May 23rd, 2006

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Morning Flow -

Here is my morning poem.


Letting Go of Being Good

 

Nothing in nature is immobile.

Nothing!

Glaciers move, melt, build.

Mountains rise and fall.

Volcanoes erupt and quiet.

The world is busy above and below,

while we try and hold a picture perfect

posture of being “good.”  

Today I announce an intention,

of letting go of a snapping turtle shot

of what I “should” or could do.

My interest is mobility. 

No rigid stance

fits now to now. 

I am a mobile, pieces hanging loose,

turning in the wind,

a wind,

blown through my mouth,

nose and toes.

I am a kite,

a white knight, and a red, green, yellow, and blue knight too.

I ride the colors of the rainbow,

sprinkle cookie crumbs, and scent the air with a noble perfume. 

Ah, you say, but the noble gases are inert, unreactive,

except for argon, krypton and xenon.

Well, yes, you see.  I’ve moved up the periodic table

          to mark my own chart.

I’m not big on gaining and losing electrons,

but I do like moving within my valence shell,

          and so I do.

                   Here is my shoe.

                              My toes wiggle,

                                      an invitation,  

                                            to you.

 

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Jane's Poem today on "Being Good"



Someone told me a story about a girl struck by lightning.

        For her the color red was thereafter not white so much as blank.

        Trying to be good is like that.

        Good is the part that leaves me when the choices aren’t easy.

        A part not so much gone as empty.

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a little more on being good -

         

 

                        Gentle Open Change

 

  In my opinion, being good, is mobile as the sea.

      I can’t know where the rocks and sand

              will rumble with the waves

                     crashing in me.

 

                             I open change

          like a shell,  with an animal alive inside.

                     A nudge may nudge the animal

                             to a change of shell or soil,

                                       or it may return to sleep

                                                and wait for the tide 

                                                             to swell.

 

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This moment!!

 

On Arturo Toscanini's eightieth birthday, someone asked his son, Walter, what his father ranked as his most important achievement. The son replied, “For him there can be no such thing. Whatever he happens to be doing at the moment is the biggest thing in his life - whether it is conducting a symphony or peeling an orange.”

-Ardis Whitman

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poem -

 

The Font

 

One day Nature,

a nurturing cup of hot chocolate,

reaches a marshmallow out to me,

like Neptune,

rising with his Trident,

adventure from the sea.

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a small bench of a rant -

 

I take a walk around the block and visit my local park, Eastwood Park.  I am hopeful that the once again ripped out playground equipment is back in, but, no, now the whole park is torn up and blocked off.  There is no grass.  The benches are gone.  All is set up for paving.  The swirled path and circled areas are defined by strips of wood and Rebar.   

The bond issue we passed for parks is on display, as is our governor’s name.  I voted for this bond issue, and now, I am aghast.  The park of the past fit the neighborhood, Little City Farms, an area of non-county maintained streets and plants of their own choice growing on the un-used land. 

Since GGNRA took over Tennessee Valley, there is prolific “signage.”  Each time I go there, there is a new sign imparting some bit of information I could discover on my own if I were interested.  The latest sign informs me how many miles it is to Oregon.    When is “signage” pollution?   What if we learned the signs of nature instead?

I used to think a park meant nature.  Eastwood Park now seems to mean landscaping, and land scraping.   I am appalled.   I used to walk over there with Jeff and Chris, and the space was open, so we could play ball.  Now, it is divided into a paved path and circles, and who knows what will be where the grass was.  Right now, it is dirt.  The parking lot is divided for paving. 

I used to vote for every bond issue devoted to parks and education.  Now, I am considering.  It sounds great to have new parks, but what is happening there looks ridiculous in this moment,  and does not fit the neighborhood, and a bond issue is borrowed money.  The park worked fine as it was before, but, of course, this provides jobs, so we can say the economy is doing well, and meanwhile, our children have no place to play, but workers have jobs.   

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Naming -

There is a big sewer project in Tam Valley, so there are many interesting construction trucks visiting down by the marsh.  I was walking along, and a mother was walking along, pointing out each different truck, and saying "tractor" for each one to her young child.  Now, there were all sorts of trucks,  bulldozers, and trench-diggers, and who knows what else.  I just went on-line to check out the number of different construction vehicles.  It is an unimaginable number.  I remember when Jeff and Chris had their Tonka and Fisher Price, bulldozers, dump trucks, concrete mixer, and trench digger.  It seems important somehow to call things by their right name.  I say this, after saying I didn't bother to find out what bird was cheering me each spring day.  What has changed?

I'm not sure, but someone informed me of a 60th birthday celebration where the birthday man was asked to consider and celebrate each decade of his life.  What had he learned in each decade?  I sat down and tried to consider what I have learned in each of my decades.  I haven't figured it out yet, not enough to define or name, and yet, I can feel the value of it, the value of placing the pieces of our puzzle together, with the stamp of definition, and division. 

I read an article on Soichiro Honda, the man who started Honda, against what were considered impossible odds.  He made motorcyles accessible.  I remember my golden Honda 90 I took to college.  I loved the ease of that bike.  The article says Mr. Honda " was driven at the core by a dream."  Mr. Honda also learned that "the physical world doesn't yield its secrets to effort alone," so he went back to school to learn metallurgy. 

"Mr. Honda learned to reach goals by breaking with tradition and accepted views that stood between himself and his goals.  His novel way of seeing the world owed much to his playful sense of humor.  Learning early and through hard apprenticeship that unconventional ideas could work, he applied this directness to everything in his life. He showed famous disrespect for status, believing that work dignified the workman, and that therefore work clothes and cap were equally appropriate for financial meetings or shop visits. He expected to be judged by his actions, not by the cut of his suit, and applied the same standard to his associates.  Knowing himself, he knew that people of any education or background could have useful ideas."

We own three Honda vehicles.  I read this article and understand why.  I look at the American car manufacturers and feel very sad for them.   They forgot to look at the market, and respond. 

And this goes back to naming.  If we label every contruction vehicle, a tractor, then, how can we discern the different jobs they do, and the different jobs we, too, are able to do.   Mr. Honda learned by doing it all, construction, and orchestration.  May we each intend the same.   
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Heron Dance!

I have mentioned Heron Dance before.  You can check it out at http://www.herondance.org/

My Issue 50 just came, titled A Work  of Love.  It is filled with beautiful articles, and so, I am struggling to choose just one to share here. 

Perhaps since we are entering insect season, I will present this article by Edward O. Wilson, from In Search of Nature.  That way we can be more appreciative of flies, mosquitoes, and ants.

    "Ants have been present for about 100 million years, since the middle of the Cretaceous period of the Mesozoic era, and they proved to be true missing links. The specimens, which were found in New Jersey by amateur fossil collectors and which we named Sphecomyrma ("wasp ant"), combine in a remarkable manner traits of the presumed ancestral wasp and modern ants.  Subsequently the Russians came up with a host of new fossils of roughly the same age.

    How have ants managed to stay on top of things for a period fifty times longer than the entire history of human beings and their immediate ancestors?

    The truth is that we need invertebrates, but they don't need us.  If human beings were to disappear tomorrow, the world would go on with little change.  Gaia, the totality of life on earth, would set about healing itself and return to the rich environmental states of 100,000 years ago.  But if invertebrates were to disappear, it is unlikely that the human species could last more than a few months. Most of the fishes, amphibians, birds and mammals would crash to extinction about the same time. Next would go the bulk of the flowering plants and with them the physical structure of the majority of the forests and other terrestrial habitats of the world.  The soil would rot. As dead vegetation piled up and dried out, narrowing and closing the channels of the nutrient cycles, other complex forms of vegetation would die off, and with them the last remnants of the vertebrates.  The remaining fungi, after enjoying a population explosion of stupendous proportions, would also perish.  Within a few decades the world would return to the state of a billion years ago, composed primarily of bacteria, algae, and few other very simple multicellular plants."


It is something to think about next time ants, bees, and ticks join your picnic lunch.
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Speaking of ants -


Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy translated Rilke's Book of Hours.

In Anita's introduction, she writes how she and Joanna "allowed these poems to reveal their meanings to us."

    "I discovered yet deeper resonances between them and the most pervasive themes of my life. Rilke's love for things of this world, his insistence that they, we, are what is sacred, his capacity to see the holy in the ordinary - all these have continued to inform my own poetry for thirty years."

       Rilke - I, 1

             I know that nothing has ever been real
             without my beholding it.
             All becoming has needed me.
             My looking ripens things
             and they come toward me, to meet and be met.

She continues:   "A person (or a thing) comes to exist by being met in the most authentic way by another. My practice of psychotherapy has been deeply informed by the Jungian principle of reciprocal individuation, which means that a deep and loving encounter is what generates development.  How close this is to Rilke's declaration that our greatest summons is really to see the things of this world. 

    We are because we are seen; we are because we are loved.  The world is because it is beheld and loved into being.  On a silent retreat, while watching a line of ants traveling up a hillside, words came to me that I would repeat again and again in my mind:  I am in the world to love the world.  I knew, standing there in the parched summer grasses, how deeply the poems of The Book of Hours had already penetrated my being, speaking to me as instructions for living."

This is a wonderful book to open and carry around, inside and out, through the summer hours, and into fall.