Quiet, thoughtful, tired today. So much to absorb from my three days of learning to keep circles. Now the work is to learn to apply and integrate the practice into my work, into my Work. And after three days of circling with twenty-five others, that specific circle itself must settle in like a seed and germinate within. And now, somehow, I must now reintegrate into the world outside the circle.

I think it would be good for me, sometime in the next two months, to sit in circle with people who are planning to vote for Trump, people who are planning to vote for Clinton, and people who are voting for Stein or Johnson. Perhaps some non-voters should be in there, too. I could not be the Circle Keeper, but I think I would come out of such an experience a much healthier person, hopefully less anxious, less furious.

Gratitude List:
1. Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Spirit
2. Autumn is in the air
3. The circles expand out and outward
4. Poetry, how it says things that cannot articulated in didactic words
5. We are more alike than we are different

May we walk in Beauty!

Medicine and Mockingbird

Gratitude List:

1. Using gratitude lists as a prompt in school today.  Why haven’t I done this before?  It felt like a gift I gave myself–such bright and deep and thoughtful responses.  I am going to miss these people.
2. That poem that a student handed me today to fulfill a class project.  May you thrive.  May you live deeply.
3. How the Earth provides the medicine.  The tulip tree is blooming, which is beautiful, but suddenly the allergies are going haywire.  So, more plantain and wild chamomile and catnip and mint and nettle and lemon balm tea with honey.  I will try one more night without the allopathic remedy.
4. New haircut!  I always feel like a work of art when I have been to see Kristen.
5. Mockingbird, as I was walking out to gather herbs this evening, sang to me in Ovenbird, “Teacher-teacher-teacher!”

May we walk in Beauty!

Taking a Walk

Random thoughts from a walk around the farm this afternoon:

–This Step-Counting contest at school is doing what it is supposed to, getting me out and walking.  I am afraid I am letting my team down with my low, low numbers.  I am more sedentary than I admitted to myself–grading and FB and granny squares and playing Legos keeps me sitting in one place.  A lot.
–On one hand the pedometer feels like a ball and chain.  I check it every half hour or so throughout the day, and I am feeling incredible pressure to get up and walking.  On the other hand, it pushes me to get outside and walk, which I don’t usually take the time for, so it’s freeing me, too.
–I like being on a walk.  I live having been walking.  I like having walked.  I just don’t like going walking.  It’s the anticipation and the getting myself in gear part that I don’t like.
–There were tracks everywhere in the last bits of snow and slush: deer, squirrel, bird, bird, bird, and canid.  Maybe that last is fox, maybe dog, maybe coyote.
–I haven’t seen a coyote in years, though Jon saw a pair of them only a couple weeks ago.  I was pretty desperate to find evidence of them in the tracks today.  One set of tracks had a really largish print, and the claws pushed deep into the snow.
–I found a grey-ish owl pellet and broke it apart to look for the mouse bones. But then I realized it was probably a misshapen piece of raccoon poo.
–The bees are sleeping.  I wonder how they’re surviving the winter in their hive.
–I found two unopened pods in one of the milkweed patches.  We brought them down to the house.  Jon has been collecting milkweed seeds with the hope that he can get some to grow in the spring to give away.
–One Small Boy came up to me and said, “Best snack ever!” as he crunched a chunk of ice in his left hand and then chewed off a bite of the kale in his right hand.
–That yellow frost-nipped kale looks about as winter-bitten as I feel right now.


Gratitude List:
1. Wind that scours
2. Fire that transforms
3. Water that purifies
4. Earth that supports
5. Spirit that inspires

May we walk in Beauty!


I have been thinking about you
more than you know, you know?

Here in the mornings when birdsong
enwraps me in a blanket
of messages in whistle and trill,
while the early morning chill
is dissipating as the sun
rises over the ridge,

or when I am out in the field,
or walking up our winding hill,
or pulling out the pans
to make tuna noodle casserole,

my heart will suddenly veer,
shift into a different focus,
and be where you are.

That little sparrow that hopped
along your windowsill
and peered inside
as if searching for someone.
That was my heart,
seeking you out.

The little white puff of cloud
alone in the blue sky
that seemed to follow you home.

The flash of sunlight
as you turned a corner.

I have wanted to give you words
to help you feel less alone.
Something that rhymes with hope,
or sounds like the whisper of the arms
of sturdy friends encircling you
through this slow and vicious storm.

Today, watch for sunlight on a bird’s wing,
look for the golden face of a dandelion in the grass,
the shadow on your kitchen table
as the day leans into afternoon.
Listen for the trill of sparrow
and the knock of a woodpecker
in the distance, from the park.

That vibrant net of color and sound
is woven by watchful hearts,
holding you.


My gratitude lists sometimes get a little birdy.  That’s okay, really.  Sometimes a bird is more than a bird.  Sometimes it’s just a bird.

Gratitude List:
1.  Yesterday, in the low afternoon sun, in a long, low, curving arm of the walnut tree, I saw a bluebird and an oriole sitting within two feet of each other.  Beauty, she just gives us so much color.  And then there was the crimson cap of that red-bellied woodpecker, set off by his black and white stripes.  So dapper and handsome, he.  That long, elegant bill, and piercing, knowing eyes.  I know I am just cheating here, putting at least three gratitudes into one so I’ll have more room, but let’s just pile on the fun: swallows in the gloaming yesterday, swooping low over the grass and up into the last rays of sun, their wings shimmering green-blue-green.
2.  Picnic at Sam Lewis State Park.  The view, the view, the view.  I think I saw all the way to China.  To Virginia, to Vermont, to California, at least.  Panorama, distance, layering of mountains and valleys.  And, of course, the River winding through.
3.  Last night I woke up only once before five o’clock.  No restless twisting, no aches waking me up.  It’s been a couple of weeks, and I was beginning to think that this was going to be my new reality.  Sleep is really a wonderful thing.
4.  Have I said how much I love my new job?  And I haven’t even started yet.  The planning, the dreaming, the idea-making, has filled me with such an incredible surge of fresh energy.  Jon has caught fire, too, and he’ll come down off the tractor with some suggestion or idea, or memory about a helpful teacher.
5.  The way the Earth gives us what we need.  I have been drinking fresh nettle and plantain tea lately to help with the allergies.  It has taken a while, but after several years of almost no allopathic allergy medication, my body has begun to respond to the subtle and gentle relief of herbal treatments.  Some days when I go out to pick the herbs for tea (nettle, plantain and mint), a patch of ground ivy will seem to shine a little more brightly, or a breeze will sift through some violet leaves, like they’re begging me to pick them, too.  Dock and dandelion, catnip, yarrow, chamomile, sweet clover.  Makes a mighty fine tea.  Now, if only I can get my kids to drink it.

May we walk in Beauty!

Walking the High Wire

Today’s double prompt is to write a pessimistic/optimistic poem.

this one is for the ancestors,
the mothers (especially mine),
and all my many sisters

We walk the high wire
between hopelessness and hope,
between rage and joy.
Perhaps it’s only stories
that will save us.

We pray to be empty.
We pray to let go.
We pray to give away
attachment to outcomes.

In one hand, we hold a golden cymbal.
Its name is Despair.
The one in the other hand is Hope.
We wander the Earth
like Cassandra of Troy,
clashing them together.
They make a mighty noise
but no one seems to listen.

We sit in the space
between the cup half full
and the cup half empty,
knowing that neither will save us.
We pour out that water
upon the Earth,
upon the seeds
which will grow,
or not grow.
We tend them
all the same.

The work
the work
the work
is what matters.

Hearts open,
souls on fire,
we heed Pema,
we heed Vaclav:
we work because
it must be done,
not because we know
that it will save the world.

Listen to Wangari
we plant trees
we free the prisoners
we honor women

Listen to Jane
we notice
we listen
we honor the animals

Listen to Vandana
we save seeds
we scatter seeds
we honor seed and soil

Listen to Natasha
we grieve and mourn
we witness
we honor the wild

Listen to Leymah
we speak our truth
we honor the scars
we heal

Listen to your mother
we feed and nurture
we protect
we honor Wisdom

Walk that thin silver line
between the flame and the fire.
Be amazed,
be feral,
be wakeful.

Walk between the heartbeats.

Listen to the Earth
Listen to the Earth
Listen to the Earth


Gratitude List:
1. The work
2. Wisdom
3. Carnelian
4. The ancestors
5. The mothers and sisters

May we walk in Beauty!

Five Sacred Elements

<Prompt 17: Write an element poem>

I call upon the air,
the breezy inspirations,
the winds that bring ideas,
that cut through the muddle
like a sword of sharp steel.

I call upon the fire,
the passion that ignites,
creative force that excites
the Muse and drives
the enterprise, the energy
that awakens the spirit.

I call upon the water,
deep peace and dream seeking,
realm of the heart, and
keeper of intuitions.
The flow and the flood,
the ocean around us.

I call upon the earth,
the ground of our being,
the rocks and the stones,
the caves, and the bones
of the ancestors.

I call upon center,
great mystery and spirit,
the hub and the wheel,
the home and the fulcrum,
the life-force, the bringer
of balance and union.

Gratitude List:
1.  That lunch.  Wow.  Good friends, never enough time for conversation, food from all over the world.
2.  Lifetime friends.
3.  Good singing
4.  Old Turtle
5.  Feathers.  No, stones.  Both.

May we walk in Beauty.

The Great Mother

This is an older poem, one that I have pulled out again to put into my book.
Great Mother

I am the scent of dawn that rises from the owl’s feather
to awaken the floating moon.
I am the fingers of frost that vanish from the budded
branch, transformed by wren’s song.
I am the child of thunder, sinking into a purple
couch of sky.
I am the seed of the mountain that waits in the
memory of the hummingbird.

I am the tufted ears of the vixen, yearning to the footfall
of the field mouse.
I am the snakes of flame which slither through the dark
doorway of the ring of stones.
I am the lustful sermon of the bees,
earnest and ardent.
I am the wild eye of the star, silently observing
the wayward dance of the planets.

Have you seen me slip between the stones of the grotto?
Have you seen me winking in the coals of your sacred fire?
Have you seen me flash through the electric air of your dreams?

Oh search for me among the brambles and sharp stones on the hillside,
within the bubbling heart of the spring.
Listen for my name in the bluebird’s chortle,
in the whisper of wind through the milkweed.

I will be found.
I will be found.

Open your hands and search
within the wrinkled webs you carry there.
Grasp the shattered ray of light
which passes through the crystal’s heart.
Drink the shadows which surround you
as the day scampers away over the fields.

I am here.
I am here.
I am always here.


Gratitude List:
1.  Honey Lemon Ginger Tea
2.  The gloaming.  The way the trees come alive in the dusk.
3.  People who care deeply about the Earth and Her creatures.
4.  Freshly vacuumed rugs and freshly mowed lawns.
5.  The fresh faces of dandelions.

May we walk in beauty.


May the bright breeze of morning rouse your heart to singing,
May the fire of the noonday warm your heart to hopefulness,
May the cooling rains of evening wash your heart to freshness,
May the enclosing arms of the earth hold you through the midnight.

Walk in paths of the winds that awaken,
Walk through the fires that burn off the scars,
Walk in the waters that cool and renew,
Stand with your feet firmly planted on earth

Until you hear the voice of the wind,
Until you breathe the essence of the fire,
Until you smell the message of the waters,
Until you feel the heartbeat of the earth,
Until you see the sun rise
within you,
within you.

Prompt for Monday:

Write a poem about a secret or a lie.  I might tell a lie about myself, or make up a secret, or tell a REAL secret, perhaps.  But you’ll never know, really, what the truth is, eh?  Care to join me?

Gratitude List:

1.  A gripping historical account of the assassination of President Lincoln told by my 12-year-old nephew.  And the way my brother explains the patterns of ancient human history.
2.  The brightness of the half-moon, and the stars, tonight.
3.  Reading Mara’s poetry–awash in the language, in the imagery, in the mystery.
4.  A cloud above the Susquehanna, shaped like an eagle with a fish in its talons.
5.  Noticing.

May we walk in Beauty!

Passel of kids