Saturday’s Stories: ‘When we get out of the glass bottles of our ego and when we escape like squirrels turning in the cages of our personality and get into the forests again, we shall shiver with cold and fright but things will happen to us so that we don’t know ourselves. Cool, unlying life will rush in, and passion will make our bodies taut with power. We shall stamp our feet with new power and old things will fall down, we shall laugh, and institutions will curl up like burnt paper.’ ―D.H.Lawrence
“The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.” ―Rabindranath Tagore
“Every day look at a beautiful picture, read a beautiful poem, listen to some beautiful music, and if possible, say some reasonable thing.” ―Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“Abba Lot came to Abba Joseph and said: Father, according as I am able, I keep my little rule, and my little fast, my prayer, meditation and contemplative silence; and, according as I am able, I strive to cleanse my heart of thoughts: now what more should I do? The elder rose up in reply and stretched out his hands to heaven, and his fingers became like ten lamps of fire. He said: Why not become fire?” ―Christine Valters Paintner
“Someday, after we have mastered the winds, the waves and gravity, we shall harness for God energies of love. Then for the second time in the history of the world we will have discovered fire.” ―Teilhard de Chardin
“We cannot live in a world that is not our own, in a world that is interpreted for us by others. An interpreted world is not a home. Part of the terror is to take back our own listening, to use our own voice, to see our own light.” ―Hildegard of Bingen
“Dare to declare who you are. It is not far from the shores of silence to the boundaries of speech. The path is not long, but the way is deep. You must not only walk there, you must be prepared to leap.” ―Hildegard of Bingen
Was it only two days ago I wrote about how The Stump has become dormant except for little flowerings of two or three types of shy mushrooms around the faerie door? But I forgot about the August rains. Yesterday, I went out and a new stage of frilly white oysters have burst from the northern arc. Something else, shy and yellow, was already melting toward a golden ooze on the southern exposure. Life returns in The Stump’s own season. The first photo is the entire group of oysters, and the others are individual portraits, and the golden ooze from the southern side.
And I too, observe my seasons, shifting and changing, sometimes going dormant for long periods in one or another of my realms of existence. Lately, I have been working with great intention at healing and feeding my solar plexus chakra. You can tell me (as one of my beloved scientific-minded children does) that it is all in my mind, and I will respond, “Of course it is!” That’s where so much of magick resides, in the changing of consciousness at will. I have needed to change my consciousness regarding my ability to get things done. Slowly and steadily, I am seeing changes, more will and energy to do the things that must be done. Step by slow step, I realize that when I want to call up energy to do something, I find a reserve there, small and patient, waiting for me to call it forth.
Like the energy of the stump, my own energies have been, for a long time, hidden beneath the surface, seemingly unavailable. But now, with careful tending, and a little August sun and rain, I feel the bloom.
May your day be bright with sparks of new-found energy in places where you least expect it.
Gratitude List: 1. Reminders to Be in the Body. 2. Things that wake me up. 3. This school. This classroom. These colleagues. The sense of students soon to populate this space. 4. Augusts rains. September sun. 5. Seasons.
May we walk in Beauty! In mercy, justly, humbly.
“There is another world, but it is in this one.” —W.B. Yeats
“There is a deeper world than this That you don’t understand There is a deeper world that this Tugging at your hand. . . There is a deeper wave than this Rising in the land There is a deeper wave than this Nothing will withstand I say love is the seventh wave.” —Sting (I think I am going to listen carefully to this song in the coming days as I make last minute preps for school)
“I hope you will go out and let stories happen to you, and that you will work them, water them with your blood and tears and your laughter ’til they bloom, ’til you yourself burst into bloom.” —Clarissa Pinkola Estes
“Why did you do all this for me?” he asked. “I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.” “You have been my friend,” replied Charlotte. “That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die… By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heavens knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.” —Charlotte the spider
“Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.” —Doris Lessing
“A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.” —Irish proverb
“We can’t know where we’re going if we don’t know from what we originate. The loss of purpose that so many of us feel is greater than the trajectory of our careers and personal lives, it is a cultural ailment which arises out of forgetting. Our lives are like the fruit of a heritage seed: Each of the generations that has preceded us has contributed to our life’s survival. There is an ancestral momentum to which we are beholden, and which carries us forward when we are in step with it. To hear this momentum, we must turn towards the soul. There, in our dreams, are the clues to what we love and what our lives long for.” —Dreamwork with Toko-pa
“To teach is to create a space in which obedience to truth is practiced.” —Parker Palmer, from Abba Felix tradition
“As technological civilization diminishes the biotic diversity of the earth, language itself is diminished. As there are fewer and fewer songbirds in the air, due to the destruction of their forests and wetlands, human speech loses more and more of its evocative power. For when we no longer hear the voices of warbler and wren, our own speaking can no longer be nourished by their cadences. As the splashing speech of the rivers is silenced by more and more dams, as we drive more and more of the land’s wild voices into the oblivion of extinction, our own languages become increasingly impoverished and weightless, progressively emptied of their earthly resonance.” —David Abram
“Establish the sacred space of the classroom so that the inner and outer spaces of the students are respected.” (I don’t know the source. Tell me if you know.)
Be ready for truth to find you. —gleaned from Parker J. Palmer
Time and seasons flow differently in the realm of Faerie.
You might be walking in the woods on a warm summer day, and find yourself suddenly in a clearing with autumn leaves drifting around you, or patches of snow in the blue shadows. You may find a ripe red apple, or full round rose hips, during a winter walk. This is how you know you’ve crossed their boundaries.
So it is with The Stump. Last fall, when everything around us was dying, the stump began to put forth fruit. The wood ear mushrooms on the top surface expanded their territory. The bark on the sides was gradually obscured by shelves and racks of pearly oysters. Around the base, every few days it seemed, was a new bloom of one of at least three or four other varieties of mushroom. And in the very center of The Stump’s table were the glorious pair of caramel-colored mushrooms I called Meadow and The Chief.
Yes, mushrooms do tend to come out in the fall, when the damp and rot are conducive to their growth. The strange thing was the way they lived into the winter, how even in the snow, the oysters looked as plump and luscious as ever, new shelves appearing even in dark January. It was only as February’s cold turned brutal that the oysters began to show the frost-bite along their edges, turning brown and hardening. In spring, as the crocus and windflowers began popping up into the greening lawn, the stump went quiet. The oysters, heavy with their hardening, pulled off the outer layer of bark as they began to fall away. Even in the spring rains, the wood ears stayed still and grey as lichen, and Meadow and The Chief, the first to shrivel in the early winter, went to black hard nubs.
Eventually, by late spring I helped the process, pulling away the dead and hardened pieces and tossing them in the woods, leaving The Stump naked and stark, sere and wintry, as the world around it grew to summer’s ripeness and fullness. Gill on the grass grew up around, then died back, and arms of Virginia creeper have begun to reach around the sides.
Here and there, on occasion, a group of those gray faerie mushrooms–thin discs atop impossibly thread-like stalks–would rise for a morning around the base, and dry to powder by afternoon, like manna.
The piece of bark I had set up at the base to delineate a faerie door at the beginning of this magickal cycle has begun to look the worse for wear, and I have been searching for the perfect thing to replace it. But yesterday when I looked, the door and little dooryard were covered by a suddenly-appearing crowd of the little brown mushrooms with downward-curving caps. The Faerie realm of The Stump seems to be preparing for its next season of growth. I doubt the oysters will come back, now that the outer bark is gone. One small living patch of wood ear remains on the northern side, next to the faerie door. Perhaps it will thrive again along the surfaces. I have been seeing rings of the large white horse mushrooms popping up in other people’s lawns, and am putting out my own silent welcome that some might again show up in our grassy patches. Mostly, although I know that it was perhaps a once in a lifetime experience for a singular stump, I long for some caramel-colored stalks to emerge from the center of the table. I think it was late September or early October last year when they appeared, so I will be patient, just in case they come again.
You may say there is no such thing as a Faerie realm. You can tell me that the season of fungi is out of sync with the seasons of green things. You may say it’s dangerous to welcome the fae ones to live in close proximity to my home. You can tell me I’m strange or playing with fire for talking to the fae folk I meet in my dreams, for speaking their names.
What I know is that during the deadest, most anxious winter of my life, something lived and thrived in my yard, something offered me daily visions of what can grow in harsh conditions. And I will welcome whatever magick appears again as summer turns once more to fall, and we cover our faces, and the shadows spread.
Perhaps within the shadows, something hopeful, something holy, something wildly alive, will appear.
Gratitude List: 1. How life continues, even in harsh conditions. 2. Rainy summer mornings. Breathe in. Breathe out. 3. Looking forward to being in the classroom again. Tomorrow and Monday are Professional Development Days, and students come back on Tuesday. I’m not ready, but I’m ready, if you know what I mean. 4. Fungi, especially those white mushrooms popping up in faerie rings all over the place. 5. Blue, blue, blue, blue, blue.
May we walk in Beauty!
“Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.” —Deuteronomy 32:2
“There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.” —Thomas Merton (Oh, but I am going to try, Thomas Merton. I am going to try.)
Deep breath. Straighten the spine. Scan the wide vista before you. Feel the morning breeze as the sun rises over the far horizon. Another deep breath. Spread your wings. Leap. —Beth Weaver-Kreider
“It is better to err on the side of daring than the side of caution.” —Alvin Toffler
“What comes, will go. What is found, will be lost again. But what you are is beyond coming and going and beyond description. You are It.” —Rumi
“Though my soul may set in darkness it will rise in perfect light. I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.” —Sarah Williams, about Galileo
“Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.” —from The Talmud
“An artist is a dreamer consenting to dream of the actual world.” —George Santayana