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A Friday update

The humidity is bringing us lovely light that paints the landscape.

… I couldn’t point to any enormous instantaneous change that has happened to me, but certainly over the last ten years, this notion—that I don’t really know everything and that I’ve got a lot to learn, rather than a lot to teach, and that there is a conversation I don’t know how to have, that I’d like to learn how to have—has been a constant for me, and it’s changed me subtly.

There’s still a lot I’d like to do and a lot I’d like to learn, a lot I’d like to know. I think that’s increasingly such an important task: just to learn how to listen, to relearn what we’ve forgotten. I don’t think there is any easy sort of ABC curriculum for it. There’s a lot of work you can do.

~ Paul Kingsnorth, The Myth of Progress, Emergence Magazine Podcast

Sorting rocks by shape and color.

I am happy to report that the person who was exposed to Covid-19 has her test results and it’s negative for now (see my post yesterday about indirect exposure to the virus, if you don’t know what I’m talking about).  It’s been eleven days since her exposure so I suppose it’s still possible that could change.  It’s a relief, for now.

One flower, one story.

Last month I signed up for a four part course called “A Deep Dive Into Spiritual Ecology” that is being given by Emergence Magazine.  It might have been a crazy thing to do, knowing that we were moving and unsure about how busy we would be here.  Fortunately, I had a week to settle in enough that there should be no problem with participating in the online part of the course on Fridays and doing the assigned reading and practices in between.  The quote I began this post with is from the podcast we were asked to listen to in preparation for the course which starts today.  It is an interview with Paul Kingsnorth, conducted by Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee (executive editor of Emergence Magazine), in which they discuss stories, myths, and listening.  (You can find it here, if interested.)

I love how the word and concept of listening keeps reappearing, over and over and over again, in my life.  I picked Listening as my 2019 word/theme for the year.  Perhaps it is my lifetime word or theme.  I’m not sure.  But it has been a powerful and recurring theme over the past two years, and I have been doing a lot of listening.

Milkweed.

Last night, as I stood outside looking over the fields and meadows straight ahead and the woods to left, I watched a multitude of fireflies flashing on and off in the trees and grasses, stars sparkling overhead as heat lightning zigzagged from cloud to cloud off in the distance, and I thought of Mary Oliver’s poem, Stars.  More specifically, I thought of this piece of the poem:

Tonight, at the edge of the field,

I stood very still, and looked up,
and tried to be empty of words.

Later in the poem there is is this:

What can we do
but keep on breathing in and out,

modest and willing, and in our places?
Listen, listen, I am forever saying.

Listen to the river, to the hawk, to the hoof,
to the mockingbird, to the jack-in-the-pulpit —

Bee in the blossoms.

Watching the lightning and the fireflies and stars, feeling the heat and humidity, I was also listening to someone (a deer, perhaps, or the folks that own the house we’re renting and live on the adjoining property) rustling around in the woods, branches snapping underfoot.  I thought about bears.  Black bears have been spotted in this county from time to time.  I don’t think there are any in the nearby area but the sound reminded me of a bear making its way through the woods, not at all concerned if some other creature should hear them.

I am semi-obsessed with the milkweed right now.

Well, I’m rambling now and could probably continue to ramble for a while.  That usually means it’s time to go.  Thank you so much for stopping by today.  We are hoping for rain this afternoon.  Sunset is scheduled for 8:58 PM.  If it looks like there’s something to see, I’ll meet you out by the cornfield and we’ll watch together, with the proper physical distancing of course.

Please be safe, be well, and be kind.  Kindness goes a long, long way under any circumstances, but maybe more so in today’s climate.

One more, just because.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  1,466)  Milkweed in bloom.  The owners of the house we’re staying in have beehives and their honeybees have been spending a lot of time with the milkweed.  I’ve been looking for Monarch butterflies and/or caterpillars, but no luck so far.  1,467)  An opportunity to listen and learn about deep and spiritual ecology.  1,468)  Quiet mornings and boisterous afternoons.  1,469)  Mint tea brewed with mint from the garden, mint I planted long ago.  1,470)  Night stars and morning sunbeams, heat lightning, and the possibility of rain.

Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

15 thoughts on “A Friday update

  1. I’m so glad the person’s test was negative. The grandson of a friend of mine tested positive, and my friend and her husband had been with him and their daughter for the grandson’s virtual high school graduation. They thought they were being very careful. . .fortunately my friends tested negative.
    All of your fresh produce–and now honey, too–it sounds so good. I read today that this is peak firefly time, so enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad your friends tested negative, Merril. I know that no matter how careful we are, there is always a risk. We still have to get groceries and other supplies now and then which puts us out there. I thought curbside pickup would be safer, but I’m rethinking that. When we shopped at home, there were hardly any other people in the store since we went early. And those who were in the store wore masks. People here are being incredibly stupid about masks. Ah well. We will do the best we can and hope for the best.
      The fireflies are amazing. We don’t see nearly as many on the Eastern Shore. Not sure why.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It seems we should have classes in listening from a young age, as it doesn’t get enough attention and would go so far to heal this world. Your course sounds intriguing.
    We’re getting bands of Storm Fay through this evening. The sky lightens and then it pours again. We really could use the rain. We got some thunderstorms last night, too. Both will help relieve our drought conditions. Apparently, Delmarva is getting A LOT of rain.
    Have you seen the comet yet? We haven’t had clear conditions as yet, but I’m hoping in the next week to catch sight of it. We’ll probably need binoculars, but it is supposedly brighter than Halley’s in ’86. It won’t be back for another 6,800 years, so I hope I see it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I took a class in grad school about listening. It was a revelation in that I learned the different ways to listen. While I didn’t like the prof at all I did pick up some pointers about how to be a better listener and how that skill translates into being a better human being. Hadn’t thought of that in years, so thank you for writing this. Must recommit to listening more.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I was on a retreat last year where the focus was holy listening and it was revelatory to me. As a practice it helps with relationships, clear thinking, and not being reactive. I need to focus on doing it more often until it becomes automatic. So far I still need to be intentional. Re the picture of your grandson, I love how kids can’t stay away from rocks. They just get lost in them.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yay about the negative test! I have a question…and maybe haven’t read your blog posts thoroughly enough. Do you stay in the same house with your family there in Ohio?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No. Just to give some context… Our youngest son and his wife and sons are renting our Ohio house from us. We might have sold it, or rented it out (sales were bad in the region at that time), when we moved to Maryland, but they decided they wanted to move back to Ohio. That worked out well for all of us. They are renting to own it. Behind our old home, the neighbors bought a house that went up for sale a couple of years ago and were offering it on Airbnb. We have stayed here a couple of times. It’s wonderful because it’s only about a 1/2 mile walk through the woods and meadows to get to our old house where the kids are living. And it’s a lovely house. When we move back here after my husband retires, I’ve thought more than once that we ought to see if we can buy this house to live in.

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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