Expanse

It is said when someone dies we lose a library.  A friend passed away Monday night.

I reflect on his gifts, on what he leaves.  He was a gatherer and creator of community.  He loved to cook and garden and offer those gifts, bringing together the wider community we share.

I read these words of Simone Weil, To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul. I think of how he was rooted, and now, physicality dropped, essence expands and soars.

I’m still cleaning out “stuff”, perhaps will be until I pass.  Today, going through papers, I read Etty Hillesum, who in 1943, was deported and murdered in Auschwitz concentration camp.

She wrote: Every day I shall put my papers in order and every day I shall say farewell.  And the real farewell, when it comes, will only be a small outward confirmation of what has been accomplished within me from day to day.

My small wren friend continues to tend to her nest.  I think of what it is to be one of her eggs, so cared for within the shell, and soon there will be tiny chirps as walls pecked through, drop away, and tiny beings learn to fly through air, fragrant and clear, and buoyed with plant and animal exchange.

As Jack Kornfield says: Those who are awake live in a constant state of amazement.

May we all live amazed.  

Wren friend is flitting and hovering as she watches me

Connection

I continue through my archaeological dig, what I’ve collected over the years.

I come to these wondrous words of William Stafford.

If you don’t know the kind of person I am 
and I don’t know the kind of person you are 
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world 
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star. 


For there is many a small betrayal in the mind, 
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break 
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood 
storming out to play through the broken dyke. 


And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail, 
but if one wanders the circus won’t find the park, 
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty 
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact. 


And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy, 
a remote important region in all who talk: 
though we could fool each other, we should consider– 
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark. 


For it is important that awake people be awake, 
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep; 
the signals we give–yes or no, or maybe– 
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep. 

Doris Day rose blooming today
Mother’s Day Bouquet

The Original Mothers’ Day

Heather Cox Richardson gives the history of this day.

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/may-7-2022?s=r

If you google the history of Mother’s Day, the internet will tell you that Mother’s Day began in 1908 when Anna Jarvis decided to honor her mother. But “Mothers’ Day”—with the apostrophe not in the singular spot, but in the plural—actually started in the 1870s, when the sheer enormity of the death caused by the Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War convinced American women that women must take control of politics from the men who had permitted such carnage. Mothers’ Day was not designed to encourage people to be nice to their mothers. It was part of women’s effort to gain power to change modern society.

And here we are again, pulling anchors from the past

Mother’s Day Weekend

Birth is happening all around us.  Mother Earth is springing to life.  For those of us whose mothers have passed, there’s a bit of sadness in the weekend celebration and there’s also the knowing that life continues even as we release those we love.

I feel my ribs as they float the canoe of my being, heart stable and expansive in its ability to curve and flow pumping in and out.

I just finished a book by Jeanne Achterberg, Woman as Healer.  From prehistoric times to the present, there’s been peace, growth, and prosperity  when women were honored and revered for their role as healers and creators, as essential beings in this world we share.  When they were held down, dishonored, and demeaned, there was war.

I’d not realized the numbers of women burned at the stake during the Middle Ages.  Women were feared for their knowledge of herbs and healing, and destroyed.   

A neighbor shares that ten monarch butterflies just hatched from milkweed she planted.  What a gift as we honor and acknowledge we each have our own right to choose how we best serve, nourish and create.  

Early Morning

Now

Tender

Otter at Play

Today I’m with what it is to support another, to be a tender, a boat or larger ship that serves and supports other ships.  Perhaps it’s easy for a ship’s captain to know what is needed, but when it comes to helping others it becomes more complex.

How do we help another?  How are we a tender to another’s needs?

There are times where our hearts may ache to “do” something and yet, sometimes less is more, and so we stay quietly with our own pain and grief, and allow its expansion into a wider world.  There, there is more embrace than we can even know, so each moment open out with ease and grace to all that is here and shared. 

Roads were made for journeys, not destinations.

– Confucius

The fog comes in

Spider webbing a rose

What’s Happening Here

As I sort through years of accumulation of poems, wisdom, inspiration, I feel an energetic shift in the room, a spaciousness in the room and in myself. As I organize, recycle, and toss, I think of how a fire needs space to burn.  When we make a fire, we leave space around and between the logs.  There is a foundation, a plan, and with that these words of Seneca swirl in with direction, warmth, and light .  

If we don’t know what port we’re steering for, no wind is favorable.

Meanwhile the little bird chirps from her nest from morning to night.  I feel accompanied by her chirps as she sits on her nest. Her nest is below this room in which I sit. She makes the world seem balanced and right.

I wrote the above last night and then this morning I come to Robert B. Hubbell and what the overturning of Roe vs. Wade means to all of us.  It’s just the beginning of erosion and destruction of our rights, rights so painfully won.

Then I read this poem by Susan Vespoli, “Twenty Photos from Police Records of His Last Night Alive”.   She’s writing about her son.  She says about the poem:

“This past week, I received photos and body-cam video from police records of my son Adam’s last night on the planet before he was shot by a police officer. Adam and three other homeless individuals, one in a wheelchair, one leaning on a cane, were charged with a misdemeanor for ‘obstructing streets or public areas.’ Because my son questioned the police’s right to arrest them for sleeping, he was thrown to the ground, charged with ‘resisting arrest’ and hauled into jail for the night. The next day, he was shot. I am writing to give a voice to all the human beings who sleep without homes and who are treated this way.”

You can read the poem here: https://www.rattle.com

Little Bird on Her Nest

Going Home

In going through my journals, I come across these words and this experience by Dawn Prince-Hughes.  She has Aspergers.  In wanting to understand human communication, she began sitting outside the window of the enclosure for the silverback gorillas at the Seattle zoo.  One day she arrived upset. Congo, a silverback male gorilla noticed and rushed to the window.  He motioned to her to put her head on his shoulder. They touched through the glass and felt the glass as fluid.

She says: I probably stayed with him like that, with my head on his shoulder, for 30 minutes or so. I think it was probably the first time I was genuinely comforted by another person. Congo really set the standard for what social interactions should be like between me and another human being.  You just can’t worry about looking like a fool. You can’t worry about getting hurt. You can’t worry about whether you’re right or not. It just boils down to wanting to be connected at all costs, at all risks. I no longer wanted to allow the permeability of my spirit to seek smaller and smaller shelters. It requires a completely open heart. I felt like I found a way to go home through the glass.  

Rounding About

Our book group formed many years ago around a love of Jane Austen and Dickens though the first book we read was Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner. Discussing that book, we learned more about each other than people we’d known for years.  We knew we’d found something, at least some of us.  There were seven of us on the first trip to England.  A friend just asked about the book group trip so I go through a photo album and snap photos through plastic to find a few of our first trip. 

Our second trip, minus one member who passed away the year before, we spent a week on a canal boat which was quite an adventure.  We were the entertainment as we navigated through narrow locks with a 70 foot boat.  We spent the second week on a walking trip through the Cotswolds followed by time in London.  

This friend asks what I’m looking for in going back through the past.  I respond that I’m circling back to remember with reverence this life I’ve been given.  I’m preparing for my transition which could be now, or twenty or thirty years from now, but I see and feel this as a time to gather and honor all I’ve been given, as I circle and center in Heart, Essence, Source.  

Sally drove our rental van and provided a container to hold luggage for six!
“Oh, who could ever tire of Bath?”

May Day

This morning I’m listening to one bird in particular who is a joyous eruption of chirps and song.  Last night we realized there is a nest on the lamp next to the door down below.  One year a nest was built into the dryer vent.  Another year a nest with eggs rested on top of the electrical box.  With the pandemic, we didn’t drive the outside car and when we opened the hood to charge the battery, there was a perfect little nest, now empty.  This year the nest is right outside a door we use daily, but it seems we’re cleared as safe.  

I think the critters have a sign like hoboes used to mark a place for food.  Our Welcome Here Mat is out.   

Steve sits on the deck down below at night and a skunk or two wander by, an opossum, and sometimes raccoons.  Certainly the squirrels are year-round residents, and at night Steve listens to an owl as he exchanges calls with two other birds.  

Life here is peaceful.  

I’m reading Sixpence House: Lost in a Town of Books by Paul Collins. He shares his family move from San Francisco to Hay-on-Wye in Wales, a town with forty bookstores.  

When my book group went to England, we went to Hay-on-Wye, “the book capital of the world”.  We spent time in Bath in honor of Jane Austen, and time in Stratford on Avon for Shakespeare, and there I found Tolkien’s Father Christmas Letters.

Books and birds delight this first day of May.   

The California poppies are in bloom

Gifts

I rise early this morning, and go outside to see the early morning alignment of four planets.  Stars are sparkling through the redwood tree like Christmas lights, and then across the southern sky, I see a shooting star. 

Crickets are chirping and soon the birds begin.  

Yesterday we were at the Children’s Discovery Museum with our grandchild – another gift.

And not just a gift of our grandchild, but the gift of children exploring, climbing, playing, sharing. 

It’s the last day of April and tomorrow is May 1st, May Day.  As a child, on this day, we made baskets and filled them with candy and flowers to hang on neighbor’s doorknobs to celebrate the longer days.

I’m still going through paperwork from the past.  I come across my certificates for “graduating” from chemotherapy, and then radiation.  Both certificates are signed by the nurses who cared for me.  I give thanks.  

May we each feel and fill with delight like May baskets. May we savor what sings around us on earth and in the sky.

The Golden Gate
Looking across to San Francisco
Scented Coyote Bush with Ladybugs
The Big Climb
The Builder
The Musician