Back Again

morning-sun

I am back after a bit of a media hiatus. My intention was to give myself a little more breathing room to get my end-of-semester grading done. The news barrage fed on itself and sent me into a cycle of needing more news, more information, as though somehow knowing more would help to quell my anxieties. I did maintain a connection to some news sources in the past week, but it was helpful have a bit of a fast.

Gratitude List:
1. That feeling when the semester grades are in. Suddenly the wave has passed, the weight is lifted, the light end of the tunnel is reached–I’ll shove in all the metaphors I can manage here. I feel so much better. And voila, the slate is blank again, and I am starting this semester just one notch closer to my goals of remaining organized.
2. All the people who are standing in the gap. Did you see the footage of protesters at airports all across the country? Spontaneous support for those who are harmed by the refugee ban. I am grateful for people who just go out and do the good thing. Love is indeed our resistance.
3. All those songs about peace and comfort yesterday at church. Truly, I need to keep my inner house in order if I am going to help get the outer house in order. Ending the service with the song of blessing from the Navajo tradition: Peace before us, peace behind us, peace under our feet. Peace within us, peace over us. Let all around us be peace.
4. Friends. Isn’t it nice to have friends? People who keep track of each other, who listen, who advise, who hold the space.
5. The way the snow makes visible the sleeping bodies of the wooded hills and ridges, outlining their sinuous forms through the trees.

May we walk in Beauty!

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Gulls, Crows and Wild Geese

Cover 3

 

Gratitude List:
1.  The life and influence of Grace Lefever, herbalist, peace and justice advocate, wise woman, compassionate heart, teacher
2.  Wild chamomile feathering up through the brown grass and dead leaves
3.  Hundreds of wild geese flying over the farm in the mist this morning: “You do not have to be good.”
And crows and gulls flying and calling through the rain above the farm this afternoon: “Be here.  Let your wild self fly free.”
4.  The faerie worlds and magic that my friend Heather sees and offers in her photographs
5.  Rainy day art projects: “Hey Mom, can we do that thing that we do?  Where we draw and then trade?”

May we walk in Beauty!

Who Inspires You?

I saw a photo the other day of a list that someone had made of people who inspired her.  She’d written the names by hand, artistically. That was part of what caught my attention, but the idea of keeping a running list of people who inspire me has really grabbed hold of me.  I plan to start a list right away.  When I get to one hundred names or so, I’ll look it over and see if I can discern themes and ideas that give me some clues to what I hold dear.  And I want to make sure that there’s variety there.

If you want to join me, here are some ideas to get us started.  You can list several names in each category, of course:

Someone in your immediate family.
An elder.
A peer.
A child.
A revolutionary person who helped to change the world.
Someone who changed the world quietly, behind the scenes.
A musician or band.
An artist.
A great thinker.
A historical figure.
A novelist and/or a poet.
Make sure that you have a good representation of gender, a good mix of races, of countries of origin, of historical periods.
Hmm.  How about a fictional character or two?
A religious or spiritual teacher.
A dancer or other athlete.

What other categories might you choose?

Gratitude List:
1.  The cardinal in the top of the chestnut tree singing, “Pretty, Pretty, sweeeEEEt, sweeEEET!”
2.  Afternoon sun on chicken feathers
3.  Walking between worlds.  Not sure how else to describe it.  Holding your story and yours and yours.  Being here, but there, too.
4.  Iron.  I know I need more of it.  The Earth supplies it.
5.  How everything and everyone changes and evolves, even me, to become more and more ourownselves.

May we walk in Beauty.

My Mother’s Voice

Tanzanian Silence (1966)
by Ruth Weaver

White hot noonday sun;
The earth, still;
Cattle and birds, silent at midday.
Later a breeze would come sweeping up from the shores of Lake Victoria;
And children would laugh and call and run home from school;
But in this time and place
And at this hour,
Sometimes,
The sound of sheer silence.

In that stillness,
That absence of all sound and movement,
There would come an awareness of sound beyond sound
Stars incinerating themselves?
Cosmic expansion?
The ongoing music of creation?

“And God spoke. . .”

I experience a knowingness
That beyond all the sounds of life on earth
And beyond all the noise of my own inner world
God still speaks.

In the Cosmos and in the heart,
God can be heard.
In stillness.
In silence.

Gratitude List:
1.  Learning the poetry of my mother, Ruth Slabaugh Weaver, and my grandmother, Lura Lauver Slabaugh.   Experiencing the wisdom and beauty of the voices of the women who have come before me, my mother and grandmothers, my friends who have paved such incredible pathways.  (And for my father, for pulling out this poem for my birthday, for poetically suggesting that my mother may have been hearing my own music emerging as she wrote this poem in the year before I was born.)
2.  Cicadas
3.  Staying afloat
4.  So many words, so many stories
5.  The imagination of chidren

May we walk in Music, Silence, Stillness, Beauty.

The Busy Season Has Begun

Farm season has begun.  I am exhausted, and falling asleep in the recliner in the evenings.  But it’s the best kind of exhausted, the kind that comes from good hard work out in the elements, working with great people, and hanging out with our customers.  It will mean that I will not be posting as regularly, likely only a couple times a week.  I’ll keep working at gratitude, keep formulating poems and ideas.

2013 June 051

Gratitude List:
1.  Harvesting conversations, working our way down a strawberry patch.
2.  Share days.  Those are the days when the shareholders come to pick up their weekly produce.  I love to sit and chat, to talk with people about food and recipes and children and education and spirituality and Reiki and growing older and growing up. . .
3.  Providing beauty and nourishment for people.
4.  Sandra and my parents: I always know that someone is seeing to the needs of my children on these mornings when I am seeing to the needs of the farm.
5.  Jane Peifer, Mim Book, and whoever comes next.  Cycles, giving space for grieving, welcoming the next chapter in the story.

May we walk in Beauty.

Queen of Swords

There it is, the way to close the book.
I’ll sit in my hut with the fire burning,
light to shine out on the wintry world.
My heart is here,
and you are welcome.

I will write my name on a stone,
and drop it into the pond
where the golden carp is waiting.
I will whisper it into the feathers
of the rusty screech owl
who huddles in the hollow of the sycamore.
I will of course tell the toad
who watches from her litter of leaves.

My heart, I think I said, is here,
and yours is welcome in this circle.

2013 April 010

My friend Sarah and I have been talking about Gratitude Lists, and the value of changing up the themes of the items.  Some days it takes an effort of will not to just make a list of five of the wing-people I have seen and heard from that day.

Gratitude List:
1.  The Pileated Woodpecker who called an announcement of his presence and then rowed through the sky across the hollow this afternoon.
2.  Phoebe has returned to the hollow, calling his name insistently from the walnut tree.
3.  Driving the tractor.  I love to drive the tractor.
4.  Delightful surprise of friends stopping in for a visit this afternoon.
5.  Moving forward, pushing through.
May we walk in beauty.

Bluebirds and Miracles

Gratitude List:
1.  Bluebirds.   When I went out to tend chickens this morning, a pair of them sat in the little tree nearby and talked to me.  The wrens yell, “Here’s where I belong and don’t anyone get into my space!”  The yellow-throat sparrows call, “Here!  I’m here!  Won’t somebody please notice me?”  And other birds sing joyfully and exuberantly.  But bluebirds sing so quietly and sweetly, you could almost miss them: “Everything’s going to be okay, you know?  Here, let me tell you a little story.”  And there’s a bluebird that signals my father when his meal-worm feeder is empty.  But then when it’s filled and the bird has eaten all it wants, it comes back and sits on a little perch my dad put up outside his window–you can’t tell me that bird isn’t there to say thank you.  Oh, and there’s a pair inspecting the birdhouse out back for a potential nesting site.
2.  The laughter of chickens.  Okay, so they don’t actually laugh.  They sort of fuss and dither and clook about the daily fare.  They’re probably a little too simple-minded to get the joke, so they don’t laugh much.  But Jessica thought that’s what I wrote yesterday (see below), and I love the whimsy of the thought of laughing chickens.  Delightful.
3.  Meeting an online friend in person.  These connections we make with other people (in physical life, in computer realms) are like spiderwebs–gossamer, exquisite.  Treasures.
4.  Cerulean.  I’m back to bluebirds.  Isn’t that an exquisite color when the sun shines on their shoulders?  Thoreau said that the “bluebird carries the sky on his back.”  Oh yes he does.
5.  Milagros.  Doesn’t that just sound like a pleasant word?  Even before I looked up the meaning, and having heard it in various contexts without knowing its meaning for sure, it was a word I wanted to carry around for a while.  It’s Spanish: miracle, wonder.  Paul Simon could have just said that these are the days of milagros.  Oh, “the way we look to a distant constellation that is shining in the corner of the sky.”

May we walk in beauty like the bluebird walks on air.

 

February 25, 2013

Gratitude List:
1. The laughter of children
2. The curiosity of chickens
3. The steadfastness of friends
4. The healing powers of the body
5. The nourishment of food
Namaste

2012 August 018
Sunny in the summertime

Highlights

Gratitude List:
1.  The Wisdom of children.  (“Mom,” says Joss, “we have boats because of salt.  Because we need the boats to go get the salt.”)
2.  True entrepreneurial spirit.  Kristen is building her own business, and doing it with flair and panache.  And she makes people feel beautiful in the process.  I love it.
3.  Flavors of East Africa
4.  The wolf is not at the door, and even if he were, he COULD be a friendly wolf.
5.  Loving the work.
May we walk in beauty.

2012 July 056