Time Is a Tangle

Gratitude List:
1. The way that talking about it, writing about it, makes it more bearable. It doesn’t go away. It just looms less.
2. Poems I wrote last year and other years are popping up today to help me through the challenges of today. Time’s a circle. Time’s a loop. Time’s a weird tangle of threads.
3. That goldfinch singing on the top of the bird feeder is so bright in the morning sunshine it almost hurts my eyes.
4. And. . .the blue, the blue, the blue: wild hyacinths, violets, gill-on-the-grass.
5. You, finding your groundedness out there, and me finding my roots here. Usually, I think of the world in webs. Today, I think of mycelium, and I know that as surely as the trees in the bosque across our road are communicating through a mysterious underground network of fungi, that you and I, as we find our roots, are also mysteriously and powerfully communicating, and holding things together.

Take care of your roots. May we walk in Beauty!

“Our task is to take this earth so deeply and wholly into ourselves that it will resurrect within our being.” —Rainer Maria Rilke

“We have no symbolic life, and we are all badly in need of the symbolic life. Only the symbolic life can express the need of the soul – the daily need of the soul, mind you! And because people have no such thing, they can never step out of this mill – this awful, banal, grinding life in which they are “nothing but.” —C. G. Jung

by Shel Silverstein

Listen to the MUSTN’TS, child,
Listen to the DON’TS
Listen to the SHOULDN’TS,
Listen to the NEVER HAVES,
Then listen close to me-
Anything can happen, child,
Anything can be.

If you are a dreamer
by Shel Silverstein

If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer…
If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!

“It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.”
—Mary Oliver

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” —Once-ler, in Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” ―Nelson Mandela

Simply Grateful

Gratitude List:
1. Good sleep. Thor is a really good listener. After a week and a half of really difficult nights in which he consistently woke me up at three, he now lets me sleep until the alarm. When my watch buzzed this morning, he fell out of bed. I really think he understood my long imploring conversations. And why not?
2. Yesterday’s rain was moody. I love moody rain. I do miss the sun during rainy weeks, but sometimes, I just need a moody sky to bring out the inner colors.
3. While I was writing an application for a summer writing residency, I went off on a tangent searching for a particular quote that I remembered about the role of writers in times of peril. I finally found it, with the help of some friends, and along the way re-discovered a whole hoard of applicable quotes. Here’s the Toni Morrison quote I was looking for: “There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.” —Toni Morrison
4. Ursula K. Le Guin. She has some really inspiring notes about the purpose of the writer in difficult times.
5. Talented young people who put their hearts into their creative work. I keep missing cues at practice because I’m caught up watching the dancers. I’m grateful for my alto friend who gently pokes me.

May we walk in Beauty!


I am obsessed with the reflection of lights on the windows, especially lights from other windows.

Gratitude List:
1. Autumn sunlight and breezes creating a shadow play on the tree trunks on the hillside, on the barn, on the grass.
2. The people who stand up to bullies, who stand against cruelty, who push for people’s basic human rights, and who do their best to help.
3. Great readers and great writers. I am immersed this morning in the voices of LeVar Burton and N. Scott Momaday.
4. Whole wheat bagels and peanut butter.
5. Quiet Saturday mornings. My brain needs the rest from aural clutter.

May we walk in Beauty!

Whom Shall We Trust?

During the season of Lent, the worship materials for the Mennonite Church suggest a more ritualized confession time, not particularly about confessing sin, but expanding it to confess what we believe. As part of the ritual, a few people each week are asked to come forward and bring their confessions in the form of a poem or a piece of art or a story or a reflection of some sort. Today, I have been asked to be part of the ritual, answering the question: “Who will trust in God today?” Here’s my poem:

Whom shall we trust?
When hurricanes and charlatans
destroy the weak?
When the meek are set
to inherit a world laid waste by greed?
When human need bats last,
long after lust for money, sex, and power?
Whom shall we trust
in this hour when so much has been lost?
When the cost seems too high
for such a simple thing
as resting in belief
that the Holy One has time
for grief about our trials and tribulations.

The pillars of the past no longer hold.
They’ve had feet of clay all along,
and wrong upon wrong upon wrong
has brought the ancient houses down.
There’s no more room here for illusion.

How, then, shall we trust?
Shall we just ignore the lancing fear
that tears our sense of safety from its moorings?
That bears us outward into territories
we’ve not known before?

Perhaps it’s not a matter
of ignoring what we face,
but rather an attempt
to place our anxious thoughts
within the context of the Greater Power.

I will put my trust in Mystery,
in that ineffable presence we call God,
in the Knowable Unknowing,
and in the One
who put on shoes like us
and trod the roads we walk,
and spoke as one who knew
the course of human suffering.
I’ll trust us to the Holy Wind of Spirit,
who hears our songs and knows our fears,
who causes us to rise, though we resist;
in our resistance fills our sails,
the wind that pulls against the kite
and makes us rise to higher height.

Perhaps nothing can be truly known,
no comfortable future gardens
sown with seeds of certainty.
But we can trust the certainty of seed,
the trusty breeze of Spirit
and the rains of the Creator
on these fields we bear within us.

Gratitude List:
1. The Little Sisters buzzing for pollen among the crocus and anemones
2. A fun afternoon of pond play yesterday with my kid
3. This man who makes the most amazing birthday cakes
4. The opportunities for my soon-to-be-teenager to learn to do the tech things he loves
5. Summer break is on its way

May we walk in Beauty!

More Music

Roses still blooming after the snow.
Sunday evening in Lancaster, in the week after the snow,roses were still blooming, and the hips are swelling. If you don’t put chemicals on your roses, now is the time to harvest the hips for tea.

Gratitude of Resistance Twenty-Five:
The McCaskey Gospel Choir and their amazing director Ms. Stevens. Energy, verve, commitment, delight, depth. . .they brought such a fine musical program to our school yesterday, and finished up by inviting our singing groups up onto the stage to perform the last song with them. Such a rich experience. All day, that moment of their day was one of the things my students were expressing gratitude for.

May we walk in Beauty!

Back Again


I am back after a bit of a media hiatus. My intention was to give myself a little more breathing room to get my end-of-semester grading done. The news barrage fed on itself and sent me into a cycle of needing more news, more information, as though somehow knowing more would help to quell my anxieties. I did maintain a connection to some news sources in the past week, but it was helpful have a bit of a fast.

Gratitude List:
1. That feeling when the semester grades are in. Suddenly the wave has passed, the weight is lifted, the light end of the tunnel is reached–I’ll shove in all the metaphors I can manage here. I feel so much better. And voila, the slate is blank again, and I am starting this semester just one notch closer to my goals of remaining organized.
2. All the people who are standing in the gap. Did you see the footage of protesters at airports all across the country? Spontaneous support for those who are harmed by the refugee ban. I am grateful for people who just go out and do the good thing. Love is indeed our resistance.
3. All those songs about peace and comfort yesterday at church. Truly, I need to keep my inner house in order if I am going to help get the outer house in order. Ending the service with the song of blessing from the Navajo tradition: Peace before us, peace behind us, peace under our feet. Peace within us, peace over us. Let all around us be peace.
4. Friends. Isn’t it nice to have friends? People who keep track of each other, who listen, who advise, who hold the space.
5. The way the snow makes visible the sleeping bodies of the wooded hills and ridges, outlining their sinuous forms through the trees.

May we walk in Beauty!

Gulls, Crows and Wild Geese

Cover 3


Gratitude List:
1.  The life and influence of Grace Lefever, herbalist, peace and justice advocate, wise woman, compassionate heart, teacher
2.  Wild chamomile feathering up through the brown grass and dead leaves
3.  Hundreds of wild geese flying over the farm in the mist this morning: “You do not have to be good.”
And crows and gulls flying and calling through the rain above the farm this afternoon: “Be here.  Let your wild self fly free.”
4.  The faerie worlds and magic that my friend Heather sees and offers in her photographs
5.  Rainy day art projects: “Hey Mom, can we do that thing that we do?  Where we draw and then trade?”

May we walk in Beauty!

Who Inspires You?

I saw a photo the other day of a list that someone had made of people who inspired her.  She’d written the names by hand, artistically. That was part of what caught my attention, but the idea of keeping a running list of people who inspire me has really grabbed hold of me.  I plan to start a list right away.  When I get to one hundred names or so, I’ll look it over and see if I can discern themes and ideas that give me some clues to what I hold dear.  And I want to make sure that there’s variety there.

If you want to join me, here are some ideas to get us started.  You can list several names in each category, of course:

Someone in your immediate family.
An elder.
A peer.
A child.
A revolutionary person who helped to change the world.
Someone who changed the world quietly, behind the scenes.
A musician or band.
An artist.
A great thinker.
A historical figure.
A novelist and/or a poet.
Make sure that you have a good representation of gender, a good mix of races, of countries of origin, of historical periods.
Hmm.  How about a fictional character or two?
A religious or spiritual teacher.
A dancer or other athlete.

What other categories might you choose?

Gratitude List:
1.  The cardinal in the top of the chestnut tree singing, “Pretty, Pretty, sweeeEEEt, sweeEEET!”
2.  Afternoon sun on chicken feathers
3.  Walking between worlds.  Not sure how else to describe it.  Holding your story and yours and yours.  Being here, but there, too.
4.  Iron.  I know I need more of it.  The Earth supplies it.
5.  How everything and everyone changes and evolves, even me, to become more and more ourownselves.

May we walk in Beauty.

My Mother’s Voice

Tanzanian Silence (1966)
by Ruth Weaver

White hot noonday sun;
The earth, still;
Cattle and birds, silent at midday.
Later a breeze would come sweeping up from the shores of Lake Victoria;
And children would laugh and call and run home from school;
But in this time and place
And at this hour,
The sound of sheer silence.

In that stillness,
That absence of all sound and movement,
There would come an awareness of sound beyond sound
Stars incinerating themselves?
Cosmic expansion?
The ongoing music of creation?

“And God spoke. . .”

I experience a knowingness
That beyond all the sounds of life on earth
And beyond all the noise of my own inner world
God still speaks.

In the Cosmos and in the heart,
God can be heard.
In stillness.
In silence.

Gratitude List:
1.  Learning the poetry of my mother, Ruth Slabaugh Weaver, and my grandmother, Lura Lauver Slabaugh.   Experiencing the wisdom and beauty of the voices of the women who have come before me, my mother and grandmothers, my friends who have paved such incredible pathways.  (And for my father, for pulling out this poem for my birthday, for poetically suggesting that my mother may have been hearing my own music emerging as she wrote this poem in the year before I was born.)
2.  Cicadas
3.  Staying afloat
4.  So many words, so many stories
5.  The imagination of chidren

May we walk in Music, Silence, Stillness, Beauty.

The Busy Season Has Begun

Farm season has begun.  I am exhausted, and falling asleep in the recliner in the evenings.  But it’s the best kind of exhausted, the kind that comes from good hard work out in the elements, working with great people, and hanging out with our customers.  It will mean that I will not be posting as regularly, likely only a couple times a week.  I’ll keep working at gratitude, keep formulating poems and ideas.

2013 June 051

Gratitude List:
1.  Harvesting conversations, working our way down a strawberry patch.
2.  Share days.  Those are the days when the shareholders come to pick up their weekly produce.  I love to sit and chat, to talk with people about food and recipes and children and education and spirituality and Reiki and growing older and growing up. . .
3.  Providing beauty and nourishment for people.
4.  Sandra and my parents: I always know that someone is seeing to the needs of my children on these mornings when I am seeing to the needs of the farm.
5.  Jane Peifer, Mim Book, and whoever comes next.  Cycles, giving space for grieving, welcoming the next chapter in the story.

May we walk in Beauty.