Seeking Blue


One of my ponderings, as I travel from place to place each day, is to meditate on the colors of blue, to try to identify various blues in the sky and the shadows. Even in my dreams, I am seeking blue, collecting moments of blue. In last night’s dream:

I am sitting on a grassy patch at the edge of a large parking lot, waiting for my friend who has gone to go collect some things from the car. There is a large smoky white cat purring on my lap. I am wearing a long blue dress, almost the color of Mary’s robes. My friend comes running up, her arms laden with packages, but she has one hand sort of free to hold a pair of binoculars.

“There!” she says, dropping her packages, and pointing down the hill behind me, where crowds of people are walking about. She focuses her binoculars. “You have to see it! She’s wearing the perfect blue!”

I look where she is pointing, and everyone is wearing blue, and some of them are exquisite. She tells me to look for a woman with a brown jacket on. And then I see it. Her dress is the perfect blue. It’s a little lighter than I have been imagining it, not quite as saturated as I have thought it would be. I wonder for a moment if the woman in the dress is Mary.


“Between us are vast distances, perhaps,
as vast as star to star and galaxy to galaxy,
or as blade of grass to blade of grass,
atom to atom–each space bridged
by gossamer web, threads of light and wind,
of prayer and dream, holding us together
with such beauty, with such insatiable desire
for the point of connection.”  ―Beth Weaver-Kreider
*
“No, this year I want to call
myself to task for what
I have done and not done
for peace. How much have
I dared in opposition?
How much have I put
on the line for freedom?
For mine and others?
As these freedoms are pared,
sliced and diced, where
have I spoken out? Who
have I tried to move?” ―Marge Piercy
*
“Before I am your daughter, your sister, your aunt, niece, or cousin, I am my own person, and I will not set fire to myself to keep you warm.” ―Hannah-Joy Robinson
*
“God is everywhere, but I have been in a lot of churches where God wasn’t really welcome.” ―found on FB
*
“People say you only live once. That’s incorrect. You only die once. You live every day.”  ―John Feal
*
“If we are to have a culture as resilient and competent in the face of necessity as it needs to be, then it must somehow involve within itself a ceremonious generosity toward the wilderness of natural force and instinct. The farm must yield a place to the forest, not as a wood lot, or even as a necessary agricultural principle but as a sacred grove – a place where the Creation is let alone, to serve as instruction, example, refuge; a place for people to go, free of work and presumption, to let themselves alone.” ―Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays
*
In Blackwater Woods
by Mary Oliver

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.


Gratitude List:
1. Whispers of fog caught like dreams in the trees of Flinchbaugh’s orchard.
2. The golden shift into autumn has begun to happen. There’s a diffuse golden quality to the light again, a way that the sun slants in, that I don’t experience as fully at any other moment in the year.
3. Sleep. This is big. Lately, my hips and shoulders always ache when I wake up, but it has been a long time since I have had a bout of insomnia. I hope I didn’t jinx this run by saying it. It’s really a big deal that, despite the aches, I keep managing to find my way back to sleep when I wake up.
4. The colors of blue
5. It’s pawpaw season. I need to find some. I can taste them already.

May we walk in Beauty!

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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!

A Portal and a Blessing

portal
I am a little obsessed at the moment with this portal, an opening in the old lime kiln on the Susquehanna River Trail. I think it will have to be the setting for a story.

Best Beloveds:
May you have the courage of the small ones who rise against giants.
May you have someone to sing you back to yourself when you lose your way.
May your wisdom find its threads, its tension, and its color–
may yours be woven with the wisdom of others into a shining bridge.
May your heart be supple and open, and safe.
May your breathing cleanse and invigorate you.
May you find your fire.

Gratitude List:
1. NURSES! My mother-in-law is getting excellent care in the hospital this evening (she’ll be fine) from a wonderful team of nurses. It’s nice to know in the moment of crisis that qualified people who know what to do are caring for your loved one. I am grateful for nurses.
2. As she was being admitted for the night, she mentioned that the last time she was admitted to a hospital was exactly 49 years ago (within a day), when she gave birth to Jon. What a gift he has been to the world.
3. Having a good book handy to read to the boys in the long waiting times in the waiting room. We finished the fourth Percy Jackson book today, and it held our worries at bay.
4. The We’re Glad You’re Our Neighbor signs–we spotted one in Hershey today on the way to the Medical Center.
5. Signs of the coming spring are everywhere. I feel it inside me, too.

May we walk in Beauty!

The Fire Has Always Been Burning

golden1
On the original collage of this, there was a little strip of text that reads, “The fire has always been burning.” It was lost in the filtering process, but the feeling has been preserved.

Gratitude List:
1. Moment of Surprise: An enormous raccoon scrambled across the road to the creek and up into the bosque just before twilight this evening.
2. William Carlos Williams Moment: So much depends on the way the sun backlights a cloud against an aquamarine sky laced with crows.
3. Dream Moment: I carried with me all day the dream of my little cat. It was so real, I could feel her soft fur again, like angel feathers.
4. Satisfaction Moment: Jon’s delicious everything stew. With habanero sauce and smoked sea salt.
5. Anticipation Moment: I just have a sense that I am going to break the insomnia cycle tonight.

May we walk in Beauty!

Re-Integrating

tattoo

Quiet, thoughtful, tired today. So much to absorb from my three days of learning to keep circles. Now the work is to learn to apply and integrate the practice into my work, into my Work. And after three days of circling with twenty-five others, that specific circle itself must settle in like a seed and germinate within. And now, somehow, I must now reintegrate into the world outside the circle.

I think it would be good for me, sometime in the next two months, to sit in circle with people who are planning to vote for Trump, people who are planning to vote for Clinton, and people who are voting for Stein or Johnson. Perhaps some non-voters should be in there, too. I could not be the Circle Keeper, but I think I would come out of such an experience a much healthier person, hopefully less anxious, less furious.

Gratitude List:
1. Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Spirit
2. Autumn is in the air
3. The circles expand out and outward
4. Poetry, how it says things that cannot articulated in didactic words
5. We are more alike than we are different

May we walk in Beauty!

Follow Love

DSCN9176
I like to set my camera to “Fireworks” and then “draw” with fire.

There will be days, Bright Spirits,
when you will not know which way to go,
when the voices will tell you to follow a path
where light shines righteously through branches
and others are striding with purpose.

“This is the right way, the truest path,”
they will call to you, and they will wave their hands
and motion you to join them on their journey.
But you will sense something lurking there
in the hard, sharp edges of the light
and you will know that it is not your road.

But how will you know your own way?
Follow Love.  It will never lead you false.
It may whisper to you from the shadows
of a little-trodden tracks through brambles,
or call you across the wide and shining spaces
over rocky mountain passes,
leaving cairns and altars
to help you find your way.

Follow the roads where Love calls you.
Love will guide you where you must go.

Gratitude List:
1. The team of teachers and support staff and administrators who care for our children.  They pay attention, they notice, they plan and adapt and respond to the children’s needs.  It makes me want to commit even more fully to notice each of my own students with clarity and intention.
2. First family fire in the fire pit.  Making s’mores.
3. My first view this morning when I opened my eyes was a windowful of pink, where the dogwood tree is vigorously blooming.
4. In-service day.  Yesterday’s in-service offered some good time to collaborate, and learn from, and bond with colleagues.  I really do like the people I work with.
5. The flock of deer that ran across the road and leapt the stream into the bosque.  (My family tells me that I must call them a herd, but I feel like a herd is thunky and stolid, but a flock is fluttery and wispy, like the deer that crossed my road.  So my family will have to put up with my word.)

May we walk in Beauty!  May the rains water the earth and refresh us all.

Taking a Walk

Random thoughts from a walk around the farm this afternoon:

–This Step-Counting contest at school is doing what it is supposed to, getting me out and walking.  I am afraid I am letting my team down with my low, low numbers.  I am more sedentary than I admitted to myself–grading and FB and granny squares and playing Legos keeps me sitting in one place.  A lot.
–On one hand the pedometer feels like a ball and chain.  I check it every half hour or so throughout the day, and I am feeling incredible pressure to get up and walking.  On the other hand, it pushes me to get outside and walk, which I don’t usually take the time for, so it’s freeing me, too.
–I like being on a walk.  I live having been walking.  I like having walked.  I just don’t like going walking.  It’s the anticipation and the getting myself in gear part that I don’t like.
–There were tracks everywhere in the last bits of snow and slush: deer, squirrel, bird, bird, bird, and canid.  Maybe that last is fox, maybe dog, maybe coyote.
–I haven’t seen a coyote in years, though Jon saw a pair of them only a couple weeks ago.  I was pretty desperate to find evidence of them in the tracks today.  One set of tracks had a really largish print, and the claws pushed deep into the snow.
–I found a grey-ish owl pellet and broke it apart to look for the mouse bones. But then I realized it was probably a misshapen piece of raccoon poo.
–The bees are sleeping.  I wonder how they’re surviving the winter in their hive.
–I found two unopened pods in one of the milkweed patches.  We brought them down to the house.  Jon has been collecting milkweed seeds with the hope that he can get some to grow in the spring to give away.
–One Small Boy came up to me and said, “Best snack ever!” as he crunched a chunk of ice in his left hand and then chewed off a bite of the kale in his right hand.
–That yellow frost-nipped kale looks about as winter-bitten as I feel right now.

 

Gratitude List:
1. Wind that scours
2. Fire that transforms
3. Water that purifies
4. Earth that supports
5. Spirit that inspires

May we walk in Beauty!

Entering My Prime

Today I turn 47.  Forty-seven is a prime number.  According to Wikipedia, it is the 15th prime number, it’s a safe prime, the 13th supersingular prime, and the sixth Lucas prime.  It is apparently a highly cototient number, and it is “strictly non-palindromic.”  Wikipedia also tells me that 47 is a Keith number, a Carol number and a Thabit number, related somehow to the amicable numbers 17296 and 18416.

Well, anyway, I seem to be entering my prime today, and it looks like I have a lots of mathematical research ahead of me if I really want to understand fully what that means.  But here I go.  Whee!

Gratitude List:
1. Aging.  I wouldn’t want to stay one age all the time.  As my numbers go up, it can occasionally be a little startling to me to see how fast they seem to be rising, but I wouldn’t want to stay in one place.
2. Silver hairs.  My friend Elizabeth calls them Unicorn Hairs.  I will wear mine proudly.
3. Fire circle on the hill.
4. Monarchs flitting about.  Fly well, Bright Ones!
5. Great Horned Owl calling in the trees.
6. That moon!