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Paths I’ve walked

A winding path.  (Vermont)

Desire paths speak of possibility. All animal paths are desire paths; so were the first roads, shaped by nothing more than a common urge to join one place to another. The poets Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts write that desire paths “begin over time, imperceptibly, gathering definition as people slowly recognise and legitimise the footfall of their peers.” It’s been suggested that fifteen journeys are all that’s required to begin a fresh way, to introduce new shapes to the built environments we live in. Where the designed way is often straight and rectilinear, the desire path bends and flows. It offers grace rather than instruction.

Paved roads show us where we ought to go, but desire paths are made when we step off the road and let our hearts decide the way. They seek out the most direct connection between where we are and where we wish to be. Worn by the pressure of passing feet, they’re declarations of a kind: there is another way.

~ David Farrier, from the article Desire Paths on Emergence Magazine

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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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And now for something

Water, an abstract.   (This one is mine.)

True emptiness is also an openness of being. It is an ongoing receptivity to the wonder of life.

~ Beverly Lanzetta

‘Emptiness’ means empty of a separate self. It is full of everything, full of life. The word emptiness should not scare us. It is a wonderful word. To be empty does not mean non-existent. Emptiness is the ground of everything. Thanks to emptiness, everything is possible.

~Thich Nhat Hanh

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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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Back and forth

Morning song.

We can live any way we want. People take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience – even of silence – by choice. The thing is to stalk your calling in a certain skilled and supple way, to locate the most tender and live spot and plug into that pulse. This is yielding, not fighting.

~ Annie Dillard, Teaching a Stone to Talk

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A Monday meander: Snow day

It snowed this morning!  (Hopefully you can see the white stuff that might look like lint on your screen.  It’s snow!)

I bless this day in the fullness of good it already contains, in the many occasions it offers to listen deeply, to be of service to others, to express gratitude moment by moment and to keep my mind so filled with love, beauty and joy that no negativity can find even the tiniest crack in which to set foot.

I bless this day in the infinite opportunities it gives me to love:  to love and bless every human I meet, every beast or bird I pass by, every plant I behold, for all are but the manifold expressions of the infinite Life that undergirds all.

Truly, I bless this day for the wonderful adventure it can become as I walk through it with the eyes of wonder rather than boredom, use every opportunity to express peace rather than irritation, and choose love over fear.

Thank you, Life, for this day.

~ Pierre Pradervand, 365 Blessings to Heal Myself and the World

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Time traveling to the recent past

Riding the waves.

Once you’ve plunged into the ocean, does it really matter whether or not you believe in water?

~ Brian C. Muraresku, The Immortality Key

If you’re not willing to see more than is visible, you won’t see anything.

~ Ruth Berhard

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