Walking Around Shining


Handsome.

I have an uneasy relationship with the first part of the Bible. I am not a friend of the deity who calls on a nation to enter a land and slaughter everyone, except for the virgins that the marauders want to take for themselves. The height of hypocrisy, in my opinion, is the Christians who pull violent quotes out of the Quran to prove that Islam is a religion of violence, when I could show you many verses in the Judeo-Christian book that show a Divine Force calling for genocide. Thank goodness, we have a little space for interpretation in our holy texts. Jewish people find the God of Love in their text, a God who cares for the people and the land. Christians find a God who sends God’s child in human form to teach the people to Love, Muslims find a prophet who tells them that doing good works is pleasing to Allah.

So here, in my list today, is a quotation from Deuteronomy, one of the books I tend to avoid, because it’s in some of those early books where we find an Accounting God, who keeps close record of every little infraction in order to prove you’re not worthy. And this is a total proof-text, I suppose, because it’s prophet speaking, and I am using it as a self-blessing.  The sentiment is beautiful, and a blessing to teachers who want their work to be about nurture and development and growth. We use texts for our own purposes, and find in them what we need. There’s danger in that, that we twist and manipulate words and ideas. Still, it’s often how we meet texts: we find that which applies to our own story, and say, “Yes! This!”


“Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.” —Deuteronomy 32:2
*
“There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.” —Thomas Merton (Oh, but I am going to try, Thomas Merton. I am going to try.)
*
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.
—Beth Weaver-Kreider
*
“It is better to err on the side of daring than the side of caution.”
—Alvin Toffler
*
“What comes, will go. What is found, will be lost again.
But what you are is beyond coming and going and beyond description.
You are It.”
—Rumi
*
“Though my soul may set in darkness
it will rise in perfect light.
I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.”
—Attributed to Galileo
*
“Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.” —from The Talmud
*
“An artist is a dreamer consenting to dream of the actual world.”
—George Santayana


Gratitude List:
1. The day ahead
2. The day behind
3. This moment where I sit
4. Work that is Work
5. Dreams

May we walk in Beauty!

Day of the Monarchs

Monarchs mating. May your tribe grow and thrive, Brightwings!

“There is so much in eternity that is trying to reach us, if only we can suspend our wranglings long enough to be touched.” —Dreamwork with Toko-pa
*
“I am part of the sun as my eye is part of me. That I am part of the earth my feet know perfectly, and my blood is part of the sea.”
—D. H. Lawrence
*
“Water, the Hub of Life. Water is its mater and matrix, mother and medium. Water is the most extraordinary substance! Practically all its properties are anomalous, which enabled life to use it as building material for its machinery. Life is water dancing to the tune of solids.”
—Albert Szent-Gyorgyi (1893 – 1986) Hungarian-American physiologist; Nobel laureate
*
“There is really no such thing as the ‘voiceless.’ There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.”
—Arundhati Roy
*
“God is only ever where we stand with our neighbor in trouble and against injustice.”
—Naomi Wolf
*
“Follow the waters,
lean in with the trees,
breathe the cool morning air,
walk through the swirling mists.”
—Beth Weaver-Kreider


Gratitude/Examen:
1. (How did you meet the Mystery?) Monarchs dancing in the field. A small person’s excitement to tell me that he and his dad had watched monarchs mating. May there always be monarchs.
2. (What brought you awake?) Hard work in the heat and humidity. I do want to be cautious about pushing myself out there when it’s so hot, but it does feel good. Strengthening. Working the body gives the mind and heart time and space for a different pacing.
3. (What is the message from your heart?) Listen. When there is clamor, when there is silence, when there doesn’t seem to be anything to listen to or for.
4. (What takes you into the Center?) Hints of magic and mystery all around. There is so much I do not understand at an intellectual level about the world around me, but sometimes my heart gets glimpses.
5. (What do you take forward?) The inner stillness. This is getting redundant, perhaps, but it is the lesson I am learning in these days of heat and humidity, of getting work accomplished and finding energy even in the lethargy induced by the weather. There is an inner stillness that can find its way from the moments of solitude into the clamor of the day. (Most of the clamor is pretty delightful, even when it’s bickering children.)

May we walk in Beauty!

Blue and a Moon

Quote for the day:
“The trouble is that once you see it, you can’t unsee it. And once you’ve seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There’s no innocence. Either way, you’re accountable.”
― Arundhati Roy

This was the pain of Cassandra. Seeing the destruction that approached her beloved city, she took the accountability upon herself–to shout it in the streets that the city would fall in blood and flame. But no one believed her. No one listened.

This time last year, I remember a Cassandran murmur beginning to spread: “But he couldn’t really be elected, could he?” And the firm and reasoned answer was always, “Certainly not. Never. Don’t worry about it.”

Today, I thought that perhaps the people of the city might begin to listen. Perhaps there is yet time for Cassandra’s message to be heard, before this “city” falls.


Gratitude List:
1. Color of the day: BLUUUUUE. A Blue Grosbeak alit for a moment on the bird feeder pole.
2. Breathtaking moment of the day: Down over the ridge from Yorkana on the way to the library as the afternoon sun was lowering and the whole valley sparkled with the sun.
3. Sign of the day: Someone in Yorkana has a Welcome Neighbors sign.
4. Flavor of the day: Mulberries with milk on Cottage Pudding.
5. Another breathtaking moment: The moon. On the way home from the library–the sun had set out of the hollow but not yet out of the rest of the world, and the full moon stood pale and watery on the ridge.

May we walk in Beauty!

Sun’s Up


I was offline all evening yesterday due to a power outage. Perhaps I needed something to make me wait to write the Sun poem until the sun was rising to birdsong.

Here’s a little catch-up:

Sun
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

Of course they call it up,
each morning, their voices
rising, each one adding a new note,
first titmouse, peter-peter,
then the pret-ty pret-ty cardinal,
someone singing SWEET-sweet,
and then, slightly off-key,
but eager to be part of the show,
Sweet George Peabody the white-throat
says his lonely name.

TODAY’S PROMPT:
Today, the Fool considers her Guardians. Who are her protectors? Who cares for her in unseen ways, offers advice and aid when necessary?

The Lunatic Moon


This is from 2013. There are no physically manifest poems on the PoeTree this year.

The Lunatic Moon
by Beth Weaver-Kreider
for Mara

The thing is, I am a Twisted Hair.
The thing is, I believe that bridges build their own burn.
I am weaving that into the braid at this exact moment.
Some days I walk on burn
to return to the path that calls me.
Perhaps this is where the poem begins.

The thing is, when I read that line
about what I believe, I felt seen and known.

Burn your bridges, burn your easement, burn your draft card, burn your bra.

The thing is, I am simply a character.
I am devouring. I am pretending.
The thing is, I am a simple character,
made of burn, of bridge, of web.

Weave yourself a bridge of sunlight and flame. Weave an easement to the moon.

The thing is, the more I twist these strands into the story,
the less I am a solitary spider, and the more I am the moon.

TOMORROW’S PROMPT:
We’ve learned the twinkling light of the star that refreshes, the wild light of the moon that pulls, and tomorrow, the Fool steps into the light of the sun, feeling her full power. She finds herself able to experience joy in a new way, not in denial of the hardship and pain of the journey, but because of it. Now she knows her strength. Now she knows her wildness. Now she knows her fierce and tender heart. She absorbs the power of the Sun.

Gratitude List:
1. Poetic conversation
2. Odysseys, journeys, adventures
3. This writing life, fragmented and small as it is
4. Chocolate bunnies
5. Every day a new sensation, a new color, a new birdsong

May we walk in Beauty!

Intentions

 
A couple photos from the goat-petting party at Sonya’s yesterday. I’m still pretty awkward with the whole selfie thing, but I do like that there’s a rainbow on my face.

Somehow, it feels more like spring because we’re having an actual thaw on this day before the Equinox. That last blast of winter stood right on the doorstep of spring, and this morning brought the sound of water dripping from the trees. When we peeked outside this morning, it looked like sun through a rain-shower, but the rain was falling from the trees and nowhere else. Thaw.

Oh, how I need a thaw! I need to get the juices flowing, get the good mojo moving, get the fierce and raw energies of the season swinging brilliantly into the sunlight. Can you feel the balance approaching?

What is being born in you now? What new thing arises, like the little flowers that are suddenly free of their snowy encumbrance to pop into the sun?

Was it only three years ago that I put a little prayer bundle out into the elements on Spring Equinox, setting my intentions to get a job within the next six weeks?  It was a reminder for me to keep my head and my heart in the process of the job search. And within a couple weeks, my friend Ryan suggested I contact a certain school. Now I work there, and my life is full–so full–and rich in ways I could not have imagined.

I have new intentions this year, new goals for where I want to go with the things that I am writing. And so tomorrow I will place another bundle out into the elements, with the prayerful intention to keep my head and my heart in the process of writing and submitting work for publication.

Gratitude List:
1. Balance
2. Thaw
3. Intention
4. Energy
5. Birth

May we walk in Beauty!

Frost and Flame

Gratitude List:
1. Wise and compassionate friends who help me to explore and understand my rage, to settle it, to channel it, to use it.
2. There are always so many new things to learn, so many steps to learn.
3. Sun and shadows on snow.
4. Rest
5. Flan–One of my students brought me a huge slice today. Heaven.

May we walk in Beauty!

Coyote in the Bosque

coyote
This morning we saw a coyote in the bosque.

Gratitude List:
1. Geese
Skeins of snow geese embroider
cloud to Mary’s blue robe.
Veins of geese like rivers
flow across the sky,
deltas of birds, calling,
filling the air with invitation.
2. Coyote
A golden shadow flashes,
golden as the forest floor,
across the creek and up the hill
through the bosque.
3. Solitude
Even the cat has stopped yelling,
and the only sound in my head
is the clock ticking
on my grandmother’s mantle.
4. Walking Barefoot Through Lent
Bare feet on the ground,
feeling the Earth,
connected, walking
in the footsteps of Moses,
Martin, and Malala.
5. Sun
You can’t get that angle in summer
the way the sun casts tree-shadows
all across Skunk hollow,
pathways to secret destinations.

May we walk in Beauty!

Houseguest

mouse
(Free online photo, marked available for reuse. I ran it through a Dreamscope filter.)

We struggle every winter with the houseguests. Usually they take up residence in the bathroom drawers, stealing cotton balls and Q-tips, knocking over my little bottles of oil, and getting high off of loose cough drops and allergy meds. We’ve learned to keep such things in jars.

Sometimes they invade the kitchen, too, and that feels like more of a cause for concern, but it does force us to become more fastidious about keeping our countertops clean.

We’ve become familiar with several brands of no-kill traps. There was a time when I let the frustration of the constant escapes from the no-kill traps drive me to the snap traps, but that just always feels so terribly unbalanced, and then there was the incident a few years ago when I was carrying a dead mouse downstairs and one of the smallfolk saw me, burst into tears, and wailed, “You don’t have to KILL them!”

The Skunk Hollow mice are too smart for the no-kill traps, however. It’s been a long time since we’ve actually caught a mouse, although we diligently add new peanut butter every few days. It’s become less of a trapping program and more of a feeding program.

This morning as I was sitting in the dining room typing, a rustle on the kitchen counter caught my ear. I looked up in time to see a tiny four-footed person with a long tail whisking across the counter from behind the microwave and squeezing behind the cutting board propped up behind the sink. Moments later, nose and whiskers poked out the other side, and the Small One dashed toward the counter edge by the refrigerator.

Clamped tightly between her teeth, she held a red plastic bottle cap from a half-gallon of cider. At the edge of the sink, she became aware of me watching her, stopped, lifted her head, started to dash forward again, but tripped over her bottle-cap treasure and accidentally dropped it. She raced on to the counter-edge, sans prize. But seconds later, she re-appeared, ran back, picked up her bottle cap, and plunged over the edge between counter and fridge. I heard the bottle cap drop, then the scuttle of little mouse to the floor, and I was back to my quiet solitude again.

After that, how could I get out the snap traps again? She needed her bottle cap for something. Perhaps she’s completing a full set of dishes for her little mouse house. Perhaps I should start leaving bottle caps out for her on the counters. Still, I don’t really like the thought of a mouse on the counters, adorable as she is. We’ll have to upgrade our no-kill traps to something more successful, I suppose.

Gratitude List:
1. The wee four-foot folk
2. On the way to school today, a golden ray of rising sun shot out above the ridge from the direction of home. Yes.
3. How this ancient cat still plays, sometimes, like a kitten.
4. All my Beloveds. The hill, and the tree on the hill, and the wind in the tree on the hill. The mouse and the cat whose mousing days are done. The children who are preparing birthday celebrations for the man and the man whose birthday it is. And you. All my Beloveds.
5. The young woman who spoke her story today, to hundreds of her peers, who told of a good life in Syria, of the beautiful city of Aleppo that she loved, of her friends and her school, and her grandparents’ farm. Of how the bombs destroyed their home, how they fled on foot through the nights to Turkey where people were suspicious of them, assuming them to be allied with ISIS. Of coming to the US to make a new home. Of how the city and the school and some of the beloved friends are no more. May her words nurture seeds of compassion and action in the gathered community, that we may all seek to create safety for those who run from danger.  May her courage inspire us to acts of courage.

May we walk in Love.

Outrage

seaglass-and-sun

I feel like I keep writing the same thing–balance, balance, balance. Reminding myself to keep centered in the midst of complicated emotions.

I’m letting outrage rattle around inside my Bowl of Feelings these days, trying to get a sense of how it looks, how it feels, what it does in there. There’s a certain surge of energy that feels really righteous and powerful and effective in the moment of outrage. It drives me to write postcards and make telephone calls and to put try to get the word out there. I do believe that it has its place. I had been on the verge of writing that I would be rejecting outrage, when that last sentence happened–I think it really is outrage that fuels those good and effective works.  But outrage also has some strange backfires:

* Feeling it and letting it energize me can make me feel as though I have made effective responses when I have actually done nothing.
* When the energy drops off, it drops WAY off, leaving me a depleted husk.
* It leads to incredible self-righteousness.
* When I do manage to sustain the energy of it over time (and the events of these weeks make that easy), it can lead to an overpowering sense of despair.  Or, on the other side of that coin: numbness.

When I get a bad headache, I tend to avoid painkillers for as long as I can stand it. It’s like I want to feel the message my body is giving me, to try to understand what it is saying. After both of my C-sections, I found myself refusing the painkillers I was offered. Perhaps it was partly because after the pain of those long labors, nothing felt painful anymore, but again, it seemed like I needed the messages of pain to inform me of my physical limits.

I think that outrage is sort of like those pains. It’s the call to wake up and listen, the urging to pay attention. We can’t let ourselves get capsized by it. Keep at least some painkillers handy–good music, conversation with loving friends, meditation, a good escapist book, prayer, pictures of otters–so that when the pain takes you out of yourself, you have something to bring you back.

I think I am going to have to make this my spiritual practice for the coming years: to hold the coals of outrage in my hand in such a way that I can just bear it, so that it will keep me awake and aware, but to find my way to hold grace and lightness as well.

Gratitude List:
1. Hundreds of white gulls flying above the bridge.
2. The sun shining through the red tail of a hawk above me.
3. Sun shining through the golden petals of aconite.
4. Grace to help carry and mediate the outrage.
5. Good people. They’re everywhere. Let’s not get ourselves separated into camps–good folks are everywhere. Look for them.

May we walk in Beauty!