Book Stack

“Words make worlds.” — Krista Tippett

On my desk this week: Moby Dick (by Herman Melville), Workshops Work (by Patricia Zaballos), The Poetry Handbook (by Mary Oliver), The One-Straw Revolution (by Masanobu Fukuoka), Becoming Wise (by Krista Tippett, and Project-Based Homeschooling (by Lori Pickert). I’m reading bits and pieces of all of them — because that is how my reading happens right now: in little snippets of time in the midst of very full days.

I might be hiding upstairs in my room right now, taking one of these mini reading breaks . . .

Morning Bubbles

Oh, so patient with him.
Even when he wants it over
and over
and over again.
Even when he grabs onto her hand
and pulls her off of the piano bench,
and over to the couch,
or the bookshelf,
or the kitchen.

Talking to her,
listening to her.
Talking back.
Repeating words,
sounds.

Wanting, so much,
to enter into the constant conversation
of this family
around him.

Close In

Start close in,
don’t take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
thing
close in,
the step
you don’t want to take.
Start with
the ground
you know,
the pale ground
beneath your feet,
your own
way of starting
the conversation.
Start with your own
question,
give up on other
people’s questions,
don’t let them
smother something
simple.
Start right now
take a small step
you can call your own. — David Whyte

This beautiful poem has been on my mind this week. Everywhere I turn, I am reminded to start close in.

Spring Beauties

I dream of a quiet man
who explains nothing and defends
nothing, but only knows
where the rarest wild flowers
are blooming, and who goes,
and finds that he is smiling
not by his own will.

— Wendell Berry
“Given: Poems,” Shoemaker & Hoard, 2005

92 :: Happy

WHY

Why all the embarrassment
about being happy?
Sometimes I’m as happy
as a sleeping dog,
and for the same reasons,
and for others.

— Wendell Berry
“Given: Poems,” Shoemaker & Hoard, 2005: page 10.

Knitties

I’m cleaning up —
finding tiny morsels of dollhouse food,
blobs of modeling beeswax
wedged into the rug.

Picking up pieces before I vacuum —
I begin to notice scraps of knitting:
a blanket here,
a scarf there (little, doll size),
a wash cloth,
a rug.

These bits of her handwork,
these minuscule stitches knit on size 1 or 2 needles (sometimes even on toothpicks) —
there is a certain beauty in their simplicity,
a piece of her captured in the even patterns.

39 :: Watching Sister

For a long time
I let those thoughts occupy me —
you know those thoughts
that say
“Your kids will be awkward if they don’t go to school.”

Those thoughts that come from nowhere
and everywhere
so pervasive and strangely persuasive.

And yet,
how do they know,
those thoughts?
How can anyone say,
with conviction,
that schools help us to be less awkward?

Well, maybe they do teach us how to fit in.
But fit in to what exactly?

30 :: Summoned

Pulled in different directions.

A dozen tasks on my
morning list.
Trying to attend to one,
just one.
To give it the space
to bloom.

But then I am interrupted.
I get interrupted
so
many
times
each day.

It happens so often
that maybe I should consider it
as something else?
Call it by a different name?

Summoned?

18 — 22 :: Go Dark

Amidst a great deal of talk about our country this week: the transition in leadership; the grace of President Obama as he left office; the inaugural address; what it means to be trustworthy; the importance of our words; the value of integrity and respect . . . While all the while wondering what we can do, in our relatively quiet part of the world, to reach out to our neighbors . . . there was a whole lot of quiet work (and play) happening in our home.

January feels very dark. Not just this year, but especially this year, I feel a heaviness that I cannot shake. I do not know if I should try harder to shake it or try to sit with it. But when I sit here, trying to enter in, fully, to the weight of this darkness, I find myself simultaneously celebrating life — life and the joy that is so very present in each day shared with our beautiful children. Their curiosity. Their wonder. Their questions. Their pureness of heart. This is light.

I think of this poem by Wendell Berry (forgive me if I have quoted this recently. It has really been on my mind.)

To Know the Dark

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.

The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry, Counterpoint, 1998: p. 68.

Did Wendell Berry march in the Woman’s March yesterday (or would he have in his younger days)?
Does he outwardly protest? Or inwardly? Or both?
Does he speak out in body? And on paper?
In the light? Or in the dark?