Discover

I wrote this poem this afternoon before I heard the news from Gaza.

I don’t know how to seek gratitude amidst the pain of this day, knowing that my government’s bombastic embassy move to Jerusalem precipitated the violence of the day. Or coincided, anyway. The photos of the US/Israeli celebration of the new embassy location were a kick in the gut.

May each peaceful gesture we make bring more peace into the world.

Closing Time

The last poetry prompt of the month is to write a closing time poem.

The door stands ajar.
The curtain rises.
The window is open
and the screen is torn.

The moment has come
to escape the old ways
and enter into the new drama,
to dance down new pathways,
to fly toward a new horizon.

Escape!
Begin the Play!
Soar free!

That’s an exciting prompt for a Beltane Eve. May Day is about running through the door, barefoot and maybe naked, but completely unconcerned, willing to take the necessary risks to accomplish your dreams. What will you risk in the coming season? What “clothing” do you need to cast off in order to abandon yourself to your projects?

A Blessed Beltane season to you! May your dreams feed you.

Gratitude List:
1. Flicker on the ground at LMH this morning when we pulled in. We got to watch it for a full two minutes before it flew away into the morning sunlight.
2. On our walk this evening, swallows swooping low to get a look at us. I think there were both barn and tree swallows.
3. The smell of gill-over-the-grass after someone has walked on it. Smells like spring.
4. The smell of cow patties drying in a field. It transports me back in time, and suddenly I’m five-year-old Bethie walking home from Gwen’s house in the slanting sun of a late Shirati afternoon, the lake breeze playing in my hair.
5. Speaking of poop, I love the open-throated bark of a laugh that Joss gives when he hears a good scatological joke. Total delight, especially when his dad makes the joke.

May we walk in Beauty and Laughter.

To Withhold is to Perish

    
Images from the morning’s walk.

Saturday’s Thoughts:
“Daughter, the songs of women
are the first words of children” —Abby E. Murray
***
“Our vitality is inextricably bound up with creativity. Like a tree whose expression is fruit, giving our gifts is what keeps life pushing through our veins. It’s what keeps us feeling alive. As anyone who has strayed too far from their creativity knows, without it every corner of one’s life can fall prey to a terrible greying spread. As Kahlil Gibran writes about trees in an orchard, ‘They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.” —Dreamwork with Toko-pa
***
“If we want children to flourish, to become truly empowered, then let us allow them to love the earth before we ask them to save it. Perhaps this is what Thoreau had in mind when he said, “the more slowly trees grow at first, the sounder they are at the core, and I think the same is true of human beings.” —David Sobel
***
“What if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb – but the darkness of the womb?” —Valarie Kaur


I’ve always wanted to take more art classes. I love to sketch and doodle. Still, I haven’t taken many classes, and I feel like I don’t  have a lot of courage about getting images on paper. I love certain comic book and animated art, and I always find myself wanting to draw “like that.”

So for the next month, I am going to try to commit to doing one sketch page a day. I have borrowed Shaun Tan’s The Bird King from the school library, and today’s sketch is sort of a copy and sort of an extension of one of his drawings. I am going to try to be brave enough to sketch some things directly from life and from photos as well. Just today, I learned some things about line and shading. I hope I can learn to apply them.


Gratitude List:
1. Yesterday’s  Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration at school. Good music, powerful quotations.
2. Geese all over the sky
3. The office staff and dentists and hygienists at the place where my children get their teeth cleaned. They’ve always been understanding and friendly and helpful.
4. Walking outside. I can’t really bear the cold, and I haven’t spent more time outside than I absolutely have to for several weeks now. It was nice to have a balmier morning for some outside play.
5. The Emergency Women’s Shelter in Lancaster. I always have to gear myself up for the long night awake, but it’s good work, and I always come away inspired by the women I meet.
6. The Women’s Marches.

May we walk in Beauty!

Walking and Striving

lisianthus
Lisianthus–I think I have posted it before, but I love this flower in my parents’ garden.

Gratitude List:
1. Goldfinches (yes, they were on here recently)–Usually when I imagine that I can fly, I am a hawk or an eagle, sailing high with a long view. Or a crow, battling winds with a fierce wildness.  But were I a goldfinch, I would dance down sunbeams on my imaginary roller coaster–up and up, then coast, up again, and coast–golden in the sun’s golden.  And sing for joy.
2. My nieces and nephews.  They just keep being wonderful people.  Two of them visited yesterday, and we had a great conversation, hearing about their recent travels.  I love these people.
3. Morning walk.  It does make it harder to get up.  I do not like to exert myself in the mornings.  I like to wake up slowly.  But this old dog needs to try some new tricks, and I like the walking, and the being done walking.
4. Organizing.  Yesterday I went through the boxes and bags of files that I brought home to use or recycle as I get ready for fall classes.  One step closer. . .  I am beginning to get excited about the next season of school.  (But I am still planning to thoroughly enjoy the next few weeks of waking up after 6 and not having a scheduled day.)
5. Striving.  I think I am sort of good enough at many of the things that I do, and enthusiasm perhaps goes a long way toward making thing work out okay–but I have a lot of tweaks and improvements to make in many areas of my life.  I am glad that I don’t have to be perfect, that I get to keep trying, to keep trying to fix things up and do better.  As the journey itself is the destination, the striving–not the perfecting–is the work.

May we walk in Beauty!

Taking a Walk

Random thoughts from a walk around the farm this afternoon:

–This Step-Counting contest at school is doing what it is supposed to, getting me out and walking.  I am afraid I am letting my team down with my low, low numbers.  I am more sedentary than I admitted to myself–grading and FB and granny squares and playing Legos keeps me sitting in one place.  A lot.
–On one hand the pedometer feels like a ball and chain.  I check it every half hour or so throughout the day, and I am feeling incredible pressure to get up and walking.  On the other hand, it pushes me to get outside and walk, which I don’t usually take the time for, so it’s freeing me, too.
–I like being on a walk.  I live having been walking.  I like having walked.  I just don’t like going walking.  It’s the anticipation and the getting myself in gear part that I don’t like.
–There were tracks everywhere in the last bits of snow and slush: deer, squirrel, bird, bird, bird, and canid.  Maybe that last is fox, maybe dog, maybe coyote.
–I haven’t seen a coyote in years, though Jon saw a pair of them only a couple weeks ago.  I was pretty desperate to find evidence of them in the tracks today.  One set of tracks had a really largish print, and the claws pushed deep into the snow.
–I found a grey-ish owl pellet and broke it apart to look for the mouse bones. But then I realized it was probably a misshapen piece of raccoon poo.
–The bees are sleeping.  I wonder how they’re surviving the winter in their hive.
–I found two unopened pods in one of the milkweed patches.  We brought them down to the house.  Jon has been collecting milkweed seeds with the hope that he can get some to grow in the spring to give away.
–One Small Boy came up to me and said, “Best snack ever!” as he crunched a chunk of ice in his left hand and then chewed off a bite of the kale in his right hand.
–That yellow frost-nipped kale looks about as winter-bitten as I feel right now.

 

Gratitude List:
1. Wind that scours
2. Fire that transforms
3. Water that purifies
4. Earth that supports
5. Spirit that inspires

May we walk in Beauty!