Bless the Seeds

A Blessed Autumn Equinox to you.

“We have arrived at Autumn Equinox, one of those exquisite balance points of the year cycle, the moment of shift in the whirl around our star. The light has been shifting, coming in at a slant that sets everything atwinkle. Every dusk, hundreds of robins sail into the hollow and set up a clatter and cacophony in the bamboo grove. The geese are going, cormorants winging their way, thousands of feet above us, or angling down to the River for a rest. Seeds burst forth.

Say a blessing for the seeds, those packets of potential that burst from the ripened fruits of the flower buds and fall to earth, some to be trampled by passing feet, some to be eaten–fuel for the journeys of the little birds or stocked up by small animals as fat for the coming cold. And some to fall into the rich soil to wait through the winter until it is time to Become.

How has your own ripening been? What is the seed within you at this moment? What is the hopeful little bundle of potential that is waiting to fall, to be carried by the winds and the waves and the creatures that pass, to tumble into the soil of your future self? What has ripened within you, and what will you release, knowing it may grow and bear its own fruit, or may become food for others? What of yourself do you give to this season? Say a blessing for the seeds.” ―Beth Weaver-Kreider
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“There is almost a sensual longing for communion with others who have a large vision. The immense fulfillment of the friendship between those engaged in furthering the evolution of consciousness has a quality impossible to describe.” ―Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
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“Stories,” he’d said, his voice low and almost husky, “we are made up of stories. And even the ones that seem the most like lies can be our deepest hidden truths.”
― Jane Yolen, Briar Rose
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“Imagination is the golden-eyed monster that never sleeps. It must be fed; it cannot be ignored.”
― Patricia A. McKillip
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“Matter is spirit moving slowly enough to be seen.” ―Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
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“Let my soul smile through my heart and my heart smile through my eyes, that I may scatter rich smiles in sad hearts.” ―Paramahansa Yogananda


Gratitude List:
1. The morning sky. Sundogs. Woven clouds. Golden pathways of the sun.
2. Those young hawks sitting everywhere, learning to make it on their own. Buffy bellies high in the trees.
3. Walnut leaves fluttering down through afternoon sun. Cherry blossoms of autumn.
4. A tidy house. Well, sort of tidy. Tidier, anyway.
5. Singing with people

May we walk in Beauty!

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Put Hands and Feet on Your Prayer

Today is International Day of Peace.
Last year on this day, I wrote about being the Medicine for the Moment. This year’s stories are hauntingly the same, although the names and places have changed. The response of the powerful and disconnected to the tragedies around us remains as simplistic and crass as ever.

“Where is the medicine for this moment?

These are crass and ironic times, when the tragedies of millions of lives, of people fleeing their homes in terror, are reduced to a simplistic candy analogy. Where is the medicine?

When day after day after horrific day, another black man lies dead in the streets, the evidence of his murder caught on camera, and no one is brought to justice.  Where is the medicine?

When the nations of people who first lived upon this land call for a halt to the destruction of the land and water, and the response is to bulldoze the graves of their ancestors. Where is the medicine?

The tides of hate and selfishness and division have risen, and those who See must come together in these times to pray, to hold council, to stand against all that tears at the fabric of our common humanity. When history looks back at us, let it not be said that we sat quietly by while our sisters and brothers were subjected to hate and horror and terror.

Today is the International Day of Peace.  What will be your prayer for peace today? How will you put hands and feet on your prayer? What medicine will you be for this moment?”
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“The best thing for being sad is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails.” –Merlin (T. H. White)
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“Attention is the beginning of devotion.” –Mary Oliver
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“Be silent, or say something better than silence.”
–Pythagoras
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“Don’t you see? Violence doesn’t end violence. It extends it.” –The Doctor (Eleven)


Gratitude List:
1. Savannah’s Peace Day Chapel presentation this morning–a student leading us to consider how we can learn to listen to each other even when we don’t agree, encouraging us to keep doing the small everyday things that make a difference in people’s lives.
2. That was coyotes I heard howling up on the hill! Coyotes! We’ve seen them several times over the years, but we’ve never heard them sing in the hollow before. What a haunting and evocative music. (I’m also glad that the cats are indoor people.)
3. Tomorrow is Friday. I am eager to find my way into the weekend. Also, Friday means Hymn Sing.
4. Salmon patties, green beans, and a chichen itza pepper.
5. All the people, everywhere, who work for peace in the world, who expand the boundaries of loving, who open their hearts.

May we walk in Beauty!

The Bud Always Opens Toward Decay


“Protest that endures, I think, is moved by a hope far more modest than that of public success: namely, the hope of preserving qualities in one’s own heart and spirit that would be destroyed by acquiescence.” ―Wendell Berry, from “What Are People For?”
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“It takes a lot of time to be a genius, you have to sit around so much doing nothing, really doing nothing.” ―Gertrude Stein
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“It is Story that heals us, that shapeshifts us, that saves us.” ―Sylvia V. Linseadt
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“It can hurt to go through life with your heart open, but not as much as it does to go through life with your heart closed.” –Jim Doty
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The bud always opens toward decay,
toward falling, the fragile bits within
slipping off their tiny moorings,
sifting downward, petals drooping,
dropping to the ground below,
offering beauty and a lingering aroma
in the briefest span.

The bud which never opens
also lives toward decay and rot
but never senses sun-warm petals,
never knows the draw of butterfly,
the tickle of the bee, never feels
the moment of release, of
settling to earth.
–Beth Weaver-Kreider


Gratitude List:
1. The gift of a new mantra. Today a young woman recounted a story of not getting what she needed in a certain situation. “Next time, I will speak my need,” she said. Me too.
2. That Ross Gay poem, “Sorrow is Not My Name
“I remember. My color’s green. I’m spring.”
3. Shelter. Food. Clothing.
4. Music
5. The last of the summer sweet corn. It seems appropriate to have an end-of-summer corn dinner.

May we walk in Beauty!

Drawing Forth the Impossible Sprout


The doorway to Room 206: Magic happens here

“I am not afraid of storms, for I’m learning to sail my ship.” –Louisa May Alcott
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“The only way to live is to accept each minute as an unrepeatable miracle.” –Margaret Storm Jameson
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“Be the silent watcher of your thoughts and behavior.
You are beneath the thinker.
You are the stillness beneath the mental noise.
You are the love and joy beneath the pain.”
–Eckhart Tolle
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One of my own, beginning with an Aldo Leopold quote. I read the Leopold essay again yesterday with my Academic Writing students in preparation for our Cause and Effect essay:

“We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes – something known only to her and to the mountain.” –Aldo Leopold

Only the mountain knows perhaps
where the green fire is kindled
how the viridian flame leaps
down the slopes and into the hollows
how it broods in the deep crevasse
enkindles in every womb
caterpillar and field mouse
wolf and deer and human
how it shines behind the eye.

Perhaps the desert too
has pondered with the mountain
the quiet licking emerald ember that
touched by the merest drop of moisture
tenders into flame
drawing forth
the impossible sprout from the seed
–Beth Weaver-Kreider
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With That Moon Language
by Hafiz

Admit something:
Everyone you see, you say to them, “Love me.”
Of course you do not do this out loud; Otherwise,
someone would call the cops.
Still, though, think about this, this great pull in us
to connect.
Why not become the one who lives with a full moon
in each eye that is always saying,
with that sweet moon language,
what every other eye in this world is dying to hear?
–Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky


Gratitude List:
1. Cheesy bread and eggs for supper
2. Life Force, green fire
3. Collages and strippy poetry
4. When he isn’t yelling or whining, this kid is always singing or making jokes
5. Good Work

May we walk in Beauty!

I Am a Verb


“Self care is not an individual act; it is a collective act.” —Yara Sallam
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“The enemy of a love is never outside, it’s not a man or a woman, it’s what we lack in ourselves.” —Anaïs Nin
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“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.” —Frederick Buechner
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“To live by a large river is to be kept in the heart of things. ” —John Haines
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I haven’t yet read The Shack, but this passage makes me think I oughta:
“I,” she [the Holy Spirit] opened her hands to include Jesus and Papa, “I am a verb. I am that I am. I will be who I will be. I am a verb! I am alive, dynamic, ever active and moving. I am a being verb. And as my very essence is a verb, I am more attuned to verbs than nouns. Verbs such as confessing, repenting, living, loving, responding, growing, reaping, changing, sowing, running, dancing, singing, and on and on. Humans, on the other hand, have a knack for taking a verb that is alive and full of grace and turning it into a dead noun or principle that reeks of rules. Nouns exist because there is a created universe and physical reality, but the universe is only a mass of nouns, it is dead. Unless ‘I am’ there are no verbs and verbs are what makes the universe alive.” —Wm Paul Young, The Shack
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Thomas Merton:
“There is a pervasive form of modern violence to which the idealist. . .most easily succumbs: activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence.

To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence.

The frenzy of the activist neutralizes his (or her) work. . . . It destroys the fruitfulness of his (or her). . .work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.”
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“I can’t control the world, but I can control myself. And you are not going to coerce me into hating.” —Ruby Sales
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“Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.” —Mark Strand
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“A characteristic of feminism is to think twice about what you know.” —Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi
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“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.”  ―Iain Thomas (not Vonnegut, as everyone says)


Gratitude List:
1. Chances to breathe, to catch breath, to sigh, to yawn
2. Sunflowers, seeds, and pollinators
3. Little nap with a cat on the lap
4. Cheese
5. Reading with the kids. Right now it’s Patricia Wrede’s Chronicles of the Enchanted Forest.

May we walk in Beauty!

The Art of Enough


Today is the feast day of St. Hildegard of Bingen. If I have a patron saint, it would be her. She loved music and art, herbalism and stones. She was mystic, poet, doctor, composer, artist, and theologian. I’ll include some of her quotations in the mix below.

Here, to begin the curated quotations of the day, is something I wrote last year about writing poems, and then a poem I wrote about Sadness.

“I feel like I want a disclaimer before I write a poem about sadness. I realize that my life has been free of the iron grip of sadness that many people experience through depression or trauma or deep, recurring grief. I wrote this poem because I am trying to be Rumi’s Guest House and welcome in any and all who come my way, to learn from them what they would teach me. Sometimes I am a poet sitting at a pool, fishing out a single word at a time. Other days, I sit beside the stream, and the poem jumps right out into my lap and only needs to be tidied up a bit before it’s ready for the page. This is one of the latter.”

She’s a strange guest, is Sadness.
She knocks on the door
and when I open it
she turns her face away, says,
“You probably shouldn’t invite me in.”

But when I close the door,
she comes in anyway,
seeping in around the edges
and standing with her back to the wall.
And then she grows.

When I look directly at her, she dissipates
into the indigo shadows,
and all I can see are her eyes,
full of grief, full of resignation.

Sadness. It’s hard to know her, really,
to understand what she wants of me.

Sometimes she comes in as a cold wind
and I feel my senses tingle with the approach of her
before the world goes numb in her silence.
―Beth Weaver-Kreider
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“We cannot live in a world that is interpreted for us by others. An interpreted world is not a hope. Part of the terror is to take back our own listening. To use our own voice. To see our own light.”
―Hildegard of Bingen
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“The Word is living, being, spirit, all verdant greening, all creativity. This Word manifests itself in every creature.”
―Hildegard of Bingen
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“The quieter you become, the more you can hear.” ―Ram Dass
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“If you spell HA backwards, you get AH! Put them together and you get AHA!” ―Jeff Raught (I think I got the quotation right)
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“Like billowing clouds,
Like the incessant gurgle of the brook,
The longing of the spirit can never be stilled.”
―Hildegard of Bingen
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The Red Wheel Barrow
by William Carlos Williams

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.
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“She is so bright and glorious that you cannot look at her face or her garments for the splendor with which she shines. For she is terrible with the terror of the avenging lightning, and gentle with the goodness of the bright sun; and both her terror and her gentleness are incomprehensible to humans…. But she is with everyone and in everyone, and so beautiful is her secret that no person can know the sweetness with which she sustains people, and spares them in inscrutable mercy.”
―Hildegard of Bingen


Gratitude List:
1. I keep learning new things: There is so much to give away, to let go, before I know I have enough.
2. Patience. I have enough Patience, if I can find it behind that stack of Busy-ness that keeps getting in the way.
3. Wisdom. I know I have enough Wisdom here, but it keeps getting lost behind the boxes full of Knowledge and Know-it-allness.
4. Sleep. I can get enough of that, if I just work at it. Sleep is such hard work lately, but it’s better than insomnia.
5. Feathers. What does a feather mean?

May we walk in Beauty!

How You Get There


I am signing off for a few days. I am going to the woods with some of my beloved community, to sing and laugh and play together, to walk the labyrinth in the woods, to listen for birdsong and look for tiny fungi in the leaf litter, to breathe and to wander. I will see you here in a few days.


“I remember nothing more about that night, except knowing that the enchantment of that moment would be with me forever, how what was burning so intensely in my heart could manifest itself in all of nature and how a song could thread itself through a needle, and stitch it all together, for one other-worldly, soul-aching, heart-breakingly hopeful glimpse of Nirvana.” –Excerpt of blog by Gloria Talcove-Woodward
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“How you get there is where you’ll arrive.” –Cynthia Bourgeault
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“When a person tells you that you hurt them, you don’t get to decide that you didn’t.” –Louis C. K.
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“Never apologise for your sensitivity. It is the thinness of your skin which makes you brave. You are willing to live. You are willing to be alive.” –Dreamwork with Toko-pa
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“Acknowledge your mission. Trust your path. Become your chosen destiny.” –Jamie Sams
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“You are what you eat eats.” –Michael Pollan


Gratitude List:
1. Fridays: Week’s end, Faculty Hymn sing, the anticipation of rest and time in the woods with beloveds
2. Yesterday’s clouds, which were dragons and caves of flame and featherbeds
3. Teenagers and their enormous hearts
4. Monarch and dragonfly
5. Sharing laughter. What warmth of human connection when someone says, “Hey! Wanna hear a joke?” The social connection of good, healthy humor, how it bonds people together
6. (I am breaking the rules today and adding another) Playing with sentences. In a couple different classes right now, we are playing with sentence structure, copying the forms of professionally-written sentences, writing poems based on set formulae of absolute phrases and participial phrases. For some, it’s a bit tedious, but it has been delightful to watch the twinkle in the eyes of others when they begin to get it, to feel what it’s like to write a really elegant sentence.
7. (while I am at it. . .) Yesterday’s chapel talk by Brenda Martin Hurst. She reminded me of how much work has been done by so many to create a world and a church in which girls and women are valued as much as men and boys, and how much work there still is to do. I am grateful for my mother and others who worked with such love and courage and sheer will to begin to pave a way for women’s voices to be more fully heard in the Mennonite Church. This, more than anything, gives me great hope that some day we, too, can break through the wrongs against which we raise our voices.

May we walk in Beauty!

Tell the Truth


“What a life is ours!
Doesn’t anybody in the world
anymore want to get up in the
middle of the night and sing?” —Mary Oliver
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“Tell the truth about your wound, and then you will get a truthful picture of the remedy to apply to it. Don’t pack what is easiest and most available into the emptiness. Hold out for the right medicine. You will recognize it because it makes your life stronger rather than weaker.” — Clarissa Pinkola Estes
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“Tell all the truth but tell it slant —” —Emily Dickinson
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As high over the mountains the eagle spreads its wings,
may your perspective be larger than the view from the foothills. When the way is flat and dull in times of gray endurance,
may your imagination continue to evoke horizons.
—John O‘Donohue
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ENOUGH
by David Whyte

Enough.
These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.
This opening to life
we have refused
again and again
until now.
Until now.
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“I always thought why didn’t somebody do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody.” —anonymous
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“A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.” —James Heller
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“There comes . . . a longing never to travel again except on foot.”
—Wendell Berry


Gratitude List:
1. All the ponderables of yesterday: The Woman in Blue, Our Lady of Fatima, the tragedy of Emily Dickinson, the Elder Mother, Blue Hydrangea. . . I cant’s say quite how they are all woven together, but they fit into the day’s tapestry.
2. Creativity
3. The trolls might be out there in force, but the wise and compassionate voices are rising.
4. Crickets
5. Book sale! I am going to the Book Sale at Overlook after school today.

May we walk in Beauty!

Seeking Blue


One of my ponderings, as I travel from place to place each day, is to meditate on the colors of blue, to try to identify various blues in the sky and the shadows. Even in my dreams, I am seeking blue, collecting moments of blue. In last night’s dream:

I am sitting on a grassy patch at the edge of a large parking lot, waiting for my friend who has gone to go collect some things from the car. There is a large smoky white cat purring on my lap. I am wearing a long blue dress, almost the color of Mary’s robes. My friend comes running up, her arms laden with packages, but she has one hand sort of free to hold a pair of binoculars.

“There!” she says, dropping her packages, and pointing down the hill behind me, where crowds of people are walking about. She focuses her binoculars. “You have to see it! She’s wearing the perfect blue!”

I look where she is pointing, and everyone is wearing blue, and some of them are exquisite. She tells me to look for a woman with a brown jacket on. And then I see it. Her dress is the perfect blue. It’s a little lighter than I have been imagining it, not quite as saturated as I have thought it would be. I wonder for a moment if the woman in the dress is Mary.


“Between us are vast distances, perhaps,
as vast as star to star and galaxy to galaxy,
or as blade of grass to blade of grass,
atom to atom–each space bridged
by gossamer web, threads of light and wind,
of prayer and dream, holding us together
with such beauty, with such insatiable desire
for the point of connection.”  ―Beth Weaver-Kreider
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“No, this year I want to call
myself to task for what
I have done and not done
for peace. How much have
I dared in opposition?
How much have I put
on the line for freedom?
For mine and others?
As these freedoms are pared,
sliced and diced, where
have I spoken out? Who
have I tried to move?” ―Marge Piercy
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“Before I am your daughter, your sister, your aunt, niece, or cousin, I am my own person, and I will not set fire to myself to keep you warm.” ―Hannah-Joy Robinson
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“God is everywhere, but I have been in a lot of churches where God wasn’t really welcome.” ―found on FB
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“People say you only live once. That’s incorrect. You only die once. You live every day.”  ―John Feal
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“If we are to have a culture as resilient and competent in the face of necessity as it needs to be, then it must somehow involve within itself a ceremonious generosity toward the wilderness of natural force and instinct. The farm must yield a place to the forest, not as a wood lot, or even as a necessary agricultural principle but as a sacred grove – a place where the Creation is let alone, to serve as instruction, example, refuge; a place for people to go, free of work and presumption, to let themselves alone.” ―Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays
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In Blackwater Woods
by Mary Oliver

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.


Gratitude List:
1. Whispers of fog caught like dreams in the trees of Flinchbaugh’s orchard.
2. The golden shift into autumn has begun to happen. There’s a diffuse golden quality to the light again, a way that the sun slants in, that I don’t experience as fully at any other moment in the year.
3. Sleep. This is big. Lately, my hips and shoulders always ache when I wake up, but it has been a long time since I have had a bout of insomnia. I hope I didn’t jinx this run by saying it. It’s really a big deal that, despite the aches, I keep managing to find my way back to sleep when I wake up.
4. The colors of blue
5. It’s pawpaw season. I need to find some. I can taste them already.

May we walk in Beauty!

A World Trapped in a Person


Today is one of those days when I wish I simply had a whole day of solitude to ponder that Rumi poem.

“Whatever is going on in God is a flow, a radical relatedness, a perfect communion between Three—a circle dance of love. God is Absolute Friendship. God is not just a dancer; God is the dance itself.” —Richard Rohr
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“A writer is a world trapped in a person.” —Victor Hugo
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“Awaken! Rise from your dreaming.
Raise yourself above the mists
that hold your vision captive.” —Beth WK
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“Everything you can imagine is real.”
—Pablo Picasso
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“Don’t you see? Violence doesn’t end violence. It extends it.” —Eleven
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The Sunrise Ruby
by Rumi

In the early morning hour,
just before dawn, lover and beloved wake
and take a drink of water.

She asks, “Do you love me or yourself more?
Really, tell the absolute truth.”

He says, “There is nothing left of me.
I’m like a ruby held up to the sunrise.
Is it still a stone, or a world
made of redness? It has no resistance
to sunlight.”

This is how Hallaj said, I am God,
and told the truth!

The ruby and the sunrise are one.
Be courageous and discipline yourself.

Completely become hearing and ear,
and wear this sun-ruby as an earring.

Work. Keep digging your well.
Don’t think about getting off from work.
Water is there somewhere.

Submit to a daily practice.
Your loyalty to that
is a ring on the door.

Keep knocking, and the joy inside
will eventually open a window
and look out to see who’s there.


Gratitude List:
1. The blue sheen on crow’s wing in morning light.
2. A reminder from a Facebook friend to be a messenger of grace.
3. The energetic idealism of teenagers.
4. That dream. I dreamed it was Friday. Much as I love school, I also love Friday.
5. Finding the questions.

May we walk in Beauty!