said the old woman,
can only be found by entering the desert.

No one can show you the way,
and if you have not first found the way
through the windy dunes of your own heart,
you will never find the secret pathways
through the shimmering sands.

The desert, she said, gives life,
but only if you know how to look for it.

If it is death which you seek,
the desert will help you to find it.
But life is hidden everywhere
if you have but the will to seek it.

TOMORROW’S PROMPT: Tomorrow the Fool encounters the Wheel of Fortune. Life changes. What was up will go down, and those who were crushed by the heavy weight of the wheel will rise to the top. Kings are brought low and paupers rise to greatness. Fortunes change. Hopes and promises are dashed and all is lost, and then suddenly despair is swept away and joy and delight return once more. Sounds a little like Easter morning?

Gratitude List:
1. Making connections
2. How we give our stories meaning. How our stories make us.
3. Creme Brulee for dessert
4. Intuition
5. Rituals of the Wheel of the Year. Living the stories again and again.

May we walk in Beauty!

Strength


The word itself, you know?
That single vowel that holds
the whole thing together.

It could go straight or striped or stringy,
but that itself is the strong one,
holding the word for the full length.

Like you, it may seem to carry
the whole world on its shoulders.
Like you, it has the necessary strength.

TOMORROW’S PROMPT:
Tomorrow, the Fool goes to meet the wise one in the wilderness. Call him the hermit. Call her the witch in her cottage–Baba Yaga, perhaps? Or one of the Abbas or Ammas of the desert. Tomorrow, the Fool visits the wise elder who has left society behind in order to concentrate on that which is sacred and holy, to walk an inner journey. The hermits and crones, the Abbas and the Ammas, carry their lights with them into the shadows. They know that the pathways lead inside the seeker.

Gratitude List:
1. A day off. Time out of time.
2. Fire. One boy spent hours building and maintaining a fire this morning.
3. Sand. Another boy spent hours playing in the sand today.
4. Spring. Sometimes I don’t realize how hard winter has been until spring comes. I realize that I have been living as though I would always be in the shadows and chill of this past winter. I don’t think I realized how deeply November dragged me down. But spring is here, finally, and I can live outdoors again.
5. Walking. A boy and I walked two miles this afternoon–down Schmuck Rd. to Canadochly where a small flock of sheep and baby lambs was grazing, and back up to the top of the ridge where Schmuck meets Mt. Pisgah and a horse and three cattle-folk watched us pass, then back down to home again.

May we walk in Beauty!