Chatter and Silence

One child woke up at the same time as I did this morning, and he woke up loquacious. My brain, full of fog, and just wanting to take the morning slowly, couldn’t keep up. I tried to be present to him, but all the chatter about video games and the differences in the hand controller thingies and whether it makes sense to buy a bundled package of two games that are really similar began to feel like waves crashing over me. He’s gone upstairs now to play some video games instead of talking about them, and I am finally here in silence.

I kept thinking about those pictures of the kids when they were little, how they pierce my heart with their beauty but also with the sense that I wasn’t Present enough, that I could have been more There somehow. We can’t go back and recapture the moments of their childhood, like this morning’s delightful chatter, which was in its own way exhausting, but also beautiful and tender.

It’s that bowl of the heart again. All the things go in together, both the longing for silence and reflective time, and the longing for the presence of the chatty child, all at once. The pain of the lost past, and the treasuring of its marvel and mystery.

At the same time that I wanted to tell this boy that he needed to be quiet a while so I could spend some time in my own head, I could see myself, ten years from now, longing for the sound of his voice in the silence of an empty nest. So much of life is never either/or. The tension is to feel the bright joy and the piercing ache together, and not let either lessen the impact of the other.


Gratitude List:
1. The chatty morning child
2. The silence when he gives me some space to be in my own head
3. We saw our first monarch of the season
4. The allure of this pollen-filled season, honey-smooth scent of catalpa blossoms, sparkle of sun, tender lullaby-call of oriole. I enjoy as much as I am physically able, though I sequester myself inside, away from the pollen, for much of the time.
5. Creative projects, and time to work on them
6. Yesterday, I did one of my Impossible Tasks, something that has been hanging over my head, making it hard to stay in the present.

Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly–in Beauty.


“The Wild Mother whispers, ‘Have you noticed? I left the gate open just for you.'” —Anonymous


“Now more than ever, we must catch glimpses of that which lifts us up.
Now more than ever, we must notice the rarely noticed miracles happening right under our nose.” —Rachel Macy Stafford


“I dream of lost vocabularies that might express some of what we no longer can.” —Jack Gilbert


“Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.” —Rumi


“Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise so I am changing myself.” —Rumi


“I know I walk in and out of several worlds each day.” ―Joy Harjo


Andrew Harvey:
“All mystical systems are addicted to transcending this reality. This addiction is part of the reason why the world is being destroyed. The monotheistic religions honor an off-planet God and would sacrifice this world and its attachments to the adoration of that God. But the God I met was both immanent and transcendent. This world is not an illusion, and the philosophies that say it is are half-baked half-truths. In an authentic mystical experience, the world does disappear and reveal itself as the dance of the divine consciousness. But then it reappears, and you see that everything you are looking at is God, and everything you’re touching is God. This vision completely shatters you.

“We are so addicted, either to materialism or to transcending material reality, that we don’t see God right in front of us, in the beggar, the starving child, the brokenhearted woman; in our friend; in the cat; in the flea. We miss it, and in missing it, we allow the world to be destroyed.”

Re-Entering the Old Rage

I had all sorts of ideas about items for today’s list, but here in the foggy-brained morning, they’ve fled. It’s nice to know that I have been actively feeling gratitude, even if I can’t remember the exact moments.

Gratitude List:
1. At first, it felt like “Oh no! This again?!” when an internal itch came back. I thought I had resolved that, packed it up, and put it to rest, for Pete’s sake. But Pete or someone else had other ideas, and I’ve reopened the case on it. When conflicts and obsessions and simmering rages that I thought I had finished with come roaring back to life, it means they’re not really done yet. They’ve got more work to do in the psyche. So instead of panicking and getting back into the frenzied cycle, I can tell myself that time and distance enable me to be more circumspect now, to find the deeper themes and meanings, and to turn myself even more directly toward grace, to spiral more toward my center. So, I will be grateful for the next level of messages and learning that come.
2. LeVar Burton’s podcast. Short stories! Read by one of my favorite voices of all time.
3. Aging. Changing. Entering the doorway of the Crone’s Hut. It’s time to take up the threads of the fairy tales again.
4. Oak trees. Really, these are the people you need to be noticing right now, how they hold their leaves and spin them into leather of rich colors. Not the shiny brights like the maples, but equally sumptuous and eye-catching, if you look.
5. Morning quiet. Always, the morning quiet. My brain is alone for a little while every day in this morning quiet.

May we walk in Beauty!

The Art of Dreaming

Poeming today on The Art of __(BLANK)__.

The Art of Dreaming

You need to brood, to hold the day-world deep,
to creep through hallways and tunnels
in buildings you half remember.
Keep things in their rooms, hidden in hollows,
behind oaken doors and up stairways,
through arches and curtains,
where they become something else,
symbols of themselves, monsters and midwives.

You must step into the stream of the story,
find peace in the threads of the tale
that the smallest elf of your deepest self
is telling you, sifting and shifting images,
sliding pictures through your vision
like an old-time stereoscope.

Do not try to remember. Look sideways,
like you do at the Pleiades, which you can only see
when you look beside them, and never directly.
The memory of dreams requires just such a two-step,
a soft and sideways focus, peripheral.
Write them down. Don’t force sense upon them,
but let them unravel onto the page.

Sacred Eating

Gratitudes:
1. Eating Verlen’s pepper. Great gratitude to the person who harvested them and brought them to church. It feels like such a sacred moment to share the food of a friend who has died. I could feel his smile.
2. Graceful lines of ink on paper
3. Stretching, strengthening
4. Origami. I found a pattern for a sweet little bat today, and my second try turned out a darling little critter. Now I need to find some pliable black paper.
5. Making knots in string. Crocheting again. All these bits of art and craft that make make life shiny.

May we walk in Beauty!


“Why are you so determined to keep your wild silently inside you? Let it breathe. Give it a voice. Let it roll out of you on the wide open waves. Set it free.”
―Jeanette LeBlanc
*****
“Lots of people talk to animals. . . . Not very many listen though. . .that’s the problem.” ―Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh
*****
“When war is our only industry, the only crop is blood.” ―Will Giles
*****
Plant
So that your own heart
Will grow.

Love
So God will think,
“Ahhhhh,
I got kin in that body!
I should start inviting that soul over
For coffee and
Rolls.”

Sing
Because this is a food
Our starving world
Needs.

Laugh
Because that is the purest
Sound.
—Hafiz
*****
“My journey has taught me that I must learn religion as the mystics learned it, through the inward quest that Jungian psychology has helped me with so much. Banding together in institutions, whether religious, academic or professional, helps some feel secure and able to look down on the unenlightened. But I’ve clearly learned that the inward quest must become one’s own before it’s any good at all.”
—Bud Harris, Ph.D.
*****
“In many shamanic societies, if you came to a medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions: “When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop being comforted by the sweet territory of silence?” —Gabrielle Roth
*****
“Blessed be your longing. Your endless ache. Your sharp crystal shatter. Your sea glass heart.” ―Jeannette LeBlanc

Handle With Care

  
Gratitude List:
1. The teachers and staff and administration at Wrightsville Elementary School. They create a safe and friendly community space in which the children love learning.
2. Hummingbird is home.
3. Friday’s really thoughtful Teacher Appreciation moments from a couple of students.
4. The passion of learning for oneself. Ellis knows so much about electricity, and he taught himself through Youtube videos. We bought him a breadboard and a knock-off Arduino and a Raspberry Pi for his birthday (I do not even know what those things are, really), and he’s just going to town creating ideas.
5. My memorykeepers.

May we walk in Beauty!

Still the Child in the Forest

Today’s prompt is to use a city or town name as the title of a poem.

Wrightsville
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

A ferry-step across the Susquehanna
from the town where Suzy Wright bought acres
and lived among her men: brothers and father,
though she never let herself be tied to any man.

Did she cross, too, here at the shallows,
where the Susquehannocks made a weir,
where they strung nets between rocks for fish,
waded out to gather mussels from their beds?

And this side became the wild frontier,
the land beyond the river-boundary.
These hills were wild, untamed, and game-full,
the lands beyond European civilization.

Like Suzy who lived on the other side,
the town on this side grew up unfettered,
wilder, more free than its married cousins
which tamely reside in pampered grace.


“Choosing to be honest is the first step in the process of love. There is no practitioner of love who deceives. Once the choice has been made to be honest, then the next step on love’s path is communication.”
― bell hooks, All About Love: New Visions
*
“Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps because I am afraid, and he gives me courage.”  ―Gandalf, J.R.R. Tolkien
*
Let the rain come and wash away
the ancient grudges, the bitter hatreds
held and nurtured over generations.
Let the rain wash away the memory
of the hurt, the neglect.
Then let the sun come out and
fill the sky with rainbows.
Let the warmth of the sun heal us
wherever we are broken.
Let it burn away the fog so that
we can see each other clearly.
So that we can see beyond labels,
beyond accents, gender or skin color.
Let the warmth and brightness
of the sun melt our selfishness.
So that we can share the joys and
feel the sorrows of our neighbors.
And let the light of the sun
be so strong that we will see all
people as our neighbors.
Let the earth, nourished by rain,
bring forth flowers
to surround us with beauty.
And let the mountains teach our hearts
to reach upward to heaven.

Amen.
―Rabbi Harold Kushner
*
I place in the hands of Time these stones:
the story of this day,
the people I have been near to,
the songs the Fates have whispered in my ears,
the colors that haunt me.

See how they turn to mist,
how they glow for a moment–
red, then golden, then blue–
then dissipate like ash blown by a wind
before I can register
that they have lost their substance.

Where does memory go
when it flows out with the tide,
when it slips down the drain,
when it is blown out with the morning fog?

I am still the child in the forest,
walking blind through the swirling mists,
under the shadows of the great trees.
With each forward step on the trail,
a little bird flutters from the pathway behind,
a bread crumb in its beak.
―Beth Weaver-Kreider
*
“When I stopped trying to change you, you changed me.” ―Rachel Macy Stafford


Gratitude Lists:
1. Guidance Counselors. Some of my students carry so much pain. I am grateful knowing that when I send a distraught student to the Guidance Office, she’ll receive the tender listening and help that she needs. Thank you to all my friends who are Guidance Counselors: You are saving the world.
2. Lasagna. Jon made a delicious spinach lasagna for supper tonight. We devoured it.
3. A heated house
4. Living with cats. I’m conflicted about what we humans have done to cats and dogs in domesticating them and breeding them, treating them like things we own. But we have co-evolved, and we are now responsible to care for them. I love the daily inter-species interaction.
5. That view of the hills of York County as we crested Mt. Pisgah on the way home: golden field of corn, then a green field, then a fringe of brown trunks of leafless trees, blue mountains behind, and a tangerine sky in the back with a fringe of migrating geese.

May we walk in Beauty!

Love is the Bridge


I am obsessed lately with what happens to the little tree when I photograph it with a kaleidoscope camera app and then run it through my usual filters. I want to spend more time thinking about threes and sixes. I suppose this is two and six: the reflection of the original view, and then that combination shifting into a triple reflection. It’s so satisfying.

Today’s prompt is to write a thing poem. Write a poem about an object.

All the poems are about bridges,
all the words, all the books, the letters.
Sometimes the bridge is so fragile,
and we walk across a word on air:
“Gentle,” we breathe,
and step across that chasm
between the solid dj
onto the swaying eh,
before we find our feet
on the rolling nn in the center,
and onward we skip to t, to l,
each word a bridge, a web
we cast between us
across the airy distance.


“Don’t be ashamed to weep; ’tis right to grieve. Tears are only water, and flowers, trees, and fruit cannot grow without water. But there must be sunlight also. A wounded heart will heal in time, and when it does, the memory and love of our lost ones is sealed inside to comfort us.”
―Brian Jacques
*
“Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.” ―Winston Churchill (Did he really say that? I like the point, so I am still putting it here.)
*
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the Earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” ―Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder
*
“Love is the bridge between you and everything.” ―Rumi
*
What do you do
when the gods of the dreamings
offer you maps for the journey?

How will you answer
when the night-folk cry out:
“Give us the hope of our meanings!”
―Beth Weaver-Kreider
*
“Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.”
―Bob Dylan


Gratitude List:
1. Sachs’ subtly striped tail. He’s a basic elegant charcoal and white cat, with no other markings except for the hint of striping at the end of his tail. A little bit of wildness underneath his staid and stoical veneer.
2. Turning back the tides of helplessness and hopelessness
3. Studying geography. I love geography. I am obsessed with learning the countries of the world. And my youngest has to know his continents and oceans for a quiz this week, so we’re having lots of fun doing geography games right now.
4. A warm shower on a chilly evening.
5. Soup. Before he went to work this morning, Jon Weaver-Kreider put some veggies and sausage in a crock pot, and when we got home we had a fine and tasty stew.

May we walk in Beauty!

This will Be a Memory

“Look! Look! Look deep into nature and you will understand everything.”
~ Albert Einstein
*
“The only trap I must beware not to fall into, is to think that each day is the same as the next. In fact, each morning brings with it a hidden miracle, and we must pay attention to this miracle.”
~ Paulo Coelho
*
“In the end, so much of the conflict we feel in our hearts is because we’ve split ourselves off from the very life we are living. We partition ourselves from the things with which we are at odds, treating them as unbelonging even as we live them. We vaguely imagine some other place, some better job, some other lover – but the irony is that so much of what makes us unhappy is our own rejection of the life we have made. Eventually we must take our life into our arms and call it our own. We must look at it squarely with all its unbecoming qualities and find a way to love it anyway. Only from that complete embrace can a life begin to grow into what it is meant to become.”
–Toko-pa Turner
*
“There is a notion that creative people are absentminded, reckless, heedless of social customs and obligations. It is, hopefully, true.” –Mary Oliver
*
“Love is the strongest force the world possesses and yet it is the humblest imaginable.” –Mahatma Gandhi
*
“People who talk only to communicate are different from people who talk for pleasure. People who talk for pleasure, as opposed to people who talk to communicate, become wonderful talkers over the years. They have eloquence.”
—Wendell Berry
*
“You must not only aim right, but draw the bow with all your might.”
–Henry David Thoreau
*
“Be curious, not judgmental.” –Walt Whitman
*
Out in the dawn, a misty sea
in walnut tree
a silent crow
will dream of snow

will ruffle feathers in the chill
will wait until
the first bright ray
begins the day

then with a final shake will rise
from branch to skies
and this will be
a memory
–Beth Weaver-Kreider


Gratitude List:
1. The blue whale in the clouds, swimming into the sunset
2. Bellyful rainblue clouds
3. The quiet shift between tangerine and indigo in the sunset clouds
4. Layer upon layer of clouds
5. The LMS performance of Radium Girls tonight. What a talented and thoughtful bunch of young people. I am incredibly proud of them. If you’re in Lancaster, you might want to check it out tomorrow or Saturday night.

May we walk in Beauty!