Yesterday I headed over the hill to clear my head.It was low tide and the beach was huge. Jellyfish had dropped onto the sand to be carried out again but now I know they can only last 48 minutes out of water. I wondered what it’s like to have never heard, seen, and felt the ocean. I was at the end of sixth grade when we moved to Florida, and I found a forever friend in the movement of waves and tides.
There’s a softness to the light as darkness comes. I light a candle each morning and settle into the pulsing approach of winter, this seasonal exchange of light and dark. I circle my spine and pelvis, dig more deeply into expansion, grateful for more time to look up and out and be with more stars than the essential gift of our sun.
I come to these words from M.C. Richards book, Centering in Pottery, Poetry, and the Person, and center inspired.
Centering the clay on the potter’s wheel and then using it to make whatever shape one makes; hearing the poem in the exactitude of its words and syllables and lines and in the economy of its total fusion – these are the same story. To bring universe into personal wholeness, to breathe in, to drink deep, to receive, to understand, to yield, to read life. And to spend wholeness in act, to breathe out, to give, to mean, to say, to write, to create life. It is the rhythm of our metabolism and may not easily be put into words.
TO FEEL THE BEAT OF LANGUAGE AND THOUGHT AND FEELING AND PERCEPTION WORK IN US, PULSE, PERISTALSIS, RHYTHMIC PRESSURE AND ACCUMULATION OF MUSCULAR MOTION, WAVELIKE, STEADILY WORKING IN US, LEADING FORTH OUR ENERGY AND CONVERTING IT – CONVERTING, THAT IS TO SAY, OUR WILL. WE LIVE IN OUR BODIES. WE EMBODY SPIRIT IN ALL THE CELLS OF OUR BODIES, AWAKEN IT, LIVE IN THE FLOW OF CHANGE AND TURNING, AWAKE TO OUR ENERGY, AWAKE TO OUR MOBILITY AND EVOLVING FORMS OF SPIRIT-SUBSTANCE.
This is high-flown and idle rhetoric unless we study to experience in fact the invisibilities of substance. We may become awakened to Word and what it is, to what the gestures of body-breath are which sound the vowels and consonants, to what we do when we speak to one another or sing. Perhaps Word is the magic stone. Lapis. The philosopher’s stone, the transforming agent in a daily alchemy.
The sense of Word, the sense of Form, the sense of Breath, pneuma, spirit. It is like being rocked by the great sea herself, and all the waves traveling through us and making us resound, words ourselves, larynx, outcry, stillness which is itself audible to the clear-hearing ear. Do you know about the microphone which magnifies the sound of the voice box before the vibrations reach our lips? And the microphone that picks up the sound of wood and rock? Music is an element of nature; do we forget in what a mighty organism we share? Man listens to it as a voice from inner-outer worlds.When we begin to understand how we are formed by sound and how we give off messages whether we speak or not, we will live each moment with a heightened sense of poetic privilege.
The New Year begins for some, for those who are Jewish, and though I’m not, I, too, feel a return to renewal and beginning. Today, I paused and watched birds on the bay: pelicans, egrets, ducks, and Canadian geese. I came home and watched a little wren. Then, at 8:30 I went out to be with the stars recognizing that not long ago it was light at 8:30 and now dark where I live. Change, and we move into Fall!
I come to these words of the poet Nikki Giovanni.
I’m glad that I understand that while language is a gift, listening is a responsibility.
My oldest son was born 47 years ago today. I reflect back, grateful. I think of the roundness of the nest that births little chicks, the roundness of our lives. In some ways my sons seem older than I as we go round and round from root to tree to branch to spire to bench.
It’s Labor Day weekend, a celebration of the labor movement and the works and contributions of laborers to development, achievement and quality of life for us all.
With the pandemic, we’ve been driving very little and using only one car, so today is the day to charge the battery on the second car and get it ready to sell. Steve opens the hood and what does he see but a pristine little nest. Talk about labor and creativity. Somehow a little bird slipped into a safe place, built a nest, and raised her tiny chicks and then slipped out. As I was holding it up, a wee bird flew over. I think she’s a wren.
Inspired by Tish H. Warren in anopinion piece in the NY Times, I write a haiku.
“Like any other life-sustaining resource,” Marilyn Chandler McEntyre writes in her book “Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies,” “language can be depleted, polluted, contaminated, eroded and filled with artificial stimulants.” She argues that language needs to be rescued and restored, and points us to the practice of reading and writing poetry as one way of doing so. Poems, she says, “train and exercise the imagination” to “wage peace” because “the love of beauty is deeply related to the love of peace.”
Yesterday I was in the waiting room at the vet. When I walked in, a pretty little cat was resting on the counter in a pretty little cage. I learned her name was Princess and the man who brought her in thought she could be boarded for three weeks while he was on a trip. This vet doesn’t board cats, and Kitty Charm School is full right now. It was a dilemma.
A woman sitting there with her cat named Tux because being black with white at the neck he looked like he was wearing a tuxedo offered to take Princess home with her for three weeks. The man agreed and they exchanged information. The place was rejoicing, well maybe not Tux who was sitting regally throughout the negotiation. Meanwhile Princess was present for it all dainty and assured as a princess should be.
It was such a sweet resolving of the problem, and I walked out smiling with the beauty and care of this world we share.
Since returning from Kauai, I seem entwined with waterfalls, ribboned with the link of water falling to the sea, and all that that means.
The language of Hawaii reflects the landscape. The wind and sea sound through it.
I’m reading Braiding Sweetgrass. Robin Wall Kimmerer writes of the language of her people, Potawatomi, an Anishinaabe language. One of their words is Puhpowee, which means “the force which causes mushrooms to push up from the earth overnight”.
She writes: “As a biologist I was stunned that such a word existed. In all its technical vocabulary, Western science has no such term, no words to hold this mystery. You’d think that biologists, of all people, would have words for life. But in scientific language our terminology is used to define the boundaries of our knowing. What lies beyond our grasp remains unnamed.”
She continues: “In the three syllables of this new word I could see an entire process of close observation in the morning woods, the formulation of a theory for which English has no equivalent. The makers of this word understood a world of being, full of unseen energies that animate everything. I’ve cherished it for many years, as a talisman, and longed for the people who gave a name to the life force of mushrooms. The language that holds Puhpowee is one that I wanted to speak. So when I learned that the word for rising, for emergence, belonged to the language of my ancestors, it became a signpost for me.”
She goes on to explore how “English doesn’t give us many tools for incorporating respect for animacy.”
She writes of language and pronouns and concludes that what’s most important is living and speaking from the Heart!! Live there!