Lift your shoulders.
Straighten your spine.
Look yourself in the eye.
Drink water.
Stretch your body.
Make things.
Know yourself a beloved child of God/the Universe.

Gratitude List:
1. I heard towhee yesterday, several times throughout the afternoon. Then, when I went out to help Jon move some walls up to the treehouse he is building, I saw him, on one of the dead branches at the top of the chestnut tree, silhouetted against the sun, telling me over and over again to drink my tea.
2. This marvelous treehouse my man is making. It’s really looking amazing.
3. The Lovings. Change is made when people keep demanding it, when people see something that is wrong and decide to change it. May we all be Loving like the Lovings, brave to make change. Happy Loving Day! Love who you love!
4. Unconditional love that believes in the ability of each person to become their best self.
5. This boy, sitting here on the couch, a cat on each side of him.

May we do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly–in Beauty!

“There is action to be taken in the outer world,but it must be action that comes from a reconnection with the sacred—otherwise we will just be reconstellating the patterns that have created this imbalance.” —Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

“In the time since I was arrested in January 2018, no fewer than 88 bodies were recovered from the Arizona desert. The government’s plan in the midst of this humanitarian crisis? Policies to target undocumented people, refugees and their families. Prosecutions to criminalize humanitarian aid, kindness and solidarity.” —Scott Warren, who was tried for offering humanitarian assistance to people dying in the desert

“When we read, we start at the beginning and continue until we reach the end. When we write, we start in the middle and fight our way out.”
― Vickie Karp

And I Was Alive
by Osip Mandelstam

And I was alive in the blizzard of the blossoming pear,
Myself I stood in the storm of the bird-cherry tree.
It was all leaflife and starshower, unerring, self-shattering power,
And it was all aimed at me.
What is this dire delight flowering fleeing always earth?
What is being? What is truth?
Blossoms rupture and rapture the air,
All hover and hammer,
Time intensified and time intolerable, sweetness raveling rot.
It is now. It is not.

“I do not wish them [women] to have power over men; but over themselves.”
― Mary Wollstonecraft

“Which world are we trying to sustain: a resource to fulfill our desires of material prosperity, or an Earth of wonder, beauty, and sacred meaning?” —Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

All a Prayer

Gratitude List:
1. Towhee and peewee, and phoebe and wren
2. Hummingbird is still in the hollow. I thought she had gone, or died.
3. Those who accompany the people in vulnerable situations
4. Cucumbers with cream cheese
5. The voices of the people are sometimes heard. Speak up. Speak out. Stand for justice.

May we walk in Beauty!

Thoughts for Monday:
“To be a poet in a destitute time means: to attend, singing, to the trace of the fugitive gods. This is why the poet in the time of the world’s night utters the holy.” ―Martin Heidegger
“Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.: —Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
“You have to learn to get up from the table when LOVE is no longer being served.” —Nina Simone
“I like sitting at the piano. I like the idea that there are things coming in through the window and through you and then down to the piano and out the window on the other side. If you want to catch songs you gotta start thinking like one, and making yourself an interesting place for them to land like birds or insects. Once you get two or three tunes together, wherever three or more are gathered, then others come.” —Tom Waits
“The poem, I’ve always felt, is an opportunity for me to create an integrated whole from so many broken shards.” —Rafael Campo
“Which came first, the fear or the gun? The broken heart or the bleeding one? The impulse toward death or the desperate reach for love?” —Mark Morford
“A journey can become a sacred thing:
Make sure, before you go,
To take the time
To bless your going forth,
To free your heart of ballast
So that the compass of your soul
Might direct you toward
The territories of spirit
Where you will discover
More of your hidden life,
And the urgencies
That deserve to claim you.”
—John O’Donohue
“There is no such thing as being non-political. Everything we say or do either affirms or critiques the status quo. To say nothing is to say something: The status quo—even if it is massively unjust and deceitful—is apparently okay. The silence of many Christians is used to legitimize the United States’ obsession with weapons, its war against the poor, Israel’s clear abuse of Palestine, politicians who are “pro-life” on the issue of abortion but almost nothing else, the de facto slavery of mass incarceration, and on and on.” —Richard Rohr

Companionable Contentment

Mud flats2
The mud flats at low tide. Feeding frenzy.

Gratitude List:
1. The contented skronking sound of ibis feeding at low tide,  There are lots of egrets and other waders in the photo, but the ibis were the talkers.
2. Towhee on the top tassel of a pine tree, sun on his puffed-out chest, head thrown back, exhorting us over and over again to drink our tea.
3. The careful wonder-filled process of examining our Virginia Rail ID with my nephew.
4. Happy laughing children on the beach.
5. The companionable quiet of the early-risers.  We whisper, we read and write and pray and meditate and drink coffee.  We hand each other poems and articles to read.

May we walk in Beauty and Wonder.

A Forest

2014 January 021

For Friends Who Are Experiencing Anxiety:

Here in the hollow
the sun sparks white flame
from the snow-boughed limbs
of walnut and sycamore.

And you, can you feel the rays
that sparkle to your valley
from my own heart-limbs?

From our many different dells
we trees make a forest
which hums with the light
we are sending your way.


Gratitude List:
1. Big words.  Panopticon, in a student paper.  Hippopotomonstrasesquipedaliophobia, from Ellis’s student dictionary.  It’s the fear of big words.  Change the ending from phobia to philia (love of) and you’ve got me.
2. During this last big snow, the color for contemplation (other than white, of course) was ginger/rufous/chestnut.  Fred the ginger tomcat on my lap, set off by the rich colors of an olive and russet blanket.  The chestnut flank of the titmouse who sat in the twiggy branches high up in the sycamore outside my bathroom window and seemed to watch me brush my teeth.  The deep rufous/russet flanks of the towhee who visited the feeder during the storm and scratched, chicken-like, to get the seed below the snow, setting the table for the less industrious birds.
3. Creativity.  Music, art, drama, craft, word, play.
4. I have to say it: March snowstorms.  This reminds me of a March blizzard years ago that kept a party of giddy friends snowbound for two days longer than a weekend.
5. Healing.  Hope for healing.  The body’s ability to work wonders to fix itself.

May we walk in Beauty!

Waking Up

Like the remnants of fog burning away in the morning sun
the last rags of dream whisper through the valleys
of my waking brain, gnats caught in the cobwebs of consciousness.

In the beginning of the year, the drops of mist form words
and a sentence emerges like a sapling from the fog:
All that I have been is compounded in the present moment.

One morning I wake and the spiders whisper the name
of an impossibly green stone, like poison, like miracles:
Dioptase, a viridian eye that sends forth the tentacles of the heart.

Or a song will be ringing in my ears as I tiptoe downstairs
in the dawn: Give yourself to love, if love is what you’re after.
Open up your heart to the tears and the laughter.

I gather the strands of silk and wool and hope that have caught
on the fences between the world of waking and sleeping,
and weave them into the story of the day, the week, the year.

There was this one: I am walking down a sunny city street
and am filled suddenly with foreboding, knowledge of a Terrible Presence.
I know that it will destroy me, and the world, if it senses my recognition.

The key, I learned without learning,
is to keep that knowledge hidden in the back of my brain
and cover it up with gratitude and joy and hope.

(Already I know that I will be revising this poem, to make it less self-referential, less plodding.  But I wanted to get it down today, and this is the place where I do this work.  Welcome to my process.)

Gratitude List:
1.  Towhee is back.  Ellis misidentified him as the orchard oriole.  If you know the two birds or have a bird book handy, you’ll understand why that makes me proud.  He’s getting his birder’s eyes on.
2.  Weighing cheese for the farm store with Ellis.  Impromptu math lesson on rounding up and down to the nickel.
3.  Chocolate cake/brownie goodness.  We have discovered the Grand Unifying Theory.  This is the basis of everything.  I love the Saturday crew.
4.  Phoebe babies in the barn.  It reminded me of the lovely book which my Great Aunt Lizzie gave to us when we were children.  I will read it to my own children again this coming week as we wait for the little ones to fledge.
5.  Ellis making the point that one of the things that is important to him is taking care of the very smallest ones.
(Hmmm.  A lot of Ellis in this list.  He’s a special kid, and so is his brother.)

May we walk in Beauty!