7/11

This was just right – a very early walk

even chilly enough for a snow-leopard cardigan

with humidity hanging cool between the bits of air.

I had dreamed of orange flowers, and I had wondered if they were day-lilies, and there they were, on our walk, un-self-conscious orange in a world of summer greens.

Now everything is back on track. The walks must be early, that is the magic.

I return from Right Walkies to receive Right Messages and Right Ideas in the Right Order. The spreadsheet of my mind is satisfied.

Very well, then.

The walks must be early. That is the magic.

July 6th

Sgiobalta sat in the meadow this morning, licking the dew off the tall grasses.

She is quite the connoisseur (connoisseuse?) of different kinds of water.

There are water in the dogs’ water dish and water in the dogs’ water dish after it has been scrubbed – very different.

There are this morning water in the dogs’ water dish with ice cubes and ice cubes handed over directly as a result of very pitiable begging.

There is lake water – reached for, stood in, and lapped while swimming.

There is snow.

Snow is for eating and licking and for joyfully making dog angels in.

For the gourmet water-drinking dog, there is bath water. It’s warm, it’s flavored, it may be enjoyed cupped in Mama’s hand or licked directly off the bather (lest they smell too clean).

Today there is grass-served dew.

July Fifth

We walked all the way round the cul-de-sac today,

The dogs, the characters in my head, and I.

They distracted me while I tried to count down from twenty four, a task which in the moment seemed terribly important. I needed to count down from twenty four while I was walking, you see, or else I would have had to do it after walking and that would not do.

So the characters distracted me while the dogs found mud.

There was something all tight and stuck in my hip, my walk was halting, not smooth, not dancing on a wave.

Not quite drowning in a wave either, more falling, more stumbling.

That’s all right.

Better to warm up the machine with a quiet walk with dogs and characters and numbers, slowly, on my own familiar territory

than to try to do it out there in the world where one must pay bills

or to not do it at all.

I made it to eighteen.

Independence Day

Like a Sabbath, Independence Day.

I will not drive, I will not touch money. I have already said thank you to Grace and the dogs. I have already encouraged students with brief messages.

Thanks and grace and song to celebrate the food I am privileged to have, free of hunger.

Thanks and chores and dance to celebrate the house I am privileged to have, free of vagabondage.

Thanks, thanks, thanks for cool water, for good books, and for good dogs who smell of grass and sunshine.

July 3, 2019

A horse-dog and a cat-rabbit were walking close at hand…

The sky is completely cloudless. Sweet Earth has put nothing between me and Deep Space but tiny things I cannot see.

So I look up, up, up as I walk and as I walk I am falling up, up, up into the Sky and the Sky is reaching out for me.

The laundry is heavy with dew, but it will be dry by the time I have to dress.

Maybe.

Maybe not.

Summer makes both possibilities beautiful.

July 2

Cool grass, wet air, mosquitos

Stop and love on the lilacs’ pods which wait for ripeness and wind to shake them free.

There’s a space in the yard which I call The Spinney — 10 points to Ravenclaw if you know that allusion — and it is not a Spinney yet. But it will be. Grace does not mow between the two rows of lilacs so that it can become a Spinney, someday, full of lilac volunteers and wildflowers from the meadow.

There are four lilac babies so far by my count.

“Throw the ball!” they say, “The soccer ball!” And so I throw the soccer ball and they chase and sniff and leave it there.

“Bring me the ball!” I encourage, and both of them look at me as though they love me despite my mental deficiencies. It is not moving, it does not need supervision. They just wanted me to make it go. #ThinkLikeAnAussie

To Some Extraordinary Graduates

“What do you notice?”

The first question of a Signum education.

Not “Do you know what I know?” or “Can you find what I taught you?”

But “What do you notice?”

Do you smell the wild thyme and sage and marjoram which grow over the path?

Do you watch with bated breath while those upon the path tread the belly-satisfying ancient steps of the Hero’s Journey on the Approach to the Inmost Cave?

Do you thrill to know that “thyme” from French, from Latin, from Greek, once meant a burnt sacrifice?

In these words about people and places and plots which are not real, do you find the comfort of Truth and the hand of the divine upon your shoulder?

What do you notice?

We enter into the unknown to discover its secrets

Not so that we can claim them,

We enter the exploration of secrets so that we might enter the other world

And thereby find a new way of being.

So that we might have the peace of a starry night sky right in our own soul.

Not to have the secrets, but to be the secrets.

The unknown has its own kind of night-beauty,

different than the beauty of familiarity:

a place of dreams and inward visions.

The call of the unknown is an invitation to imagining and storytelling,

Which we might refuse once, but never thrice.

And now that you have noticed, now that you have found what makes you gasp as the story unfolds, what wakes you up with joy, now you know what, so what, now what, feet to the fire, jot, think, plan, tell, meet the mentor, write, cross the threshold, delete, sift, shift, read, draw the map, write, delete, search, post, listen, exchange, find, sort, step off the path, bleed, sweat, weep — because if there are not tears on your face you are missing the point — write, delete, resonate, name the dragon, yearn, critique, receive, and hold in your heart that critique this deep can only be given by one who believes in you, turn around and encourage, step off the map, write, write, write, and armed with courage like a machete and with your battle-cry, go into the jungle you have made until all that remains are the beautiful bones — the granite outcroppings — the vein of gold revealed.  The one that was yours to find and shape and bring into the light.

All of you sport the muscles and the callouses of this work; each of you holds the grail.

Now turn that chalice in your hands.  What do you notice?

With grateful acknowledgement of inspiration by the unknown author of “Prayer of Darkness”

September 23, 2016

The Morning of Autumn

Do I begin from a place of balance?
Shall I begin from a place of balance?
So… where is this famous place of balance?

Equal night, equal day, harvest – yes!  
These I understand, these I celebrate, these I am deeply grateful for!

I can’t claim to begin from balance, stillness, all-in-order.  
But I can begin from a place of deep gratitude.  Here it is:

Thank you, beloved Great Spirit.
Simply thank you.
Always thank you.
I am grateful for this harvest, this privilege, this wealth in my life
I am humbled by the crisp of the apple and its juice, sweet, tart.
I weep with joy that there is food to give my family.
If I slice it one way, I see the star;
if I slice it another way, a quarter moon.
If I come upon Apple in the woods, 
some last sisters of an orchard hanging on with sass and spunk 
long after the farmhouse has gone to nothing but stone foundation
then I relish the bite and hard and small of feisty survivor apples
and know that my feast is shared with you,
with the Antlered One
with The Wild Family.
Yes.
From apple to wonder to looking into liquid eyes unfathomable
which say that winter is coming.
Does it always come down to that?

I think it must.
Even in the joyful throes of gratitude and plenty, you tell me that winter is coming.

Maybe balance is not stillness.
Maybe balance is holding the last rays of summer sun in my hair and the first whispers of frost in my forward-looking eye.

If balance is motion, dance, juggle, then I can begin from balance.
Gratitude and worry,
Light and dark,
Summer and winter.

Here we go.

Sacred Time Management

These worksheets were developed to accompany my Sacred Time Management workshop for adults.  Please take and use them freely!  To arrange to host the workshop for your group, please email me.

Sacred Time Worksheets (2015 update)

Nameless

This very short dragon tale first appeared in the Almost An Inkling writing contest sponsored by Signum University, in which it won a literary honorable mention, October 2015.

 

It did not have a name for itself.  Its Creator did not have a name for it.  Names were vulnerability, after all, and it was to be invulnerable.  The people had called it by many names of their own making.  Name your fear, little ones.  Let me in.

Neither had it a body to be stabbed, burned, drowned, or be-spelled, not until the people’s minds formed it.  It took shape the moment they thought of what they could never conquer.  The people in this time and place called it Dragon and formed it into a thing of fire and iron.

It was made of hate and it cast hate upon the waters and it could wait a very long time for the interest of hate to accrue and come home.  It made the path to itself long, placed one rumour here, another there, scorched earth pointing yet another way.  A long road allowed it to savor the meal one delicate morsel at a time.  Contradictions drew out the hunt.  Opportunities to learn the sure stab or the perfect shot or the way of magic could tempt the treats to steep themselves in vengeance like the cherries steeped themselves in rum.  Finally, just as the bite was seasoned with despair, it moved into the mortal’s path.

The widow named it as she hunted, named it with her own vital, writhing hate.  Butcher.  Tormentor.  Defiler.  It tasted the names and nourished itself on the choice viands.  Paths turned, patience burned, sanity slipped – oh! so tasty.  Time to consummate the meal.

It placed itself on the rocky mountaintop which the widow had set in her sights.  It decked itself in razor scales and reeking fumes.  It sniffed delicately for the sword.  “Rub it every night,” the mysterious wise man had said, “with the blood of your revenge,” and after so many hundreds of nights the sword carried the scent of the blood from the funeral clothes and of the village which had turned her out for defiling graves.

It smelled her, felt her, saw her and she was here.  She gripped her weapon.

Come to me.  Be perfect.  Nourish me with perfect hate.  We will be one.

She screamed her puny words, giving voice to fury.  She could not understand its magnificent ones.

It leaned in to her, eager, hunger drawn out to so very, very sharp a point.

The lightest breeze ghosted past them.

She stopped.

Silence fell.

She read the want in its eye.

Sword tip low, feet feeling for each step, she backed away.  She squeezed the ring on her finger and drew in the fresh air.

“You might eat me,” she whispered, more to steady herself than to communicate.  “You might eat me, but I swear you’ll starve.”

She remembered then, and wept, and loved.

And it crumbled to ash and putrescence and lay until the people did not believe in it and made it a new name.