Questions for a New Season

(This is a reprise from a previous year. Somehow, this year, the talk of risk and abandon seems to need to include a caveat, that of course we are not risking our own or other people’s health or safety in the risks we are taking.)

May first is Beltane, the ancient holiday marking the mid-point of spring, the wanton flowering season, the wild celebration of abandon and extravagant freedom.

What will you give yourself to in the coming season? What direction will your passions lead you? What freedom can you claim for yourself in the days ahead? Throw off the cloaks and veils that hide you. Remove your corsets and girdles. Run barefoot in the fields. Roll in the grass. Swing from the trees.

May Day is about running through the door, barefoot and maybe naked, but completely unconcerned, willing to take the necessary risks to accomplish your dreams.

Look around you, at all that is growing so wildly, so full of life force. What forces within you are pushing their way toward the sunlight? What will not be contained? What is exploding into bloom? What vines curl outward from your center?

What will you risk in the coming season? What constricting “clothing” do you need to cast off in order to abandon yourself to your projects?

A Blessed Beltane season to you!
May your dreams feed you.

Gratitude List:
1. That pink guarddogwood
2. Stretching body and mind
3. Birdsong
4. Baking
5. Hunger, appetite

May we walk in Beauty!

“As I me walk-ed in a May morning, I heard a bird sing. . .” ―May song

“Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.” ―Jules de Gaultier

“People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.” ―Iris Murdoch

“A light wind swept over the corn, and all Nature laughed.” ―Anne Bronte

“We are all just walking each other home.” ―Ram Dass

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything.” ―Rainer Maria Rilke

“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.” ―Thích Nhất Hạnh

“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will.” ―Frederick Douglass

“Hopelessness is the Enemy of Justice.” —Bryan Stevenson

Response Poem

Today’s prompt is to write a response to one of the previous poems from the month. I chose my April 27 poem.

There once was a girl
who was so afraid of spiders
that when a web of song,
a web of prayer,
came floating to her
on a breeze, she ran
as fast as she could
in the other direction.

There once was a girl
who was so afraid of darkness
that when a quiet veil
of comforting shadows
fell about her,
she fell down in terror
and hid her head
until the staring sun
came out again.

There once was a girl
who was so afraid of heights
that when her friends
sang bridges that led
to safer meadows,
she could not unfreeze
her footsteps from the Earth
to flee toward the havens.

Whenever she ran from her fears,
they always caught her.
Whenever she froze in terror,
she found herself engulfed.
I would like to say she learned
to reach her hands toward her friends
and find her way home.

I am grateful today for the concentric and interlocking circles of community in my life, for the people who keep their protective eyes on my children, who teach and mentor them and love them.

May we walk in Beauty!

Looking Back

I have been thinking about all my recent Shakespeare raving, and I realize that, in the interest of basic honesty, I ought to mention that not all my students are as excited about Shakespeare as I am.  Some are, in fact, rather un-keen on the Bard.  Still, I hope that some of them will catch a little enthusiasm for the language and poetry and rich thematic content of his plays.

Today’s prompt is looking back.  I have been toying with images of Lot’s wife and the pillar or salt, of two faced Janus, of mirrors and reflections.

At what point do you decide that you have reached
the edge of the chasm of all the collected moments,
that it’s time to look back and see how far you’ve run?

The end of the month, semester, year–
how have the seasons added up?
What do they add up to?

The real question is,
when I turn my face again
to face the leap before me,
will I feel upon me the gaze
of a future self
looking back upon me?

Gratitude List:
1. The Guard Dogwoods are settling into bloom.
2. Dinner with colleagues.  Good folks.  Good singing.  Good food.
3. Shifts in routine–adding freshness, and pushing me out of my comfort zone
4. That curious little hamster
5. Hosta

May we walk in Beauty!

Nine Stones and a Gratitude List

Nine Stones

I gathered nine white stones when I went
to the sea, that windy threshold where sky meets
water meets land, and all is transmuted
by the fire of the sun.  Nine stones.

One for each of the dogwood trees,
gracious guardians at the entrance
to our own threshold.

One for the toad to grasp
as she sits in contemplation
under the litter of leaves.

One to place
between the clasped hands
of the lovers in their whirling dance.

One to rest at the bee-door
to guide them home from honeying.

One for wildness and courage,
to be the lion’s heart,
the spirit of the wood.

One for the wren
whose story overflows
and trickles over house and fields.

One to place at the cave’s door,
to carry as we walk within.

And one for the falcon
to clutch in her claws,
when she stands in the sky
and sees that singular task
among all that lies in the fields.


Gratitude List:
1.  Insomniac child finally fell asleep again at 4.  I counted backward from 100 for him.  Need to remember that one.
2.  Tannenbaum so lovely and the magic of nostalgia for small children: “I remember this ornament!”
3.  Loving cat who licks my ears and tickles my chin.
4.  Advent.  Waiting for the light.  Hush.  Stillness.
5.  Mist.