The Thing About it Is

Bulletin Board
I still have to figure out what words I will put in the space left over after I put up all the fun stuff. I might begin with a simple Welcome message for the first week or so, and then change it weekly for the first month. I’ll eventually put up something more crisp and “academic,” but I think we’ll begin this year with “creative.”

The thing about it is, is that,
when all is said and done,
beneath the surface
of this pond where our words
float and mingle,
collide and jangle,
lies another realm of thought,
of language and meaning,
where sunlight pierces
through that tangled soup
on the surface
to spotlight a vibrant
world of brilliant fish,
orange and scarlet and green,
where we may learn more of each other
than we ever could on the sunny,
wordy surface.

(Note to myself: When I come back to revise this, I should pay close attention to line breaks.)

Gratitude List:
1. The birthday wishes. My, my, my. I was overwhelmed, in the best of ways. So many thanks to so many friends. So blessed I am in friends. So blessed.
2. Putting the classroom together. Creating space. I realize that I take a lot more time at it than might be necessary, but the slow and quiet work of shifting things in the classroom mirrors the quiet openings within me to the new year coming, the spaces I am creating for all these new people in my heart rooms.
3. The gift my parents gave me of caring for the boyos for a couple days, and the delight of having them home again, back in my morning.
4. Dinner at The River House Restaurant in Craley last night. Shrimp Pad Thai for me. And, of course, Chinese doughnuts for dessert.
5. Sight. Vision.

May we walk in Beauty!

Happy Number 49

49

I am turning 49 today.

Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon in 49 BC, though not, I think, when he was 49.

The number 49 is a square, of course: 7*7. Perfection squared.

And its digits, 4 and 9, are themselves squares of 2 and 3. Kind of cool, that.

I have also learned that, mathematically, 49 is a Happy Number. That’s delightful, and the mathemagic that makes it so is rather sweet: 4 squared (16) + 9 squared (81) = 97. Square and add those digits (9 and 7) for the number 130. Keep doing that–squaring and adding the digits–and if it’s a Happy Number Sequence, you find your way to 1. Wholeness and Unity. Mystery within the mathematical process. So, 1 squared + 3 squared + 0 squared = 10, and 1 squared + 0 squared = 1. Voila! It’s a Happy Number.

The US/Canada border is on the 49th parallel. Good boundary between friendly neighbors.

Many Asian traditions (Buddhism, Taoism, and others) believe that 49 is a sacred number, the number of days the soul hangs around before it moves on after death.

The website Affinity Numerology notes that the number 49 “resonates with focus, conscientiousness, and being realistic, generally with concerns about and directed toward solutions for humanity. The number tends to be both pragmatic and idealistic.”

The site also says that “When 49 decides to do something, it determines the method and steps required to accomplish it, then applies its focus to that method and those steps until the goal is reached.” Now, no matter whether one believes that there is something to this numerology stuff, of that it’s all a bunch of hooey, that’s a nice goal to seek for living in this year labeled 49.

Of course, I am actually beginning my 50th year today, but I will stick with our cultural method of counting and call myself part of the cohort number 49. This year I will wear the Happy Number badge, and focus on systematically accomplishing my goals–conscientiously, pragmatically, and with a healthy whiff of idealism.  May it be so.

Gratitude List:
1. This practice. It has deepened and anchored and changed me. My husband asked me yesterday whether I think it’s been good for me because I write the lists religiously, or whether it would work to just try to inwardly experience gratitude more. I think the latter would definitely be true for a thoughtful and grounded individual. For someone with my tendency to live in the moment, the writing of the list holds me down and keeps me on the ground long enough to look inside and look around. And reviewing my lists regularly adds to the sense of it all being an unfolding journey.
2. Goldfinches. Yesterday, I did the 2-mile Schmuck walk–up to the top of the hill, back down to the very bottom, and back up again to the house, a two-mile loop. As I was approaching the small group of trees at the top of Skunk Hollow Lane, watching four bright male goldfinches flittering through the roadside weeds ahead of me, a big blue pick-up went racing down the street past me, past the little grove of trees. Out of the weeds at the base of the tree, a flock of a dozen or more shining golden birds (along with their quieter consorts) flushed out of the weeds and spiralled up into the trees, like yellow leaves falling upwards, chittering as they flew. It was a holy moment, pick-up and all. I will now call those trees Goldfinch Grove.
3. Also on my walk, I watched our neighbor farmer Donny baling hay. It’s so satisfying to watch the baler pass–cha-chung cha-chung cha-chung, to feel the anticipation build, and then the click and flick of a perfect green bale flung into the wagon behind. And Donny always smiles and waves. Whenever he drives a tractor past our house, he always looks in to see if there are children to wave to, bless him.
4. Crickets and peepers and cicadas. The cicada roar can be deafening at moments, but it adds layers to the sound-texture of the place. Even the birds are silent and listening this morning.
5. I think that perhaps I have Turned a Corner. Two years ago, I was really excited at this moment, getting ready to step back into the classroom. That was a marvelous excitement, but an anxious one, too, filled with worry about whether I was up to the job. Last year was much better, anxiety-wise, but somehow I just didn’t feel very prepared, like I was still off-balance, a little unsure of what I was doing, of whether I was equal to the task. My friend Verlin has been telling me for the past two years that it’s in the third year that you catch your stride, gain your full confidence, feel on top of things. If the preparations are any indication, I think he is right. I don’t know if I have put a whole lot more time into preparations this season, but I think the time I have put in has been much more productive and focused. I need to remember to be humble enough not to assume that things will be simple and easy going forward, but I feel ready to face the tasks ahead.

May we walk in Beauty!

What Gives Rise

DSCN9081

Redacted Poem: I pulled the words and phrases from one page in an old copy of National Geographic.  My favorite phrase is “some visionaries face revision.”

What Gives Rise

ancestors             explore a better place
close the circle             completing the journey

yet it hardly ended

we go to Mars             backtrack and regroup
some visionaries face revision
trying to figure out
what gives rise to this “madness”

we’re doing what they did
an urge to explore rises in us

you find people
passionate enough
intrigued enough
curious enough

Gratitude List:
1. One small boy who is seven years old today.  He has a hilarious sense of humor, a well-developed sense of himself, and open-hearted compassion for the people around him.  He is an observer, watching and noticing little details, from the kind of car everyone drives to whether or not someone seems to be having a good or a bad day.  I am so glad that he came to be in this family.
2. The ways in which the body is designed to protect itself and heal itself.  Those minute guard dogs, the white blood cells, are meant to attack scary intruders.  Today I am praying for someone’s white blood cells to be healthfully and speedily replenished.  The body is designed to do that, too.  May it be so.
3. More reconnecting.  Strengthening the web.  Building the form and reconnecting the strands.
4. Making dolls/creatures.  I haven’t made anything with a personality for a while. (I’ve been making hearts and scarves and things.)  I had sort of forgotten the satisfying way that I begin to fall in love with something as soon as it has eyes and it begins to take the shape that it is meant to take.
5. Warm days.  I managed to get through winter without too much whining about the cold (I guess it wasn’t particularly cold for very long).

May we walk in Beauty!

Persephone is Rising

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The crocus spring up.
Persephone is rising.
My heart awakens.

Gratitude List:
1. That green Cholula hot sauce–poblano and jalapeno–that Jon bought yesterday.  At the risk of sounding like a food snob: It was revelatory.
2. Poetry
3. The little elves in the house who got up at 6:15 to start making birthday preparations for their dad.
4. Jon Weaver-Kreider–I don’t mention him here very often because I don’t want to intrude on his privacy by throwing him into my public spheres, but he could be on every gratitude list I make.
5. Loreena McKennitt–I  haven’t listened to her in a long time, but a photograph this week sparked a memory of her music, and I am rediscovering her.

May we walk in Beauty!

This is How It Begins

This is how it begins:
each year, each week, each day,
each golden shining drop of moment
approaches,
full of expectancy,
dawning,
ready for our use.

How will I inhabit the house
of the now that approaches?
How will I wear the cloth
of the day that is given?
How will I wander the story
of the year that has just now
leapt into shining view
through the gray clouds of winter?

I will face this year with resolution
(this week, this day, this moment)
not to wait until this whirling planet
has danced around the sun
to make the new thing new,
but to step into each freshly-birthed now
with eyes that see the golden shine of possibility
and ears that hear the note of each plucked strand of moment.

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Dew on Mullein.

Gratitude List:
1. Yesterday, the family together celebrating a woman of wisdom and compassion.  Some families celebrate the New Year.  We celebrate a birthday.
2. More conversations with the beloved community, with wise parents and in-laws and out-laws.  How listening well and sharing ideas becomes more than the sum of all the conversational bits that appear. How ideas build upon ideas, and shape the ones that came before, and open up spaces for new thoughts to appear.  How iron sharpens iron.  How certain conversations at certain moments prepare me to do the Work that approaches.
3. Three golden rays of sun yesterday before the sun set, shooting through a rift in the grey cloud.  The sun, the sun, the sun: I saw the sun!  And now, here in the crisp morning, nothing but blue above, and golden shine now slipping over the ridge and into the hollow.
4. I have been listening this week to Mindy Nolt’s Movers and Lovers, deeply and intensely, grateful for each phrase.  Move. Love. Listen.
5. The Work.  I am learning, slowly and in tiny little ways, to stop asking myself what I can get from each moment, but instead what my Work is here in the moment.  And realizing, ever so dimly, that when I am really doing my Work (really doing my Work), I am also receiving what I need.

May we–in each dawning moment of this coming year and week and day–walk in Beauty!

Rain and Snow and Sleet

2014 February 085

Gratitude List:
1. For making it safely home tonight in that–Holy Snowsquall, Batman!  What in the world WAS that?  Okay, so this is supposed to be a gratitude, and I am grateful to be home safely, and the words that I want to use for that stuff out there I don’t want my mother to read on my blog.
2. For my five-years-old-today boy who steals my heart every single day, whose journey here was no less perilous than the evening’s icy drive.
3. For the midwife and doulas and friends and sister and Jon and nurses and finally the surgeon who helped get him here safely on that day so long ago, not so long ago.
4. For the rain on my river this morning as we crossed the bridge.  My river, remember, like you are my friends: it’s not about domination and ownership, but about a statement of relationship.  Then what am I to her?  I am her daughter?  Her admirer?  Her acolyte, her friend, her dreamer, her observer, her watcher.
5. Simply for this day.  I will never see it again.  It’s gone now and we have all grown up that much more, and my memory that swears to remember every sweet moment–the tiny voice of a boy counting to thirty in hide-and-seek, the bright eyes, the rich conversations, the singing (oh, the singing)–that memory cannot encompass it all and hold it forever.  So I will swear to hold the Beauty even when my feeble memory lets it trickle into the haze.

May we walk in Beauty!  May you find something, each day, to love and treasure, amid whatever pain and challenge your life hands you.  May a bright yellow flower call your name, may a stranger offer you an open smile, may the breeze kiss your cheek.  Walk in Beauty.

Mr. Rogers

Gratitude List:
1.  For Jon, who was born today, a few years ago, who bought himself his birthday present so that I could have the boys give it to him: four Family Circus books that we haven’t read.  Don’t tell the kids–they think he was truly surprised.
2.  Buy one, get one free: fudge brownies for the birthday celebration from La Dolce Vita.  If you live near Lancaster, this is the place to go for your birthday party supplies.  And this one may seem more indulgently mundane than usual, but the experience was sublime.
3.  Lighten Up Lancaster and the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce: I know that might sound dull and organizational, except that it isn’t, because these are local organizations that are pouring their energy into connecting local eaters with local farmers.
4.  Mr. Rogers.  He died eleven years ago today.  I do believe he was a saint or boddhisattva or something.  My apologies to my FB friends who’ve been inundated by my favorite neighbor’s quotations today, but here’s my favorite of the lot: “If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”
5.  Inner warmth, to help me contend with the outer cold.

May we walk in Beauty!

Birthday Poems

Gratitude List:
1.  The birthday poems.  Thank you, my friends.  What an amazing day of words it has been.  I am bee-drunk on the flowers of your poems.  (I asked my Facebook friends to send me poems for my birthday, and the result was an ocean tide of poetry.  I am adrift in the most marvelous sea of words.)
2.  Ice cream at Sweet Willows.  Two dips: Salted Caramel Praline Pecan and Whatever She Wants
3.  Zentangling with Ellis.  What a marvel to watch how the images and the lines drew him into his imaginative dream-world.  “Mom, the gnomes taught me the language of the trees.  It’s mostly body language.  The tallest ones are the most talkative.”  And, referring to one of the pictures we were drawing, “Mom. did I tell you who is the fairy?  You are.  The gnomes use inventions and the fairies use magic.”
4.  Growing older, growing up
5.  A tender and gentle little birthday party with the people who brought me into this world, the people whom I brought into this world, and Jon Weaver-Kreider.

May we walk in Beauty.  Oh, so much, so much Beauty!

Good Stuff at the Bargain Bungalow

Gratitude List:
1.  My new adjustable dress form.  Well, new to me.   Got it for a steal at The Bargain Bungalow.
2.  When I told Ellis that we were thinking that maybe he might go to school this fall, he said, “Yes, I think that would be a good idea.”  And he has bought himself a School Supplies cigar box (at The Bargain Bungalow), and has begun to talk about things he is going to tell his teacher.
3.  Four wonderful years with a charming small person who is growing into himself.  (And that I am not going into labor tonight as I did four years ago.)
4.  Ritual.  Group contemplation and meditation.
5.  Silence.  Waiting.  Stillness.

 

Nettles coming up.  Such a lovely violet on the tips.
2013 March 110