Maker’s Monday

Look at that violet and indigo swirl of cloud above the barn.

Not much to say today. I’m going to make masks, make zines, create writing prompts for a project, crochet the arms of a doll I started over the weekend. Read. Make a cherry cobbler with the sour cherries my neighbor gave me. Watch for Beauty. Plot the Revolution. Pet cats. Stretch and walk and learn some more Spanish. I suppose that’s my Gratitude List for today–looking forward to a week of making and noticing and working on inner transformation in order to keep participating in world-changing events of the day.

May we do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in Beauty!


“I sometimes visualize the ongoing cycle of racism as a moving walkway at the airport. Active racist behavior is equivalent to walking fast on the conveyor belt. The person engaged in active racist behavior has identified with the ideology of our White supremacist system and is moving with it. Passive racist behavior is equivalent to standing still on the walkway. No overt effort is being made, but the conveyor belt moves the bystanders along to the same destination as those who are actively walking. But unless they are walking actively in the opposite direction at a speed faster than the conveyor belt—unless they are actively anti-racist—they will find themselves carried along with the others.” —Beverly Tatum


“The Holocaust was not the holocaust until it was too late.” —James Regier


“People are hard to hate close up. Move in. Speak truth to bullshit. Be civil. Hold hands. With strangers. Strong back. Soft front. Wild heart. ❤️” —Brené Brown


“We cannot tire or give up. We owe it to the present and future generations of all species to rise up and walk!” ―Wangari Maathai


“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.” ―Joseph Campbell


“Every person who has ever achieved anything has been knocked down many times. But all of them picked themselves up and kept going, and that is what I have always tried to do.” ―Wangari Maathai


“It is the people who must save the environment. It is the people who must make their leaders change. And we cannot be intimidated. So we must stand up for what we believe in.” ―Wangari Maathai


“How many kinds of beauty exist in nature? A sunset’s beauty is not the same as a river’s beauty is not the same as a newborn’s beauty is not the same as a kind act’s beauty is not the same as an old oak tree’s beauty. And yet, they are the same. Why do you think that is?” —Jarod K. Anderson


“The eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time. . . . To protect what is wild is to protect what is gentle. Perhaps the wilderness we fear is the pause between our own heartbeats, the silent space that says we live only by grace. Wilderness lives by this same grace. Wild mercy is in our hands.” —Terry Tempest Williams


“The extremists are afraid of books and pens, the power of education frightens them. They are afraid of women.” ―Malala Yousafzai


“There is no exquisite beauty without some strangeness in the proportion.” ―Edgar Allen Poe


“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ―Mark Twain


“It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know the sense of wonder and humility. ” ―Rachel Carson


“…drink in the beauty and wonder at the meaning of what you see.” ―Rachel Carson

Simple Solstice

In our house, pizza is a good symbol for the fire of Solstice, how basic ingredients laid together on bread are transformed by heat. Also, pizza makes joy.

Today is Summer Solstice, the beginning of the season of learning our passions, tending our fires, meditating on our energies.

What fires you up?
The ancient Greeks called the Fire nature within us our choler, so people who have a lot of fire are often called choleric. We’ve simplified that complicated idea in modern days to mean quick to anger, but it’s also about passion and energy.

When it comes to emotional responses, I can be choleric–quick to get angry, quick to get excited, quick to respond. And I often sustain those passionate emotions over time, burning coals. Physically, I tend to be more phlegmatic, less able to sustain energy over the long haul, preferring to sit quietly and read or make things than to be up and doing.

What makes you angry? What is your trigger for the rage-fires? How can you use that energy to help you bring about change and transformation? Fire transforms landscapes, not only destroying with fierce and random abandon, but creating spaces for new life to grow, new structures to be built. Will you pledge to learn about your anger, how to control and direct it so that it burns down old and tired and unjust systems in order to make way for new and love-filled ways of being that have space for all to breathe?

Do you tend, like me, to the sedentary life: quiet, still, and restful? How can we use this season of fire to feed us the energy to move our bodies, to revel in the fire of muscles moving, of our bodies in motion? Use this season of fire as a time to revel in the way your body moves. Careful now–it’s not a time to hate and despise the bodies we’re in because they’re bigger or slower or flabbier than we want them to be. Let’s live this season of fire to exist in the joy of being in these bodies we’ve chosen, to marvel in the senses, to move, to stretch, to learn speed and strength and limberness.

Summer Solstice is a time, too, to think about what sparks joy. Justice and joy are not things we need to choose between. They feed each other, if we let them, if we keep our hearts focused on their flames. Where do you see Beauty? (I usually capitalize Beauty because I believe it is the Holy One’s middle name.) What fills you? How does your love of Beauty feed your flames of desire for justice?

What ideas and images catch passionate fire in your brain? Flash of birdwing, the shade of red in that quilt, the way those words sound together, the crinkle at the corners of your beloved’s eyes. How can you feed the coals of those fires that fill you with passion? Fire season is the source of the energy of creation, of making, of designing, of appreciating Beauty. Give yourself to those fires. Feel the way they make you sizzle and roar to life.

A Blessed Solstice to you!


Gratitude:
The fires of justice, of love, of making, of delight, of transformation.
May we do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in Beauty! Blessed Solstice!


“We need, in every community, a group of angelic troublemakers.” ―Bayard Rustin


“Bless the poets, the workers for justice, the dancers of ceremony, the singers of heartache, the visionaries, all makers and carriers of fresh meaning—We will all make it through, despite politics and wars, despite failures and misunderstandings. There is only love.” ―Joy Harjo, Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings: Poems


“Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.” —Howard Zinn


“It all matters. That someone turns out the lamp, picks up the windblown wrapper, says hello to the invalid, pays at the unattended lot, listens to the repeated tale, folds the abandoned laundry, plays the game fairly, tells the story honestly, acknowledges help, gives credit, says good night, resists temptation, wipes the counter, waits at the yellow, makes the bed, tips the maid, remembers the illness, congratulates the victor, accepts the consequences, takes a stand, steps up, offers a hand, goes first, goes last, chooses the small portion, teaches the child, tends to the dying, comforts the grieving, removes the splinter, wipes the tear, directs the lost, touches the lonely, is the whole thing. What is most beautiful is least acknowledged. What is worth dying for is barely noticed.” —Laura McBride


“Love lit a fire in my chest, and everything that wasn’t love left.” –Rumi


“Developing your feeling takes time, especially if it has been systematically discouraged in you. There may be an initial layer of numbness or anger you have to move through and, beyond that, a backlog of grief. But as you make the seemingly bottomless descent, it helps to remember that grief is the downpour your soul has been thirsting for. Like rain, the more excellently and prodigiously you grieve, the more growth and fertility you can expect. There is a future beyond the spiritual aridity and meaninglessness of our time, teeming with life. If each of us has the tenacity to retrieve the elixirs of our discomforts, our combined medicine will heal the collective wound.” —Toko-pa Turner

Making Family

A year ago today, Jon and I went to the Walters Museum in Baltimore. It is now one of my favorite museums. This is a filter-altered photo of a marble lion in the Egyptian antiquities section.

Today’s Prompt is to write a poem about family.

Sometimes it all comes ready-made,
like seeds, like sunshine, like rain.
But sometimes you make it yourself.
Take a little clay, a palmful of water,
sculpt and carve, shift and caress,
with great care and concentration.

And sometimes it all just gets
tossed in your direction,
bits and pieces scattered on the wind,
and you take the threads into your hands
and begin to weave. And you chant,
and you dance, and then it happens.

There’s no single formula for family,
no direction manual, no guide.
Blood’s one sacred element, certainly,
but water will do it, or wind,
whatever hold the souls together,
like laughter, like tears.


Gratitude List:
1. Celebrating Chester’s 100th birthday. Harmonica, singing, family, trees, stories, and a picture of Sarah Jane. She was there, of course. I know she was there.
2. Grades are all done and marked ready to submit, and it isn’t even midnight!
3. Reading Susan Cooper’s books with the boys. I love when they get so into the reading of a book that they stand up and start to pace, and talk back to the book.
4. Little bits of tidiness.
5. The warm times are coming. The birds tell me so every morning. I can wait.

May we walk in Beauty!

Bananas

banaba
(This is me at the age of six, in someone’s banana plantation.)

Cold rain has fallen.
Clouds part, sun floods the hollow.
And where have you gone?

Gratitude List:
1.  All the reminders yesterday to keep open to surprises.
2. Nieces and nephews.  Cousins to my children.
3. All the green.  Somehow green means more this spring than usual.
4. Making things.  Creating.  Seeing something inside my head, and then putting it into the physical world. Isn’t that an amazing process?
5. Rain and sun.

May we walk in Beauty!

Clouds, Gardens and Everything Comes Together

These are the days when I become a quiet rock,
a quivering leaf, an ear of lichen
listening to the stones grow.
The words have wandered away,
eloquence eludes me,
and all my sentences begin
with the word So.

Wind will sing in my feathers
but my own story waits
like a seed in the heart of earth,
like a dream that must rise through mud,
a bubble, the nymph of a damselfly
crawling through centuries
up the stalk of a smooth green reed
to be born to the blue light.

There is a roaring in my ears
like the sound of grief or rage.
But it is only the lazy hum of summer,
of fireflies clicking their rhythms
into the velvet indigo of solstice,
communing with the moon.

Another day I’ll dawn,
but for now I will sink
slowly into the pond
with Grandmother Moon
and leave my message with the fish.

2013 June 141
The makings of a batch of medicine bags: spinning the wool, crocheting, and adding beads and cord.  Portable and easy to fit in the spaces of a busy season.

Gratitude List:
1.  Clouds.  Not cloudiness, which is its own sort of blessing at times.  But clouds, those Michelangelo works of art that have been so magnificent in the recent spate of changeable weather.
2.  Vegetable Gardens.  Have you seen it, too?  Everywhere, woven through people’s flower patches, a few tomato cages, a wide-spreading squash.  Or off to the side of the house–out front, even–tidy or  wanton, fenced or flowing vegetable gardens.  If this crazy economy has been good for anything, I think it has empowered people to remember that they can grow their own food.
3.  The way things come together sometimes, even when you’re not quite trying.  This is especially nice when I remember the times when things haven’t come together, even when I’ve tried desperately.
4.  Day lilies and chicory.  Bright orange stars on all the back-road banks, and chicory’s beautiful blue eyes, almost as sparkly as my Jonny’s.  Let’s throw in some lace, shall we?  Queen Anne has plenty to spare.  And something golden to balance the lace–buttercups!  And just here, a cascade of lush lavender vetch.  Oh summer!  You fill my spirit.
5.  Making.  There are moments in these busy days when I have to sit down and rest, but my hands still want something to do.  I have found my way back to making again, and am satisfied.

May we walk in Beauty.