Work, Bread, Water, and Salt

Quotes for the day:
“Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.”
~ Nelson Mandela
*
“The central task of education is to implant a will and facility for learning; it should produce not learned but learning people.
The truly human society is a learning society, where grandparents, parents, and children are students together.”
— Eric Hoffer
*
“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.”
— John Muir
*
“Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.”
— Walter Lippmann
*
“There is a geometry of art as there is a geometry of life, and, as the Greeks had guessed, they happen to be the same.” — Matila Ghyka
*
“We have to admire in humility the beautiful harmony of the structure of this world — as far as we can grasp it…”
— Albert Einstein
*
“One of [the brain’s] functions is to make the miraculous seem ordinary, and turn the unusual into the usual.
Otherwise, human beings, forced with the daily wondrousness of everything would go around wearing a stupid grin, saying “WOW” a lot.
Part of the brain exists to stop this happening. It is very efficient and can make people experience boredom in the middle of marvels.”
—  Sir Terry Pratchett


Gratitude List:
1. One boy loves to browse antique stores. While shopping isn’t my most favorite thing to do, I love walking through antique stores watching him discover old things. Yesterday the fun treasure was a coffee table someone had made from a ship’s hatch found on the Ocean City beach in the 1970s.
2. The Westitute. It’s really the Wetlands Institute, but once a small boy transformed it into the Westitute and the rest of us refuse to say it any other way now. Purple Martins with the sun on their backs, lots of osprey (three hatchlings on the ospreycam eating their fish dinner), white egrets, big sandpiper-shape, little sandpiper-shape, redwing blackbird displaying his epaulets.
3. More Westitute: diamondback terrapins, horseshoe crabs, and my new friend Nelson the Octopus. I love octopuses, and Nelson really wanted to connect with the people on the other side of his glass.
4. Ice cream for lunch at Springer’s. Half a waffle (the real thing, just made, not a cone) with a two scoops of ice cream on top. Prohibition Tradition is a kahlua-based ice cream with a fudge swirl, and Cease and Desist is a coffee ice cream with Heath bar chunks.
5. The things people are doing to save the world. The folks at the Westitute, distressed by the high numbers of female terrapins hit on roads, rescue and rehabilitate the ones that can be saved, or perform eggectomies on the ones that are dead or dying and incubate the eggs to release new terrapins to the wild. People who plant trees. People who fight pipelines. People who study the natural world.

May we walk in Beauty!

Place Between Worlds

Quotes for the Day:

“To love another person is to see the face of God.”  ―Victor Hugo
*
“Everybody’s In, Baby.”  ―The Love Warriors
*
“And when she wanted to see the face of God, she didn’t look up and away; she looked into the eyes of the person next to her. Which is Harder. Better.”  ―Glennon Doyle
*
“When we ask for help, we are building community. We are doing away with this notion that we should be practicing at detachment. We are rapturously attaching! We become responsible for tending to one another’s pieces. Not only is the giver allowed to express their bestowing heart, the receiver is taken into a greater tenderness of their own giving nature. As we grow our capacity for gratitude, which is another way of saying completeness or belonging, we are healing our tinygiant part of the world’s devastating wound of scarcity.”  ―Dreamwork with Toko-pa
*
“Forever is composed of nows.”  ―Emily Dickinson
*
Rob Brezsny: ‘So it turns out that the “blemish” is actually essential to the beauty. The “deviation” is at the core of the strength. The “wrong turn” was crucial to you getting you back on the path with heart.’
*
“If not for reverence, if not for wonder, if not for love, why have we come here?”  ―Raffi
*
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” ―Anne Frank


Gratitude List:
1. Reading. I have gotten out of the habit of reading for fun, only catching a page or three here and there between projects. Yesterday, I had whole blocks of time to just read. I’m re-reading Patricia McKillip’s Alphabet of Thorn. I want to get her Kingfisher, which won this year’s Mythopoeic Society’s Award.
2. The place between worlds that is the beach: Earth, Water, Air. The Fire part is a little more esoteric, perhaps, but the sun provides.
3. Tiny beach pebbles. They’re so satisfying to hold in my hand
4. The sound of gulls in the wind
5. So many sane and articulate people in the world

May we walk in Beauty!

Sabbath of the Year

 

“When we read, we start at the beginning and continue until we reach the end. When we write, we start in the middle and fight our way out.”
― Vickie Karp
*
And I Was Alive
by Osip Mandelstam

And I was alive in the blizzard of the blossoming pear,
Myself I stood in the storm of the bird-cherry tree.
It was all leaflife and starshower, unerring, self-shattering power,
And it was all aimed at me.
What is this dire delight flowering fleeing always earth?
What is being? What is truth?
Blossoms rupture and rapture the air,
All hover and hammer,
Time intensified and time intolerable, sweetness raveling rot.
It is now. It is not.
*
“I do not wish them [women] to have power over men; but over themselves.”
― Mary Wollstonecraft
*
“Which world are we trying to sustain: a resource to fulfill our desires of material prosperity, or an Earth of wonder, beauty, and sacred meaning?” —Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee


Gratitude List:
1. Sharing food. The meals at Tortilla Flats are so huge that we just got three for the four of us, and then shared. We still left a little of that good rice and some refried beans–there was just so much. But we all got to taste everything. Crab enchiladas in blue corn tortillas. Shrimp and scallop fajitas. We might have to go back there another day.
2. Osprey with a fish
3. A heart-shaped stone on the path to the beach
4. Making and drawing and writing
5. Rest. This is the sabbath of my year.

May we walk in Beauty!

Hugs


My little old man cat has got me thinking about hugs. He doesn’t like to just sit quietly on my lap. He has to have his paws on my shoulder, like a cat hug. I think he finds comfort and ease in the heart-to-heart contact. And it strikes me that that’s part of the healing power of a hug: For just a moment, your heart and my heart are together, right next to each other. Offering a hug is offering your heart. We help each other to regulate our breathing and our heart-rhythms when we hug each other.


Gratitude List:
1. Watching that moon rise. Last night, we went down to Hellam to watch the moon rise. A bubble of flame breaking free. No matter how many times I watch, I am always sort of stunned by how quickly it rises, how we can see it moving. It sets my heart a flutter. We also saw the space station.
2. Planting herbs. I am expanding my mint bed to include other herbs. The wild St. John’s Wort that I planted last year is flourishing. Today I planted thyme and oregano and rosemary. I need some white sage yet.
3. Cycles of work and rest
4. The lure of words. I am restless, picking up my journals and printed poems, shuffling and browsing. I am ready to edit and reconfigure, ready to settle into a writing rhythm for the summer.
5. This boy bought himself a pair of water shoes today with pink insets. “That’s okay with you, the pink?” I asked, casually, just to be sure that I wasn’t investing my money in something he wouldn’t actually wear. He shrugged: “They’re water shoes.” Righto.

May we walk in Beauty!

Gate’s Open

“The Wild Mother whispers, ‘Have you noticed? I left the gate open just for you?'” ~Anonymous


Gratitude List:
1. Grades are done and marked ready for the Registrar. Weight off my shoulders.
2. Anticipating summer fun.
3. Hearing the voice of one of my Beloveds on the phone today.
4. Full moon
5. Crocheting. It’s like poetry–making meaning from a simply meaningless string is like making meaning from a seemingly meaningless collection of words.

May we walk in Beauty!

Blue and a Moon

Quote for the day:
“The trouble is that once you see it, you can’t unsee it. And once you’ve seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There’s no innocence. Either way, you’re accountable.”
― Arundhati Roy

This was the pain of Cassandra. Seeing the destruction that approached her beloved city, she took the accountability upon herself–to shout it in the streets that the city would fall in blood and flame. But no one believed her. No one listened.

This time last year, I remember a Cassandran murmur beginning to spread: “But he couldn’t really be elected, could he?” And the firm and reasoned answer was always, “Certainly not. Never. Don’t worry about it.”

Today, I thought that perhaps the people of the city might begin to listen. Perhaps there is yet time for Cassandra’s message to be heard, before this “city” falls.


Gratitude List:
1. Color of the day: BLUUUUUE. A Blue Grosbeak alit for a moment on the bird feeder pole.
2. Breathtaking moment of the day: Down over the ridge from Yorkana on the way to the library as the afternoon sun was lowering and the whole valley sparkled with the sun.
3. Sign of the day: Someone in Yorkana has a Welcome Neighbors sign.
4. Flavor of the day: Mulberries with milk on Cottage Pudding.
5. Another breathtaking moment: The moon. On the way home from the library–the sun had set out of the hollow but not yet out of the rest of the world, and the full moon stood pale and watery on the ridge.

May we walk in Beauty!

Getting It Done


“What? Love.

Who? Everyone.
When? Now.”
―Glennon Doyle Melton
*
“No, Charles Wallace said. “I have to go on. We have to make decisions and we can’t make them if they’re based on fear.”
―Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time
*
“Live not for Battles Won.
Live not for The-End-of-the-Song.
Live in the along.”
― Gwendolyn Brooks, Report from Part One
*
“We have such a brief opportunity to pass on to our children our love for this Earth, and to tell our stories. These are the moments when the world is made whole…. ” ― Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder
*
“Some people have a wonderful capacity to appreciate again and again, freshly and naively, the basic goods of life, with awe, pleasure, wonder, and even ecstasy.”
― Abraham H. Maslow
*
“I don’t try to understand everything in nature. I just look at it. And enjoy it.” –Bob Ross

Gratitude List:
1. Snugglesome cat
2. Lots of tea
3. Stretching sore muscles
4. Reading, reading, reading
5. Planning ahead

May we walk in Beauty!

I Just Love that Kid

I wonder if my students sometimes find themselves filled with a warm feeling out of nowhere, as if someone has just whispered, “I just love that kid,” and they can feel the vibe like a gentle breeze across their souls. I always feel a little frustrated with myself at the end of a semester when I still have a stack of grading to finish, and I wish I could have handed the papers directly to the students for the feedback; still, I also love to have these final moments of quiet, thoughtful contemplation of each one of them, bringing them back into my mind as I read their last words of the school season. Often, I catch myself whispering, “I just love that kid.”


Gratitude List:
1. My own schedule. Sleeping when I want. Working and taking breaks when I want.
2. Planning for next year. While I am doing this last bit of grading, I am thinking about how to make next year’s classes even better. How to define my assignments more clearly. How to ask more effective questions. How to get them interacting with each other more. How to elicit critical thinking. How to stimulate curiosity and creativity. How to challenge them without creating frustration.
3. Indigo bunting
4. Nettle/mint/dandelion/wild chamomile/catnip/plantain tonic. Good for what ails you.
5. Solitude

May we walk in Beauty!

Mulberries


Another version of the moth.

Erf. I got kind of grouchy this evening, trying to give an extremely thick-haired kiddo a haircut. He was twitching his head all around, the mosquitoes were whirring all about our heads, younger brother kept dancing past mashing blueberries all over his own face and trying to get attention, the cat kept pawing at us and crying to be picked up, and it was getting dark. I really want to let my kids get messy and filthy, but I wasn’t very pleasant with the mulberry-faced youngster.

Gratitude List:
1. Mulberry-Picking with my boys. Delightful, though not perhaps the gently quiet experience you might be imagining:
“Hey! That’s MY branch!”
“Mom! He’s shaking mulberries onto my head!”
“Hey Dad! We’re picking mulberries!” (Dad’s about two full acres away.)
Addressed to a mulberry: “I am going to call you Daryl. Stay with me now, Daryl!”
“Daryl–this is your cousin Bob.” Etc., etc., etc.
2. Knowing we’ll have bags of frozen mulberries for smoothies.
3. Robin’s rain-song
4. Serious talks with the kids. I was paging through some Facebook pages while Ellis was looking over my shoulder. He wanted me to stop and look at the article about raising feminist boys with him. It led to some great discussions.
5. In some ways, tonight is actually the real beginning of summer vacation. While I do still have to clean my room and grade my papers, I don’t have to wake up tomorrow morning and go anywhere right away. I am on my own schedule now. No Sunday afternoon panic. The weight is lifted.  And, I have more energy right now than I remember having at this point in previous years. Even though this year’s grading was more stressful for me than ever, I still feel much more motivated to do the work I need to do.

May we walk in Beauty!

A Blessing in Blue

Gratitude List:
1. Around a corner down the ridge, I caught a flash of blue in the road, and an indigo bunting burst into flight. A blessing in blue.
2. The summer’s first monarch.
3. Graduation. Beautiful, earnest young folk.
4. Huge bales of hay in a green meadow, and the evening sun casting their shadows across the grass.
5. My dear friend Marie gave me lots of sea glass that she collected over years on trips to Maine. During the last two days of school, when the seniors had gone, my one Creative Writing class was down to a handful of students. They spread out my sea glass and picked out their favorite pieces–I told them they could take lots. Then they placed what was left in the glass jar in colored layers. This treasure, given to me by a friend, is a treasure I can share with my students. We talked about how appreciating sea glass is about finding beauty in the brokenness. The glass has to be tumbled in sand and waves before the sharp edges are worn down and the surface is worn to softness. Like us, of course.

May we walk in Beauty!