Gratitude and a Rule for Parenting

Gratitude List:
1. Glorious Lady Magnolia tree on 462 across from the Red Rose. Oh goodness! Can a tree be traumatized from witnessing humans kill each other?
2. I changed the cutting head on the string trimmer all by myself. It took a lot of figuring to get the old one off, but I managed.
3. Open House at my school tonight. Nice to spend time with colleagues, and to get a chance to show off the school to prospective families. It was lovely to see a few students again, too.
4. Baked oatmeal for supper. Comfort food.
5. How doing art makes you see the world differently.

May we walk in Beauty!


A Rule for Parenting:
Never simply say, “Don’t lick your brother’s food.”
You have to also say,
“Don’t tell your brother you licked his food, even if you didn’t. Especially if you didn’t.”
“Don’t lick the packaging that your brother’s food is in.”
“Just don’t lick or talk about licking your brother’s food.”
I probably should have included more permutations, but I was getting just a little cranky (momspeak for VERY GROUCHY). This parenting gig can be hard.


Here’s a found poem. I put it together from strips of paper and glued it to yesterday’s painting. I was loving it, and so I put Mod Podge on it to seal it, but instead it stayed white and gloopy. It was a disaster. I pulled off the pieced and mostly salvaged the painting, but the poem strips were destroyed.

One morning before dawn
in the thick of that month,
the trees still heartrendingly asparkle,
the women’s laughter,
as dark as bitter chocolate,
lodged in the house of
beautiful magnificent wings.

They halted at the woods,

Passage through the wilderness
was not a simple matter
to escape a forest without shade,
We have to ascribe to femaleness
the audacious, the math, the order.

Below, the alligators
are sleeping in the grass
awaiting the rain.

When I look up, you look up,
and we know.

Regrouping

      

“You don’t have anything
if you don’t have the stories.”
—Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
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“If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”  —Lilla Watson
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“A poem is not a puzzle, even if it’s puzzling at first. Instead, it’s a highly selected parcel or capsule of language meant to burst into your psyche and change you in some way. Poetry is the life blood of our language, and it’s meant for everyone, not just academics or young people in school. Poetry is in a word: consciousness.” —Cathryn Hankla
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Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
—Leonard Cohen (September 21, 1934 – November 10, 2016)
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“Like a bird on the wire,
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.” —Leonard Cohen
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“I have become convinced that the most serious and unaddressed worldwide challenge is the deprivation and abuse of women and girls, largely caused by a false interpretation of carefully selected religious texts and a growing tolerance of violence and warfare.” —Jimmy Carter
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Tom Joad, from John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath:
I been thinking about us, too, about our people living like pigs and good rich land layin’ fallow. Or maybe one guy with a million acres and a hundred thousand farmers starvin’. And I been wonderin’ if all our folks got together and yelled…

As long as I’m an outlaw anyways… maybe I can do somethin’… maybe I can just find out somethin’, just scrounge around and maybe find out what it is that’s wrong and see if they ain’t somethin’ that can be done about it. I ain’t thought it out all clear, Ma. I can’t. I don’t know enough.

Maybe it’s like Casy says. A fellow ain’t got a soul of his own, just little piece of a big soul, the one big soul that belongs to everybody, then… Then it don’t matter. I’ll be all around in the dark – I’ll be everywhere. Wherever you can look – wherever there’s a fight, so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad. I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry and they know supper’s ready, and when the people are eatin’ the stuff they raise and livin’ in the houses they build – I’ll be there, too.


Gratitude List:
1. Regrouping
2. Grounding
3. Doors opening
4. Elements
5. Bats

May we walk in Beauty!

What Is the Message?

IMG_0468

The bluebird told me, and I told the wren.
The bluebird got it from someone on the ground,
a vole, perhaps, or field mouse,
who’d caught the gist from the catfish
who lives in a corner of the pond.
She’d heard it from the turtle
who was scratching a hole in the bank
where she could lay her clutch
of pearly eggs, and she said she had learned it
from the black snake looping its way
along a branch of locust, careful of the thorns.
Who knows where that old slitherer
came upon the information?  Perhaps
she heard it on the wind
as it whispered through the valley.

I regret I cannot tell you what it was–
it has gone on now, beyond me
and beyond this poem’s edges.
Ask wren, perhaps, but he has already
told the thing to bat, who’s given it
to a thoughtfully grazing groundhog
who keeps her springtime quarters
across the field there by the little oak,
right where a sprinkle of sunshine
sparkles in the dew most mornings.

Gratitude List:
1. Earth: The view from the top of the ridge of Mt. Pisgah, looking down to the Susquehanna River always lifts my spirits.  How did I get so lucky, to get such a view almost every day?
2. Air: Poetry and Stories spoken aloud.  Last night’s Spoken Word Play (the 14th) was profound and powerful.
3. Fire: Making fire with the boys yesterday.  Ellis finally drew flames from a pile of sycamore fluff, using the sun’s rays through a magnifying glass.  Joss wanted a fire, too, so we built two small fires on bricks on the driveway, and the boys spent hours feeding them with sticks (it cleaned up the yard, that’s certain).  Joss toasted a piece of bread, and they each roasted potatoes in the hot coals for our supper.  I recently read, “They won’t remember their best afternoon of television.”  That’s the truth.  But I think they’ll remember the day they made fire.
4. Water: The River.  Did I say the River?  I cross her twice every day.  She runs through our lives like a thread that weaves us together with the lives of those who live all along her shores, and with those who have ever lived here in this place where she runs.
5. Spirit: That which enlivens and animates us.  Love that connects and weaves us together, like the River.

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!

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.

Silly Song and Gratitude

“. . .and heaven and nature sing,
and heaven and nature sing,
hi-ho, the dairy-o,
and heaven and nature sing.”  –Joss W-K

Gratitude List:
1.  Uncle Mallard floating on the pond this morning in the pouring rain.
2.  Choosing the exhilarating path rather than the bland one.
3.  Surfacing after reading an engrossing novel.
4.  A gift of bright red tulips!
5.  Earth, Air, Fire, Water
Namaste