Realignment

It is one of those glorious spring mornings, the dawn chorus almost deafening in the hollow, the sun beginning to chase away the deeper shadows as it tops the ridge.  It is spring, and the world is resetting itself, opening, shifting. This time between May Day and Summer Solstice is a good time to catch that energy, to examine our intentions and dreams and hopes and decide which passions need our whole-hearted focus.

In order to find this space for change and focus in my life, I am going to take a short break from social media and blogging.

You know those little puzzles that used to be so popular, with a picture broken up into sixteen or twenty-five squares and arranged on a five-by-five grid? In order to shift all the pieces into the correct order, one of the pieces has to be removed. Then you have to think several steps ahead of yourself to shift things, piece by piece, until the picture comes clear. That’s where I am at this moment. I am trying to shift and slide things into place, and I need to remove a piece for a time until I get things sorted out. My non-teaching computer time is that piece for now.

I am not going off in a huff, and I am neither sad nor angry. (No, that’s untrue. I am both sad and angry–but no more than usual, and still in the balance of delight and love and pleasure. And neither sad nor angry at my online community.) I will continue to write, to process, to contemplate and ponder. I am not sure how long this is going to take me. Probably a week or two. Perhaps until the end of May. I want to end my school year with a strong and healthy focus, and begin my summer with a new set of good habits.

Perhaps the thing that reminded me to step into the moment of this shift was that weaving in the photo. On Spring Equinox, I made myself a little prayer bundle/wish bundle of random papers and strings and fabrics. I was in a hurry and didn’t spend a great deal of time choosing and processing the items I put in the bundle–I just made sure that they represented the ideas I wanted to bring to birth in the next cycle of my life. I left the bundle in the elements, in my little faerie circle, where the ferns grew up around it in the six weeks that it waited. On May Day, I brought it inside and opened it up. Yesterday, I cut the fabric into strips and began a weaving, using the items from the bundle, and some extra yarns. As it started to take shape, I began to feel a sense of the first steps that I must take in order to find my way toward myself. (I wasn’t sitting in a quiet room with peaceful music for contemplation–I was at the table, where my husband and one son were making a diorama of a train in a landscape and the other son was creating props for a spoken word poem he is preparing for class. There was a lot of chatter, but at one point, all three guys were thoughtfully humming different things to themselves. This is the sort of space I have for contemplation these days, and I love it.)

That little puzzle game with all the pieces of the picture? Right now, I have several parts of the teacher to shift into place, while keeping the mom and partner pieces as steady as possible. The various writer pieces have been terribly scattered, never actually assembled into a cohesive whole. That’s the part I really want to shift into place. The reader and wild woman and farmer and monk-in-the-world pieces will shift and re-shift as I figure out what the final picture looks like. I trust them to know that they belong.

Perhaps you want to join me? You don’t need to drop the ethereal world of the internet to shift the picture. What are the elements in your own life that you want to reassemble? If there’s a habit piece that you need to set aside for a moment while you gather the others into focus, is it possible to set it aside, to make a fast from it for a time?

If you need to contact me during the month of May, you will need to email me at 4goldfinches@gmail.com. I have been terrible about keeping up with emails in the recent weeks, and my social media fast will help me to re-develop an efficient relationship to email.

Here is a poem I wrote last year. I think it might be my theme for the coming realignment:
You are the Dragon, You are the Cave
By Beth Weaver-Kreider

The thing you learn, of course,
before you strap your sword belt on,
is that the princess you pledged to save
is only yourself in another guise,
that the dragon you swore to smite
is simply your own roaring ego
belching flame in the mouth of the cave.

You are the villagers rioting in the streets,
and calling for the dragon’s blood.
You are the bells that pealed from the towers
when the dragon circled above the town.
You are the sword,
the shield, the very cave,
the small frightened mouse
trampled in the fray.
You are the village.
You are the mountain.
You are the day itself,
quiet witness to the story.

Some quotations for your Saturday:
“Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.” ―Stanley Kunitz
*
“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
― Jane Goodall
*
“Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.”
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
*
“The challenges in our world can’t be solved by individualistic thinking. These challenges must be tackled by groups of individuals who understand that collective strength and selflessness is the only way out. Sometimes the craziest ideas can give you the most impressive change.” ―Leymah Gbowee

And a Gratitude List:
1. Realignment
2. Intention and manifestation
3. These boys playing together
4. The way that leaf twirls gently down the spring wind
5. You. Always You.

May we walk in Beauty!

Wise Folk

barntreeGratitude List
1.
Today when I got home from school, Joss and I spent some time outside. We played tag: I don’t really run–I just wait around until he can’t stand it and comes in close enough for me to pounce on him. Then he played in the sandbox while I lay down on the driveway and looked up into the trees. I tried some odd-angle panoramas to try to get a sense of the vast feeling of trees and sky above. I like the way this one turned out, with the barn below and that shine above.

2.
Today we had an all-school assembly, a further discussion of race and racism, this one based on students’ (and some teachers’) experiences of racism, both personal and what they’ve observed. Some students and teachers told their own stories, and others read stories written by others. Some teachers reflected on the construct of race and the history of racism in the US. More than anything, I was struck by the deep love and tenderness and vulnerability of the speakers. I am proud of these folks, proud of these students who took the lead and worked together to craft this fine program, proud of my colleagues who created the space for student voices to shine, proud of the polite and thoughtful listeners in the space. May we continue to learn and grow together, to listen, to speak up and out.

3.
Jon made the most amazing re-fried beans tonight. Re-fried beans can sometimes be a tasteless mush, but these are really delicious.

4.
This is the beginning of a three-day weekend.

5.
I have such incredibly wise and compassionate and thoughtful and activist friends. Last night I posted some thoughts on Facebook, wondering whether it’s possible to find common vocabularies across political lines. After school today, when I went to check my page, there were dozens of incredibly thoughtful and wise responses. I am blessed in friends. Many of my friends are people I have never met, but people who have enriched my life deeply through these discussions, who have helped me to keep my mind open and my thinking fluid.

So much Love. May we walk in Beauty!

Palimpsest: Song for a New Year and an Old

I have already received a private message from a friend who wrote a marvelous Palimpsest poem.  Feel free to type in your own in the comments or on my FB thread, or in my email or FB messages.  Here’s mine (the phrases on the right-hand side are random quotes pulled out of my Facebook archive):

The fiery sunset of the old year gives way to

salt. . .balsam. . .ratatat cat feet. . .green

a silver gibbous moon gives way to

not sure the sun is ever coming back

this rosy sun shining through a gull’s wing.

too many trinkets in the trees already

This new morning climbs down the northward hill,

a new bubble wand and a madcap two-year-old

washes the fields above the orchard in golden glow,

can’t get enough mulberries

slips downward into the frosty pear trees,

amazing person, that cat

illuminates the weather vane rooster on the roof,

my brain is filled with compost and my poetry is green

and suddenly crests the southern hill.

I think when I was born I was a baby

The puddle of night in the bowl of the hollow

keep talking, keep loving

dissolves into the new year.