Resilience and Resistance

Friends I met on my walk yesterday:
1. Crow. Crow reminds me to get the wide perspective, to take on the adventure that any wind offers, to speak my mind. Crows don’t take heed for nothing.
2. Dogbane. Dogbane reminds me to be resourceful, to take note of the helpers who are always present, and to spin: cord, stories, prayers. . .
3. Deer. She ran across Schmuck Road, causing an SUV to brake. She reminds me to pause. She reminds me to love myself unconditionally, to live from the heart, to listen.
4. Monarch. He reminds me of resilience, how fragility and strength are not mutually exclusive. He reminds me to always look for beauty in everything.
5. Scarlet Pimpernel. A tiny five-petaled scarlet flower found in the grasses. When I was in college, I watched the old black and white movie The Scarlet Pimpernel, about a French dandy who uses disguises to rescue aristocrats condemned to the guillotine. What I took away from the movie is the importance of resisting the machines vengeance and death-dealing. Be surprising. Pop up wherever you’re needed.

What messages is the world sending your way?

Exchanges

Gratitude of Resistance Fifteen:
Exchanges. I forget if I have written about this in my Resistance Gratitudes,  but it bears repeating: School Foreign Exchange programs. They’re an incredible growing experience for students who go abroad, for the students who receive them, and for the teachers who experience students from around the world in their classrooms, and the chance to experience a collegial relationship with teachers from other countries. My school, Lancaster Mennonite, has students who come to us for three or four years from other countries, like Korea, Ethiopia, China, Japan, Ghana, and elsewhere, and just this past month, we hosted two short-term visiting groups–from Germany and France. These groups come with teachers, who teach their students a few lessons a day, and then visit our classes to observe how we do education in the US. I always look forward to having these visitors in in my classroom.  Both groups left us yesterday, and Monday is going to feel a little empty.

May we walk in Beauty!

Susquehanna Turkey

Today’s prompt is to title your poem the name of a food, and go from there. Mine just turned into a recipe.

Dutch Goose

Also known as hogmaw,
pig stomach,
Susquehanna turkey.

The recipe begins with an attitude:
Nothing goes to waste.
When you butcher,
set aside the feet for souse,
prepare the intestines for sausage,
remove the inner stomach lining.
(Okay, so that you may discard.)
All the extras go for the scrapple.

Wash the bag of the stomach
and soak in salted water for hours.
Make up a filling of potatoes,
cabbage, onion, and ground sausage.
Mix with egg, parsley, and milk.

I remember it was peppery,
though the recipes all
contain a dearth of pepper.

Stuff the stomach full
and sew it closed securely.

Roast for hours in the oven.
Baste with butter.
Serve with gravy
made from the drippings.


Gratitude List:
1. Sleeping through the night.
2. Grandma’s cookbook
3. Moving forward
4. Listening together
5. Three deer in the caw pasture at dusk.

May we walk in Beauty!

Truth is a Mirror


Time is Telling.

“The heart is the house of empathy whose door opens when we receive the pain of others. This is where bravery lives, where we’ll find our mettle to give and receive, to love and be loved, to stand in the center of uncertainty with strength, not fear, understanding this is all there is. The heart is the path to wisdom because it dares to be vulnerable in the presence of power.”
—Terry Tempest Williams
*
“To understand the world knowledge is not enough. You must see it, touch it, live in its presence.”
–Teilhard de Chardin
*
“When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” — Maya Angelou
*
“Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.” –Pablo Neruda
*
“Not to spoil the ending for you, but everything is going to be okay.” –Anonymous
*
“may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old …” –e.e. cummings
*
“Truth was a mirror in the hands of God
It fell, and broke into pieces.
Everybody took a piece of it,
and they looked at it and thought they had the truth.” –Rumi


Gratitude List:
1. Collegiality. I really enjoy the people I work with. Laughing together is powerful social glue.
2. Cool mornings and rain.
3. Supper at Mexitaly last night. Big burrito with mango habanero sauce!
4. These cats. I know it’s an obsession these days. Thorby is so funny, flopping on the floor for belly rubs and petting his own face. Sachs still likes quiet, secluded spaces, but I no longer have to snort dust bunnies under the bed in order to get to know him. He comes out for regular petting sessions and purring.
5. Three deer in the horse field near Highpoint last evening when the sun was slanting in.

May we walk in Beauty!

There Needs to Be a Poem

There needs to be a poem here
something to fill the space
to inspire
to bless.

There needs to be a word
that fills the small green hollows
between the first shy greeting
and the questions
that draw out the hearts
like small burrowing animals
from their safe nests.

There needs to be a song here.
At least a whispered line
with a hint of a melody
and a rhythm
like the chirping of the tree frogs
high in the oak grove.

Let us stand in the moment
shoulder to shoulder
like the deer on the verge
we caught in our headlights,
and listen for the distant unrolling of words.

 

Gratitude List:
1.  That wonderful woman at OfficeMax yesterday who said that since the Lancaster store was selling notebooks for a penny a piece, she could give me the same price, and then only gulped a little when I said, “That’s so great!  I’d like a hundred for my English classes!”  I quickly realized that I was taking overenthusiastic advantage of a kindness and cut my number back just a little.
2.  Waters of Transformation.  Yes, indeed.
3.  I have a job where people sometimes start the day with a collegial hymn-sing.  Have I landed in a perfect place for me, or what?
4.  Inspiration struck when I needed it and before I was a complete wreck of exhaustion: I have been a little anxious this weekend about preparation for the coming week.  I came away from last week sort of feeling like I had drained my wells of inspiration for lesson plans.  Just like poetry writing, however: When you let go, sometimes the streams begin to trickle back in again, and sometimes they come in as a flood. I hope the students are a tenth as eager for the work I present tomorrow as I am to present it.
5.  Family time.  Meeting Kim’s dear children.  Basking in Craig’s delightful smile.  Listening to the harmonica trio play in harmony.  Discussing recipes for fish.

May we walk in Beauty!

The Marker

(on the day of the massacre of the people of the Conestoga 250 years ago)

Come with me now, Bright Souls
and we’ll sit in a circle together.
Silently a while.  Then we talk.

Light six candles
for the people of the longhouse
who died that wintry dawning.

The air is filled already
with too many words.
The day carries so many mutterings
on the wind, on the wings
of the vulture, drifting
above the broken fields.

Sheehays, Wa-a-shen,
Tee-kau-ley,
Ess-canesh,
Tea-wonsha-i-ong,
Kannenquas.

If we are to keep awake,
to live in the place
where the heart stays open,
then perhaps we must look
into the teeth of the story.
Together we gaze at those shadows.
Together we speak their names.
Together we listen for the sparrow’s call.

At the place of the great stone
I did not speak their names.
I left my shell there at that place
in the glittering sun.

Some days I cannot bear the darkness,
but I will close my eyes and sing
while you keep vigil near me.
And when you falter, too,
I will have found the strength renewed
to witness the tale while you sing to me.

Perhaps you will not believe me
when I tell you: As I drove
that road toward the River,
six deer ran across blue shadows
cast by afternoon sun on snow,
over the fields to the road.
They paused a moment to watch
the golden fish of my car approach,
then slipped across Indian Marker Road
and were gone, past the still pond
and into a fringe of wood.

2013 December 105

Gratitude List:
1.  Deer running through blue shadows on a snowy field
2.  The winter slant of light, sparkling on snow
3.  Roasted Brussels Sprouts, and radishes and turnips and potatoes and carrots
4.  Snails.  Who would have thought I would love snails so?  Now that the fish has died, the snails provide much more entertainment than I would have expected.  The big blue one has doubled its size in two weeks’ time.  Their antennae are swirly.
5.  Learning to listen, to wait

May we walk in Beauty.

Spiders and Grace

2013 August 334  2013 August 339
2013 August 342  2013 August 348

Gratitude List:
1.  Deer.  Listening, unconditional love, the open heart.
2.  Robins congregating in the bosque at night.
3.  Two-year-olds.  I know I have said it before, but they melt me.  Utterly.
4.  Root beer floats
5.  Pattern and design

May we walk in Beauty.

Finding Your Sacred Song

I looked up mockingbird in Ted Andrews’ Animal Speak.  He says the keynote of the mockingbird is “Finding your sacred song.”  In these days when the mockingbirds are singing from treetops in every hollow and on every hilltop, I wish you that finding.  May your song rise clear into the air.

Gratitude List:
1.  Deer and lion and rabbit and Suzy.  Messages of compassion and courage and listening.
2.  We managed to catch Pepita without too much trouble after she ran across the street and under the grumpy neighbor’s forsythia bush.  And we have a sort of funny story out of it.
3.  I feel so good about what I accomplished today, all that mowing and making supper (Shepherd’s Pie) and spending time with a friend–and the children didn’t melt down and fall apart in the meantime.
4.  The way swallows climb the sky.  How they beat their wings against the wind and rise up it.
5.  Forgiveness.

May we walk in Beauty.