A Circle of Beloveds


Interesting coincidence. I am in a hurry this morning, and I quickly found this photo to represent the feeling of being held in a circle of beloveds. Then I saw that I had used the exact photo on my blog on this day two years ago.

“God is not a celestial prison warden jangling the keys on a bunch of lifers–he’s a shepherd seeking for sheep, a woman searching for coins, a father waiting for his son.” ― Clarence Jordan
*
“You think you are alive because you breathe air?
Shame on you, that you are alive in such a limited way.
Don’t be without Love, so you won’t feel dead.
Die in Love and stay alive forever.” —Rumi
*
“Education is not preparation for life. Education is life itself.” ―John Dewey
*
“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.” ― William Faulkner
*
“O Earth, that hast no voice, confide to me a voice!
O harvest of my lands! O boundless summer growths!
O lavish, brown, parturient earth! O infinite, teeming womb!
A verse to seek, to see, to narrate thee.”
―Walt Whitman
*
“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” ―Nelson Mandela
*
“I am, somehow, less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein’s brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops.” ―Stephen Jay Gould


Gratitude List:
1. A circle of Beloveds
2. The certainty of rain
3. Being ready to let go, but being given a little more time
4. Wisdom from the ages
5. A circle of Beloveds

May we walk in Beauty!

Shine

“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.” ―Vincent Van Gogh
*
“Change is continuous on the seamless web,
Yet moments come like this one, when you feel
Upon your heart a signal to attend
The definite announcement of an end
Where one thing ceases and another starts; 
When like the spider waiting on the web
You know the intricate dependencies
Spreading in secret through the fabric vast
Of heaven and earth, sending their messages
Ciphered in chemistry to all the kinds,
The whisper down the bloodstream: it is time.”
―Howard Nemerov

*
“One of the most exciting things for me about being in the freedom movement was discovering other people who were compelled by the Spirit at the heart of our organizing work, and who were also interested in the mysticism that can be nurtured in social justice activism. We experienced something extraordinary in the freedom movement, something that hinted at a tremendous potential for love and community and transformation that exists here in this scarred, spectacular country. For many of us, that “something” touched us in the deepest part of our selves and challenged us in ways both personal and political.”  ―Rosemarie Freeney Harding, in “Remnants: A Memoir of Spirit, Activism and Mothering”
*
“I wish I could shut up, but I can’t, and I won’t.”
―Desmond Tutu
*
IT WORKS
“Would you come if someone called you
by the wrong name?
I wept, because for years He did not enter my arms:
then one night I was told a 
secret:
Perhaps the name you call God is
not really His, maybe it
is just an
alias.
I thought about this, and came up with a pet name
for my Beloved I never mention
to others.
All I can say is―
it works.”
―Rabia of Batista
*
“The aim of education is to reveal an attainable image of self that is lovelier than that manifested in his or her present acts.” ―Nel Noddings


Gratitude List:
1. Rain
2. The medicine that is under our feet and all around us: plantain, jewelweed, nettle, chamomile
3. Cool breeze
4. Rest
5. The way the wren’s voice fills the hollow. There’s the message: Find the space where your voice is clearest. Practice your words, over and over again.

May we walk in Beauty!

May There Always Be Sunshine

“I didn’t need to understand the hypostatic unity of the Trinity; I just needed to turn my life over to whoever came up with redwood trees.”  -Anne Lamott
*
“Morning is the best of all times in the garden. The sun is not yet hot. Sweet vapors rise from the earth. Night dew clings to the soil and makes plants glisten. Birds call to one another. Bees are already at work.” – William Longgood
*
“Elsewhere the world may be blustering or sleeping, wars are fought, people live and die, some nations disintegrate, while others are born, soon to be swallowed up in turn — and in all this sound and fury, amidst eruptions and undertows, while the world goes its merry way, bursts into flames, tears itself apart and is reborn: human life continues to throb. So, let us drink a cup of tea.”
– Muriel Barbery, “The Elegance of the Hedgehog”
*
“There is ecstasy in paying attention.”
– Anne Lamott
*
Though I may speak with bravest fire,
And have the gift to all inspire,
And have not love, my words are vain,
As sounding brass, and hopeless gain.

Though I may give all I possess,
And striving so my love profess,
But not be given by love within,
The profit soon turns strangely thin.

Come, Spirit, come, our hearts control,
Our spirits long to be made whole.
Let inward love guide every deed;
By this we worship, and are freed.
–Hal Hopson


Gratitude List:
1. Little Baby Anya examining her Uncle Dick’s face with such intensity.
2. Preparing songs for Anne’s ordination. Making music with Val and Todd.
3. Kids having fun together in the pool. I still watch closely, but today was the most relaxed I have ever been with my children in the pool.
4. Summer morning rain
5. A straight seven hours of sleep, not waking up even once

May we walk in Beauty!

Walking in the Rain

“The real work of planet-saving will be small, humble, and humbling, and (insofar as it involves love) pleasing and rewarding. Its jobs will be too many to count, too many to report, too many to be publicly noticed or rewarded, too small to make anyone rich or famous.” ―Wendell Berry
*”So many of us feel an agonizing longing to contribute something meaningful to the deficits of our time. But years can disappear in the doing of duties, in the never-reaching of rising expectations, in the always-falling-short of proving of one’s enoughness.

The truth is that if we really want to make an eloquent offering of our lives, we have to step out of that ‘call and response’ relationship with the external world and locate our source of guidance within.

To hear the rhythm of your indigenous song, to fall in step with the poetry of your unfolding, first there must be a clearing away: a ‘temenos’ of simplicity in which to dwell.
Strike a holy grove of silence where you can listen as you long to be heard, see as you long to be seen, acknowledge where you long to be relevant, needed and necessary in the ‘family of things’.” ―Dreamwork with Toko-pa
*
“One is not born into the world to do everything but to do something.”
― Henry David Thoreau
*
“We stand together. We stick up for the vulnerable. We challenge bigots. We don’t let hate speech become normalized. We hold the line.” ―J.K. Rowling
*
Rumi: “Ours is no caravan of despair.”
*
“I profess the religion of love wherever its caravan turns along the way; that is the belief, the faith I keep.” ―Asma Kaftaro, UN Women Advisory Board
*
“Human rights are not things that are put on the table for people to enjoy. These are things you fight for and then you protect.”
― Wangari Maathai
*
“There are opportunities even in the most difficult moments.”
― Wangari Maathai


Gratitude List:
1. Walking in the rain with my boys. We’d gotten about two miles in to the loop when the rain hit. Nothing to do but laugh and keep walking that last half mile. Then Jon appeared over the rise in the car, and we were rescued.
2. Homemade pizza
3. CSA season has arrived. Today we clean the Market Room, and tomorrow is first harvest.
4. My dad, Jon, fathers and fatherhood. I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by good ones in my life, tender and thoughtful men who are not afraid to be fully human, vulnerable, and wise. Also today, I want to honor the many single mothers I know, who are being both mother and father to their children.
5. Wangari Maathai. I am researching her for a storytelling event this week at Sense of Wonder Camp. I love her story, her fortitude and fierceness, her determination and compassion.

May we walk in Beauty!

Bedevilment

Today in Creative Writing, we did a fun bit of wordplay from the website Writing ForwardYou make lists of a dozen or so nouns, adjectives, and adverbs. Then you make a list of prefixes/suffixes. Using your lists, you add prefixes and suffixes to some of your nouns in order to create words of your own. Then you make up new compound words, use nouns as verbs and adjectives as adverbs–all to experiment with using language in different ways.  Today’s poem, using the prompt of bedevilment, comes out of that writing experience.

I have dungeoned my wonder,
enshaded my joy,
chaining myself in the ragecage
I made for my shadowling.

Addicted to fury,
I fought fear with burning,
teethful in reaction,
and wasting my flame.

When you make a rope of curses,
you catch your own head in the loop.

TOMORROW’S PROMPT:
The tower. It may have begun as the Tower of Rapunzel, where her witch-mother kept her waiting. It may have been a fortress, strong and impenetrable, or a solitary place of retreat. But this tower is falling, burning, lightning-struck, and the Fool is falling, falling. To understand the lightning-struck tower, it may be necessary to remember the journey the Fool has taken from learning temperance to the experience of bedevilment and addiction. We find our balance, and then we fail, and so we are thrown off-balance again, and need to find a new grounding. The experience of falling from the Tower is about losing your attachment to your ego. The Fool has to learn that she cannot be completely in control.

Gratitude List:
1. The misty fogginess in the hollow as dusk fell. It felt like a fairy tale world.
2. The way rain brings out the deepness of the colors.
3. Kreutz Creek Library Book Sale
4. Mandalas
5. Kindnesses. Today, standing in the hallway, I watched one of my students who sometimes seems a little isolated by his extreme shyness. He was walking quietly through the crowd in the hall, head down, and another kid saw him and just reached out and bumped him on the shoulder and grinned at him, noticing him. The shy boy smiled back. It might seem like a small, almost unremarkable kindness, but I think it was really actually pretty huge for the shy one. That’s the kind of people these young folk are. I know that my school is not perfect, and that unkind words and bullying occur, but more than that I am aware of kindnesses, of thoughtfulness.

May we walk in Beauty!

Long Gratitude


Last year at a wedding shower, I received a sweet little aloe in a little round pot. Today, I re-planted it and its four babies. “Where there is love, there is life. –Mahatma Gandhi,” said that little tag attached to it. My how love has grown! May it always be so. May love find a way. Blessings to Hugo and Philip. May their love be a blessing to others.

Gratitude List:
(I didn’t do one yesterday, so I am taking liberties today.)
1. A whole flock of turkeys in the field across from Flinchbaugh’s this morning.
2. Bees in the windflowers and crocus.
3. The blue eye of speedwells all across the lawn.
4. Bluebirds murmuring around the hollow.
5. Phoebe looking for a place to nest.
6. Hot tea with milk and honey.
7. Warm sunshine
8. The scent of spring rain: petrichor is the word I’ve heard for it.
9. Green ink
10. The magic of writing: fonts, typeface, the alphabet, calligraphy
11. The Book Fairy has struck again! The children have half a new bookshelf of new things to read.

May we walk in Beauty!

Walk in Beauty

leaf2

Every December, as we begin to seek our way down the steps into the last darkness before the light returns, I carry within me the story of the Conestogas, the last tiny village of Susquehannock people who lived in Lancaster, who were brutally massacred by the Paxtang Boys, a band of white men who wanted to wipe out the Native people.

I suppose it’s because last week I was going through some of my poetry that mentioned them that their names were in my head, but this morning during my insomniac looping, the names began to appear in my brain-loop, like messages: Sheehays, Wa-a-shen, Ess-Canesh, Tea-wonsha-i-ong, Kannenquas, Tee-kau-ley. These were the six who were murdered in their village in Conestoga on the morning of December 14, 1763. I tried several years ago to memorize their names, but I didn’t realize that I had managed it until the wee hours of this morning. They appeared like a message. Two weeks later, the marauders broke into the Lancaster jail, where the remaining six adults and eight children of the Conestoga band were being kept for their protection, and killed them all.

May we do better in these days. May we be more effective at standing between the vulnerable ones and the marauders. How can we keep the Paxtang Boys from riding again?

* * * * * * * *

Today’s Prompt is to write a poem that begins: I Want __(Blank)__. I am tired and I still have work to do, so this will be a little riff.

I Want the Moon
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

I want the moon on a platter.
I want my cake and a side of pie.
I want a day when no one needs me.
I want a Michelangelo sky.

I want to wander in an oak grove.
I want to sing incantations in the rain.
I want to run away to islands.
I want to come back home again.

I want to sleep in a seaside hammock.
I want to memorize every color of blue.
I want to write a thousand poems.
I want to spend more time with you.

Gratitude List:
1. Sometimes things just work out better than you expect them to. Big sighs of relief.
2. These two little (not-so-little) rosy-cheeked folks at my table.
3. How Jon takes care of us when I can hardly remember to take care of myself.
4. Leaves
5. The comfort of knowing that you are there, holding all this, too. So many of us are doing the Work, day by day and minute by minute.  So much love.

May we walk in Beauty!

Strain Train Rain

IMG0168A
“The courageous don’t lose their fear. They simply transform it.” –Climbing Poetry

Here’s a poetic form I found on Robert Lee Brewer’s “Poetic Asides” blog. It’s called diminishing verse. The poem is in three-line stanzas with no rules about syllables or metric feet. You choose an ending word that is able to be diminished from the front, one letter or sound at a time. I am going to try strain-train-rain and see what happens:

For ten long weeks, we have felt the strain,
each thirsty day arriving like a dry and dusty train,
but finally–this dawning brings us rain.

There are some interesting possibilities here. I would like to try some with line endings where the thought continues on to the next line.  Strip-trip-rip might be an interesting one to play with. (The str- word-opening is a good one to use because of the series of three initial consonants.)  Cram-ram-am. It’s a fun little game just to make up the word series. I might enlist my children to help me with that part.

Gratitude List:
1. Kate Dicamillo, writer of short-chapter easy-read children’s books. My boys and I have been reading them this week. We have always liked her Mercy Watson books, but she has taken three characters from Mercy Watson’s stories and given them stories of their own. Leroy Ninker Saddles Up, Francine Poulet Meets the Ghost Raccoon,  and my favorite, Where Are You Going, Baby Lincoln? They are lovely parables for adults as well as for children.
2. Someone once suggested politely that I should not put coffee on my gratitude lists because it is a drug, an artificial stimulant. But of course, I will put on my list whatever I please, and while I recognize its addictive effects on my body and brain, I am really grateful this morning for coffee because of a tossandturn night. For three mornings running, I woke up at 4:44 on the dot. I took my body in hand last night and told it that it had to wait until after 5 to wake up. It could even have a four if it wanted to and wake up at 5:24. Perhaps it panicked–I woke up repeatedly throughout the night, and I am supremely grateful for coffee this morning to set me on the path to wakefulness.
3. Deep breaths. Another good waker-upper.
4. Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain. It could rain for days now, and I would be happy. My classroom is a pleasant temperature. The air feels clear and fresh. The gentle sounds of rain are soothing. The land is sighing in relief.
5. The open-heartedness of young people.

May we walk in Beauty!

Here Comes the Rain Again

2013 August 339

Today’s gratitude list brought to you by song titles, in honor of that water coming down from the sky. It has been nearly two months without appreciable rain in the holler. The began at 3:30. May it continue.

Gratitude List:
1. Here comes the rain again
2. Early morning rain
3. Raindrops keep fallin’ on my head
4. Buckets of rain
5. Rain down

May we walk in Beauty, in Rain!

Here We Go!

IMAG1719

IMAG1722
I can’t remember which of my father’s books this came from. I felt like such a smarty-pants, realizing that I could take a photo of it, rather than interrupting the conversation to write it down, but then I forgot to keep track of which book it was in. I think it was one by John Philip Newell.
“. . .in every human I love something of You.” Such a sense of the Mystery immanent within everyone. Seek and you will find.

Here I sit, in the roller coaster at the very top of that first hill, the very moment of pause before release, and the first thrilling whoosh down the first slope. So much excitement and anticipation. A little anxiety. But I’ve ridden roller coasters before, and this is my third round on this one. This time, I might even be ready to throw my hands up and scream for sheer delight on some of the wild corners I know are coming.

Today is Faculty Day at school, and tomorrow we welcome the Bright and Shining Ones back into the halls. I’m looking forward to this ride. I know myself a little better this year. I’m calmer. Still excited. Carrying Etty Hillesum’s quotation with me into this year, to seek the Source, the Mystery, the Divine, in each of my colleagues and my students and their parents. Hillesum also wrote in her journals that she was seeking to open doors for God in each connection she made with other people. Let’s do that too, shall we?

Gratitude List:
1. Water that comes out of the sky. Soothing rain. Sitting with my parents on their front porch in the rain. Rain on the lisianthus.
2. That dragonfly who zipped back and forth through the heaviest part of the downpour, heedless of the raindrops. I think she was flying between them, actually. And then as we drove slowly away after the rain was gone, she hovered along beside us all the way to the stop sign.
3. The songs. The singing. “There’s a wideness in God’s mercy like the wideness of the sea.”
4. Everyone is welcome at the table. Everyone.
5. All those shades of pink and violet on the altar yesterday.

May we walk in Beauty!