Nothing Belongs to Us

“Although the post-industrial period may well be remembered as one of the most irresponsible in history, nonetheless there is reason to hope that humanity at the dawn of the twenty-first century will be remembered for having generously shouldered its grave responsibilities.The warming of the planet is a symptom of a greater problem: the developed world’s indifference to the destruction of the planet as they pursue short-term economic gains. This has resulted in a “throwaway culture” in which unwanted items and unwanted people, such as the unborn, the elderly, and the poor, are discarded as waste.” –Pope Francis
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Praise, my dear one.
Let us disappear into praising.
Nothing belongs to us.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
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“Listen: Are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?” –Mary Oliver
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“This might be the most difficult task for us in postmodern life: not to look away from what is actually happening. To put down the iPod and the e-mail and the phone. To look long enough so that we can look through it—like a window.” –Marie Howe, poet


Gratitude List:
1. Friday night game night
2. The voice of David Tenant
3. Hot tea on a chilly night
4. Even after a couple months, the cats are finding new levels of comfort. Sachs has decided that Jon is his person.
5. Building a bridge

May we walk in Beauty!

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Winged Heart

Fragment:
To build the bridge from where I am to where I want to be:
I will gather cobweb, shadow, feathers, rainbow.
I will weave a net of dreamings:
spider, lion, wolf, a blazing number seven,
labyrinthine city, and a tower with a thousand rooms.

Every day, I step a little closer to the chasm,
another key, a shining pebble on the pathway,
birdsong in the mist, a shifting shadow in the forest.


Rungs on Wednesday’s Ladder:
“Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving.”
~ Khalil Gibran
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Richard Rohr: “The wild beasts and the angels reside in the same wilderness. . .”
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“There is another world, but it is in this one.” ~William Butler Yeats
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“It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor” ~ Nelson Mandela
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“There is always this tension between the lengths we wish to travel in life and the depths we long to penetrate in dreaming. By dreaming, I mean not only the sacred transmissions we receive in the night, but the dreaming we also do in the day: Listening to the wiseness of a moment, an encounter, a humble patch of land. Engaging with magic in an ongoing conversation.” ~ Toko-pa Turner (@ Dreamwork with Toko-Pa)
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“God is as available and accessible as the very thing we all do constantly—breathe. Isn’t it wonderful that breath, wind, spirit, and air are precisely nothing—and yet everything?” —Richard Rohr
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Advent At Midlife

I am no longer waiting for a special occasion; I burn the best candles on ordinary days.
I am no longer waiting for the house to be clean; I fill it with people who understand that even dust is sacred.
I am no longer waiting for everyone to understand me; It’s just not their task
I am no longer waiting for the perfect children; my children have their own names that burn as brightly as any star.
I am no longer waiting for the other shoe to drop; It already did, and I survived.
I am no longer waiting for the time to be right; the time is always now.
I am no longer waiting for the mate who will complete me; I am grateful to be so warmly, tenderly held.
I am no longer waiting for a quiet moment; my heart can be stilled whenever it is called.
I am no longer waiting for the world to be at peace; I unclench my grasp and breathe peace in and out.
I am no longer waiting to do something great; being awake to carry my grain of sand is enough.
I am no longer waiting to be recognized; I know that I dance in a holy circle.
I am no longer waiting for Forgiveness. I believe, I believe.
~ Mary Anne Perrone
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“It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them. …Lightly, lightly – it’s the best advice ever given me. When it comes to dying even. Nothing ponderous, or portentous, or emphatic. No rhetoric, no tremolos, no self conscious persona putting on its celebrated imitation of Christ or Little Nell. And of course, no theology, no metaphysics. Just the fact of dying and the fact of the clear light. So throw away your baggage and go forward. There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly. Lightly my darling, on tiptoes and no luggage, not even a sponge bag, completely unencumbered.”
~Aldous Huxley – Island


Gratitude List:
1. Bridges
2. Cobweb
3. Sunrise
4. Beauty
5. Desire

May we walk in Beauty!

Same Waters, Different Waters


Last summer: Two friends in their fort.

“To love is to recognize yourself in another.” ~Eckhart Tolle
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“You can never really go back to the same waters. Not only are you no longer the same, but neither are the waters you left. The current has changed. The elements of nature have affected the stream. When you return, although it appears the same, it really is a different river and you are a different person. Therefore, you cannot cross the same river twice.”
– Alice Walker
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Silent Friend
by Rainer Maria Rilke

Silent friend of many distances, feel
how your breath enlarges all of space.
Let your presence ring out like a bell
into the night. What feeds upon your face

grows mighty from the nourishment thus offered.
Move through transformation, out and in.
What is the deepest loss that you have suffered?
If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine.

In this immeasurable darkness, be the power
that rounds your senses in their magic ring,
the sense of their mysterious encounter.

And if the earthly no longer knows your name,
whisper to the silent earth: I’m flowing.
To the flashing water say: I am.
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TreeSong
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

The ancient ones know.
They will tell you the way.
Stand quietly before them.
Let their stillness enter you.
Listen for their songs of mystery.
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“Who will tell us who we are
when the voices of the trees are silenced?
Who will give us direction
when the sentinels of the forest
can no longer tell us the way?”
Beth Weaver-Kreider

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Gratitude WingTanka
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

Impossible things
that actually exist,
like the hummingbird.
how she hovers, how she hums,
how she flies like a whisper.
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The Real Work
by Wendell Berry

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.
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“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.” ~Rachel Carson


Gratitude List:
1. Here is a marvel: I made him inside me, but this boy knows so much more than I do. The Chromebook just kicked itself off the wi-fi (or something). He tinkered with something on his iPad for a few minutes, and suddenly everything worked again. It’s such a marvel to see them grow and develop like this. I knew that they would learn their way ahead of me, but I had no idea it would be happening this early, or this incomprehensibly.
2. Creating spaces
3. Bridges, pathways, doorways, webs
4. Defining my own terms
5. Homemade rice pudding

May we walk in Beauty!

Take Care of Your Own


“Good People, 
most royal greening verdancy,
rooted in the sun,
you shine with radiant light.” ―Hildegard of Bingen
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“Just living is not enough said the butterfly, one needs sunshine, freedom and and a little flower.” ―Hans Christian Anderson
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“I have found that the greatest degree of inner tranquillity comes from the development of love and compassion. The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being.”
―Dalai Lama
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“You are not Atlas carrying the world on your shoulder. It is good to remember that the planet is carrying you.”
― Vandana Shiva
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“How do you endeavour words at the marvel of dawn – slow but suddenly arising in your heart?
How do you speak to the dispersing cold and fog from the treetops, the gradual bathing of your outlook in gentle pinks and gold?
What can you say towards the stillness of things, even as they move, like a sleepy barge drifting through the channel,
reflecting the presence of that forgiving first light from all its bright sides?
How can you say I am sorry for all the dawnings you’ve not gambled in poetry?
Perhaps today, you think, you’ll make up for it – steadily pulsing in your reverence, keeping these embers of attention aglow.
But morning never remains.
Instead it grows into a glory of chaos, dropping its gifts – too numerous to carry – in an afternoon heap at our feet.
Generous as it is, the day collapses us into a womb of darkness, where we can finally rest our magnificent failures at being all the way alive.” ―Toko-pa
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“On this day
the blessings of heaven.
On this day
the blessings of earth.
On this day
the blessings of sea and of sky.
To open us to life
to ground us in life
to fill us with life
and with wonder.
On those we love this day
and on every human family
the blessings of heaven
the blessings of earth
the blessings of sea and of sky.”
―John Philip Newell
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“Every person is a living treasure box. Listening holds the key.”
―Mollie Marti
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“You can tell people of the need to struggle, but when the powerless start to see that they really can make a difference, nothing can quench the fire.”
―Leymah Gbowee
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“I remember Hushpuppy at the end of Beasts of the Southern Wild, just trying to take some food home to her daddy Wink, finally turning to face the hideous beast on the bridge, facing it down and saying, “I take care care of my own.”

“I take care of my own. You are my own, and I am yours–I think this is what God is saying, or trying to, over the din. We are each other’s. There are many forms of thirst, many kinds of water.”
―Anne Lamott


Gratitude List:
1. Getting the primer coat on Ellis’ room. I feel like we’re making progress, like we’ll finally have this project finished before school starts.
2. The magic of that book we just finished reading together: One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street by Joanne Rocklin. Joss picked it out of the used book shelf as his reading prize at the library. It connected to so much that I have been pondering lately: how time works in layers, the tenderness and fragility of memory,  the infrangibility of friendship (that’s a word you learn in the book), the deep desire to protect what we love.
3. Each peach, pear, plum. . . Actually, no pears yet, so maybe it’s cherries instead, but I didn’t want to break up the line from the children’s book. (I spy Tom Thumb!)
4. Screech owl calling in the hollow last night when we were sitting outside before bed.
5. Supper on the porch.

May we walk in Beauty!

The Lunatic Moon


This is from 2013. There are no physically manifest poems on the PoeTree this year.

The Lunatic Moon
by Beth Weaver-Kreider
for Mara

The thing is, I am a Twisted Hair.
The thing is, I believe that bridges build their own burn.
I am weaving that into the braid at this exact moment.
Some days I walk on burn
to return to the path that calls me.
Perhaps this is where the poem begins.

The thing is, when I read that line
about what I believe, I felt seen and known.

Burn your bridges, burn your easement, burn your draft card, burn your bra.

The thing is, I am simply a character.
I am devouring. I am pretending.
The thing is, I am a simple character,
made of burn, of bridge, of web.

Weave yourself a bridge of sunlight and flame. Weave an easement to the moon.

The thing is, the more I twist these strands into the story,
the less I am a solitary spider, and the more I am the moon.

TOMORROW’S PROMPT:
We’ve learned the twinkling light of the star that refreshes, the wild light of the moon that pulls, and tomorrow, the Fool steps into the light of the sun, feeling her full power. She finds herself able to experience joy in a new way, not in denial of the hardship and pain of the journey, but because of it. Now she knows her strength. Now she knows her wildness. Now she knows her fierce and tender heart. She absorbs the power of the Sun.

Gratitude List:
1. Poetic conversation
2. Odysseys, journeys, adventures
3. This writing life, fragmented and small as it is
4. Chocolate bunnies
5. Every day a new sensation, a new color, a new birdsong

May we walk in Beauty!

The Rivers and the Bridges

coptic-bridge
Nag Hammadi and Susquehanna (via Dreamscope app)

Being able to weave together two different photos gives me the chance to blend my obsessions. Here, the Bridge over my River, and a piece of ancient Coptic text on a papyrus. I don’t have much time these days for personal researches, but when I have a free moment, I often turn to texts from the Nag Hammadi Library. Right now, I keep a page of The Thunder, Perfect Mind open on a tab on my Chromebook. Those texts are both a bridge and a river for me. I love how this mash-up placed text where the leaves of the sycamore would be in summer, and how there seems to be the suggestion of a greater arch in the sky above the arches of the bridge.

Gratitude List:
1. The willows are putting on their shiny green dancing clothes for spring.
2. The way flocks of little birds connect the dots across the sky.
3. Three crows in a field in the dawn, bobbing their heads up and down, doing obeisance to the sunrise.
4. Tea. It has been such a non-frigid winter that I haven’t often felt the need for tea to break the chill. Lately my students have been making tea in my room, and I enjoy a couple cups a day with them, and then some in the evening. It takes away the craving for the second cup of coffee and leaves me feeling warmed from the inside out.
5. Teenagers. I don’t know why I used to be anxious about the idea of teaching in a high school. The brilliant minds, the bursting creativity, the great hearts, the developing critical thinking skills. I love them. I am learning so  much. They are also my rivers and my bridges.

May we walk in Beauty!

Long Naps and Dreamtime

solstice-morning-sun solstice-spirits
One of the perks of having people riding with me to school in the morning is that I can ask someone else to take pictures of the Solstice sunrise over the bridge. The picture on the right has been sent through a filter–I like what it did with the visual rhythm of the old bridge.

During these long nights after Solstice, I try to stay particularly aware of my dreams. This evening after supper, I fell asleep on the recliner. I can’t remember the whole dream. I remember a sense of feeling like I was sort of an outsider in a group of people at some sort of resort, but the image that strikes me was of a mountainside across a bay. There were large areas of woody hillside covered in blue and purple shadows, but the sun was shining down on one bit that was bright emerald green. When I conjure the image in my head, it’s like a piece of painted art rather than a physical landscape, but in my dream, I desperately wanted to get a picture of that little green patch of sunny green.

Last night, I had planned to spend some time working on a meditation I had just read. I thought I could work my way into the space of the meditation, and then gently fall asleep, but I couldn’t get past the first moment of focus on the candle flame. Every time I woke up in the night, I would go back to the flame, and start with orienting myself in space, and then I would be asleep. Perhaps it would be good to have something like that for the insomnia moments.

Gratitude List:
1. Christmas Caroling and Singalong Chapel. The men’s chorus singing “Twelve Days of Christmas” was one of the funniest Christmas carol moments ever. The women’s chorus was beautiful, and Javon’s final song, “Peace on Earth” gave me the chills.
2. Cloud-shadows on the sky
3. Fred’s Christmas routine. He can no longer jump up to sleep on the Nativity scene like he used to. Now every morning he goes under the little table, beneath the table cloth, and waits for someone to toss his mouse to him. Then he goes and plays shark hockey with the sharks that Josiah sets with his Lego world. He still has a lot of kitten in him.
4. Chocolate
5. Long naps and dreamtime

May we walk in Beauty!

Bridge Week

DSCN8665 bridge2bridge Bridge3
Bridges. One across the Susquehanna (EWK photo); below it, a bridge in the Scottish highlands, a photo found on the internet, which some friends and I have used for a meeting of hearts; and on the right, two bridges across the Mill Stream at my school: on top, a photo from the school website of the footbridge, and below it the road bridge on Mennonite School Road, taken from historicbridges.org

This is the beginning of my final week of summer. It’s a bridge week, from the open rhythms of the summer to the formal rhythms of the school year, from a slow and contemplative pace to a quick and formulated pace. These are not value-judgement statements–I need the macro-rhythm of shift from one to the other, and I am looking forward to daily structure which someone else has created–I only have to fill in the outlines. While I will miss the freedom of the summer schedule, I long for the more formal rhythms and rituals of the school day.

I love that my school uses the bridge as its symbol. It offers a rich metaphor for reflction. As I contemplate the coming season during this last week before school, I wonder how I can make my work at school into a bridge, safe and sturdy, that helps to lead young people from their childhood into their adulthood, toward independent critical thinking, toward compassionate responses to the pain of those they meet, toward trust in their own instincts and ideas.

Gratitude List:
1. I am taking a Reiki class today. I’m very excited.
2. Bridges
3. Family time
4. Harvesting up in the fields just before sunset, when the clouds are big and towering. In the fields, we’re up out the hollow and can see the full sky, how the light from the nearly setting sun in the west hits the clouds to the south, shining golden and white, glowing magenta and tangerine.
5. Morning yoga–waking up the spine, feeling the stretch.

May we walk in Beauty!

Crossing Bridges

Peppers

Gratitude List:
1. Summertime suppers.  Everything is based on the veggie of the moment.
2. Working together. Just before sunset, all four of us went up into the fields to transplant brassicas under a glorious Michelangelo sky.
3. Dream fragments.  I woke with this phrase in my head: “You have been chosen to be the caretaker of this tree for the time that you are here.”  Try as I might, I cannot remember the context, cannot pull out the fleetingest of images, cannot see who said this.
4. Bridges.  To recovery. To hope.  To new strength. To the other side of the terrifying chasm.  To the each other. Keep crossing them.  Keep building and fortifying them.  Keep believing in them.
5. How a little phrase will capture and hold the attention of the inner eye: beloved community, furious opposites, the interior castle.  How they ring like bells in the inner consciousness, saying: Pay attention now.  Think on this thing.

May we walk these bridges together, in Beauty.

Threads

DSCN8665

A spider’s web across the path spans the space from here to there:
the bridge across the River, the yarn I knot with my needles,
the trail of crumbs leading out of the woods, the pathway between us.

(Trying my hand at a Korean Sijo this morning.  http://www.ahapoetry.com/sijo.htm)

Gratitude List:
1. Thursday’s chapel speaker: mindful meditation.  Powerful.
2. Soba noodles and fall veggies stirred up in the cast iron wok.  That man is a mighty fine cook.
3. Bridges.  Webs.   Labyrinth pathways.  Strands of yarn being knitted or knotted or crocheted or woven. Narrative threads.
4. Quiet spaces.
5.  Sleep and coffee.

May we walk in Beauty!