Early June morning
into the garden —
everything so green and vibrant,
each radish like a pink jewel.
“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 . . .
Oh, so patient with him.
Even when he wants it 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.
Wanting, so much,
to enter into the constant conversation
of this family
Start close in,
don’t take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
you don’t want to take.
the pale ground
beneath your feet,
way of starting
Start with your own
give up on other
don’t let them
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.
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,
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.
For a long time
I let those thoughts occupy me —
you know those thoughts
“Your kids will be awkward if they don’t go to school.”
Those thoughts that come from nowhere
so pervasive and strangely persuasive.
how do they know,
How can anyone say,
that schools help us to be less awkward?
Well, maybe they do teach us how to fit in.
But fit in to what exactly?
Pulled in different directions.
A dozen tasks on my
Trying to attend to one,
To give it the space
But then I am interrupted.
I get interrupted
It happens so often
that maybe I should consider it
as something else?
Call it by a different name?
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?