Beauty as Genius

May the seeds we sow today grow into strong and healthy plants.

Gratitude List:
1. How silence enters the body when you sit very still and watch it approach
2. Adaptability. The ability to adapt and change and transform.
3. That thing some cats do, where they roll over and pet their own faces. Sometimes a little face rub is just the thing to add a little stress reduction.
4. I stayed late at school after our staff development day on Monday to clean my unmanageable stacks. It’s much easier to actually work in my room now.
5. Today, all my classes are doing slightly longer personal introductions as community-building exercises. I love these moments of setting up the class connections. I need to remember how vital it is at the beginning of a semester to give a little serious time to helping them connect to each other and create a safe working group together.

May we walk in Beauty!

Quotations for the Day:

Oneiric: of or relating to dreams

“I am dogmatic in one way: I really do see no alternative than the cultivation of crazy loving humility—a visceral sense of ever-renewing wonder in the face of the Great Mystery.” —Rob Brezsny

“We do not learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on experience.” ―John Dewey

“I’ve learned for a long time that, to heal my wounds, I had to have the courage to look at them. — Paulo Coelho

“In the midst of blatant injustices inflicted upon the Negro, I have watched white churches stand on the sideline and merely mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. Here we are moving toward the exit of the 20th century with a religious community largely adjusted to the status quo, standing as a tail light behind other community agencies rather than a headlight leading men to higher levels of justice. The contemporary Church is so often a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. It is so often the arch-supporter of the status quo. Is organized religion too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world?”
~Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham City Jail (1963)

“I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. The Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not… the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than justice.”
—Martin Luther King, Jr, Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 1963

“Beauty is a form of genius—is higher, indeed, than genius, as it needs no explanation.” —Oscar Wilde

“Regardless of our beliefs, we all suffer from ignorance, and we all have projected our losses and fears onto each other in one way or another. This is my dream of the beloved community: that we can at least find a way to talk to each other, to talk past the fear, the separation, and find another way to live.”
—Sallie Jiko Tisdale, “Beloved Community”

“Satire is meant to ridicule power. If you are laughing at people who are hurting, it is not satire, it is bullying.” —Terry Pratchett

Door to the Temple

Today’s prompt is to write a disguise poem.

You stood–still–in the center of the room,
the dancers weaving in and out about you,
a silken mask hid all your face but your eyes.

If they noticed you, they gave no sign.
They whirled about and sipped their wine.
They never took note of your disguise.

Sometimes the simplest way to hide
is in plain view, where the blase few
will never hear your silent sighs.

*(A little dramatic, perhaps, but i’ll work it up a bit later. For now, it’s time for bed.)

“No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member –
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds –
–Thomas Hood, No!
“I could not be a poet without the natural world. Someone else could. But not me. For me the door to the woods is the door to the temple.” –Mary Oliver
“Awake my dear. Be kind to your sleeping heart. Take it out into the fields and let it breathe.” –Hafiz (I know I posted this one recently. I still need it.)
“Nourish beginnings, let us nourish beginnings. Not all things are blest, but the seeds of all things are blest. The blessing is in the seed.” ~~ Muriel Rukeyser
“We discover the Earth in the depths of our being through participation, not through isolation or exploitation. We are most ourselves when we are most intimate with the rivers and mountains and woodlands, with the sun and the moon and the stars in the heavens…We belong here. Our home is here. The excitement and fulfillment of our lives is here…Just as we are fulfilled in our communion with the larger community to which we belong, so too the universe itself and every being in the universe is fulfilled in us.”
~ Thomas Berry, The Sacred Universe
Words of Howard Zinn:
“We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world. Even when we don’t ‘win,’ there is fun and fulfillment in the fact that we have been involved, with other good people, in something worthwhile. We need hope.
“An optimist isn’t necessarily a blithe, slightly sappy whistler in the dark of our time. To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something.
“If we remember those times and places — and there are so many — where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”
It may seem harsh, but that’s sort of his point–
Bill Maher:
“Christians, I know, I’m sorry; I know you hate this and you want to square this circle, but you can’t. I’m not even judging you. I’m just saying, logically, if you ignore every single thing Jesus commanded you to do, you’re not a Christian. You’re just auditing. You’re not Christ’s followers. You’re just fans.”

Gratitude List:
1. Saffron yellow is the color of the season, and everyone is wearing it. I don’t usually pay much attention to the colors of the season,but this is a stunning color. I might have to buy myself something in saffron.
2. Moonrise tonight. The moon was like a mist, a ghost, veiled face.
3. Two purrfolk on my lap at once
4. Grace and mercy
5. Sleep

May we walk in Beauty!

Say a Blessing for Seeds

And now is the time for seed to burst forth.

We have arrived at Autumn Equinox, one of those exquisite balance points of the year cycle, the moment of shift in the whirl around our star. The light has been shifting, coming in at a slant that sets everything atwinkle. Every dusk, hundreds of robins sail into hollow and set up a clatter and cacophony in the bamboo grove. The geese are going, cormorants winging their way, thousands of feet above us, or angling down to the River for a rest. Seeds burst forth.

Say a blessing for the seeds, those packets of potential that burst from the ripened fruits of the flower buds and fall to earth, some to be trampled by passing feet, some to be eaten–fuel for the journeys of the little birds or stocked up by small animals as fat for the coming cold.  And some to fall into the rich soil to wait through the winter until it is time to Become.

How has your own ripening been? What is the seed within you at this moment? What is the hopeful little bundle of potential that is waiting to fall, to be carried by the winds and the waves and the creatures that pass, to tumble into the soil of your future self? What has ripened within you, and what will you release, knowing it may grow and bear its own fruit, or may become food for others? What of yourself to you give to this season?  Say a blessing for the seeds.

Gratitude List:
1. Little things. A little help at just the right moment. Little things are sometimes big things.
2. Commiseration. I cannot walk these coming days alone. I do not want to give in to despair or complaining, but having others who share my worry, who hold the bowl of these days with such tenderness, helps me not to feel alone in my angst. Let’s help each other to hold this one. Sigh together. Be the people for the moment–together.
3. Blue. I keep noticing the cobalt reflection beneath the clouds these mornings, not the Maryblue that shines through from sky, but a shining cobalt underneath, mingled with the Prussian Blue and Indigo of the shadows. I think it must be light reflecting in an autumnal slant onto the water of the cloud.  Whatever creates it, it’s a new way to experience blue, and I am grateful to see it.
4. Crows. I want to be a crow, diving fearlessly into wind, wings akimbo and a shout of joy in my throat.
5. New things to learn. Today I am beginning a three-day workshop/class with the Center for Community Peacemaking on Restorative Circles, a way of working with conflict in communities. I love that I work in a school that is putting forth the resources to train its teachers in this work, and I am honored to be doing this.

May we walk in Beauty!

Bury the Seed

Today’s Prompt is to write a poem titled, “Bury the (blank).

“What didn’t you do to bury me.
But you forgot that I was a seed.”  –Dinos Christianopoulos

So many voices they have tried
to hide under the earth,
hidden within the clamoring din
of newscasts 24/7,
buried beneath the thousand faces
of the pontificators, the experts,
the mad chatter of the talking heads.
Shovelsful of opinions thrown in
and tamped down firmly
to hold the voices underneath.

How could they have known
the seeds would sprout and grow
like vines that wind around the fences
in the meadows, to bring them down?
Could anyone predict the way those vines
would lick along the base of the barn
like flame to burn up the building?

Gratitude List:
1. Poem in Your Pocket Day, and my students reading poems to me all day long: a Korean poem translated to English, Pablo Neruda read to me in Spanish, Shakespeare and Rosetti, Dickinson and Dylan Thomas and Frost.  Ogden Nash and Shel Silverstein, and poems of their very own.  I have been in a sort of heaven.
2. Stuffed Shells
3. The twins who appeared in last night’s dream: Fearless and Anna.
4. Everything is suddenly so beautiful.  I have been paying close attention to the seasons for several years now, and I don’t remember the last time I was so desperate for Spring’s beauty to arrive.  Warmth, yes.  But this year, it has been an end to the drear of winter that I have craved, and Spring has given me so much green.
5. Pear blossom snow.

May we walk in Beauty!


Keeping a youngster on task with homework tonight is taking just about all the psychic energy that I can muster.  I was going to try my hand at a prose poem, inspired by the work of Kristy Bowen in the current BloodLotus, but I’ll just give you the link to that and let you be inspired, too.  I am especially fond of the one about the birds.

Gratitude List:
1.  The Mystery of a tomato seed,
2.  how it contains within its tiny envelope
the blueprint of a jungly tomato plant,
3.  how it waits, still in the cool soil,
for its moment,
4.  then cracks through its little shell
with root always downward
and sprout reaching up and out,
5.  to create its very own fruit and seeds.

May we walk in Beauty!