Last Day of School

A peony with her attendant priestess.

Gratitude List:
1. Last Day of School, and I think I am going to get everything done on time. Saturday is graduation, so I will get to see and say goodbye to so many students I love, so that’s some closure, even if this online business feels like leaving an open wound. (Hmmm. That seems to decrease the import of the gratitude, doesn’t it? It’s just that the yuckiness of ending this way is the reality I cannot escape, so I am grateful for an alternative method of closure that’s more real while still being safe.)
2. The smells! Yesterday I was walking and suddenly I was hit by a wall of scent. I know that they’re terrible for the trees, but one of the climbing multiflora roses whacked me in the nose with its scent as I passed. So beautiful. And then when I got home, I spent some time communing with the opening peonies. Their scent reminds me of the grandmothers.
3. The Faerie Grove. That little grove of trees down by Skunk Hollow Lane where the wild rose is exploding into bloom is where I have seen the cedar waxwings twice. At the base of the trees is the rooty log of another tree that fell years ago, with plenty of nooks and crannies for a hundred apartments for small living things. I often see goldfinches congregating there. And the vultures tend to kettle over that field.
4. Rain. It feels just right to have rain on the last day of school. Change, movement, shift.
5. The coming days are full. There’s so much writing to do, knitting and bookmaking, reading (so MUCH to read!), house projects, walking, hanging out with Jon and the kids.

May we walk in Beauty!

Words for Today:
(and Maya Angelou reaches through the veils of time to hold us in the way that only she could)

“When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” —Sinclair Lewis

“I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.” —attr. to Richard Feynman

”The most remarkable feature of this historical moment on Earth is not that we are on the way to destroying the world—we’ve actually been on the way for quite a while. It is that we are beginning to wake up, as from a millennia-long sleep, to a whole new relationship to our world, to ourselves and each other.” —Joanna Macy

“I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.” I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
―Maya Angelou

“Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

Love and Spring Tonic

First, a tender message I found in my classroom zen garden today.
Then, blue sky in the space between the red barn and the poplar and sycamore trees. Even the sleepy walnut in the background is beginning to put on her summer clothes.

I am taking some photos these days with the aim of capturing images of portals and entrances. The deer trail photo yesterday was one of those.

The Kreider family heirloom peonies are opening.

Mostly wild herbs for tea: two kinds of plantain (for respiration), willow (for the head pain), clover, chamomile and catnip (to slow my system down), violet leaf, nettle, several kinds of mint, lemon balm, henbit, dandelion, dock, wood sorrel, and a few locust blossoms. I added local honey as it was cooling, and a few dashes of elderberry tincture for sipping.

Gratitude List:
1. Orioles everywhere! I saw a pair at school this afternoon while I was doing border patrol at the lower parking lot during the social. My Icarus has been singing constantly in his poplar tree. And while I was gathering wild herbs for tea, I saw and heard a pair of orchard orioles working on their nest.
2. The scent of locust and poplar tulips which fills the hollow.
3. The herbal allies which appear at this time of year to help me cope with the poplar and locust blossoms, which make me sneeze, and make my eyes and throat itch, and fill my head with a cottony fog.
4. These ever-shiny young people with whom I spend my days. The twisty feeling in my gut is upon me again. I approach June with such an incredible feeling of relief, and such a wistfulness about seeing them go.
5. Good basil pesto

May we walk in Beauty!

Hazy Days


(This was last year’s photo)

It has been a few days since I have tallied gratitudes or written a poem.  Between the mounds of end-of-semester work and the needs of the kids and the haze of allergy season under a tulip tree, I haven’t been keeping the open awareness and daylong focus that is usually necessary for me to prepare a meaningful list for myself.  Some days I can toss off a list off the top of my head, but part of the purpose of writing these lists is that it puts me in the noticing space throughout my day.  Here are some of the things that have been in noticing-space the last few days:

Gratitude List:
1. Peonies.  How old are they?  Forty years?  Sixty?  These come from Jon’s mom, who got them from his grandmother.  They have the most perfect scent (and smelling anything these days is a real challenge for me)–why isn’t there peony perfume?
2. The seniors.  I have fewer of them in my classes, but somehow I’ve gotten sort of attached, and now they go, and I am going to miss them, but I am so proud of them, so eager to watch them try their wings.  Fly high, Bright Ones.
3. Summer is coming.  Long break with a change of pace, a chance to prepare for the next season, to get life in order again.
4. Ingenuity.  We have fewer chances today, perhaps, when we have already invented so many things to do everything we need.  Still, there are opportunities to make and design, chances for the children to learn to invent and create and develop tools and ideas.
5. Flavor.

May we walk in Beauty!

Peonies and Poppies

Gratitude List:
1. Shaggy white heads of peonies–family heirlooms passed down from Jon’s mother, and from his grandmother.
2. Deep red petals of poppy with its deep black center
3. Little yellow flags opening amidst the spikes of leaf
4. Buttercup and bladderwort
5. The shy, downward-facing blossoms of the comfrey.

May we walk in Beauty!

Everyone is Coming Home

This morning when I went out into the balmy sunrise to feed the chickens, I thought a strange wren was singing in the walnut tree.  He had such an odd accent.  But suddenly instead of wren, cardinal was calling, then robin was clucking out a scold, then jay announced, “News!  News!”  And there, at the very top branch of the walnut, was my old friend Mockingbird, giving me the run-down of all the folks he’d met on his wintertime journeys.  He seems to have expanded his repertoire of languages.  Welcome back, Polyglot.

And the swallows and the phoebe were back last week, along with the pileated woodpecker.  I put nectar in the oriole feeder today in case that friend arrives in the next week or two.  I’ll have to put out some oranges this week.

Mockingbird is the inspiration for this blog.  When my own internal editor gets too demanding, I listen instead for the voice of Mockingbird, my new editor of choice: “Oh, just say it again.  Say it more forcefully.  Say it three times in Spanish.”  I think we’re going to have a very good summer, Old Friend.


This is me at 3.
Slides 108

Gratitude List:
1.  Mockingbird is back in the hollow.
2.  The peony stalks are pushing up above the soil.
3.  This phrase, that was in my head this morning, when I woke up: “The life force is wanton and indiscriminate.  Use it.”  It may be time to start keeping a specific journal of the words and phrases that sit in my brain when I wake up in the mornings.
4.  Taking it one step at a time.
5.  Good old Vitamin D
May we walk in Beauty.