Two years ago, I spent some time meditating in an alcove at the Jesuit Center where Green Tara rested beneath a painting of the Madonna. Last year, she wasn’t there. This year, I am going to search for her again.
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.”
“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
1. (What wakes you up?) Stiff, aching muscles from a 2.5-mile walk with my youngster yesterday. While the increasing aches of aging are challenging for me, this stiff-and-soreness is because of a delightful walk in the evening, where we just kept going. “Shall we see where the road construction began? Why don’t we just walk up Poff Road now?”
2. (What inspires you?) The friend who keeps running, keeps walking, keepings signing up for those half-marathons. Reading last year’s reflections on an educational seminar I took.
3. (What catches your eye?) Daylily, Chicory, and Queen Anne’s Lace are a-bloom again. Contrasting colors of orange and blue, and that lacy white among them.
4. (What keeps you in the moment?) The oriole calling from the honey locust trees by the parking lot.
5. (What draws you into the future?) Yesterday’s conversation with a teacher friend about the past year, about what sort of teachers we want to be. The gangly growth spurts of my children. The anticipation of next weekend’s solitude retreat.
May we walk in Beauty!
The other night when I was desperately trying to take a photo of the rainbow that would come even close to portraying the bright colors, I went through every funky filter on my phone. This one came out really odd, but I like the psychedelic feel of it. It’s kind of like a poem–it might not capture the physical reality of the moment, but the strangeness of the impression actually creates more the magical mood of the moment than the blander regular photos.
I have begun walking in the mornings. I almost hesitate to say it, because it’s only been three days, hardly long enough to call it a habit.
1. Birdsong. Swallows chittering. Crow barking out directions. Sweet chirrup of goldfinch. A flock of swallows circled above the soybean field up near Mt. Pisgah Road, and one in particular sang a cheep-cheep, cheep-cheep, cheep-cheep. Then it would swoop low, look me in the face, and say CHEEP-cheep right by my ear. I find it amazing that something so tiny would take on a creature so much larger than itself.
2. Sun on flower faces. There’s a yellow snapdragony-looking beauty that I have been calling butter-and-eggs. Apparently that is actually one of its common names. I must have pulled it out of deep memory. Its Latin name is linaria vulgaris, and it is also known as Common Toadflax. I love that so much, that we have a local plant called Toadflax. Pleased to meet you, new friend. Also, Queen Anne’s Lace veils the road edges, and the blue eye of chicory is everywhere. Little patches of St. John’s Wort peek out from the poison oak. The yellow bladders of jewelweed flowers are beginning to appear.
3. Cool breezes on the skin at the beginning of another hot day. Warm sun on my face.
4. The scent of milkweed. Milkweed a-buzz with pollinators, sending its aroma down the little breezes into the hollow.
5. Cold water infused with lemon, mint and basil.
May we walk in Beauty!