Twelvenight: Bag of Dreams

I have absolutely no recollection of dreaming last night. The door between sleeping brain and waking brain is shut tightly. No narratives or images come from that world into this today.

This morning when I looked out the window at 5:35, the darkness was touched by a hint of grey. Dawn is slipping slowly and silently back the clock. Light returns.

The quotation in the image I attached above is from William Butler Yeats’ poem, “Fergus and the Druid.” Fergus the King has relinquished his crown and abdicated his responsibilities as king, and he asks the Druid to teach him knowledge, to give him wisdom. Finally, after a little bit of back-and-forth, the Druid offers Fergus a bag of dreams. Though I put the words with the Fool, the Druid is much more earnest than the Fool, more shamanic, seeking wisdom in all things, pursuing knowledge. The Fool just trusts that the wisdom necessary for the moment will arrive when it comes. The Fool is both younger and older than the Druid, more foolish, and wiser.

Going back to school yesterday meant a different kind of mental focus, put me in more of a Druid zone, seeking knowledge with deep intention. But of course Teacher is an archetype of its own, the one who passes on knowledge and wisdom, seeking it like the Druid, drawing it out of the people themselves, helping them to find it. Druid, Teacher, Queen/King/Ruler, Fool: We are so many people at once, aren’t we?

On a morning when the dream-door is closed, still I carry with me the bag of dreams I have been dreaming. Today, they wrap me round as I go out again, stepping out as the Fool, the Druid, the Teacher, carrying my little bag–of dreams, of wisdom, of story. May your own dreams feed you and wrap you round.

Gratitude List:
1. Pie. Yesterday was pie day in the faculty lounge. One of my colleagues is a masterful pie-maker. Once a year, he brings eight or ten pies for us to sample. It’s the best snack day of the year, and it made yesterday a celebration instead of a foggy slog.
2. My shiny students. Many of them were as tired as I was. So many of them just want to be done with the semester already. Me, too. But there’s joy and hope and community there, too, and for some students, school is the safe place, the belonging place. I am grateful that school can be that haven for those who need it.
3. Yesterday’s chapel speaker. It was mostly a personal introduction for a member of our school community, but he was engaging and lively. He caught students’ attention on the first day back from break. He made us laugh, he made us think.
4. Resolutions and intentions. I know all the reasons to be cynical about New Year’s Resolutions, but here’s the thing. New Year’s Day can be like the moon, and I can use the gravity of this day to help boost my energy as I create an intention. I have been wanting to maintain a higher daily step-count, but I sometimes I need the extra artificial push of a New Year’s Resolution or an outside challenge to motivate me. Here’s to the attempt!
5. Dawn is inching back the clock. Day is slowly lengthening.

May we walk in Beauty!

May Your Table Be Wide

I wrote this a year or two ago, not realizing how extremely similar the title was to Jan Richardson’s World Communion Sunday poem. Clearly, her phrase sank deeply into my psyche. So I added a little dedication to the title to recognize her original.

The Table is Wide
(with gratitude to Jan Richardson)

May your table be wide,
may your arms be laden
with the bounty of harvest,
may your heart be willing.

May your feast be filling,
may your beloved’s eyes
be filled with laughter,
may your table be wide.

May your doors be open,
may strangers be welcome
to sit at your table,
may your feast be filling.

May your heart be willing,
may stories flow like wine
poured into glasses,
may your doors be open.
May your table be wide.

Gratitude List:
1. Poets and poetry, especially Jan Richardson’s blessings
2. Anticipating time with my parents and my siblings and my niblings
3. Wind: scouring, releasing, revealing, energizing
4. Pie
5. Open hearts, open arms, open tables

May we walk in Beauty!

I am safe. It’s only change.

Gratitude List:
1. This song I found in my “stack of random papers,” one that I remember Tabea teaching me a few years ago: “Doors closing, doors opening.  Doors closing, doors I’m opening.  I am safe. It’s only change. I am safe.  It’s only change.”
2. In all  of my yesterday-celebration of teeny-tinies, I didn’t mention the monarch caterpillar on the bottom of a milkweed leaf, so small it was almost still just a dream.  But I think I felt it looking at me, asking what I am doing to make the world safe.
3. Also, the teeny-tiny snails that Joss kept stopping to pick up and place at the side of the trails so no one would step on them.
4. Pie!  Well, see, there were leftovers.  And tomorrow, still, there will be more pie leftover.  And this makes me happy.
5. This practice.  Sometimes I need it more than others.  Some days are sad or morose, some are angry or confused.  Often, my days are satisfying and comfortable, or busy but pleasant.  Today was a grumpy sort of day.  I grouched at and interfered with my children.  I made commands and demands.  I was not the most pleasant person to live with.  Not mean or shamefully spiteful.  Just a grouch.  Finding five things on a grouchy day is a challenge.  Fortunately, I had a little overflow from yesterday in #2 an #3.

Thank you for listening.  May we walk in Beauty!

DSCN8212  DSCN8199  DSCN8202


Prayer for Kyla in tanka

breathing in patience
breathing out worry and fear
breathing in silence
breathing healing, breathing hope
breathing light, breathing courage

Gratitude List:
1. This morning while we were packing up the Lancaster shares, two teeny tiny toads hopped across my toes.  At first I thought they were some of the mud clods that I was sweeping from the pick-up bed, and I am really happy that I did not try to kick them out of the way.
2. Living prayerfully.  Summer affords a chance to step into that contemplative space.  I wish that all my contemplation could be on joy and beauty, but it is also on the needs and suffering of some people I love, but I am grateful to be part of the web.
3. Letterboxing with the kiddos again today.  We found four more stamps today and we hiked and hiked and hiked.  At one point, we stopped to take a break on a really long uphill climb.  “Hey Joss,” said Ellis, “can you let Mama sit on that step?  She’s not as. . .not as. . .not as athletic as you are.”   Moments later, “Hey Ellis!  Could you just wait here a little longer?  I don’t think Mama is quite done resting yet.”  I am not so young as I once was.
4. And then when we got home, Joss and I went berry-picking by the pond, and hundreds and hundreds of teeny tiny frogs went skipping over the lily pads.
5. Pie!  We made a many-berry pie with the berries we picked: blackberries, wineberries, a few token black raspberries, and red and white mulberries.  And because the crust recipe makes two crusts, I found a recipe for applesauce pie and made that as well.

May we walk in Beauty!  May we find healing.

Shoo Fly

Day 13 Prompt:  Write two poems in one.  Write a recipe poem.  Write a letter poem.

Dear Grandma,

I never could get it just right,
that flaky crust, and the perfect
balance of corn syrup and molasses.
Wet bottom, surely, but not so soggy
it mucks up the bottom of the pie dish.

The thing is, the only thing Dutch
about my mother-in-law
is the family she married in to,
the blood that flows downriver,
in her sons and grandsons.
But her fingers know the secrets.
She can bake a shoo-fly pie to rival those
that Sadie Stoltzfus sells
along the Lincoln Highway.

And me, I’m so inbred
I’m my own eighth cousin
at least once, and I couldn’t
bake a shoo-fly pie to save my soul.

I’ll just have to put
the whole wheat flour out of reach,
buy myself a bottle of corn syrup,
and get out the rolling pin again.