November 20th, 2007

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Sand Dollar -

Perhaps most of us have picked up a sand dollar at the beach and been enchanted with the magic of the shape, which gives it its name, since it's shaped like a coin.   Living, they are covered with spines.   We pick up the skeleton and hold it in our hands.  Somehow it does not frighten us like our own skeleton, our bones.  Is it because it is round, circular, whole?

A sea star design centers the sand dollar.  Waves surround.   In the skeleton is a story told.  Is not the same said of our bones, of what remains?
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Jane's Poem for the Day!

I turned my skills to separation
cut paper dolls with a surgeon’s hand
and colored to the lines
made fierce knots in packing string
to spend the afternoon untying.
Then I’d walk to school
only on the cracks
to test myself.

       - Jane Flint

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I woke this morning, excited that Thanksgiving is so close. I love this day, this week.  I was thinking of how families and friends used to live in one abode, village, town, and then, horses and buggies allowed more travel, and then, came trains and cars.   Now, car travel where I live can be exceedingly slooooowwww, which is why it is such a treat to gather the whole family together.  We circle wagons for days.

I am also struck by this.  Wild turkeys roam where I live.   It probably is illegal, but if I were to snatch one, I am sure it would not be missed by anyone other than its tribe, and that is not to dismiss the turkey tribe.   Certainly these local turkeys are free-range and eat organically.  We allow no spraying of insecticides in Tam Valley, though I have one neighbor who loves to spray, so hopefully they will avoid her yard.  

But instead of rounding up one of my local friends, I order a turkey from the Sierra Foothills, a turkey named Heidi, one that has been pampered even more than those who laze around me.   That turkey is coming in a truck which contributes to the traffic of which I complain.

I ordered the turkey on-line, since no one was there to answer the phone when I called.  I missed the brief voice contact, but I have not used a bank teller in more years that I can count, so I have accepted the modern world as it comes. 

I will make my pies from "scratch."   Well, using the family tradition of Libby's pumpkin, because it is never quite as good to us when made from a "real" pumpkin, rather than taken from the can.  My family prefers Ocean Spray cranberry sauce, with the can lines intact, even though I also make Bradley Ogden's cranberry sauce.  Who knows how many years it is since any one in my ancestry actually caught and killed a turkey, and so I go the modern way which is to travel in my car to the store.   "I am traffic," as my friend Karen loves to say, and I am grateful for all the inches and centimeters of my day.

Gobble, gobble the blessings as they come rumbling to you!!

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Heron Dance -

Here is Rod MacIver from Heron Dance at

All my life I have refused to be for or against parties, for or against nations, for or against people. I never seek novelty or the eccentric; I do not go from land to land to contrast civilizations. I seek only, wherever I go, for the symbols of greatness, and as I have already said, they may be found in the eyes of a child, in the movement of a gladiator, in the heart of a gypsy, in twilight in Ireland or in moonrise over the deserts.

Robert Henri from The Art Spirit

No great work has ever been produced except after a long interval of still and musing meditation.

— Walter Begehot

Dear Heron Dancers,

Greatness, in the sense of a human life, or a work (whether creative or not), has an inner element and it also serves the Greater Good in some important way.

A great work possesses a special energy. The inner gains from the outer, and the outer gains from the inner. Without both, the work tends not to last. Serving something larger needs to also fortify the life of the server. The surest way of knowing that you’ve found your work is feeling blessed by it. Not every day or even every week, but overall you know your work gives you energy and you know it adds something special or crucial to the lives of others. I’ve noticed that a lot of people burn out serving, whether protecting wilderness or feeding the homeless, because they were doing the work not for the joy of it, but to accomplish a specific result. A lot of this work requires working for years for little or no financial reward. Disappointment is inevitable, and it is easy to lose faith that the desired objective can be achieved.

The other element of a great work, and life, is that it is based on a connection with the creator’s inner world. It grows out of still and musing meditation. It draws from the pre-verbal, the half-understood, the subconscious. There is a wisdom inside each of us that often cannot be put into words but, with practice, can be used to guide and shape our lives and our work. It is that which is holy inside us.

In celebration of the Gift of Life,

Rod MacIver


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confused -

Today, at Whole Foods, I noticed signs next to the Balsamic and red wine vinegars warning there was a danger of cancer and reproductive problems from these two products.  I was stunned and kept looking around thinking there must be a mistake.  I came home and googled the two, along with the word cancer, and what I am seeing talks about the health benefits of these two products, especially in preventing cancer.  I am confused.   

What a surprise!
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a great deal of information -

In trying to understand the warning on red wine and balsamic vinegar, I came across this article which is chock-full of information.  Sift through if it appeals to you.

  It seems that organic apple cider vinegar is the healthiest way to go when it comes to vinegar.

Also, those who have had cancer are recommended to limit their ingestion of citrus fruits and take vitamin C tablets instead.  I see that, according to this, there are a good many things I might change as to how I eat.

Warning:   This may not be the best thing to read right before Thanksgiving, or perhaps it is.  

It sounds like no wine, coffee, or sugar is best, so, ....

There is always the day after Thanksgiving to begin.
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Mary Oliver Poem -


    by Mary Oliver

I startled a young black snake: he
flew over the grass and hid his face

under a leaf, the rest of him in plain sight.
Little brother, often I've done the same.