To Have Enough

“The story of any one of us is in some measure the story of us all.” –Frederick Buechner
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“Those who are willing to break a conspiracy of silence are guaranteed to meet with the disapproval of others. Having a dissenting voice naturally exiles you from the group, but this rejection is a validation of the bravery having such a standpoint requires. It’s also a marvelous training in originality and acts as an agent of attrition. It teaches you who and what is in alignment with your integrity, strengthening those affinities within and without. It’s important during such times of change to practice self-love, comforting the brave & terrified rebel within who doesn’t want to be alone and grieves those losses none the less.” –Dreamwork with Toko-pa
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“To make a living is not to make a killing. It’s to have enough.” –Wendell Berry
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“None of us are getting out of here alive, so please stop treating yourself like an afterthought. Eat the delicious food. Walk in the sunshine. Jump in the ocean. Say the truth you’re carrying in your heart like hidden treasure. Be silly. Be kind. Be weird. There’s no time for anything else.” –Nanea Hoffman
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“God is love, without asterisks.”  –Father Stratis
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“Poetry is a life-cherishing force, for poems are not words, after all, but fires for the coal, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread for the hungry.” –Mary Oliver
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Written on seeing a photo of that circle bridge in Germany: “Always she went through her days with a feeling of being a half, an arc. The bridge of her spirit went out from herself to the world, most certainly, yet somehow all seemed partial, unfinished. There came a bright golden October morning when she looked outward to see the way her own story was reflected everywhere. In the flight of wren from stalk of goldenrod to quivering branch of sycamore. In the calling back and forth of the owls in the bamboo wood. In the branching willow withes reaching to touch the surface of the pond. And suddenly the circle was complete.” –Beth Weaver-Kreider
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“Poetry begins as a lump in the throat . . . a homesickness, a lovesickness.” –Robert Frost
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“Poetry seduces you and entices you into being a searcher for the Mystery yourself. It creates the heart leap, the gasp of breath, inspiring you to go further and deeper; you want to fill in the blanks for yourself.” –Richard Rohr
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“To see a world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a wild flower.”
–William Blake


Gratitude List:
1. Golden mornings
2. How the light shines through
3. October
4. The table is Wide
5. Open hearts and arms

May we walk in Beauty!

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Cast Aside the Jug


“People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.” ―Thomas Merton
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“Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen” ―Robert Bresson
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“We have to learn to love people even if they are not giving you what you want… and then not take it personally. If you feel hurt, you have to recognize that they are not hurting you because you are you, but because they are them. You have to try not to be so hard on yourself.”
―Krishna Das
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“If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” ―Meister Eckhart
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“You will stand at the center of your story
and decide in this moment who you will be.
You get to decide how you will play your part,
and that will help to decide the outcome.”
―Beth Weaver-Kreider
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“And may the light shine out of the two eyes of you, like a candle set in two windows of a house, bidding the wanderer to come in out of the storm.” ―Celtic Blessing
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“If you are doing the right thing for the earth, she’s giving you great company.” ― Vandana Shiva
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“The outward form of things passes away, but the essence remains forever. How long will you be besotted with the shape of the jug? Cast aside the jug, and seek the water. If you look too closely at the form, you miss the essence.” ―Rumi
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Or she:
“If the believer understood the meaning of the saying
“The color of the water is the color of the receptacle,”
He would admit the validity of all beliefs and
He would recognize God in every form and every object of faith.”
If the believer understood the meaning of the saying
“The color of the water is the color of the receptacle,”
He would admit the validity of all beliefs and
He would recognize God in every form and every object of faith.
~Ibn ‘Arabi
Ibn ‘Arabi
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Last Year’s Gratitude:
“How everything connects. Your heart and mine. The hummingbird and the vulture. Poems and stories and art. The thin spidersilk of prayer, spun out across impossible chasms.” ―Beth Weaver-Kreider


Gratitude List:
1. Lying on a bed with a cat snuggled up on either side of me.
2. My surprise 50th birthday dinner. My sisters and my mother took me out to John Wright Restaurant. I am so fortunate to have these incredible women in my life.
3. Crawfish Etouffee
4. Saturday afternoon naps (and waking up and realizing that the poison ivy covering every inch of my body was only a dream)
5. Walnut trees. The walnut by the barn is the last to get dressed every spring, and the first to disrobe in the fall, but the way she plays with the light in her leaves is the finest art.

May we walk in Beauty!

Watching the Swans

You know the story of the girl who had twelve brothers? Their stepmother wanted to get rid of the brothers so her own son would inherit the family fortune, so she turned the brother to swans. The girl discovered the treachery and traveled to the Fairy Queen where she learned how to break the spell–she had to harvest and dry, spin and weave nettles into cloth, and then sew the cloth into shirts.  After many terrible trials, she finally managed the job, but an emergency kept her from completing the twelfth before she had to free them, so the youngest brother lived the rest of his life with swan wings.

Of all the compelling elements of this story that I return to again and again, the part that always takes me into the enchantment is the longing the girl feels when she sees the swans flying. The story taps into the human sense of ache and desire that comes with watching the strings of birds flying so high above earth, and hearing the wild barking of the swans as they travel northward.

Sometimes I am the sister, determined to save the others, to bring it all ’round right in the end. Sometimes I am that youngest brother, part human-part swan, doomed to live between great longings, grateful for both lives, exhilarated by the power of straddling worlds.

Gratitude List:
1. A sweet day off chaperoning a field trip with my second grader and his class to Nixon Park
2. Tundra swans
3. Gulls carpeting a field in white
4. Getting some exercise
5. A good novel (right now it’s Patricia McKillip’s Riddlemaster of Hed series–third time through)

May we walk in Beauty!

You Are Welcome Here

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Available as a pin on https://www.zazzle.com/skunk_holler

Gratitude List:
1. Lancaster, PA. Hundreds of people stood on the four corners of Penn Square to support refugees from Muslim countries, to resist the Muslim Ban. I stood with Iraqi friends, with Syrian friends. There were teachers and students there from my school, people from church, people from the peace groups, babies and teenagers, elders and middle-agers. The trees were still wrapped in their holiday lights, and people were carrying candles and signs. There were pink hats and hijabs and shaved heads. Laughter and shouting and tears.
2. That bowl of a moon that smiled down on us, filled with a twinkling of Earthshine, there, next to bright Venus.
3. The scarf-bombers. On our way out, we passed through a gathered group of scarf-bombers, pixies out on the town, leaving warm treasures for those who need warmth on a cold night. I knew at least one student from my school in that group, too.
4. The World-Changers. I am filled with pride to think that at two different events in Lancaster tonight, one to show support for displaced people, and one to show support for homeless people–at both of those events were students from my school. I am awash in pride and wonderment at their determination to good in the world.
5. Respite. Retreat. Rejuvenation.

May we walk in Beauty!  So much love.

Sunreturn

light-returns
How the Light Returns.

Breathe deep the light-filled air.
Feel how the new sun touches you.
Remember the stars that circled you
through the long hours of darkness.
Sit within the circle of the dwindling dark
and feel the way it bathes you with memory.
Walk the bridge between dream and daylight.

These are the nights of the dreamtime. The tender new sun is born into the hush of midwinter, and we can hold the quiet light within us as we walk, careful step by careful step, out of the labyrinth. The inward journey into the darkness has stripped us of our crucial identity, piece by painful piece. And now, as we step outward, the darkness offers us new gifts, images that come in dreams. As the days gradually lengthen, and the dark nights wane, what words and images will the journey offer you to put into your pockets for the coming year?

Gratitude List:
1. Those really super-bright stars at evening and morning. Sometimes you get those news reports that THIS star or THIS comet is going to appear fifty times bigger than usual, and I look and I can’t discern any difference. But that star in the west last evening, and one in the east this morning were so incredibly large and bright. I wonder if it’s a function of my aging eyesight? No matter. It’s compelling.
2. Driving into the Solstice sun this morning. The sky was like a gentle watercolor painting.
3. Waiting quietly in this space at the edge of the void, a moment between moments. Stepping into time outside of time.  Walking over the Dreamtime Bridge.
4. Approaching a time of rest.
5. The people who get it. Today I read a Jan Richardson poem to my classes, and I posted a picture of Richardson on the Smart Board that included a statement about “Seeking the thin places that exist between heaven and earth.” One of my students, who has some learning struggles, got really wide-eyed and said, “I like that poem-thing you have up on the board there. It’s like when you go to a place with a lot of history, like caverns, that you know have been there since before people were around, and it feels like heaven is right there.”  What a wise, intuitive boy.

May we walk in Beauty!

Antidotes

lightreturnYes. It’s the same photo as yesterday, melded with a different filter. I like this one, because it emphasizes the interplay of light and darkness.

In his blog post of last Thursday, Robert Reich lists The 4 Dangerous Signs of Passivity in the Face of Trump Tyranny: Normalizer Syndrome, Outrage Numbness Syndrome, Cynical Syndrome, and Helpless Syndrome.  I’ve been thinking about what the antidotes might be, because other than the Normalizer one, I have fallen victim to the others, and to their sister, Outright Despair Syndrome.

Here are some Antidotes to the Four Dangerous Signs of Passivity:
1. Practice Deliberate Kindness: You don’t have to look far to see the acts and words of meanness that have erupted in the wake of the election. In such a climate, deliberate and pointed acts of kindness are revolutionary, a way to say, “We will not be party to this.”
2. Be an ally: To everyone. When you witness meanness, stand in the gap. Be the one who asks if you can help. Be canny. When you think someone is being bullied, become Present in the situation. Make sure the bullies know they are being watched and held accountable for their behavior. Make it clear that bullying will not be tolerated.
3. Speak Up. Tell the stories of kindness that you witness. Share the stories of meanness, too, and strategize how to better respond the next time.
4. Laugh. A lot. And not just at the cynical things. Find good healthy things that make you laugh. Try to make other people laugh. Share delight.
5. Believe in the Goodness. The last few weeks have made it harder than ever to believe in the basic goodness in people. How could so many people not let the racism and xenophobia and misogyny NOT be a deal-breaker? It’s tempting to make the next sentence be something about how people really are selfish and racist and xenphobic and misogynistic. Maybe some of them are, but most people also have a lot of goodness in them. Even Anne Frank, in hiding from the Nazis, said, “Despite everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.” If she can see it, maybe I can at least try.
6. Gratitude. It’s been really hard for me lately to do this particular spiritual job. Everything seems the same. I feel as though I have run out of gratitude lately. Still, it’s a muscle I want to keep flexing, especially when it’s hard. And I think it’s a powerful antidote to despair and her passive sisters.

What other Antidotes do you suggest?

Gratitude List:
1. People who help to talk things through.
2. Joyful is the Dark--I think this is my favorite song in church, especially the second verse, about the Raven. Every year we sing it at Advent, and it always comes just I have begun to lose hope that the light will return. The Dark is important. As Jan Richardson says, “Darkness is where Incarnation begins.
3. Antidotes
4. Visualizing the best things
5. Loving and Being Loved. Belovedness. Remember, always, that you are Beloved.

May we walk in Beauty!

The Wolves of Zammarqand

Gratitude List:
1. Rays of crows flying out from the trees in front of a magenta sunset cloud
2. The way stories come when you call them
3. Finding center, finding balance
4. Light. There’s always light somewhere.
5. The dark. There’s comfort in the dark when I move past the panic of losing light.

May we walk in Beauty!

zammarqand

I woke in the wee hours this morning with this phrase in my head:
The wolves of Samarkand have greenish eyes.

I looked up Samarkand, thinking I was going to be telling a story of the far north, where snow blows around the city walls, only to discover that Samarkand is a city in Uzbekistan, a much warmer place than my mind had conjured. But there are wolves. In fact, Genghis Khan, who conquered Samarkand in 1220, was known as the Blue Wolf. I don’t think I have it in me to write anything so epic as a Genghis Khan story at this point in time. In fact, not being familiar with the words and ways of Uzbekistan, I will change the spelling of my city to make it more mine, though I think I will keep it in the steppes of a place similar to central Asia.

The Wolves of Zammarqand

The wolves of Zammarqand have greenish eyes. At night, when the sheep and the children of the city have been safely enclosed within the walls, Leeta the Storymaker stands on the high wall overlooking the valley and watches for the green glow of their eyes in the starlight, the shadowy forms moving restlessly in moonlight. She hears their singing from the high ridge across the river.

Legends live long in these hills. Leeta is the Storymaker charged with remembering, with telling the ancient tales. Leeta remembers the hi’Story of the ancient Wolf-Queens, when the strong looked after the weak, the powerful encircled the vulnerable, when the city’s power was determined by the strength of its ability to care for all of its members.

Centuries have passed since the times of the Wolf-Queens, since the good of the pack gave way to might and ferocity, since power over others became the rule. The Wolf is still the city’s symbol, a snarling face with bared teeth and angry eyes. But when Leeta wanders the streets, she can find the ancient face of the mother wolf–eyes watchful, patient–carved into the stones of pillars and temples, painted above doorways. As the city was repeatedly re-built upon itself over centuries, it covertly remembered its mothers in quietly lupine statuary and artwork. Anyone with eyes to see–and half a desire to do so–could find them.

On moonlit nights, Leeta goes by secret ways, out of the city, returning in the hushed moments before dawn, leaving a trail of footprints in the dew.

The daughters of Leeta the hi’Storian all have green eyes.

Bottle of Water, Bottle of Wind

reading

Gratitude List:
1. Feeling better. All day, I have been feeling a general malaise, achy and dull. By the time school was over, I felt like I’d been hit by a truck, and I was sure I would call for a substitute for tomorrow. But I had no fever, and I didn’t want to call off if I could help it. Now, after rest and coffee and supper, I feel like a new person. It feels so good to feel good.
2. Light. Christmas lights, lamps, room lights. This is the season when the encroaching darkness makes me panicky. I could hardly bear it today, but there are plenty of lights about. I will bathe in the lights that I can get. Perhaps I’ll have to take my lunch breaks outside these days in order to gather a little more sunlight.
3. Boy and his dad playing chess here at the end of the table.
4. Boy reading with his cat under the Christmas tree.
5. Shining lights–you and you and you.

May we walk in Beauty!

A longish story today. I have been mulling it for several days now, writing a little here, a little there. I think it’s time to bring it into the light:

Bottle of Water, Bottle of Wind

Have you ever been to the Bottle Lady’s stand at Market? Oh, I can never remember exactly where she’s located. I always have to search a bit to find her. She wears a dress and a cardigan sweater like every Mennonite woman at every little vegetable stand in the building. Unlike them, her hair escapes her bun to fly in curls and wisps about her face like a halo.

The first time I saw her, she was nibbling a bit of baklava–that’s why I think her stand might be somewhere near the Greek Delights stand, and I definitely recall the delightfully eye-watering horseradish of the neighboring stand. She winked at me: “You should go over there and get some of this before it’s gone. It’s delicious!”

I paused in my meanderings to peruse her wares: row upon row of empty bottles, in stepped shelves cascading over a purple velvet cloth with golden trim. Each bottle wore a tag held in place with a colored ribbon. The labels looked to be mostly in languages I didn’t understand, some in strange scripts and pictograms. On the lowest shelf was a small dark-blue bottle with water inside. I could read its label clearly: Waters of the World.

The Bottle Lady watched me pick it up and hold it to the light. “That one’s three hundred dollars,” she told me, licking the sticky baklava filling from her fingers. I quickly replaced the bottle on the shelf, lest I break it. “The one you want is right next to it–see there? No, the one on the left, with the green ribbon. See the label? Dreams Come True. That one is only a dollar today.”

Before I’d even had a chance to register what was happening, she had wrapped the bottle in tissue paper, and placed it in a little paper bag gift bag with glitter all over it. I simply pulled out my wallet and handed her a dollar. I couldn’t help but smile. I rarely remember my dreams, but I still had flashes of the dream from the night before, in which I stumbled through a strange city, finding money in odd places.

As I stopped at the Greek Delights stand to buy some baklava, I spotted a five dollar bill on the ground at my feet. I asked all around, but no one seemed to have dropped it, and the owner of Greek Delights refused to hold it for someone who might or might not return. “You just keep it, Sweetie. You just keep it and spend it on a little something for yourself.”

Sure, I connected it to the little bottle. It was hard not to, especially when I found a quarter, two dimes, and a dollar bill on the sidewalk–all just on the walk to my car! It lasted for another week or so. Every time I walked down the street, I found at least a coin or two. I found bills tucked into my jeans, caught between the couch cushions, in the dryer hopper at the laundromat. I kept it all in a jar–over one hundred dollars by the time the luck dried up.

It was a couple weeks before I found myself at market again, and I just couldn’t find her stand. I could have sworn it was between the Greek Delights and the horseradish man–but when I went there, there was no stall between them: they’re direct neighbors. I couldn’t imagine what I had been thinking. I had almost given up, and I was standing in the really long line at the Sacred Grounds Coffee stand–my friend Zia works there, and I wanted a mocha to warm me up on a cold day–when I turned around, and there was the Bottle Lady’s stand. It must have been the baklava that made me think it was on the other side of Market. I wandered over, not paying attention to the fact that I was losing my place in line. There were fewer bottles on the stand this time. “I’ve had really good business today,” she told me, as she sipped her coffee. “How’d the Dream thing work for you?” she asked.

I told her it had been lots of fun, sort of a thrill really. I wondered if she might have a bottle with a love potion in it or something. She gave a musical laugh, then got really serious, studying me as if I were an object under a microscope. “No. No love potions for you right now,” she said. She started to sort through the bottles on the shelves, humming tunelessly to herself. At intervals, she would look up at me with a keen and studying glance, then start clinking and shifting the bottles again. Her hand brushed against the little cobalt bottle of Waters of the World, sending it tipping dangerously toward me. I had instinctively reached out to steady it, and caught it as it fell.

“Whew. That’s fortunate,” she breathed. “I have been saving that for someone. Ah, here’s the one for you.” And she reached out and scooped the tiny bottle of water from my hand, and replaced it with a larger bottle, ornately etched with a tiny dragon. It appeared as empty as most of the others, but as I looked closer, I could see that it was filled with a cloudiness, like smoke. I could make nothing of the letters on the tag. “What is this?” I asked.

“You can see it right there on the label,” she said. “Gumption. That will be two dollars.” And as I looked again, the letters resolved themselves in my brain, and I could read the word in its elaborate script.

Yes, I certainly had more energy, more get-up-and-go, in the coming days. She told me to keep my door closed that night in my room, and to take the cork out of the bottle just before I drifted off to sleep. The next morning, I felt more rested and ready for the day than I had in years.

And that’s how it went. Every few weeks, I’d find my way to Market, search around for the Bottle Lady’s stand, and only find her when I had given up and decided to do something else. I don’t have a good sense of direction, and Market can be confusing. I can never remember whether that bakery with the German-style bread is in the third or fourth row down from the entrance, and there are always a few little stands that are empty, and then there’s just something about the way all the women who work there look sort of the same. Still, I always seemed to find her just when I had decided to give up the search.

She always seemed to choose for me. Oh, I asked for something specific each time I went, but she always had some suggestion or idea that seemed right for me, so I just went along, paying one or two dollars each time. Once I bought a plain little Mason jelly jar with a screw-top lid labeled Common Sense. Paid five dollars for that one. Oy, did that one ever get me through a week of weirdness.

The bottles and jars began to accumulate on my bedside stand. Sometimes I would try to re-use them, and there were often some minor effects, but nothing like the pure moment when I first opened the bottles themselves.

Each time I saw her, I asked about the lovely blue bottle of Waters of the World. Had the buyer come for it already? Why was it still there? What were Waters of the World? I could never quite get an answer out of her about it, but she always gave me a good tip for what treats to buy myself:

“The samosas over at the Middle Eastern stand are really spicy today! You should get two for your supper.”

“You have to try one of these fresh fruit smoothies from the smoothie stand–it’ll be good for what ails you.” She was right, of course.

“Mrs. Stoltzfus over at the bakery has some really nice whoopie pies today. Just the regular traditional kind without any funky flavors in the fillings. They’re so much better that way, don’t you think?” And I agreed, and bought one for my dessert. It was so big, I had some left over for the next day’s breakfast.

One Saturday last month, I met Zia when she got off work at the Sacred Grounds. Zia had been feeling sort of depressed, like she was spinning her wheels, stuck like molasses in her job at the Grounds, and not sure how to take the next step to anywhere. “Let’s go see this Bottle Lady you’re always talking about,” she said.

It was sort of embarrassing–I couldn’t really say where the stand was exactly, but we wandered around, bought some German chocolate from the German stand, and I bought Zia a little potted narcissus from the Plant Man. We had given up searching for the Bottle Lady, and were making our way toward the exit next to the fishmonger, when I spotted her purple cloth, tucked between the celery folks and the woman who sells gourmet dog biscuits.

She was nibbling on a cookie shaped like a dog bone. “Oh yes,” she said when she saw my wide eyes. “I can see that it would be confusing. No, the cookie stand on the other side of the aisle is celebrating Adopt-a-Dog week at the Humane League by selling these incredible dog-bone cookies. They have chocolate centers. You should try some.”

Zia was poring over the labels on the bottles, trying to read the cryptic writing. “Can my friend buy one of your bottles of Dreams Come True?” I asked.

The Bottle Lady gave Zia her studying look, over the tops of her glasses. “No-o-o-o,” she said slowly. “I think this one has not been having such good dreams lately.” Zia crinkled her forehead and nodded.

“How about. . .this one!” Her hand paused above a little green bottle with swirls and spirals embossing its surface. “Yes, I think you could use a Bottle of Wind.” Of course she was right, as right as she’d been about samosas and smoothies and whoopie pies and every bottle she’d ever sold me.

We paid and were putting the little package carefully into Zia’s bag, when the Bottle Lady turned to me: “It’s high time you took your Waters of the World, don’t you think? I’ve got that one on Special today for three dollars.” I barely had time to gasp before she had it wrapped in tissue paper and was plopping it into my hand.

She told me how I needed to keep replenishing the waters: a tear here, a raindrop there, a drop of water from the River I crossed each day on my way into town. How I was to give it a gentle shake when I had added a new water. How I needed to keep releasing the waters, too: water a plant with one drop, put a drop behind my ears or on my forehead, offer a drop to the palm of a weeping friend, give a drop to the River. How it all balanced out when I was careful and thoughtful and full of gratitude. “I know you are ready for this,” she said with a wink. “I don’t think I will be seeing much of either of you again here for a little while. Don’t forget to buy yourselves some cookies on the way out.”

The Bottle of Wind blew through Zia’s life with a beautiful chaos, and now she’s off to New Hampshire for a three-month writing residency at some kind of artists’ camp. I’ve never seen her so happy. And my Waters of the World? I am tending the waters carefully, replenishing them regularly, releasing them with gratitude. And tomorrow I am catching a flight to Iceland–I want to see glaciers. And then to wherever the waters seem to take me. I’ve packed up all my empty bottles in a padded box. Who knows what I may find to put in them?

Market opens at six o’clock tomorrow. You should go see if you can find the Bottle Lady. I can’t honestly tell you where her stand is, but if you look around a while, I am sure she’ll appear somewhere.

Black Lives Matter

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It was heartening to see so many people gathered for the vigil in Lancaster yesterday.  I couldn’t hear the speakers very well–my ears have trouble sorting sound–but I caught bits and pieces, and I could see that people were deeply moved by the speeches.  Afterward, a young black woman stood up on one of the benches and gave an incredibly powerful performance of poem.  I was glad to see colleagues and students there, as well as many folks from Mennonite churches and the local peace and justice organizations.

Black Lives Matter
Don’t let that threaten you.
That doesn’t mean that yours doesn’t, too.
It’s a way of saying that black people should get an equal portion of protection and peace at this great big banquet table.

It means that a traffic stop should be a traffic stop.  Routine.  “Oh yeah, Officer, I forgot to put my inspection sticker on there.  I’ll do it as soon as I get home.”  And a “There you go, Son–just a warning this time, but you go home and fix it up right now, or next time I’ll have to give you a fine.”

Not a broken-tail-light, I’m afraid you’re going to shoot me, so the demon of terror-of-young-black-men pulls my trigger and kills you in front of your lover and a child.

When that has become the routine, it’s time for some big words on a page, easy to read, easy to speak, easy to call out at a rally:  Black Lives Matter.

Of course yours matters, too.  That’s a given. We know that all lives do.
Let’s just focus on keeping the black lives alive for a while, okay?
Then when it looks like all lives truly DO matter here,
then we’ll go back to saying that all of them do.
When it’s true.

Gratitude List:
1. Communities rallying to say to stand up for Black Lives.  Please don’t let the momentum stop here, don’t let Philando Castile and Alton Sterling become quiet footnotes.  Say their names.  Believe so deeply that all lives matter that you can walk with those whose lives are threatened and anxious because of the color of their skin.  Black Lives Matter.
2. Good conversation with a dear friend.
3.  Looking forward to several days with my college friends.  They ground me and help me to re-situate myself in the long timeline.
4. The way the light shone over the ridge as I was driving home last evening.  The sparkle on the fields.  A different sort of evening sparkle than we get in the hollow.
5. Exploring semantic implications.  Words.  Meanings.

May we walk in Beauty!

Color and Light

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Yesterday, when I was talking to a student about the really effective way she used quotations by Nietzsche and the Beatles in her Credo paper, she grinned and called herself a Quote Hoarder.  I am one of those, too.  I have to make sure that I don’t just hoard them, but that I spend time reflecting on them as well.  When I take time to contemplate thoughtful phrases, they have a way of popping back into my consciousness at the right moment.

I have been thinking about color and light in the last few days, pondering what I read in Michael Schneider’s Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe about the different ways that color works when it appears as light or as pigment.  The quote that keeps coming back to me as I think about color and light is another of Nietzsche’s: “Color is the pain of light.”   The pure white light is fractured and splintered and we get color, and color blesses the world with such beauty.

I know people who are like the light in this way.  The ways in which they have been fractured and splintered and wounded become colors that reach out and heal and call to others around them.  Perhaps when we are broken open and pulled beyond the scope of what we think we can bear, then new inner capacities appear like colors at the edges of our vision.

Gratitude List:
1. The earnest good will of young people who want to make the world a better place.  I know I have said it before, but perhaps not recently: The future of the world will be in really good hands if the teenagers I know are any indication.  It makes me want to be even more conscientious about doing my part to make it a better place for them to inherit.
2. Color.  I think I need to take art classes this summer.  I want to learn more about color.
3. Gearing up for the season.  Circumstances have nudged us back into a doing a CSA again this year, though in a somewhat limited fashion.  We’re feeling energized and excited.
4. Hidden capacities that appear when they are needed.
5. Spring is coming.

May we walk in Beauty!