Gratitudes, Musings, Poems

Into the Dreamtime, Christmas Morning

Inner and Outer Worlds, Sunrise

Blessings to you this morning, whether you are spending it in quiet contemplation or amidst the chaos of children and relatives, whether you are filled with a sense of longing or a sense of belonging, whether you are satisfied or whether you are wishing to change your lot. May your heart find the light. May your soul be restful in the shadows. May you know yourself to be a part of the web of things.


Gratitude List:
1. The inner and outer worlds
2. Darkness and light
3. Peppermint meltaways
4. Mary’s Canticle
5. You. Always You.

May we walk in Beauty!


“From the halls of power to the fortress tower,
not a stone will be left on stone.
Let the king beware for your justice tears
every tyrant from his throne.
The hungry poor shall weep no more,
for the food they can never earn;
These are tables spread, ev’ry mouth be fed,
for the world is about to turn.

My heart shall sing of the day you bring.
Let the fires of your justice burn.
Wipe away all tears,
For the dawn draws near,
And the world is about to turn.”
—Rory Cooney, from “Canticle of the Turning”


Making the House Ready for the Lord
by Mary Oliver

Dear Lord, I have swept and I have washed but
still nothing is as shining as it should be
for you. Under the sink, for example, is an
uproar of mice–it is the season of their
many children. What shall I do? And under the eaves
and through the walls the squirrels
have gnawed their ragged entrances–but it is the season
when they need shelter, so what shall I do? And
the raccoon limps into the kitchen and opens the cupboard
while the dog snores, the cat hugs the pillow;
what shall I do? Beautiful is the new snow falling
in the yard and the fox who is staring boldly
up the path, to the door. And still I believe you will
come, Lord: you will, when I speak to the fox,
the sparrow, the lost dog, the shivering sea-goose, know
that really I am speaking to you whenever I say,
as I do all morning and afternoon: Come in, Come in.


“I am a hole in a flute
that the Christ’s breath moves through
listen to this music
I am the concert from the mouth of every creature
singing with the myriad chorus” —Hafiz


“May I be the tiniest nail in the house of the universe, tiny but useful.” ―Mary Oliver


“We’re all just walking each other home.” —Ram Dass


“I learned from Whitman that the poem is a temple—or a green field—a place to enter, and in which to feel.” ―Mary Oliver

Gratitudes, Musings

Into the Dark, December 5

very 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.

Those sunrise clouds do it every morning. I move through the morning darkness like a wader in a murky pond every morning, until I am fully awake, until I can let some of my muscles relax into the day. The clouds help. Magenta and tangerine streaks across cobalt and indigo and grey. Touches of aquamarine in the sky below.

Not every day, of course. Some of the sunrises are simple shifts from grey to grey. But some mornings, the sky breathes for me, breathes in colors that seep into my bones, the way warmth begins to creep inward from a nice cup of tea.

My word for today will be Color. Even in the grey days, there’s color to be found, and even now there are deep rich greens, pops of berry red, cardinal red, golden sunbeam.

Today, may colors seep into your soul, awaken and enliven you, help you breathe. Blessed be.


“The opposite of consumption is not frugality, it is generosity.”
—Raj Patel


“By reciting a myth, the storyteller remembers a creation, and, by remembering, is a part of that creating. It is best understood in that dreadful solecism “walkabout”. In walking, the Australians speak the land. Their feet make it new, now, and in its beginning. And the land speaks to them, now, anew, and in their beginning, by step and breath that meet in its dance, so that land and people sing as one.” —Alan Garner, The Voice That Thunders


“This earth that we live on is full of stories in the same way that, for a fish, the ocean is full of ocean. Some people say when we are born we’re born into stories. I say we’re also born from stories.” —Ben Okri


“So every day
I was surrounded by the beautiful crying forth
of the ideas of God,
one of which was you.” ―Mary Oliver


“Let the violence and pain in our world root you even more deeply in your commitment to be kinder and love harder, no matter the person or circumstance. Your great ability to love has everything to do with creating a more peaceful reality on our planet. Your love matters. It makes a critical difference. It helps us all.” —Scott Stabile


“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” —Nelson Mandela


“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”
—Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)


“Never does Nature say one thing and Wisdom another.” —Juvenal


“There is a place where words are born of silence,
A place where the whispers of the heart arise.” —Rumi


Gratitude List:
1. Warm blankets
2. Elementary School Music Concerts
3. Nourishment
4. Words
5. You

May we walk in Beauty!

Poems, Poetry Prompts

You Are My Favorite


Today’s prompt is to write a favorite poem:

You are my favorite color:
that golden shine of sun on the trees in the morning,
that deep cotton grey of dusk,
that rich mocha brown of turned earth,
that silvery sheen on blue waters.

You are my favorite sound:
the sigh of a breeze through the sycamore,
the quiet hum of a child at play,
the full-throated song of a joyful choir,
the chorus of birdfolk at dawn.

You are my favorite feeling:
this tingle of warm sun in spring chill,
this shiver of the spine at a memory,
this sigh of soft satin on the inside of the wrist,
this ease of rest at the end of an aching day.

Gratitudes, Musings

A Hole in the Fabric

IMAG1844
And a blue true dream of sky

There’s been a change in my noticing, a small hole in the fabric of my attention. What used to be an alive and vibrant node in my awareness is now an empty expectancy.  I experienced a little zing every time I walked beneath the sycamore tree, even if I did not take the time to pause and look up, to find the tiny nest, to focus my aging eyes on the spot where two tiny birds were growing. Now the nest is only a shell, a remnant. It’s a wonderment all the same, that tiny house of cobweb, but it is empty.

Yes. Empty is a cutting word.

No, this is no grief akin to the great griefs. It’s just a little hole, a shift, an empty place where my attention and sense of wonderment flowed for weeks, but which is now an empty space like other empty spaces. There is other wonder to seek. There are other places for my deep attention to flow. The dog of my brain is sniffing the air for the next impossible beauty, the next whirring of wings, the next impossible thing that exists.

Gratitude List:
1. New ideas that keep the mind alive
2. The people who are welcoming the refugees
3. The people who stand up for justice
4. The voices of my friends the owls, calling from the bamboo forest
5. You. How we hold the world together, together. How our hands are joined across time and distance to form webs that carry and comfort, that heal and make whole.

Blessings on the Work!

Gratitudes

We Can Do It!

March 8
International Women’s Day, celebrated around the world since 1911, to honor the work that women do.  This year’s theme is a pledge for parity, with the core belief that empowering women will lead to greater sustainability on the planet.

Gratitude List:
1. Berta Cáceres, a Honduran environmentalist and human rights worker, 2015 winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize, who rallied the indigenous Lenca people to oust the builders of the Agua Zarca Dam, a project which would have cut off water for the Lenca and made it impossible for them to continue living sustainably on the land.  She was assassinated last week in her home.
2. Harriet Tubman, whose story amazes and inspires me, challenges and informs me.  If all you know about her is that she rescued people out of slavery, you owe it to yourself to find out more about her, about her many roles during the war, and how she continued to work for human rights and dignity until she died.
3. Wangari Mathaai, the Kenyan college professor and founder of the Green Belt Movement, first woman in East Africa with a doctorate degree, and 2004 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, who saved Karura Forest, who planted trees, who worked for the rights of women.  (Karura Forest is again threatened with development, and the Green Belt Movement is working to save it yet again.)
4. Jane Goodall, who, though she is in her early 80s, continues to travel around the world to speak on behalf of sustainability, earth care, and animal rights.
5. All you women in my life who have mentored me and modeled for me how to live sustainably, how to regulate and care for my own energy, how to stand up and speak out, how to do the work.  Friends and family, women older than me, my peers, and young women, too–my nieces and my students–who show me every day what it means to make a hopeful difference in the world.

May we walk with wisdom, with courage, and with strength.  May we make the world a better place.

Gratitudes, Musings

Grace and Balance and Beauty

DSCN8800
Christmas morning dewdrops on a birch tree.

My dreams have been disturbed the last two nights, sleeping in other rooms, other beds.  Last night, I was living by myself in an apartment, and I was moving out, turning over the lease to someone else.  I realized that I was going to have nowhere to live, nowhere to sleep.  I thought of all the many people in the town that I knew, and tried to think of who to call to ask for a place to stay, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  Even when I was talking to people I knew, I couldn’t bring myself to say, “Hey!  Could I stay at your house for a couple days?”  I told myself it was because I am an introvert, but I knew that it is because I couldn’t find the humility.  One of my fatal flaws, I think, is the inability to ask for help when I really need it.

Gratitude List:
1. Grace and balance.  (I have been watching my 9-year-old learn to ride his new ripstick.)
2. Beauty all around.  (I have been taking walks with my 6-year-old, looking for interesting things to photograph.)
3. A misty Christmas Day.
4. Fun playing games with the family.  (3-person chess is exhilarating!  And Ticket to Ride is stressful.)
5. You.  Your stories.  The music you make.  The powerful thoughts you put into the world.  The beauty and grace that you notice and share.  The way you are real.

So much love!

Gratitudes, Poems

Haunting

2012 February 058

Today’s prompt is to write a haunted poem.

Everything leaves its imprint,
like the stain of a leaf long-gone to soil
which moldered on the concrete walk
leaving its shadow for another season’s grace.

Your very atoms press against the air,
push through the space around you.
Why should the sense of you be gone
when you are gone?  Why shouldn’t your image
remain behind to haunt the space you filled?

When you turn a corner you will see them,
in those rooms you inhabit inside your soul,
shifting lights and shadows,
mirages or reflections.

Listen for the whispering:
“I was here. I will always be here.”

Gratitude List:
1. Richard Rohr.  Remember, it’s about grace.
2. The Subversive Jesus.  Who is throwing stones?
3. Earthshine.  Have you seen how we light up the moon, even when she is only a sliver?
4. Meeting the day.
5. You.  How you receive the world with open arms.  How you do not judge the worthiness of others or separate people into categories or close doors to keep some out and to lock others in.  How you remind me that there are still people who walk in the way of grace.

May we walk with Great Grace.

Gratitudes, Musings, Poems

the trees obscure the water towers

I am entering a poem in a contest.  Robert Lee Brewer, the host of the Poetic Asides blog, has initiated a contest using his book as the basis.  Take one of his poems, and re-craft or respond or re-work it in some way.  I love the conversational nature of this.  It’s part of what I want poetry to be–conversation.  I don’t know if it’s ethically kosher to type up his poem and put it here next to mine without having asked him first, especially since I don’t have the know-how to indent his lines the way he did.  His is titled “the horizon is marked by water towers overlooking trees,” and the first line was “i’m through with you.”  Mine is a response, and I have patterned it pretty exactly after his, though with a rather different tone.

the trees obscure the water towers
by Elizabeth Weaver-Kreider

you may think you’re through
you with your stoic eyes
building elaborate fences

to escape my rabbit heart
last october and recite elegies
to fierce women pregnant with desire

but you’re not through with me
and my fine road to hell
paved with change and intention

and change has escaped your professorial eye
your old man’s disillusion
there’s so much we could’ve

but you can’t be really through
because tonight when I am out dancing
alone in fields under the moon

releasing the story of what was
you will come to me like leaves swirling
like the wild geese over the meadow

 

Gratitude List:
1. Poetic conversation
2. How ideas spark ideas, how creative thought fires creative thought
3. The peaceful faces of sleeping children
4. Awakening to birdsong (even if it gets me up way too early these days)
5. You.  You hold me and the rest of us so beautifully in your bowl of heart.  You teach me how to ask for help.  You show me light through the brambles.  You remind me to shoulder my ax, to notice the bright birds, to be careful on the path.  Mostly, you remind me not to despair because the world cannot be on the brink of disaster with helpers like you in it.

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes, Poems

Birds of Skunk Hollow

Somewhere in the wood,
mourning dove sings of desire:
“Who and who and who?”
Then, from deep in the bamboo,
the owl answers, “You, you, you.”

Gratitude List:
1.  Synchronicity.  People in very different places of my life this week have recommended that I read the very same two authors.
2.  Owl and dove
3.  Sun and thaw and thaw and thaw.
4.  Will forces
5.  Poppy jasper

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes

Faerie Snow

“Don’t count your sheep,” says Ellis, “until the wolf is gone.”

Gratitude List:
1.  Chocolate and a burger for grounding
2.  The Emergency Women’s Shelter at the YWCA
3.  10 hours of sleep–winter hibernation-style
4.  The way the snow glows blue from inside?  Have you noticed?  What makes it do that, I wonder?  I’m thinking it’s the faeries.
5.  All my Valentines, you and you and someone else: we draw these webs between us,
made of chocolate and sunlight and tentative smiles
and Facebook notes and photos of the places we love
and the toothy grins of our children
and the hope of helping out a little bit
and seeking our roots and our sources together
and following traditions
and breaking traditions
and going a little bit wilder
and dancing until the chickens come home to roost.

Much love.  May we walk in Beauty!