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A Monday meander: Happy Solstice

News from family.  (Taken by M the Younger and sent to me, where I heavily edited it so that the boys are not so readily identifiable.)

To go into the dark with a light
is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark,
go without sight.
And find
that the dark too
blooms and sings
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.

~ Wendell Berry

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A Monday meander: Arts and crafts

Last Friday, on Assateague Island, somewhere in the backcountry.

Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.

~ e. e. cummings

My word of the year is listen.

It’s one of those words whose meaning is in its music. Listen is a quiet word, that half swallowed L and diffident I and softly hissing S. It defies the clamorous words it absorbs, the words that have defined this year, the shouts and roars, the bray and bluster. Listening is hard when the sounds around us grow mean and ugly.

And listening takes particular courage in divisive times.

It’s long past time that we quiet our animal spirits. Our fierce public battles, political fights that have infected our friendships and family, have degraded our discourse, defaced institutions, disturbed our peace. I grew up in Quaker schools, which included regular silent meetings. This did not come naturally to nine-year-olds. But I found then, and need to be reminded now, that we can’t hear the soft, sane voice inside us if we’re talking all the time, and certainly not if we’re shouting.

Instead, let’s listen. Invite surprise. Invest in subtlety. And surrender to silence once in a while.

~ Nancy Gibbs

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Posted in Change, Covid-19, Critters, Earth, Endings, Exploring, Family, Fire, Garden, Gifts, Grandparenthood, Gratitude, Health & Well-Being, Heartfulness, In these strange times, Life, Little Peanut, Little Wookie, Love, Mindfulness, Nature, Ohio, Photography, Quotes, Sky, Spirit, Summer, The Bogs, Walking & Wandering, Water, Weather, Wonder, Yoga

Where to start?

A sunrise.

The ordinary man has always been sane because the ordinary man has always been a mystic. He has permitted the twilight. He has always had one foot in earth and the other in fairyland. He has always left himself free to doubt his gods; but (unlike the agnostic of today) free also to believe in them. He has always cared more for truth than for consistency. If he saw two truths that seemed to contradict each other, he would take the two truths and the contradiction along with them. His spiritual sight is stereoscopic, like his physical sight: he sees two different pictures at once and yet sees all the better for that. Thus he has always believed that there was such a thing as fate, but such a thing as free will also.

~ G. K. Chesterton

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A Monday meander: Rituals

At the pump.

While we have much to learn from indigenous cultures about forms of rituals and how ritual works, we cannot simply adopt their rituals and settle them neatly onto our psyches. It is important that we listen deeply, once again, to the dreaming earth and craft rituals that are indigenous to us, that reflect our unique patterns of wounding and disconnection from the land. These rituals will have the potency to mend what has been torn, heal what has been neglected. This is one way that we may return to the land and offer our deepest amends to those we have harmed.

~ Francis Weller, The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief

At the core of this grief is our longing to belong. This longing is wired into us by necessity. It assures our safety and our ability to extend out into the world with confidence. This feeling of belonging is rooted in the village and, at times, in extended families. It was in this setting that we emerged as a species. It was in this setting that what we require to become fully human was established. Jean Liedloff writes, “the design of each individual was a reflection of the experience it expected to encounter.” We are designed to receive touch, to hear sounds and words entering our ears that soothe and comfort. We are shaped for closeness and for intimacy with our surroundings. Our profound feelings of lacking something are not reflection of personal failure, but the reflection of a society that has failed to offer us what we were designed to expect. Liedloff concludes, “what was once man’s confident expectations for suitable treatment and surroundings is now so frustrated that a person often thinks himself lucky if he is not actually homeless or in pain. But even as he is saying, ‘I am all right,’ there is in him a sense of loss, a longing for something he cannot name, a feeling of being off-center, of missing something. Asked point blank, he will seldom deny it.

~ Francis Weller, The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief

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A Monday meander: Rainy days and Mondays

Early this morning.

As I get older, I realize the thing I value the most is good-heartedness.

~ Alice Walker

Many of us sense in the time of this current pandemic a great opportunity: it is as if we have collectively been sent indoors to do our essential human homework, to hit the pause button on our hyper-accelerating lives and reflect on what is really of value. It is to get into our hearts; to discover that being human is a magnificent thing; that each human being is a uniquely formed stream of creativity so perfectly designed to flow into communal rivers of renewal and into a great tidal shift that moves us in the years ahead to declare, “Powered by love? Indeed the whole thing is powered by love: every forest, every lake, every creature, every human, every galaxy is powered by love—by a love as potent and creative as we allow it to be.”

~ James O’Dea

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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

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Greetings from NE Ohio

 

Sunlight traversing the path.

In a flash of wonderment she saw firm, continuous ground under her feet, stretching from back then to right now and on and on as far as her eyes could take her.

~ Ann Brashares, The Second Summer of the Sisterhood

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