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
I read something yesterday that posited that one of the primary disruptions to civic life in this pandemic has been the shopping/consumption function. The author suggested that the loss of shopping–buying coffee, going to the mall, stopping in at the gas station quick-mart for a hot dog–is causing such angst for people because consumerism has become the primary civic relationship for most of us.
We miss the sense of being known in our communities, of civic connection, and for so many of us, that happens in stores and quick-marts, in coffee shops and hair salons and restaurants. There’s nothing wrong with being happy to know and be known by the person at the cash register. I long for a Cheers bar where everybody knows my name, or a Central Perk Coffee Shop, where the barista knows I drink my coffee black.
While I don’t want my social and civic life to be defined by my buying habits and my consumerism, I do want to think deliberately and authentically about my civic and community engagement in the Opening Season. When the governor says that it is safe for us to move to green, how can my everyday interactions create belongingness and connection for the people I interact with? What will my primary civic engagements be? I think mine have been school and family and church, and circles of friends. How can I be deliberate about making those engagements spaces of healing and wholeness, of strong and trusting connection?
Yesterday, I wrote that blog entry about being weary. Then I got up off the couch, got dressed, cleaned the kitchen, and re-arranged my desk. It is amazing how much little things help. Also, I got more sleep that night than the previous one, so there’s that. I’m also going to try to keep a log for a few days, marking down the increments of how I spend my time. I began that yesterday and then fell off the wagon, and I frittered again, got lost in the miasma of the day’s sameness. I’m trying again today.
I do want to be clear with my internal critic and editor that I am not basing my sense of personal worth or happiness on productivity. This process is not about that at all. I’m not following in the footsteps of Benjamin Franklin. This is about pulling myself out of the fogs and the swamps. This is about walking on solid ground for these last few weeks of school instead of slogging through mud. I’ll make sure that I continue to just Be, to Laze, to Loaf, to Dream.
Gratitude List: 1. Seasons and rhythms. Breath: in and out and in. Stretching. 2. Birdlife in the hollow. The wrens fledged a family of nestlings yesterday in the greenhouse. Jon took me up to greet them. And the house finches speak so tenderly from the walnut tree when humans walk too close to where they have hidden their nest under the forebay of the barn. And Ms. Bluebird has chosen the area outside my desk window for her primary hunting ground. Oriole, cardinal, indigo bunting, goldfinch, blue jay, bluebird: flashes of orange, scarlet, blue, yellow, blue, blue–all day long–among the vast greens and blues. 3. Some of my frittering has been about creative projects, so it has had meaning in my day-to-day. In the break moments of the day, I have some ideas for Things To Make, and that gives me a whole new kind of energy. 4. Those who stand in Love, against Empire 5. The solidarity of women. Men do it too, but I think of that moment of courage and care when those three women responded, in solidarity, to an angry racist.
May we walk in Solidarity, in Beauty!
Oh Kabir! Oh Hafiz! I am so glad I found both of these poems on the same day:
A Hole In A Flute by Hafiz
I am a hole in a flute that the Christ’s breath moves through listen to this music I am the concert from the mouth of every creature singing with the myriad chorus
I am a hole in a flute that the Christ’s breath moves through listen to this music
Ecstatic Flute by Kabir
I know the sound of the ecstatic flute, But I don’t know whose flute it is. A lamp burns and has neither wick nor oil. A lily pad blossoms and is not attached to the bottom! Where one flower opens, ordinarily dozens open. The moon bird’s head is filled with nothing but thoughts of the moon, And when the next rain will come is all that the rain bird thinks of. Who is it we spend our entire life loving?
“Geometry is the language of time.” —Khalid Masood
“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
“In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.” —Carl Jung
“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” —Marcel Proust
“When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.” —John F. Kennedy
“Writing poetry is an unnatural act.” —Elizabeth Bishop
“They say goldfish have no memories, and I say their lives are much like mine.” —Ani DiFranco