I wrote this prayer to say in my school’s chapel service the week of the election in 2016:
Election Day Prayer by Beth Weaver-Kreider
Oh God, Creator of the Universe, Creator of stars and planets and people and nations:
Make us to be spinners of webs of prayer and webs of kindness, catching each other, wrapping each other in silken threads to keep us from falling.
Make us to be builders of bridges of peace, bridges of grace, creating firm pathways so all may walk safely over the chasms or meet in the middle.
Make us to be wanderers willing to walk in the wild places, seeking each other when distance has broken our circles.
Make us to be dreamers and planners, wishers and makers, singing songs of hope and possibility, devising a future where everyone may find a home in Love.
Gratitudes: For the amazing variety of wild things that I have never seen, but might someday. For the afternoon sun shining through the quivering leaves of the little tree in the neighbors’ lawn. For the quiet peace of a day working at my desk at home. For the people who are working for justice. For all the ways in which my beloveds keep me grounded.
I know all about rainy days and Mondays, and a long string of wet grey weather can make me sad, too. Still, a crisp and breezy drizzly morning feels to me like adventure, like sea change, like a new thing blowing in. Something in me starts to wake up on days like this.
And this is Beltane Eve, the halfway point between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. The Wheel turns. We might be living in a radically different world than we expected a year ago. But the Earth spins on. Here in the northern hemisphere, days lengthen, and despite the chilling breezes, the warm times are coming. The skies may be grey, but they’re clearer of pollutants than they’ve been for years. The waters are running clearer, too. Do the buds and blossoms of spring seem more vigorous, more filled with life force? Are the greens greener?
Beltane is about abandoning yourself to the experience of the life force that is burgeoning around you, being willing to risk losing yourself in the wild. And maybe finding yourself, too. Even if your existence is tied, these days, to a house, how can you celebrate yourself today (and this week and this season) as a being who belongs to the wild, who feels the life force within yourself as surely as the tree outside your window is feeling the sap rising from root to branch?
Gratitude List: 1. Wildness 2. Green 3. Wind 4. Energy 5. You
May we walk in Beauty! (Such, such Beauty!)
“Things aren’t so tangible and sayable as people would have us believe; most experiences are unsayable, they happen in a space that no word has ever entered, and more unsayable than all other things are world of art, those mysterious existences, whose life endures beside our own small, transitory life.” —Rainer Maria Rilke
“We don’t think ourselves into a new way of living. We live ourselves into t anew way of thinking.” —Richard Rohr
“To create one’s world in any of the arts takes courage.” —Georgia O’Keeffe
“Hope is not a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky. It is an axe you break down doors with in an emergency. Hope should shove you out the door, because it will take everything you have to steer the future away from endless war, from the annihilation of the earth’s treasures and the grinding down of the poor and marginal… To hope is to give yourself to the future – and that commitment to the future is what makes the present inhabitable.” ―Rebecca Solnit
“The child’s hand Folding these wings Wins no wars and ends them all. “ ―Thomas Merton
I’m getting a late start today, and I need to go get ready for school in a moment. This morning, first thing, I took a cup of my wild yeast, mixed in a cup of water, a Tbsp. of salt, and then added flour until I had a good kneadable dough. It’s rising now, covered by a damp cloth, for six hours. Then I’ll knead it again and form it into a loaf or two, let it rise another two hours, and see what happens!
Gratitude List: Words I am grateful for today. 1. Winsome: curious, dreamy, innocent, fool-ish 2. Wild: untame, free, safe, creative 3. Weird: eccentric, magical, fate, unpredictable 4. Woods: inscape, numinous, serendipitous, shining 5. Windy: scouring, shriving, re-vivifying, inspiration
“Buying a book is not about obtaining a possession. . .but about securing a portal.” —Laura Miller
“I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.” ―Shannon Hale
“I can promise you that women working together―linked, informed, and educated―can bring peace and prosperity to this forsaken planet.” ―Isabel Allende
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.” ―John Muir
“When we went to jail, we were setting our faces against the world, against things as they are, the terrible injustice of our capitalist industrial system which lives by war and by preparing for war.” ―Dorothy Day
“What is not acceptable is silence in face of oppression. Boycott if you want, or participate if you want. But do not remain silent in face of injustice.” ―Omid Safi
“When we walk on the earth with reverence, beauty will decide to trust us. The rushed heart and arrogant mind lack the gentleness and patience to enter that embrace.” ―John O’Donohue
“Beauty is an experience, nothing else. It is not a fixed pattern or an arrangement of features. It is something felt, a glow or a communicated sense of fineness. What ails us is our sense of beauty is so bruised and blunted, we miss all the best.” ―D. H. Lawrence
“Poems are maps to the place where you already are.” —Jane Hirshfield
“Be still, and the world is bound to turn herself inside out to entertain you. Everywhere you look, joyful noise is clanging to drown out quiet desperation. The choice is to draw the blinds and shut it all out, or believe.” ―Barbara Kingsolver
“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.” ―Hermann Hesse
Gratitude List: 1. There’s something to be said for being welcomed into the day by three small furpeople as though one is a long-lost traveler returning home at last. 2. Owls calling through the gloam. 3. I like that word, “gloam,” and “gloaming.” And “crepuscular,” though it sounds a little like a disease. “Dusk” and “dawn,” the grey times of day. The words are pleasant, and suggest the magic present in the liminal moments of the day cycle. 4. The clean white page. Possibility. 5. Onion bagels.
May we walk in Beauty!
Here’s a poem I started working on yesterday. It might still want some revision:
Your Wild Cry by Elizabeth Weaver-Kreider
When the gun of the hunter is trained on your arrow, on the vee in the sky where you strain your wings beneath the belly of cloud, call aloud to your sisters to fly with the wind, to fly true. Tip your wings through the gap between beams of autumn sunlight, shift your shape, shift your seeming. Turn your goose to crow, to wren. Turn into jay, into warbler. Dive down, fly low, change your sky-riven cry to caw, to buzz, to a twittering in the brushy fields.
Don’t let your voice be silenced. Change it. Don’t let your call be deadened. Let it echo through the valleys and hillsides. Take a new voice, more insistent, more urgent, and wilder.
Gratitude List: 1. That within us which is wild and untameable. The Wildness that calls to be experienced and known. This is why one of my names for the Holy One is the Wildest One. 2. Autumn walks. Leaves falling all around. Red berries. The scuttlings of small animals and birds in the brush. 3. Circles of protection and care. 4. Haiku and Tanka and terse, short-form poetry. 5. A good night’s sleep.
If you could trust your voice completely, if you didn’t have to consider how how others would respond, if you didn’t have to be safe, to be tame, to be docile and humble, acceptable and charming and quiet, if you had not been trained to make your words into an easy chair, to turn your voice to honey: What would you say?
Gratitudes: 1. Eating Verlen’s pepper. Great gratitude to the person who harvested them and brought them to church. It feels like such a sacred moment to share the food of a friend who has died. I could feel his smile.
2. Graceful lines of ink on paper
3. Stretching, strengthening
4. Origami. I found a pattern for a sweet little bat today, and my second try turned out a darling little critter. Now I need to find some pliable black paper.
5. Making knots in string. Crocheting again. All these bits of art and craft that make make life shiny.
May we walk in Beauty!
“Why are you so determined to keep your wild silently inside you? Let it breathe. Give it a voice. Let it roll out of you on the wide open waves. Set it free.”
“Lots of people talk to animals. . . . Not very many listen though. . .that’s the problem.” ―Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh
“When war is our only industry, the only crop is blood.” ―Will Giles
So that your own heart
So God will think,
I got kin in that body!
I should start inviting that soul over
For coffee and
Because this is a food
Our starving world
Because that is the purest
“My journey has taught me that I must learn religion as the mystics learned it, through the inward quest that Jungian psychology has helped me with so much. Banding together in institutions, whether religious, academic or professional, helps some feel secure and able to look down on the unenlightened. But I’ve clearly learned that the inward quest must become one’s own before it’s any good at all.”
—Bud Harris, Ph.D.
“In many shamanic societies, if you came to a medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions: “When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop being comforted by the sweet territory of silence?” —Gabrielle Roth
“Blessed be your longing. Your endless ache. Your sharp crystal shatter. Your sea glass heart.” ―Jeannette LeBlanc
The prompt for today was to write a “Case ______” poem. I immediately thought of Case Closed, but that felt really cliched, almost what the prompt was fishing for. Then Jon made some comment on my outfit for the day, something about my sartorial responsibility, and suddenly I was off and running. My closet isn’t quite as dire as this makes it sound, perhaps, but. . .well. . .perhaps it is.
It’s a clear case of sartorial irresponsibility,
a cache of clothes exploded to infinity.
My closet’s filled with clothes that don’t suit me.
Textures and colors that please the eye,
but little that fits my current sensibility,
which is perhaps my own inability
to see the consequences of my own materiality,
to truly understand the concept of simplicity.
It’s time to chase my self-indulgence with austerity,
And close the case on this insanity.
It has been a long time since I have made a corn dollie. I think it’s because the preparation process is a lot of work–saving the best of the husks and drying them without letting them mold, then soaking them. Yesterday while Josiah and I were out walking, I started picking up corn husks and flowers, and I made myself a wild little dollie. It was a lot harder to work with the brittle husks that I picked up in the field, but it was extremely satisfying, and I like the wild look of her–my “proper” dollies look really tame and domesticated in comparison. We got back from our walk at dusk, so the photo is a little dark.
We say God, we say Goddess. Great Mother or Holy Father. Some of us say gods instead, and why shouldn’t that be appropriate for a concept that is beyond the ability of our brains to comprehend? Like Madeline L’Engle’s conceptualization of a seraphim, so incomprehensibly complex that it’s a being of many-in-one. Why shouldn’t the One be also Many?
I am not even sure that the category of Being is quite apt, quite complete. Being. Force. Abstract Idea. Conceptual Framework.
We say God is Love. But is Love God?
I like the names Source, Matrix, Creator, Web of all Being. Beauty. Magnum Mysterium–the Greatest Mystery. Impersonal forces and ideas, yet oh-so-personal, because there’s a reflection of it inside me. I think it’s there inside everyone, a spark just waiting to be kindled, waiting to flash out. (But am I spiritually colonizing others, when I say that I think that there’s a god-thing in everyone? A Goodness?)
The Wildest One. Because the wild will not be wholly known, will not be conquered, nor tamed. Because something wild within me longs for connection with the Wildest One. We think of wild as predatory, ferocious, dangerous, red in tooth and claw. I suppose there are aspects of ferocity and danger here, but wild is also untamability, growth outside boundaries, that which will not be kept in a house. Wild is the curious faces of bat-eared fox kits that my brother and I watched popping up out of their burrows. Wild is the quiet hippopotamus grazing on the bank of the river. Wild is the wren who makes her home in human habitations, but ever on her own terms. Wild is the geese and the monarchs and the hummingbirds and the dragonflies winging south for winter. Wild is the green that covers everything, the moment the clippers and trimmers have been put away.
Gratitude List: 1. Holding on to each other.
2. Listening across distances.
3. Wise ones.