Here and There

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Lent Poem Draft

I've been thinking about Lent like the gathering purple of dusk--
darkness falls.
I've been thinking of the purple like a fresh bruise,
spreading further than the spot that was struck.

Lent collects in a cloud. Lent's shadows grow. 

I've been thinking of it all like tightly closed jasmine blossoms, on a vine that's been there on the fence for years, clustered brightly, about to change.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

From "The Pedagogy of Conflict" by Padraig O Tuama

“When I was a child, / I learnt to count to five: / one, two, three, four, five. / But these days, I’ve been counting lives, so I count / one life / one life / one life / one life / Because each time is the first time that that life has been taken. / Legitimate Target / has sixteen letters / and one / long / abominable / space / between / two / dehumanising / words.”

(This poem has been a lenten lamentation for me.  As I follow along with this year, I have been meditating on this poem as I try to stay present to the pain.)

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return

I heard this poem "Dusting" by Marilyn Nelson on a podcast and was reminded of Ash Wednesday coming and the idea of dust to dust...I had a "nothing to nothing" way of thinking of those words.   After hearing her interview, especially about the dust needed to seed the clouds so that rain can fall, I had a new way of thinking about that dust.  Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return reminded me of the interconnectedness between people and all created things.  Remember that you came from everything and to everything you shall return...In this human form, as this image-of-God-person-being, don't forget your interconnectedness.  

Thank you for these tiny particles of ocean salt, pearl-necklace viruses,
winged protozoans:
for the infinite,
intricate shapes
of submicroscopic
living things.
For algae spores
and fungus spores,
bonded by vital
mutual genetic cooperation,
spreading their
inseparable lives
from equator to pole.
My hand, my arm,
make sweeping circles.
Dust climbs the ladder of light.
For this infernal, endless chore,
for these eternal seeds of rain:
Thank you. For dust.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Last of the rainy days...almost Spring...

Perpetuity.  Rat a tat tat.
Rain--a pleasant sound and then suddenly it feels like punches falling on bruised skin.  
 Perpetuity. Rat a tat tat.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Work That Reconnects

Last weekend, I got the chance to go to a retreat at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico for The Work That Reconnects During Dark Times.  It was one of those charmed, once in a lifetime experiences, like being able to take Joanna Macy to the airport with me...showing up at Chimayo on the 206th birthday of the chapel...etc...  So many people asked me why "I" would go to this retreat.  Joanna's spiritual practice is Engaged Buddhism and much of the inspiration from her work comes from Buddhist philosophy and practice.   When I read her book in the fall, this isn't the part of it that I picked up on.  I was paying attention to her systems theory evidence for identifying my relationship to the earth differently.  I was appreciating her honest assessment of the grim reality of the world's condition.  I felt like she had an empowering, loving voice that I needed to hear especially as I saw Trump come to power.  Reading "Coming Back to Life" introduced me to the concepts of deep ecology and deep time.  And both concepts stuck with me.  Deep ecology is present in some way in every religion, and as a Jesus follower I saw it too.  Deep Ecology helped me connect a passion I've had since I was kid starting a "Save Our Planet" club and asking for a book called "Environmental Literacy" as a 6th grader, to my eyes opened, heartbroken for the world, adult self.  My work with children and families also makes me interested in sharing this kind of stuff with my kids.  Anyhow, I was so glad to go.  Participate in some of this work.  And it was truly inspiring.  I wrote and wrote in the evenings, I was in my absolute favorite landscape, I met some amazing people...The pictures are loading in reverse, so here's  my trip, kinda backward.

 Me, waiting to get picked up by my family at the airport.  I wasn't tired, perse, but I was full to bursting with all I'd seen and heard.  And I was getting a cold.
 I came to Chimayo also on the feast day of Our Lord of Esquipulas, originally venerated in Guatamala, an original image/figure of "Black Jesus".  The discovery of a crucifix of this image and the subsequent miracles is the origin story of El Santuario de Chimayo and it is the most sacred pilgrimage site in the United States.  I had always wanted to visit and not only did I visit, I ended up getting to attend a mass where the Los Hermanos Penitentes visited, singing songs original to Northwestern New Mexico, preserved through centuries.  I didn't take any pictures near or in the Santuario, just these crosses on a chain link fence as you walk in.

Looking toward the barn I stayed in for the weekend, It was just starting to snow.

 This was my reading material.  Basically the story of A Wind in the Door is a version of The Work The Reconnects...It was inspiring and I saw the story in a new light after not reading it for many years, and also completely taking for granted before the message of interconnectness and the danger of denying it.
 For evening sessions, candles lit the way from dinner to the meeting space.
 Sunset on the first evening.  This meadow was a particular color of chartreuse that just cannot be captured by camera.
Mesa behind the buildings of Ghost Ranch.  I found a labyrinth just to the right of the photo.  I love a labyrinth and will pretty much walk one anywhere and it's pretty meaningful to me, but this particular surrounding was so amazing! 

 The barn I stayed in.  It was a nice little studio apartment space on one side, literally across from the stables.  It smelled like hay.
 Spud and Rodeo.  They had thick winter coats.
 Kiva with fire in the evenings at Ghost Ranch

 An honor and joy to meet this woman.

Sunrise on Saturday.