The prompts today were Quirk and Earth–lovely little sound play there! This happened while I was out walking:
Sentience by Beth Weaver-Kreider
What is this being human, but the quirk of birth into this form of organism here on Earth? Are you more person than the plants who daily give you grateful breath, receiving yours in sacred reciprocity? Am I more being than the stones made of the minerals that map my own bones and blood?
What is sentience, but knowing oneself within one’s place? And that flat rock up on the hillside does it with much more grace than either you or I. Rocks and rivers, ibises and spiders, fish and fox— all inhabit their beingness with as much instinct and awareness as you or I could hope to muster.
What is the human drive to settle always at the top, to strive for dominance, defining us as something always more complete, more comprehensive, more masterfully apt, than ape or aster?
Hasn’t this been the root of our disaster, the lines we draw between ourselves and the living, breathing world around us? Thus we place ourselves outside of place, when we refuse to acknowledge other knowing, other forms of growing into personhood and being.
Better we should recognize the neighborhood of beings who surround us, each with their own song and story, each with their own wisdom, if we knew only how to notice.
“The earth, the air, the fire, the water: Return, return, return, return. . .” –Libana song
Contemplative Research Journey for Earth Day: Contemplate the earth you walk, right in your yard, your neighborhood, your town. If you can, put your bare feet on earth today. Think about the people who were here before your, and before them. Do you know who were the indigenous peoples who lived on and hunted and farmed and fished on the land where you stand? What do you know of the soil and the rocks and minerals of your place? What feeds the life of the place where you are?
Contemplate the plants of your neighborhood. Can you name three trees? Five? Twenty? Who is in bud now? Who is in bloom? There is so much more than grass in the grass. Do you know the names of all the plantfolk who provide the green carpets you walk on?
Contemplate the wingfolk and the four-footed people who share this space with you. Can you tell one shining bird from the other? Can you differentiate their calls? Can you see evidence of the night wanderers? Who might be visiting your yards and gardens and alleyways while you sleep? And the tiny insect people that try so hard to live inside our houses. Have you watched them make webs, tend to their own business, seek the dark spaces?
What about the waters of your place? Where does it come from and where does it go? If you have wild water running near you, take some time today to trail your fingers through it.
Touch earth. Touch water. Touch bark. Listen for the messages in birdsong. Smell the rising spring. Breathe wind. Take ten deep outside breaths. Greet the Beings of your place with love and gratitude.
Gratitude List: 1. The guarddogwoods are beginning to bloom. Even though I no longer hang poetic laundry on their branches, I always feel like poetry itself is blooming when they start to throw pink at the sun. 2. Wangari Maathai, Rachel Carson, Jane Goodall, Greta Thunberg, Berta Caceres–and all the fierce and joyful activists around the world whom they represent. 3. The many Beings of Skunk Hollow. The shine and the flutter. The wafting and the whoosh. The verdancy. The brilliance. 4. Golda’s Lake and Goldfinch Creek and Ezilie’s Spring and Cabin Creek and the Susquehanna River, and the Chesapeake Bay. 5. The promise of a new way. The hope of change.
May we walk, so joyfully, in Beauty!
Earth Day Words: “The world is, in truth, a holy place.” —Teilhard de Chardin
“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.” —Henry David Thoreau
“You are your own cartographer now.” —Ralph Blum
“If we surrendered to earth’s intelligence we could rise up rooted, like trees.” ―Rainer Maria Rilke
“Every creature is a word of God.” ―Meister Eckhart
“The forest for me is a temple, a cathedral of tree canopies and dancing light.” ―Dr. Jane Goodall
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.” ―The Onceler (Dr. Seuss)
“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
William Stafford: “I place my feet with care in such a world.”
“A society is defined not only by what it creates, but by what it refuses to destroy.” ―John Sawhill
Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” ―Rachel Carson
“A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full or wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantment of later year…the alienation from the sources of our strength.” ―Rachel Carson
“Few words are so revealing of Western sexual prejudice as the word Goddess, in contrast to the word God. Modern connotations differ vastly from those of the ancients, to whom the Goddess was a full-fledged cosmic parent figure who created the universe and its laws, ruler of Nature, Fate, Time, Eternity, Truth, Wisdom, Justice, Love, Birth, Death, Etc.” ―Barbara G. Walker
“Our vitality is inextricably bound up with creativity. Like a tree whose expression is fruit, giving our gifts is what keeps life pushing through our veins. It’s what keeps us feeling alive. As anyone who has strayed too far from their creativity knows, without it every corner of one’s life can fall prey to a terrible greying spread. As Kahlil Gibran writes about trees in an orchard, “They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.” —by Toko-pa Turner
Today’s prompts were Galaxy (or galaxy-type things) and love/anti-love:
Sometimes by Beth Weaver-Kreider
Sometimes when I say I am seeking the Beloved, it is your wise eyes I see, your expectant face, your eloquent and tender hands.
Sometimes when I listen for the humming of the stars, it’s your voice my ears remember, your quiet murmur, your trilling whistle, clear and bright.
Sometimes when I pause in the middle of the trail and catch the aroma of lilac or hyacinth sifting into the clearing, it’s your scent I’m sensing, and I am held in your arms as surely as if you were here.
In honor of Earth Day tomorrow, I have recorded Jane Yolen’s “Earth Day.”
The prompt for today is to write a poem that uses a line from a poem I wrote earlier in the month.
This spiritwind, this holy breeze blows through
the hollow places of my spine,
the hallowed spaces of my bones,
through the stones of heart and kidney,
through the separated ribs,
through each molecule of blood like stars,
sparkling through the hallways
of the body, blowing down the strands
of DNA, of memory, of life force.
The Beloved blows through
with a shriving wind,
clearing the pathways
clogged by the debris
of addiction and twisted truths,
of laziness and wasted moments,
to free the caged, starving soul.
Gratitude List: 1. Earth Day chapel–everybody outside, looking at flowers and watching Mr. Sprunger fish, and petting the sheep, and making bird feeders, and listening to psalms and poetry, and learning to split wood.
2. Five deer appeared as we went outside for chapel, and ran across the hillside behind us.
3. Two phoebes were flitting in the saplings at the edge of the River.
4. This evening, playing Kube with the family as the sun began to go down.
5. The mockingbird is back and in full mockingbird mode.
Yesterday after school, I went out the front door and smelled something overpoweringly beautiful. They’re here.
A List Poem for Earth Day
Julia Butterfly Hill
The trees are breathing while we sleep
The trees cover the hillsides now
The wild ones are watching
Above us, the falcons while and turn
The mountains come alive with wildflowers
The seeds break open and send forth roots
Someone is speaking for the ones with no voice
Gratitude List: 1. Defenders of the Earth. Those girls who spoke in chapel yesterday about caring for the environment, following in the footsteps of Carson and Shiva and Muir and Hill.
2. Lilies of the Valley
3. Brown Creeper
4. Making Mandazis. I have never made what I would call a truly successful batch until last night.
5. In-Service Day today (and my body sort of let me sleep in until 6:30). I like to have occasional days where we are working, but I am being fed rather than doing the feeding.