Feel the Shift

Like feeling your way along in the dark, or letting your nose lead you to the little shop in a town that is baking fresh bread, or looking just to the side of the Pleiades so you can get a clearer sense of the seven stars, or following the call of the indigo bunting along the edge of the woods until you finally spot that drop of impossible blue–that’s how we feel the shift into midsummer. Feel the directness of the light, and look sideways, between the sunrays. Feel how the sun hits your shoulders, sense the shift in birdy activity from the establishment of territories and nesting spaces to the gentler rhythm of housekeeping and childrearing, intuit the planet’s pause in apogee–at the end of its long cycle outward, as we begin the slow roll inward. Here we are in the season of fire, of long days and short nights, of full green and hazy blue, of harvest and abundance. Summer can feel like a sleepy time, a dreamy place, but it doesn’t have to be a time of dullness, just a time of taking in the signals of the world through your skin, through every sense you can name, and more that you can’t. Deepen your roots. Unfurl your leaves and petals. Feel the seeds of the new thing forming within you.


Sometimes everything
has to be
enscribed across
the heavens

so you can find
the one line
already written
inside you.
—David Whyte


“Whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market.” —Pope Francis


“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” —Annie Dillard


“This is the solstice, the still point of the sun, its cusp and midnight, the year’s threshold and unlocking, where the past lets go of and becomes the future; the place of caught breath.” —Margaret Atwood


“Now, on the longest day, light triumphs, and yet begins the decline into dark. We turn the Wheel… for we have planted the seeds of our own changes, and to grow we must accept even the passing of the sun… Set Sail…See with clear eyes…See how we shine!” —Starhawk


“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.” —Albert Einstein


“Ceremonies large and small have the power to focus attention to a way of living awake in the world. The visible became invisible, merging with the soil.” —Robin Wall Kimmerer


“The cure for anything is salt water – tears, sweat, or the sea.” —Isak Dinesen

Into the Dark, December 19

Every year at this time, I feel the anxiety and restlessness begin to rise within me, and the cold settles into my bones. Every year, I need to consciously ease my spirit into the season. This year, from the beginning of December until Epiphany, I will set it down here on the blog. May we journey into the darkness with intention and tenderness.

Do you feel how it approaches?
The shift?
The transition? 
The time of the change is nearing.
In each of our whirling dances about the sun, we have two moments when we spin furthest from our star: the solstices. While I feel it in the summer’s languid play of days, I am more keenly aware each year in the quiet dark of winter. Just two more days and we will be at one of our furthest points from the sun, and here in the northern hemisphere, our face is tilted away. 

Today, my word will be unclench. My shoulders, mostly, but my breathing, my forehead, my gut, as well. I have noticed myself naturally doing it in the past week–stopping, pausing, sighing, letting the tensions drain downward and away.


Gratitude List:
1. The Donor. Yesterday, we learned that someone has donated a sum of money to begin the process of updating our oldest classroom building. I love this building, but teaching in August and late May can be nearly impossible as students melt into their desks. This money will begin the renovations which will bring my hall some air conditioning.
2. Geese raggedly embroidering the sky
3. Magenta clouds
4. Strong female characters in books. In my reading lately: Antigone, Katniss Everdeen, Jane Eyre, Cordelia
5. Rhythm

May we walk in Beauty!


“…and I am out with lanterns, looking for myself.” —Emily Dickinson


Never Broken

I am my own Home, now.
Wherever I move
the Light –
It moves with me.
I open all of the windows and the doors
so that God can come and go easily.
I don’t know why God takes such delight
in this House I call “Me”.
This place
where hearts come to be broken.
At the end of the Long Day I always ask.
“God? Why, hearts to be broken?”
And God always replies,
“Never broken, dear Lover _
only Opened.”
—Em Claire


“Find the antidote in the venom.” —Rumi


“Only two more days of the walk into the darkness. I am so grateful for the way the light kept finding me today. I’m not really on the edge, and I am not losing it, but I feel the edges of the panic, the sense of claustrophobia. I like the darkness. I love the inward-turn of winter, but always, at the edge, there’s the. . .well, the edge. So. There’s the Sun. And Stars and a growing Moon. And Mother Darkness. Comfort me. Disturb me.” —Beth Weaver-Kreider (from several years ago)

The Devil’s Deal

Today’s prompt is a two-fer: deal and/or no deal.

It’s been a slow and steady shift,
this drift from principles to politics,
from generous to partisan,
from open heart to closed fist.

When did we begin the slide
from “love your neighbor” to
“protect our borders”?
Did anyone weigh the choices,
name the changes as they came?
Did we all just follow orders?

Sometimes the Devil’s Deal
is not so much a handshake,
quick and dirty on the spot,
but something far more outdrawn,
though no less disingenuous,
no less overwrought.


Gratitude List:
1. Sunshine
2. Chipping sparrows
3. Song sparrows
4. Clouds in blue sky
5. The patterns of tree branches against the sky.

May we walk in Beauty!

I Asked the Chickens

Feeling unsettled and out of sorts
I asked the chickens what they have to offer me.
All they could give me was their hunger
and insatiable curiosity
and small tender clucks of comfort.

And eggs.
Of course eggs.

And maybe that’s all quite a lot to give
as an answer after all.

 

Gratitude List:
1.  Driving through Lancaster County in the late afternoon with my parents.  There is a reason people travel from all over the world to visit this farmland.
2.  An Amishman digging a grave with a shovel.  Why does this move me so much–that the church/funeral home/whoever did not use power equipment, but instead hired people to do the work by hand?  I personalizes it, keeps it from being about the noise and the mechanization, brings it back down to the human scale.
3.  Hearing my parents talk about their own church’s process with end-of-life issues, taking back the role of preparing bodies for burial from the funeral homes, not embalming, creating community responses around the experience of death, not prolonging dying with medicine and out-of-context care.  This is powerful community work.
4.  I feel a shift a-coming.  Big shifts, cosmic shifts?
5.  My new tiger eye ring.  (I had to rip it back into the mundane a moment–though perhaps there’s nothing mundane about this ring. . .)
May we walk the path of compassion.

2013 March