Seeking Solitude

      
This afternoon, I will be driving up to the monastery for several days. I

“Inside a moment, centuries of June.” ―Emily Dickinson
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African proverb:, “When death comes, may it find you fully alive.”
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“I think there ought to be a little music here: hum, hum.” ―Mary Oliver
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“Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.”  ―Albert Einstein
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“I do know one thing about me: I don’t measure myself by others’ expectations or let others define my worth.” ―Sonia Sotomayor
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“Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds! Shine.” ―Buddha
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“I have something that I call my Golden Rule. It goes something like this: ‘Do unto others twenty-five percent better than you expect them to do unto you.’ … The twenty-five percent is for error.”  ―Linus Pauling


Gratitude List:
1. Hummingbird moth
2. Listening to the boys in the backseat take off on a story and riff a thousand possible endings.
3. Cycle the Solstice. In my opinion, they’re sort of crazy for biking these eastern York hills, but hey, they’re a super-fun bunch of people, and all we had to do was offer food and water.
4. Lightning Bugs
5. Solitude

May we walk in Beauty!

All That You Change Changes You


“In one of the stars, I shall be living.
In one of them, I shall be laughing.
And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing
When you look at the sky at night.”
―The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery
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“Now go hug your kids.”
―Bret Sidler (my heart is with you and Sue in these late June days)
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“All that you touch you change. All that you change changes you.” ―Octavia Butler
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“The world is not to be put in order. The world is order. It is for us to put ourselves in unison with this order.”
― Henry Miller
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“The greatest danger to our future is apathy.”
―Jane Goodall
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Prayer for the World
by Rabbi Harold Kushner

Let the rain come and wash away
the ancient grudges, the bitter hatreds
held and nurtured over generations.
Let the rain wash away the memory
of the hurt, the neglect.
Then let the sun come out and
fill the sky with rainbows.
Let the warmth of the sun heal us
wherever we are broken.
Let it burn away the fog so that
we can see each other clearly.
So that we can see beyond labels,
beyond accents, gender or skin color.
Let the warmth and brightness
of the sun melt our selfishness.
So that we can share the joys and
feel the sorrows of our neighbors.
And let the light of the sun
be so strong that we will see all
people as our neighbors.
Let the earth, nourished by rain,
bring forth flowers
to surround us with beauty.
And let the mountains teach our hearts
to reach upward to heaven.
Amen.

 


Gratitude List:
1. Mullein. I know I said it a couple days ago, but yesterday I drove toward York, and there was a huge patch all along the roadside, all the bright yellow candles lit for midsummer. I did not have a fire last night for St. John’s Eve, but the Hag’s Tapers were lit up everywhere.
2. Titmice calling in the trees to wake me up.
3. Preparing for my time at the monastery, gathering books and art materials, ideas for meditation.
4. Today is Cycle the Solstice, and one small person in my house is really excited.
5. The way rain refreshes the soil, the plants, and my heart.

May we walk in Beauty!

The Girls Who Are Trees


The new Sense of  Wonder T-shirt (my Sycamore is wearing it for the photos), and some of the girls’ weavings


“Only you and I can help the sun rise each coming morning. If we don’t, it may drench itself out in sorrow. You special, miraculous, unrepeatable, fragile, fearful, tender, lost, sparkling ruby emerald jewel, rainbow splendor person. It’s up to you.”  —Joan Baez
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“You can tell people of the need to struggle, but when the powerless start to see that they really can make a difference, nothing can quench the fire.”
― Leymah Gbowee
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“Do not be afraid to include other people in your story, to ask others to hold the light for you in times of darkness and pain. This is a grace and a gift you offer them, to allow another the honor of walking beside you on the path, in silence or in song, no matter how treacherous the journey.”  —Beth Weaver-Kreider, 2012
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“When you realize the Earth is so much more than simply your environment, you’ll be moved to protect her in the same way as you would yourself. This is the kind of awareness, the kind of awakening that we need, and the future of the planet depends on whether we’re able to cultivate this insight or not. The Earth and all species on Earth are in real danger. Yet if we can develop a deep relationship with the Earth, we’ll have enough love, strength and awakening in order to change our way of life.”
—Thich Nhat Hanh
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“It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know the sense of wonder and humility.”  —Rachel Carson


Gratitude List:
1. The girls and women of Sense of Wonder Camp. What a lovely morning. After we talked about the life of Wangari Maathai, they each got a tree to take home. They immediately started naming their trees. One red oak sapling was almost completely leafless. I said, “This one needs a lot of love.” A girl next to me said, “That’s the one I am taking. I have a lot of love to give.”
2. Role models, mentors, and heras. Rachel Carson, Leymah Gbowee, Wangari Maathai, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, you.
3. Sycamore, oak, maple, beech, magnolia, redbud, walnut, poplar, acacia, frangipanni, baobab. . .
4. The wisdom of young women and girls
5. This quiet summer morning rain.

May we walk in Beauty!

#mylittlething


I am bringing Wangari Maathai into the circle at Sense of Wonder Camp for Girls today. It’s been a real pleasure studying her again, relearning her story, finding new things, reading new quotes. I am really struck this time by her deep understanding of systems and the way systems work together. She really was a woman ahead of her time.

“It’s the little things citizens do that will make a difference. My little thing is planting
trees.”  ―Wangari Maathai

#mylittlething is believing in you.
What’s your little thing?


“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.”
― Joseph Campbell
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“We cannot tire or give up. We owe it to the present and future generations of all species to rise up and walk!” ―Wangari Maathai
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“Every person who has ever achieved anything has been knocked down many times. But all of them picked themselves up and kept going, and that is what I have always tried to do.” ―Wangari Maathai
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“It is the people who must save the environment. It is the people who must make their leaders change. And we cannot be intimidated. So we must stand up for what we believe in.”
―Wangari Maathai
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“The eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time.
…To protect what is wild is to protect what is gentle.
Perhaps the wilderness we fear is the pause between our own heartbeats, the silent space that says we live only by grace.
Wilderness lives by this same grace. Wild mercy is in our hands.”
—Terry Tempest Williams
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“The extremists are afraid of books and pens, the power of education frightens them. They are afraid of women.”
― Malala Yousafzai
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“Hey, even Santa Claus believes in you.” –Floyd and Janice, The Electric Mayhem
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“There is no exquisite beauty without some strangeness in the proportion.” ―Edgar Allen Poe
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“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” –Mark Twain
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“It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know the sense of wonder and humility. ”
― Rachel Carson
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“…drink in the beauty and wonder at the meaning of what you see.”
― Rachel Carson


Gratitude List:
1. Bull Thistles. I know that farmers hate them, but goldfinches love them, and I have seen them EVERYWHERE this year–on roadsides, down highway medians. And always, like a beautiful cliche, goldfinches.
2. That cute little chipmunk who sat up on his haunches and looked at me as I was on my way to the dentist yesterday.
3. Hag’s tapers. Midsummer Day, right on cue, the mullein bloomed yellow all over the roadsides.
4. My dental hygienist. She has been cleaning my teeth for decades. She’s excellent at what she does, not only at cleaning my teeth, but at teaching me how to keep my teeth clean myself. She’s an educator. We’re very different people politically and spiritually, and I always feel like I have to sort of brace myself a little for some of the conversation, but she’s sort of become a friend, and I am always really glad when she’s the one who cleans my teeth.
5. Sense of Wonder Camp for Girls. I am eager to go be the storyteller this morning!

May we walk in Beauty!

I Love My Library




Art at Kreutz Creek Valley Library Center. It’s a tiny library, but such big things happen there. It is truly a community center.

I jumped the starting gun again yesterday on Solstice. Apparently it’s become my pattern. Happy Longest Day to you! May your seeds grow. May your pathway be clear. May your light shine brightly. Blessed be.


“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
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“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.
It is the source of all true art and science.” —Albert Einstein
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“To live is to be musical, starting with the blood dancing in your veins. Everything living has a rhythm. Do you feel your music?” Michael Jackson
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“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
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We who prayed and wept
for liberty from kings
and the yoke of liberty
accept the tyranny of things
we do not need.
In plenitude too free,
we have become adept
beneath the yoke of greed.
Those who will not learn
in plenty to keep their place
must learn it by their need
when they have had their way
and the fields spurn their seed.
We have failed Thy grace.
Lord, I flinch and pray,
send Thy necessity.
—Wendell Berry
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“The cure for anything is salt water – tears, sweat, or the sea. ” —Isak Dinesen


Gratitude List:
1. The boys are becoming fanatical readers. We went to the library yesterday, and they’ve already read most of their books.
2. Yesterday’s inspiring keynote speech by Hasan Davis (you can google him). His message was that all children need at least one adult to believe in them, to believe that they’ll become their best selves in spite of the odds.
3. Summer days. This is one of the first days of summer for me that doesn’t have some plan or process or meeting in it. I do have something to prepare for tomorrow, but really–I get to schedule today as I want to. I am giving myself at least an hour of writing, and an hour of schoolwork and some cleaning/tidying/organizing. These boys may need another trip to the library. I think we’ll have to take another long walk.
4. The library. Libraries. The public library system in the US is a national treasure. I am grateful that my taxes go to support libraries. Support libraries, not drones!
5. We’re still sniffly in this house, but since the trees are no longer blooming, we seem to be getting out of the worst of tree-allergy season.

May we walk in Beauty!

Happy Solstice!

“Love lit a fire in my chest, and everything that wasn’t love left.” – Rumi
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Hieroglyphic Stairway
by Drew Dellinger

Its 3:23 in the
morning and I’m awake
because my great great grandchildren
wont let me sleep
my great great grandchildren
ask me in dreams
what did you do while the planet was plundered?
what did you do when the earth was unraveling?
surely you did something
when the seasons started failing?
as the mammals, reptiles, and birds were all dying?
did you fill the streets with protest
when democracy was stolen?
what did you do
once you knew?
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Less Alone
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

The way, when you touch
the wounded place and say
“This makes me feel vulnerable.
This makes me feel weak,”
the way that makes you real,
the way it makes me less afraid.
When you say,
“This is despair.
This is burnout,”
then all the rest of us can sigh,
then all the rest of us can say,
“So that is what it is.”
Then all the rest of us
can feel so much less alone.


Gratitude List:
1. Summer thundershowers
2. Good healthy green things
3. Professional development. Really.
4. Catching up with a friend
5. How the busy-ness of summer may be busy, but it has a gentle pace

May we walk in Beauty!

Now We Begin Again


The secret of the Universe.

A somewhat random assortment of quotations for a Monday morning:
“I do not understand the mystery of grace — only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.” ― Anne Lamott
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“[E]ducation is not just about utilizing a particular curriculum, or ensuring that critical reflection in a community follows a particular formula. It is full of intangible and random events. It is not just taught in the classroom, but lived in the midst of the community in ways that are not even fully quantifiable.”  ―M.S. Bickford on the educational theories of John Westerhoff
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“The trouble with trouble is, it starts out as fun.” ―Anonymous
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“One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time…give it, give it all, give it now.”
— Annie Dillard
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“You can tell people of the need to struggle, but when the powerless start to see that they really can make a difference, nothing can quench the fire.”
— Leymah Gbowee
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“There are opportunities even in the most difficult moments.” — Wangari Maathai
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“Throughout my life, I have never stopped to strategize about my next steps. I often just keep walking along, through whichever door opens. I have been on a journey and this journey has never stopped. When the journey is acknowledged and sustained by those I work with, they are a source of inspiration, energy and encouragement. They are the reasons I kept walking, and will keep walking, as long as my knees hold out.”
— Wangari Maathai


Gratitude List:
1. First CSA Day of the Season! Today is First Harvest. We spent hours yesterday getting the market room ready. I took a mop to the walls. I need to make an offering to Athena again–the poor spiders had their lives severely disrupted. I actually need to run out somewhere this morning and get a new drive belt for the vacuum cleaner, which I severely overworked. But we’re essentially ready! The curtain is rising on the 2017 production of Goldfinch Farm CSA.
2. Good exercise. Every day, for the past three days, I have awakened with a much greater level of stiffness and ache, but it’s all from the increased exercise of summer. I should plan now for how to maintain that in the coming school year.
3. I am holding someone else’s good news like a secret and precious gem. Not my story to tell, not yet.
4. Feeling like I am getting organized. I am a conundrum. I love to be organized. I love spaces and datebooks and thoughts that are carefully and neatly arranged, but my world tends to fall rapidly toward chaos and mess. Right now, I am finding energy for the creation and maintenance of organized datebook and thoughts. Perhaps the physical spaces will follow, too. getting that market room ready yesterday was a help.
5. Weaving stories together.

May we walk in Beauty and Love.

Walking in the Rain

“The real work of planet-saving will be small, humble, and humbling, and (insofar as it involves love) pleasing and rewarding. Its jobs will be too many to count, too many to report, too many to be publicly noticed or rewarded, too small to make anyone rich or famous.” ―Wendell Berry
*”So many of us feel an agonizing longing to contribute something meaningful to the deficits of our time. But years can disappear in the doing of duties, in the never-reaching of rising expectations, in the always-falling-short of proving of one’s enoughness.

The truth is that if we really want to make an eloquent offering of our lives, we have to step out of that ‘call and response’ relationship with the external world and locate our source of guidance within.

To hear the rhythm of your indigenous song, to fall in step with the poetry of your unfolding, first there must be a clearing away: a ‘temenos’ of simplicity in which to dwell.
Strike a holy grove of silence where you can listen as you long to be heard, see as you long to be seen, acknowledge where you long to be relevant, needed and necessary in the ‘family of things’.” ―Dreamwork with Toko-pa
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“One is not born into the world to do everything but to do something.”
― Henry David Thoreau
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“We stand together. We stick up for the vulnerable. We challenge bigots. We don’t let hate speech become normalized. We hold the line.” ―J.K. Rowling
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Rumi: “Ours is no caravan of despair.”
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“I profess the religion of love wherever its caravan turns along the way; that is the belief, the faith I keep.” ―Asma Kaftaro, UN Women Advisory Board
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“Human rights are not things that are put on the table for people to enjoy. These are things you fight for and then you protect.”
― Wangari Maathai
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“There are opportunities even in the most difficult moments.”
― Wangari Maathai


Gratitude List:
1. Walking in the rain with my boys. We’d gotten about two miles in to the loop when the rain hit. Nothing to do but laugh and keep walking that last half mile. Then Jon appeared over the rise in the car, and we were rescued.
2. Homemade pizza
3. CSA season has arrived. Today we clean the Market Room, and tomorrow is first harvest.
4. My dad, Jon, fathers and fatherhood. I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by good ones in my life, tender and thoughtful men who are not afraid to be fully human, vulnerable, and wise. Also today, I want to honor the many single mothers I know, who are being both mother and father to their children.
5. Wangari Maathai. I am researching her for a storytelling event this week at Sense of Wonder Camp. I love her story, her fortitude and fierceness, her determination and compassion.

May we walk in Beauty!

Green Tara


Two years ago, I spent some time meditating in an alcove at the Jesuit Center where Green Tara rested beneath a painting of the Madonna. Last year, she wasn’t there. This year, I am going to search for her again.

Today’s Quotes:
Annie Dillard says, “How we spend our days is of course how we spend our lives.”
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“We have to consciously study how to be tender with each other until it becomes a habit.”
—Audre Lorde
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“Acknowledging our love for the living world does something that a library full of papers on sustainable development and ecosystem services cannot: it engages the imagination as well as the intellect. It inspires belief; and this is essential to the lasting success of any movement.” —George Monbiot


Gratitude List:
1. (What wakes you up?) Stiff, aching muscles from a 2.5-mile walk with my youngster yesterday. While the increasing aches of aging are challenging for me, this stiff-and-soreness is because of a delightful walk in the evening, where we just kept going. “Shall we see where the road construction began? Why don’t we just walk up Poff Road now?”
2. (What inspires you?) The friend who keeps running, keeps walking, keepings signing up for those half-marathons. Reading last year’s reflections on an educational seminar I took.
3. (What catches your eye?) Daylily, Chicory, and Queen Anne’s Lace are a-bloom again. Contrasting colors of orange and blue, and that lacy white among them.
4. (What keeps you in the moment?) The oriole calling from the honey locust trees by the parking lot.
5. (What draws you into the future?) Yesterday’s conversation with a teacher friend about the past year, about what sort of teachers we want to be. The gangly growth spurts of my children. The anticipation of next weekend’s solitude retreat.

May we walk in Beauty!

Happily Home

“Do you not see how everything that happens keeps on being a beginning?” ~Rainer Maria Rilke
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“Every soul innately yearns for stillness, for a space, a garden where we can till, sow, reap, and rest, and by doing so come to a deeper sense of self and our place in the universe. Silence is not an absence but a presence. Not an emptiness but repletion A filling up.” ~ Anne D. LeClaire
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“To me, every hour of the day and night
is an unspeakably perfect miracle. ” ~Walt Whitman
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“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths, or the turning inwards in prayer for five short minutes.” ~ Etty Hillesum
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“Am I killing time, or is it killing me?” ~The Middle Brother Band


Gratitude List:
1. Happily home again, after a satisfying vacation
2. The possibilities the day brings. When the air is so gravid with rain, it feels as though anything could happen.
3. The prospect of coffee with a friend–a friendship that blossomed online.
4. That fuzzy old man cat Fred. I miss him when we’re away.
5. Sharing stories together. I’m reading the Heroes of Olympus series to the kids right now. I love the way the boys are absorbing Greek mythology while we read. I also love the way they get the jokes.

May we walk in Beauty!