In the Desert


Mary at the tomb.

The way out of the desert, said the old woman,
can only be found by entering the desert.

No one can show you the way,
and if you have not first found the way
through the windy dunes of your own heart,
you will never find the secret pathways
through the shimmering sands.

The desert, she said, gives life,
but only if you know how to look for it.

If it is death which you seek,
the desert will help you to find it.
But life is hidden everywhere
if you have but the will to seek it.

TOMORROW’S PROMPT: Tomorrow the Fool encounters the Wheel of Fortune. Life changes. What was up will go down, and those who were crushed by the heavy weight of the wheel will rise to the top. Kings are brought low and paupers rise to greatness. Fortunes change. Hopes and promises are dashed and all is lost, and then suddenly despair is swept away and joy and delight return once more. Sounds a little like Easter morning?

Gratitude List:
1. Making connections
2. How we give our stories meaning. How our stories make us.
3. Creme Brulee for dessert
4. Intuition
5. Rituals of the Wheel of the Year. Living the stories again and again.

May we walk in Beauty!

Strength


The word itself, you know?
That single vowel that holds
the whole thing together.

It could go straight or striped or stringy,
but that itself is the strong one,
holding the word for the full length.

Like you, it may seem to carry
the whole world on its shoulders.
Like you, it has the necessary strength.

TOMORROW’S PROMPT:
Tomorrow, the Fool goes to meet the wise one in the wilderness. Call him the hermit. Call her the witch in her cottage–Baba Yaga, perhaps? Or one of the Abbas or Ammas of the desert. Tomorrow, the Fool visits the wise elder who has left society behind in order to concentrate on that which is sacred and holy, to walk an inner journey. The hermits and crones, the Abbas and the Ammas, carry their lights with them into the shadows. They know that the pathways lead inside the seeker.

Gratitude List:
1. A day off. Time out of time.
2. Fire. One boy spent hours building and maintaining a fire this morning.
3. Sand. Another boy spent hours playing in the sand today.
4. Spring. Sometimes I don’t realize how hard winter has been until spring comes. I realize that I have been living as though I would always be in the shadows and chill of this past winter. I don’t think I realized how deeply November dragged me down. But spring is here, finally, and I can live outdoors again.
5. Walking. A boy and I walked two miles this afternoon–down Schmuck Rd. to Canadochly where a small flock of sheep and baby lambs was grazing, and back up to the top of the ridge where Schmuck meets Mt. Pisgah and a horse and three cattle-folk watched us pass, then back down to home again.

May we walk in Beauty!

Finding Your Fire

Today’s poem is for several of my friends, women of strength and courage, who inspire me with their continued dogged pursuit of the truth of their own voices: When no one seems to be listening; when others actively deny and twist their truth; when they doubt their own courage. They keep walking, keep speaking, keep wrestling. May they find their fire.

My lovely wanderer, my lonely pilgrim,
I have watched how you place your feet
so gingerly on the burning coals,
walking this pathway you never intended.

I have heard how you wrapped yourself
with the voice of the wind, and raged, like Lear,
in the cruel embrace of the storm.
I would have been your Fool in that lightning.

I have witnessed you wrestle the truth
from the burning jaws of the dragon,
standing your ground when no ground
seemed there to support you.

Oh Friend, may your voice be born of the flames,
may your spirit enkindle and blaze up,
born from the pain and the truth
you have bought with your grace and your courage.

TOMORROW’S PROMPT:
Ah, well isn’t this just about perfect? Today the Fool found her fire. Tomorrow, she learns about Strength. Not the strength which is synonymous with force and violence, not strength which shows itself in the vilest threats, with the biggest bomb, with the fiercest snarl. This is the strength that knows itself, the power that calms the raging lion and gently closes its mouth, the protester who places a flower in the barrel of a gun, the lone figure in front of the tank on Tiananmen Square, the tulips that emerge after the late March snowstorm.

Gratitude List:
1. Berkeley Breathed
2. Another osprey. Yup. Four in a week.
3. Bleeding Hearts. All sorts.
4. Finding Fire
5. You. You have such strength and courage. You inspire me.

May we walk in Beauty!

Breath

It is time for another poem about breathing:
How you draw the air into your lungs,
so deeply, you feel it ready to escape
the bruised soles of your feet.

In-spire–draw the spirit inside you,
the breathing living breath, invite
breath, that wanderer, into your being,
feel it lapping at the southerly shores
of your lungs, filling the balloon of your belly.

The secret of breathing is the letting go.
You must never hoard inspiration. It dies
the moment it is chained or kept.
Let go. Breathe out. Breathe in again.

TOMORROW’S PROMPT:
Find your fire tomorrow, Fool. What burns within you? What passion ignites your spirit?

Gratitude List:
1. Wednesdays must be Osprey and Eagle days. This afternoon’s spectacle was on the way home from Liza’s house: An adult and a juvenile eagle, two ospreys, and a red-tailed hawk. Feels like portents and omens.
2. Deadnettle is still purpling the fields and the willows are getting jiggy.
3. Redbuds bursting into bloom
4. Watching Mama goose watching Papa Cardinal in the green bush
5. Ferns are unfurling. I think I might also be unfurling. Maybe you are unfurling, too?

May we walk in Beauty!

Feet on Earth

I was going to try to get a sonnet written today, but I just couldn’t seem to make it past the first quatrain, and that was thuddy and bumpkish. It kept wanting to be six feet instead of pentameter. I’m okay with that, if only I can get it to sing a little more. So a little free-verse for my tired brain tonight, and form will happen later when I can keep my eyes open.

Arrange yourself upon the earth,
feet in the soil. Feel the magnetism
of mineral and metal, the cool pull
of mud and moss and peat.

Do not worry. Already you have learned
the ways to walk upon the air,
to bridge the chasm on a rainbow.
Now it is time again to learn
to walk with gravity.

TOMORROW’S PROMPT:
The Fool takes to the Air. She’s met Water and Earth, so tomorrow takes us around to the realm of in-spir-ation, spirit, the butterfly-wing flash of thought and idea, AHA! Sanguine and playful, air may seem to be the Fool’s primary element, but there is always more to learn.

Gratitude List:
1. Hanging out with Keri and Bobby. Bobby is a good sport!
2. Student musicians
3. Student Credo statements
4. Putting bare feet on earth
5. Ice cream and apple fritters.

May we walk in Beauty!

May All Beings Find Their Waters

May all beings find their Waters:
those who grind and punch,
those who crack and strike,
those who shout and crunch,
who scrape and gnash and chomp.
May Waters smooth and soothe them.

May all beings find their Waters:
those who fritter and dither,
those who flitter and twinkle,
those who flutter and pitter,
who skitter and wheedle and wheeze.
May Waters calm and caress them.

May all beings find their Waters:
those who boil and bubble,
those who smolder and steam,
those who stew and simmer
who pop and sizzle and seethe.
May Waters restore and refresh them.

May all beings find their Waters.

TOMORROW’S PROMPT:
Today the Fool wandered through the realm of Water. Tomorrow, let’s take her into the realm of Earth. What will ground her? What will support and hold her? What will nourish and sustain? Earth is the realm of that which is manifest, which is made physical. Tomorrow the Fool learns about Earth.

Gratitude List:
1. This question from Chapel this morning: What is the narrative that shapes your life? So many stories to live by, to center on.
2. Water, how it refreshes and calms and soothes
3. How the words sometimes find their way, even through a brain full of fog
4. The angle of shine in the dawn
5. Universals

May we walk in Beauty!

It’s Not So Much

Not So Much
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

It’s not so much about whether you can control the horses,
but whether you want to take the chariot for a spin at all.
Are you ready for the change it will bring you?
Do you really have the will to leave that golden city
to shrink on the horizon of your memory?

TOMORROW’S PROMPT:
This is the time of the poetry-writing month when I begin to question whether I have the stamina to make it through. So the Chariot was a good one for me, though it is pretty slim because I am so tired.  Let’s give the Fool a bit of a rest, too. Before she moves on in her journey, let’s give her a few days to learn the Elements. Tomorrow, she’ll explore Water. Write her a water poem–journeys, dreamings, intuition, emotion, psychic insight, love, and internal wisdom. What will she learn about water?

Gratitude List:
1. Words and singing.
2. Making hot dogs at the fire pit.
3. Sleep
4. Memorizing poems
5. Intuition

May we walk in Beauty!

This is What I Mean By Forest

The Lover Speaks
by Beth-Weaver-Kreider

How, when I am hidden within your own deep self,
do you find your way onto your own separate path?
How can the we of us be so individual,
so unaware of the other that exists within us?

This is what I mean by the forest.
This is what I mean by the child who is lost in the woods.
Don’t you see that you are the forest of me?
That when you wander off the path,
you are in danger only of finding your truest self?
Which is me, which is us, Beloved.

TOMORROW’S PROMPT: The Fool rides the Chariot. Today, she learned about the power of polarities, the balance of opposites, and the deep power of being Beloved. Tomorrow, she must use the forces she has learned–the Elements the Magician has taught her, the Mysteries of the High Priestess, the Nurturing Life Force of the Empress, the Will of the Emperor, and the Problem-Solving and Connection-Making of the Teacher–to harness her Chariot and move it forward. Practice! Work! Will! Forward movement! Focus on the task at hand. Her steeds are spirits of storm. Or they are sphinxes. Or they are the energies of sun and moon. Or even the disparate elements of her own being. Whatever they are, she must learn to harness and direct them.

Gratitude List:
1. Driving into spring. The redbuds are blooming in Baltimore.
2. The Walters Museum. Antiquities. The Sekhmet statues, Isis, Mary, a teeny tiny Rembrandt, Wunderkammers, the meticulously-hand-copied Qurans, a Persian jug from the time of Rumi.
3. That wrong exit we took off the highway could have meant an hour of headache to find our way back, but it turned out to be a better exit than the one we had planned.
4. Nepalese lunch. Spicy, spicy, flavorful, and masala chai.
5. Architecture. Truly there are angels in the architecture.

May we walk in Beauty!

Deadnettle


This one is perhaps too didactic, too prosey. I think I’ll try again to do another poem about the deadnettle as the teacher. This will stand for today, however.

The Fool stands long and silently
upon the flagstones before knocking.
She raises her hand to the knocker
and listens, as though afraid to fill
the vast and thoughtful silence.

Before she can raise the iron ring,
the door opens quietly inward.
An ancient one stands within,
welcoming the Fool with a gesture
and eyes that bid her enter.

Settling on the parlor couch
which the Teacher prepares tea,
the Fool spreads her belongings:
a notebook, a fuzzy pink hat,
and a book of angry poems.

“I need you to teach me how
to start a revolution,” she begs.
The old one raises a bushy eyebrow
and turns to the window,
gesturing out to a spring field,
purple with deadnettle, henbit,
and Gill-over-the-ground.

“There,” says the old one,
“is your revolution. Bloom.
Be medicine, for the earth
and medicine for the people.
Draw out the toxins from your soil.
Spread beauty, and beauty will spread.
Though you know you are for the plow,
bloom anyway, and prepare
to nourish the soil when you go under.”

TOMORROW’S PROMPT:
Tomorrow the Fool encounters the balance of the Lovers. Animus and Anima find each other and sense the ideal of their union. The secret inner self makes itself known, and she finds that what she has been running from is what she has been most longing for. Desire, attraction, the aching need to belong, to be understood, to be complete–all belong to the realm of the Lovers. Tomorrow, the Fool encounters the Lovers.

Gratitude List:
1. Another osprey, this morning.
2. Green
3. Weekend
4. Watching Babe with the kids.
5. A traveling day tomorrow.

May we walk in Beauty!

Let Us Waft. Let Us Be Wanton.


Message from the Empress

by Beth Weaver-Kreider

In the orchard over the ridge
the trees have broken into a riot of pink,
lascivious against the rain-wet grass beneath.

Let us riot too.
Let us spread
our blooming fingers to the sky,
opening our mouths and our hearts,
meeting destruction with bloom,
with green, with simple beauty,
with overpowering fragrance.

Let us waft.
Let us be wanton.

TOMORROW’S PROMPT
The Fool still has more mentors to meet. Tomorrow she encounters the Teacher, or Hierophant. Teachers who know their jobs are compassionate facilitators of learning, nurturing the curiosity of their students, drawing out their students’ own ideas and perspectives, providing spaces for the Aha! Teachers who don’t know their jobs are judgey and demanding, offering shame and guilt instead of encouraging a desire to learn for learning’s sake. Unlike the High Priestess who guards the Mysteries from those who are not prepared to learn (until they are ready), the Teacher entices the seekers into the realm of Knowledge.

Gratitude List:
1. I still can’t quite believe last night’s spectacle. It was heart-pounding and nerve-wracking, but I am grateful I got to see it. While I was watching Ellis’s baseball practice, I heard a screeching in the sky–a bald eagle was chasing an osprey. It went after it for quite a while before it gave up the chase.
2. Turkey feather
3. Mama goose so persistent on her nest despite the storms
4. I love being part of a school where the culture is one of giving to the community and to the world. Students WANT to get involved in projects to help out other humans.  I love these young people.
5. Tomorrow is an easy-plan day. I need a light day.

May we walk in Beauty!