One of the things I love about summer is the time to work on this project, and that project, and then a little bit on that project. I don’t sit and knit or crochet for really long periods because I feel like I “should” be doing something else, something “productive.” I’ve been taking a break from scraping the balcony porch ceiling because I got so mad at it the other day, and wore myself out. I’ve been focusing on some camp materials the last few days instead. Yesterday, I found out that the prayer shawl I have been knitting needs to be delivered this week. So, hurray! The thing I MUST do, all day, is knit. I guess it’s me and the cats and LeVar Burton’s voice reading me stories all day.
May we do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in Beauty!
“Only to the degree that people are unsettled is there any hope for them.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
“It may be that when we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.” —Wendell Berry, The Real Work, Standing by Words (1983)
Annie Dillard says, “How we spend our days is of course how we spend our lives.”
“We have to consciously study how to be tender with each other until it becomes a habit.” —Audre Lorde
“Acknowledging our love for the living world does something that a library full of papers on sustainable development and ecosystem services cannot: it engages the imagination as well as the intellect. It inspires belief; and this is essential to the lasting success of any movement.” —George Monbiot
The traditional Twelve Days of Christmas last until January 6, Epiphany. Since I begin my Dreamtime walk on the solstice, I give myself a few more days in Dreamtime, and choose my images and words for the year from the soup of my Dreamtime stew on the sixth of January. Perhaps I throw things off by adding a few extra days to my high holy days of winter. The twelve days have particular cosmic significance, being the number of days’ difference between the lunar and solar years. The twelfth day itself is only a partial day. I suppose I could have my Epiphany tomorrow, and then I’d have committed myself to only twelve days of dreaming. But maybe I need a longer gestation period for my ideas and words and images.
This morning, I woke up with the word “Maferefun” in my head. I had been reading an article earlier in the day about religious traditions around the world, and Maferefun is the Yoruba greeting for the holy ones. It means something like, “I greet you. Praise be!” A nice word, I think, to greet the new year, and a reminder to myself that all about me is holy. All carries the spark and imprint of the Creative Mystery. It is our work to notice and to greet it as we see that livingness in the world and the people around us.
Elderly bench that holds me as I sit in the morning, I greet you. Praise be. Purring cat who wakes me in the dawn, I greet you. Praise be. Owl calling your family home from hunting, I greet you, Praise be. Sun soon to rise over the ridge, I greet you. Praise be.
Gratitude List: 1. Slow Starts–Today is Professional Development, and then two days of classes for the week. 2. Setting boundaries 3. Knitting and Crocheting: Making beauty from a knotted piece of string 4. The Enneagram, a thoughtful tool 5. Reading together as a family. Jon bought us a copy of Danny the Champion of the World to read to us this break because he remembered loving it as a child. I missed part of it while I graded yesterday, but I heard the beginning, and the tender ending last night before the children went to bed.
May we walk in Beauty! I greet you! Praise Be!
Words for Wednesday’s Slow Start: “The Work. I am learning, slowly and in tiny little ways, to stop asking myself what I can get from each moment, but instead what my Work is here in the moment. And realizing, ever so dimly, that when I am really doing my Work (really doing my Work), I am also receiving what I need.” —Beth Weaver-Kreider
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” —Peter Drucker
“There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it will be a butterfly.” —Margaret Fuller
“Brew me a cup for a winter’s night.
For the wind howls loud and the furies fight;
Spice it with love and stir it with care,
And I’ll toast our bright eyes,
my sweetheart fair.”
—Minna Thomas Antrim
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.” —T. S. Eliot
“How do we go on living, when every day our hearts break anew? Whether your beloved are red-legged frogs, coho salmon, black terns, Sumatran tigers, or fat Guam partulas, or entire forests, mountains, rivers, lakes, or oceans, or the entire planet, the story is the same, the story of the murder of one’s beloved, the murder of one’s beloved, the murder of one’s beloved.” ―Derrick Jensen, Dreams
ONE OR TWO THINGS
by Mary Oliver from New and Selected Poems: Volume One (Beacon Press)
Don’t bother me.
The butterfly’s loping flight
carries it through the country of the leaves
delicately, and well enough to get it
where it wants to go, wherever that is, stopping
here and there to fuzzle the damp throats
of flowers and the black mud; up
and down it swings, frenzied and aimless; and sometimes
for long delicious moments it is perfectly
lazy, riding motionless in the breeze on the soft stalk
of some ordinary flower.
The god of dirt came up to me many times and said
so many wise and delectable things, I lay
on the grass listening
to his dog voice,
frog voice; now,
he said, and now,
and never once mentioned forever,
which has nevertheless always been,
like a sharp iron hoof,
at the center of my mind.
One or two things are all you need
to travel over the blue pond, over the deep
roughage of the trees and through the stiff
flowers of lightning– some deep
memory of pleasure, some cutting
knowledge of pain.
But to lift the hoof!
For that you need an idea.
For years and years I struggled
just to love my life. And then
rose, weightless, in the wind.
“Don’t love your life
too much,” it said,
Today, my act of resistance is knitting my hat for the march.
What is yours?
1. Those clouds, which were wings, and the sundog which smiled on them.
2. How the boys get so many things. I was buying pink yarn today for my kittycat hat (that’s what I call it so I don’t have to explain too much to them at this point), and Ellis said, “But if you’re all wearing pink hats, isn’t that sort of playing into the stereotypes about women and pink?” Savvy kid. I said we were reclaiming it. They helped me pick out the yarn, and were both really excited when I found some eyelash yarn to knit into the hat. Ellis wanted to carry it around the store.
4. Knitting. Knotting. Making. I feel a little like Madame Dufarge knitting up this hat. I might not be knitting information for the revolution, but I am knitting for the revolution. (And I think I didn’t cast on enough stitches–my needles are smaller than the pattern suggested. I’ll take out these first rows and start again. And this time with magical intent.)
5. Finding new ways to say things. New vocabulary. New structures. New synapses firing in the brain.