Balancing

      
Doesn’t this just feed your soul? My mother’s windowsill. I passed it through a painting filter, which I like, but really, the beauty of the original colors is rather perfect.


This is not a joyful thing. Perhaps it is a gratitude of sorts. It’s more a simple relief. The man who caused the bus accident has turned himself in. It was an uncomfortable loose end that has been bothering me, not because I want revenge, but because it needed resolution.

In my advisory group today, one young man asked that we pray for the driver (before we knew he had turned himself in). This was the second or third time that this particular young man has asked for us to pray for someone who has done something wrong, or made a bad choice. I am moved by the layered depth of his compassion, and it leads me forward into hopeful spaces. May we all learn to love with such a sense of everyone’s humanity.


Today in an English 101 class, we were talking about the role of the Muses in the Greek pantheon, and one girl who had zoned out looked up and asked, “What about the moose?”

I think there needs to be a poem about the Moose of Poetic Inspiration.


Gratitude List:
1. Our Lady of the Flowers zipped past the window again today. I swear she paused in her humming for the briefest of moments and looked into the house at my boy in his red shirt.
2. Graces: I get teary when I talk about it, but it just needs to be said–All our children survived that accident. They likely have wounds that we cannot see, and some of them may experience flashbacks and anxiety. Others are still healing from physical injuries. But: They are alive. Every time I see pictures of that little bus on its side, I am astounded at the miracle of their survival.
3. The Administrative folks at my school. I think I have mentioned before how grateful I am for them, but today I had another chance to see the principals in action, responding to an issue with grace and firmness, holding the balances of accountability and tenderness. When there is harm, they name it, and then seek to care for those involved. They are true leaders.
4. Cobalt Blue
5. Following the pathway lit by the tender hearts of these young folks.

May we walk in Beauty!

Empathetic Hearts

Gratitude List:
1. The Little Guy who was injured in the bus accident seems to be healing, out of most critical condition, and stable. This is a great relief. When it was announced in chapel this morning, people kept trying to applaud before the announcement was even finished. Such joy.
2. The empathetic hearts of teenagers.
3. Possibilities that come out of nowhere. Nurturing, dream-sustaining possibilities.
4. The faerie energy that surrounds a green tree in a meadow. When school is over, I want to trespass on the farmer’s meadow and sit beneath that tree. I wonder if I’d have the nerve?
5. Have I written about the buttercups in the meadow? The horses grazing among the buttercups. And an indigo bunting in the trees.

May we walk in Beauty!

Blessings

The magnolia tree at school is blooming.

I’ve become a baseball mom. I don’t get to practices or games as often as his dad, but I love hanging out on the sidelines cheering and chatting with the other parent. Out here at the ball field, you can get in some good birding too.

You know that feeling when you’re out in the waves and there’s that last sucking pull of the undertow before the next wave comes in and lifts you up? That’s where I am now. I feel the undertow, and it’s really strong, and soon the wave will come and lift me up and I’ll be able to breathe comfortably again. Eight more days of school this year. Then grades. Then I’ll get to feel those waves in a non-metaphorical sense.

Gratitude List:

1. The scent of honeysuckle. I know it’s invasive, but it’s the smell of early summer, and the kids all love it.

2. Blessings. I am trying to make my poems for class these days be blessings.

3. The look of a freshly raked ball field.

4. Messiean’s bird compositions. A little discordant–not for simple background music, but a joy to listen to.

5. The sacred at of crocheting. Making knots that become warm coverings or vessels. I’m beginning to make crocheted baskets/bowls again.

May we walk in Beauty.


The Witch’s Cottage

This weekend, we spent a lot of time with the Legos. I decided to tear down my apartment building and build a witch’s cottage. I looked at pictures of a Lego fairy tale cottage for ideas.
      
The front of the cottage, looking out toward the swamp, where the gang is birding and boating and enjoying the day. And the rear of the cottage, with the requisite spiderweb (it IS a witch’s cottage).

           
The sides. Yes, there’s a rat in the flower garden. The baby dragon, an owl, and Michael Birdboy live on the roof.
     
Jasmine and Robin have tea in the dining room and discuss their morning bird sightings. Raine and Marie and Midge warm up by the hearth

Gratitude List:
1. Kings: The Kingbird that flew beside us all the way past the cow meadow at the top of the hill, and the Kingfisher that swooped across the street and into the sycamore tree today.
2. Hannah’s quilt in front of the sanctuary these last few weeks. I love the way her grandmother used straight lines to suggest curves.
3. Tender-hearted people
4. Two more weeks
5. Three weeks until the beach. Five weeks until my Solitude Retreat. I am trying something different this year. Last year, I was serendipitously there at the same time as a friend, and we finished our time there with a long chat. This year we are intentionally going at the same time, and planning some processing time together.

May we walk in Beauty!

Reliving Gratitude



This is simply a reprint of last year’s list on this day, with a slight update to number 3. It still holds, and I am feeling a sense of reconnection to the first and last points in particular.

Gratitude List:
1. I guess I am grateful for the crunchy things, too.  I’m trying, anyway, to find that space where I can say, “This will make me wiser.  This will make me stronger.  This will make me more compassionate, when I have reached the other side.”  I must find the courage for the hard conversations, find the space between outrage and complacency, where the powers of heart and reason meet.  Yes, I am grateful for the crunchy things, too.
2. Archetypes.  I love the way our stories–across cultures and across times–share so many of the same archetypal elements: tricksters, shining children, witches (in many forms), heroic characters, wise mentors. . .
3. <2017 update: Only two more Fridays in this school year. I love that Friday feeling–just not enough to want it to last all year.> Friday.  After today, only one more of these this school year.  I love the closure of a Friday, and I love anticipating Friday morning hymn sings, which I will miss this summer.
4. Plugging away.  Keep the tractor moving down the row, and eventually you get to the end.
5. Poetry.  The way people respond to a poem, even when they say they hate poetry.  Give them the right one, and you can see the Aha dawn in their eyes.  Maybe there’s a poem out there for everyone–you just have to find out which one is for you.  Some of us are greedy and think that every poem is somehow ours.  Forgive us.  We’ll share.

May we walk, each day, in Beauty.

Allergy Haze


I am a little obsessed with capturing the magic of this portal pathway. This filter begins to approach it for me.


In a few extra minutes in class yesterday, I had my English 101 kids choose a character from the Odyssey. Here’s mine. I chose Polyphemus, the cyclops. It’s not a perfected and revised poem, just a toss-off.

I see it now, too late,
what Nohbdy could see before me,
how we fell into our fate
like pawns of the gods
tossed upon the sea.

Oh, now I see, too late,
blinded as I walked into the trap:
how Fortune threw me from my state
low down and tricked
by that cunning chap.

But though I saw too late,
I found the words to curse
that scheming wily pirate.
My fate was terrible, but in the end
his was worse.


Gratitude List:
1. Hot tea
2. The geese and their four babies have apparently returned to the creek and pond area. Jon and Joss saw them walking across the road this afternoon.
3. This one might come off as a complaint, but I don’t mean it that way: The allergy crisis didn’t happen until school was over. Hopefully tea and tonic and air conditioning will help.
4. Summer’s coming. (“Sumer is i-cumen in”–need some madrigal action)
5. Always, the web which connects us all

May we walk in Beauty!

Webs


Here’s a filtered photo of our little deer trail into the woods.


There are times in my life when I have thought I could almost tangibly feel myself on the web of prayer and well-wishes. In the past two days since the bus accident the sent over a dozen kids from my school into the hospital, I feel like I could reach out and touch that web. We’re so grateful for the fact that so many of them have been released from the hospital. If all went well today, all the high schoolers will be out by now.

We’re still worried about the “little guy,” as our principal refers to him in community prayers. The news reports are that he is stable, but still critical. And my heart is with the bus driver, who loves his kids.


Gratitude List:
1. Two of my students who were in the bus accident were back in classes today, subdued but all in one piece.  Several more performed in the band and orchestra concert tonight. I am so grateful for their safety.
2. The web. Thanks to so many people who prayed, who wrote notes, who held us all in the light.
3. That concert tonight! Orchestra, concert bands, jazz bands. These teachers draw such good music out of their students. Such incredibly talented folks.
4. Meadows filled with buttercups.
5. That hawk that sits in the top of a locust tree on Burgs Lane to catch the morning sun.

May we walk in Beauty!

Weary

Today was a hard day. No one was able to adjust well to the heat in Room 206. We just lived through it. The allergy sufferers (including myself) are all in a bit of a pollen haze. But mostly we were in shock today. We heard early in the day that one of our buses had been in a bad accident, and we didn’t know for quite some time how our friends were doing. Kids were extra tender with each other today, quiet and thoughtful, concerned. Anxiety, heat, and sniffling made it a difficult teaching day.

I am left with layers and layers of weariness. Still, in the middle of it all, in the heat that has continued after the sun went down, there are things to be grateful for.

Gratitude List:
1. The way people focus on the important things during a time of crisis. The self-absorption of the daily disappears, and everyone focuses their hearts on the hurting.
2. Most of the students appear to have escaped the bus accident with minor injuries. I suppose one can always say, “It could have been much worse.” Still, it could have, and I am grateful for the grace of so many at home tonight with their parents. We continue to pray for the two who remain in the hospital.
3. Refried beans. That’s true comfort food.
4. Citrus. It’s therapy for an allergy sufferer.
5. Hummingbird! During supper this evening, she came twice to hover outside the big dining room window and look in at us. She has done this for the past several years in her first days back to the hollow. I like to think that she is checking in on us, announcing her return. The first time I was aware of how she (or her mother and grandmothers) seems to look in the windows was the spring eleven years ago when I was nursing a tiny new baby, and a tiny hummingbird repeatedly hovered just outside the window. Perhaps she was seeing her own reflection, but it has always seemed like a greeting.

May we walk in Beauty, in Wonder.

Love and Spring Tonic

 
First, a tender message I found in my classroom zen garden today.
Then, blue sky in the space between the red barn and the poplar and sycamore trees. Even the sleepy walnut in the background is beginning to put on her summer clothes.

 
I am taking some photos these days with the aim of capturing images of portals and entrances. The deer trail photo yesterday was one of those.


The Kreider family heirloom peonies are opening.

 
Mostly wild herbs for tea: two kinds of plantain (for respiration), willow (for the head pain), clover, chamomile and catnip (to slow my system down), violet leaf, nettle, several kinds of mint, lemon balm, henbit, dandelion, dock, wood sorrel, and a few locust blossoms. I added local honey as it was cooling, and a few dashes of elderberry tincture for sipping.

Gratitude List:
1. Orioles everywhere! I saw a pair at school this afternoon while I was doing border patrol at the lower parking lot during the social. My Icarus has been singing constantly in his poplar tree. And while I was gathering wild herbs for tea, I saw and heard a pair of orchard orioles working on their nest.
2. The scent of locust and poplar tulips which fills the hollow.
3. The herbal allies which appear at this time of year to help me cope with the poplar and locust blossoms, which make me sneeze, and make my eyes and throat itch, and fill my head with a cottony fog.
4. These ever-shiny young people with whom I spend my days. The twisty feeling in my gut is upon me again. I approach June with such an incredible feeling of relief, and such a wistfulness about seeing them go.
5. Good basil pesto

May we walk in Beauty!

Hidden Trails


Trail across Cabin Creek, where the foxes and coyotes and deer cross the creek and enter the bosque. That’s poison ivy on the cherry tree at the front left–poison ivy is the protector of wild places.

Gratitude List:
1. Lots of work getting done
2. Sheltered places
3. Sleep
4. Voices of sanity and calm amid the clamor
5. Making plans for solitude and rest

May we walk in Beauty!