Tiny People and Wise Elders


Oh my. This was a year ago today. We’ll have to try this this week. After we finish the leftover mac and cheese and veggies from the family reunion potluck.

Gratitude List:
1. Family. Family reunions. Family circles. Laughter. Stories. Food. Cousins. Aunts and Uncles. Little tiny people and wise elders.
2. Chimney swifts. Such aerial acrobats with such unaerodynamic little cigar-shaped bodies.
3. Kate DiCamillo. An author who expands the heart.
4. My classroom is, for the most part, organized for the coming year! I know where almost everything is.
5. Deep, long sleep.

May we walk in Beauty!


“. . .my grandmother would get very annoyed when anyone would talk about “the power of love.” Love, she insisted, is not power, which she considered always coercive. To love is to be vulnerable; and it is only in vulnerability and risk—not safety and security—that we overcome darkness.”
―Madeleine L’Engle
*
“Stories beget understanding,
Understanding begets respect,
Respect begets justice,
Justice begets peace,
That is the power of story.”
―Antonio Rocha
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“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

“A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.” ―Vincent van Gogh
*
“When we share our stories and dreams, we are accepting help in the shouldering of responsibility and despair. By extension, our windfalls and triumphs belong to us all. In witnessing each other, we are cross-pollinating our wisdoms and broadening our storylines, moving the locus of our attention from competition to collaboration. No longer governed by personal lack, we begin to make decisions as an ecosystem would, from the appreciation of our indivisibility.” ―Dreamwork with Toko-pa
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“Sometimes in order to be happy in the present moment you have to be willing to give up all hope for a better past.” ―Robert Holden
*
“The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.” ―Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Making Family

A year ago today, Jon and I went to the Walters Museum in Baltimore. It is now one of my favorite museums. This is a filter-altered photo of a marble lion in the Egyptian antiquities section.

Today’s Prompt is to write a poem about family.

Sometimes it all comes ready-made,
like seeds, like sunshine, like rain.
But sometimes you make it yourself.
Take a little clay, a palmful of water,
sculpt and carve, shift and caress,
with great care and concentration.

And sometimes it all just gets
tossed in your direction,
bits and pieces scattered on the wind,
and you take the threads into your hands
and begin to weave. And you chant,
and you dance, and then it happens.

There’s no single formula for family,
no direction manual, no guide.
Blood’s one sacred element, certainly,
but water will do it, or wind,
whatever hold the souls together,
like laughter, like tears.


Gratitude List:
1. Celebrating Chester’s 100th birthday. Harmonica, singing, family, trees, stories, and a picture of Sarah Jane. She was there, of course. I know she was there.
2. Grades are all done and marked ready to submit, and it isn’t even midnight!
3. Reading Susan Cooper’s books with the boys. I love when they get so into the reading of a book that they stand up and start to pace, and talk back to the book.
4. Little bits of tidiness.
5. The warm times are coming. The birds tell me so every morning. I can wait.

May we walk in Beauty!

Pathways to the Sun


Today’s Prompt is to write a “Shine” Poem.  I have been thinking about writing this short story about the tree shadows that grab my attention.

Once was a girl fell in love with the Sun.
Loved his shine, she did. Loved his flash and glory.
Once was a girl tried to reach her lover in his sky.
Tried to find the twisting pathway that led to her love.
Tried to find a way to get his attention.
She learned how to shine herownself, she did.
She shined all day long and all night
’til her own light was fading, she shone so.

And the people. The people, they loved her.
They loved her with fierceness for all her shining.
They loved her with tenderness for her fading.
‘Cause she passed that shine around,
’cause she was not afraid to show her longing,
’cause she wept and laughed at her own fading.

Came a day when she was old and worn and faded.
She walked in her garden under her Sun,
and she smiled for her love and she smiled for her longing.
She smiled for her long days of wisdom.
She smiled for her long nights of folly.
Saw a tree, tall and reaching its arms upward,
right into sunlight, basking in the tender arms of the Sun.

Her heart, like a shadow, almost stopped its beating.
She leaned into light, like the tree, arms raised upward.
She leaned into sunlight, she rested on sunbeams,
felt his hands on her face, his arms ’round her shoulders.
And in that moment she saw them, the pathways of shadow
that lead to her lover. Never looked backward.
No, she never looked backward, but followed the shadows
outward and upward, into the arms of the Sun.


Gratitude List:
1. Doors opening. Opening Doors. Reframing the question: Instead of “How do we seek progress? Asking “How do we open doors for change?”
2. The wise people who help to reframe the questions.
3. Family times.
4. My father’s bluebirds
5. Hard conversations, especially when they bring clarity.

May we walk in Beauty!

Falling Apart

shadow

Today’s poetry Prompt is to write a Falling Apart poem.

Falling Apart
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

First: Everything begins to work in sync. From within the random chaos,
a pattern emerges, a rhythm, a mutual response between working parts.
Cooperation and tunefulness abound. Order prevails.

Second: Before long, the sameness of the patterns and the rhythms
begins to grate on the inner ear. A background whine hovers
just within earshot. Orderliness begins to thump and thud.

Third: Some of the ordered bits begin to stumble, miss a step,
misfire. Still, the march plods on, and the bumbling is only a hiccup
in the ordered scheme of things. Weariness sets in.

Fourth: A counter-rhythm develops. Syncopation sets in. Suddenly,
a wild dance whirls through the march. Chaos returns with a will.
The order has been subverted, the structure shredded.

Fifth: All sense of order has fallen apart. Randomness reigns.
The beauty of the wild begins to appear–itself–as a sameness.
Colors and sounds and sensations begin to sort themselves.

Sixth: Everything begins to work in sync.

Gratitude List:
1. More wonderful family time together. Nate riffing on the piano. What a musician!  Jon’s delicious lasagna. Uno has to be one of the best family games.
2. Shadows. Secret scenes and messages in the shadows.
3. Watching the boys take on creative projects and take pride in their work.
4. Thanksgiving Break. It wasn’t long enough, but it was wonderful while it lasted.
5. Dark Chocolate: Lemon Pepper Ginger.

May we walk in Beauty!

To Those Who Wander

imag2389

Today’s prompt is to write a Visitor Poem.

Blessing for the Visitor
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

May you who wander, who sojourn, who travel,
may you who make your way to our door
find rest for your tired feet and weary heart,
food to fill your bellies and to nourish your minds,
and company to bring you cheer and inspiration.

May you find comfort for your sorrows,
belonging to ease your loneliness,
and laughter to bring you alive.

And when your feet find themselves again upon the road,
may they remember the way back to our door.

Gratitude List:
1. Coming through a conversation feeling more like myself. I wish everyone could have someone like that, who can ask questions and build upon ideas with you, help you sort things out. I am grateful for the people of my family, who do this for me.
2. Nieces and Nephews, good cousins to my children. The in-laws–my siblings chose their partners so perfectly. My parents.
3. My mother’s question: “How shall we pray for each other?” Reminds me of the sacred question to ask the Fisher King–the one that leads to the finding of the Holy Grail.
4. The art on the walls of the houses I visited today. Such beauty, such rich depth of meaning.
5. Gathering around a table with people I love. As Joy Harjo says, “Perhaps the world ends here.”

May we walk in Beauty!

Tiny Wonders

portrait
This is the family portrait that my friend Kris Miller (Art of the Brogue) took of our little family of hummingbirds. I love this photograph so much. It’s still hard to believe that such a miracle exists in the tree outside. It is such an honor that she chose our spot for her family.

Gratitude List:
1. Family
2. Community networks of prayer
3. Tiny wonders
4. Stories
5. The way the day always branches outward with so many possibilities

May we walk in Beauty.

I Worried

worry

Like Mary Oliver, I can worry a lot.
Will the hummingbird eggs be viable?
Will the bats return every summer?
Will the children be safe?
Will the people like me?
Will I be sufficient to the tasks before me?

Have I given birth to children in the era before the end?
Will their adult lives be spent in a constant effort to survive the heat?
Will elephants become extinct in my lifetime?

Will courteous discourse die out?
Will fascism rise again?

Sometimes I can make my way to her last stanza, to see that it all comes to nothing. Simply giving it up is harder. But some days it helps to write it out. I go back to that Little Red Riding Hood image I posted a few days ago. As long as those worries are lurking out in the dark woods behind me somewhere, they could be anything. They become monsters beyond all proportion. Even if they’re big and scary like the wolf in that image, or like the looming monsters of terrorism and climate change, it’s somehow a comfort to finally look them in the eye. “You might be big, you scary old thing, but you have no power over me as long I can see you.”

Gratitude List:
1. Yesterday’s Reiki class. My cohort of co-students. Sarah, who teaches with such love and grace. Love and Life Force and the prayerful laying on of hands.
2. One more family hurrah before the end of summer. My marvelous siblings and their spouses. Their kids. My parents. I think that is probably a blessing not to be taken for granted. It’s not just that I love my parents, and my brother and sister and their spouses, but that I really like them. I like to spend time with them and converse with them. And the same goes for the nieces and nephews.
3. New stretches. I am adding some new stretches to my daily yoga movements. They’re harder than they were 20 years ago, even when I was thirty-five pounds heavier than I am now, but in just a week, I am feeling more and more comfort in the new stretches. I may be talking about yoga here, but I think this applies to quite a lot of the middle-aging process. I hate to sound slogan-y, but I think Use It Or Lose It might apply here. So yoga stretches and geography quizzes will be part of my regular established routine now.
4. Racing down the home stretch. Getting the papers and the space and the ideas all in order. Opening the heart to receive the new people and ideas who come my way. Developing and organizing the plans.
5. Sorting tomatoes. The tomatoes were late this year, but when they came in, they exploded off the vines. I haven’t done a lot of the sorting this summer–it used to be one of the tasks I owned, but now others often do it. Today might be the last time I sort them for the summer. I love lining up the colors, putting the paste tomatoes into their own bin, setting the ones with a little disease or damage in their own beautiful rows over on the extras table.

May we walk in Beauty!

Bananas

banaba
(This is me at the age of six, in someone’s banana plantation.)

Cold rain has fallen.
Clouds part, sun floods the hollow.
And where have you gone?

Gratitude List:
1.  All the reminders yesterday to keep open to surprises.
2. Nieces and nephews.  Cousins to my children.
3. All the green.  Somehow green means more this spring than usual.
4. Making things.  Creating.  Seeing something inside my head, and then putting it into the physical world. Isn’t that an amazing process?
5. Rain and sun.

May we walk in Beauty!

There Needs to Be a Poem

There needs to be a poem here
something to fill the space
to inspire
to bless.

There needs to be a word
that fills the small green hollows
between the first shy greeting
and the questions
that draw out the hearts
like small burrowing animals
from their safe nests.

There needs to be a song here.
At least a whispered line
with a hint of a melody
and a rhythm
like the chirping of the tree frogs
high in the oak grove.

Let us stand in the moment
shoulder to shoulder
like the deer on the verge
we caught in our headlights,
and listen for the distant unrolling of words.

 

Gratitude List:
1.  That wonderful woman at OfficeMax yesterday who said that since the Lancaster store was selling notebooks for a penny a piece, she could give me the same price, and then only gulped a little when I said, “That’s so great!  I’d like a hundred for my English classes!”  I quickly realized that I was taking overenthusiastic advantage of a kindness and cut my number back just a little.
2.  Waters of Transformation.  Yes, indeed.
3.  I have a job where people sometimes start the day with a collegial hymn-sing.  Have I landed in a perfect place for me, or what?
4.  Inspiration struck when I needed it and before I was a complete wreck of exhaustion: I have been a little anxious this weekend about preparation for the coming week.  I came away from last week sort of feeling like I had drained my wells of inspiration for lesson plans.  Just like poetry writing, however: When you let go, sometimes the streams begin to trickle back in again, and sometimes they come in as a flood. I hope the students are a tenth as eager for the work I present tomorrow as I am to present it.
5.  Family time.  Meeting Kim’s dear children.  Basking in Craig’s delightful smile.  Listening to the harmonica trio play in harmony.  Discussing recipes for fish.

May we walk in Beauty!

Leap

Deep breath.
Straighten the spine.
Scan the wide vista before you.

Feel the morning breeze
as the sun rises
over the far horizon.

Another deep breath.
Spread your wings.
Leap.

 

Gratitude List:
1.  Beads, stones, stories, and a little bottle of water from Lake Victoria.
2.  This family.  The growing kids.  The cousins who take time and heart with the little ones.
3.  People who sing.  I love being around Winnie the Pooh and Bilbo the Hobbit types, who are always transforming the moment into a song.
4.  The color blue, from the peace of turquoise, to the love and nurture of Mary’s Robe, to deep visionary indigo, to crisp and intellectual cobalt.
5.  Leaping into the blue.

May we walk in Beauty!