December 29th, 2008

Book Cover

Good Morning!

Psychological systems suggest that we each have a variety of characters within, archetypes.  One is the hermit.  My hermit side is strong.  I have often thought of having my little place in the desert, mountains, or by the beach and being self-sufficient, and I also see how I delight in the communication the computer brings to me.  If I am in West Marin, I know I can access the internet at the library.  My lap-top travels with me.  

I met many of you through the internet.   My family and friends were my original readers.  None of them have felt the need to have a blog, so I have met those of you who do, through this, and I appreciate that.   I think we support each other, share something in common.  I know I feel supported by you.  I hope I offer support back.  

I am reading a book called A Book of Silence by Sara Maitland.  
I will pull some quotes from it in the next few days.   I had not recognized or perhaps seen so clearly stated, the complexity of silence, the different styles of it, the weight and light.  I learned about this book through Dave Mason who I met here I believe our connections here will lead to world peace.   We've seen a huge set-back these last few days.  We know the Bushies want war in the Middle East.   The region is complex.   Land that belonged to others was given to the Jewish people so they would have a place of their own.   The idea of taking land from one people and giving it to another was probably a lose-lose set-up in the beginning, though I choose to believe the idea was well-intentioned.  Now, people need to learn to live in peace, and yet, governments love to wield power and control.  They love to bomb.  How do we stop what happens now?

How do we also balance our own intake of world and local news and cultivate moment by moment peace in our own lives.  It is something we do each day, with each breath.  Take care!   This is a fragile time, this end of the year, when the light is new and young.   May we all be peace!

ashes and snow - wings

from Writer's Almanac -

I think it is important to remember the damage that human beings have done to other human beings so we can work to change that, to know that peace does require work and attention.  It doesn't just happen.

If you haven't read Black Elk Speaks, it is a wonderful book.   It is a painfully tragic look at a piece of our history, one that must now be changed as we deal with people and the distribution of and sharing of land today.

This comes from Writer's Almanac:

Today is the anniversary of the massacre at Wounded Knee, which took place in South Dakota in 1891. Twenty-two years earlier, the local tribes had signed a treaty with the United States government that guaranteed them the rights to the land around the Black Hills, which was sacred land.

But in the 1870s, gold was discovered in the Black Hills, and the treaty was broken. People from the Sioux tribe were forced onto a reservation, with a promise of more food and supplies, which never came. Then in 1889, a prophet named Wovoka, from the Paiute tribe in Nevada, had a vision of a ceremony that would renew the earth, return the buffalo, and cause the white men to disappear. This ceremony was called the Ghost Dance. The Ghost Dance scared the white Indian Agents, and they moved in to arrest Chief Sitting Bull, who was killed in the attempt.

The next leader they focused on was Sitting Bull's half-brother, Chief Big Foot. He was leading his people to the Pine Ridge reservation, seeking safety there. But it was winter, 40 degrees below zero, and he contracted pneumonia.

Big Foot was sick, he was flying a white flag, and he was one of the leaders who had actually renounced the Ghost Dance. But the Army didn't make distinctions. They intercepted Big Foot's band and ordered them into the camp on the banks of the Wounded Knee Creek.

The next morning, federal soldiers began confiscating their weapons, and a scuffle broke out between a soldier and an Indian. The federal soldiers opened fire, killing almost 300 men, women, and children, including Big Foot.

One of the survivors was the famous medicine man Black Elk, who told his story to John Neihardt in Black Elk Speaks (1932).

alan - winter bird

What we choose to see -

The view out my window is staggeringly beautiful.  We bought this house over thirty years ago for the view.  A redwood tree reaches across, so I view some of the roll of the hills through branches and delicate, fern-like needles.   The rest is open. I see trees, hill, sky.  It is gray today, so I see the landscape as one in its layers, smooth in its binding, ribboned.   I would say it is still as a scroll, but now a bird flies by. 

I rub this ball of perception around my insides.   Without, within!


goldsworthy - heaven

Miracles -


The miraculous is not extraordinary but the common mode of existence. It is our daily bread. Whoever really has considered the lilies of the field or the birds of the air and pondered the improbability of their existence in this warm world within the cold and empty stellar distances will hardly balk at the turning of water into wine — which was, after all, a very small miracle. We forget the greater and still continuing miracle by which water (with soil and sunlight) is turned into grapes.

— Wendell Berry, excerpted in Meditations on Nature, Meditations on Silence

space - cat's eye nebula

Thomas Merton -

In these times of conflict, the words of Thomas Merton lead to ease.

Thomas Merton:

Perhaps we (contemplative monks) have a deep and legitimate need to know in our entire being what the day is like, to see it and feel it, to know how the sky is grey, paler in the south, with patches of blue in the southwest, with snow on the ground, the thermometer at 18, and a cold wind making your ears ache. I have a real need to know these things because I am myself part of the weather and part of the climate and part of the place, and a day in which I have not shared truly in all this is no day at all.