Earth Day

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Earth Day: The History of A Movement

“Each year, Earth Day — April 22 — marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.

The height of hippie and flower-child culture in the United States, 1970 brought the death of Jimi Hendrix, the last Beatles album, and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. Protest was the order of the day, but saving the planet was not the cause. War raged in Vietnam, and students nationwide increasingly opposed it.

At the time, Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V8 sedans. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. “Environment” was a word that appeared more often in spelling bees than on the evening news.  Although mainstream America remained oblivious to environmental concerns, the stage had been set for change by the publication of Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller Silent Spring in 1962.  The book represented a watershed moment for the modern environmental movement, selling more than 500,000 copies in 24 countries and, up until that moment, more than any other person, Ms. Carson raised public awareness and concern for living organisms, the environment and public health.

Earth Day 1970 capitalized on the emerging consciousness, channeling the energy of the anti-war protest movement and putting environmental concerns front and center.”

Today, call it Earth Day or anything you like, is a day just like any other. It is what we – each one of us – makes of it.

Morning Poem
by Mary Oliver

Every morning
the world
is created.
Under the orange

sticks of the sun
the heaped
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again

and fasten themselves to the high branches—
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands

of summer lilies.
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails

for hours, your imagination
alighting everywhere.
And if your spirit
carries within it

the thorn
that is heavier than lead—
if it’s all you can do
to keep on trudging—

there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted—

each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
lavishly,
every morning,

whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.

 

Mamacita

 

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We keep our eyes on our feral cat Mamacita. We house her in a heated abode and when she doesn’t want to sleep there, we make sure there is another choice – also heated. Perhaps the wind is coming from the wrong direction, we make sure she has choices.
Her water dish is heated and refreshed regularly. Her food is offered room temperature and fresh. She allows us to pet her most of the time. This has all taken about four years.
When she is here we feel relaxed, part of a larger whole. We pay some of the same attention to the birds and other, what we call creatures, that we live with and around. We have the ability to think we make their life better and we depend on that.
When Mamacita is elsewhere – we don’t know where – we are on the lookout. Somewhat uncomfortable in our skin. Is she OK? Will she come back? Did something eat her? It can be an internal (interfamily) struggle sometimes – one of us says keep her thinner so she can run fast and another may say she needs to be warm and able to go days without food if that were to become necessary. But no one of us can resist her face at the window, so she is fed generously.
She has given us three kittens and we have given her the end of her motherhood in a moment of neutering – where it was assured she would never be tamed. We think it may take a bit more time and we think she will be inside with us one day. We are not (collectively) sure if this will be a great moment in our history!
In the meantime, we lean on her for our self approval. And when she doesn’t reject our care, when she takes in our nurturance, we are so happy and feel so blessed.
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Easter

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Always an “easy” holiday, Easter was my favorite. Sometimes it fell on my birthday and I could be special in the spring welcome with daffodils and pansies.
I kept the tradition of making a cake in the shape of a lamb for many years. Recently I took the cake mold to my daughter Becky’s house and we made a cake together – and I left the mold with her! She has been asking for a lamb cake for some time and I look forward to many more bakings with me going to her house or her bringing the cake mold to me. Nice to switch up the traditions. It was great to sit with her family and friends talking about Easters past – and not actually doing anything!
Lambs – all babies and most animals – are filled with expression and rarely have a negative vibe. Easter doesn’t explore guilt or blame – particularly if you stick to the Pagan tradition – and who can complain about coloring eggs and looking for them.
I am going to skip the blood and guts of the Passion in favor of reveling in the rite of winter’s passage and my own deep pleasure in the coming of spring.

The Language of Doubt

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This morning as the cats and dogs aligned themselves with my body in a way designed to prompt wakefulness, I was reminded that the only difference between aggravation and enjoyment is how I see it.
“It” can be anything. Does the above photo look ominous? Playful? Beautiful? If I remember correctly, (or if I don’t) it was windy in a playful way and I was stirred to participate with the earth and the wind, the clouds were my playmates and my feet were happy to be on the ground.
I have to say that I prefer those unchallenging times – but, it’s all in the way I see it, isn’t it?
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Galloping Along

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Everyone is writing and posting about the Year of the Horse – the Wood Horse. I am too, and I’m going to put a long essay at the end of this post all about what to expect this year.
What I personally want to write about is the habits we have that might get in the way of our thoroughly taking full advantage of these opportunities.
There is a story about awareness and the readiness to act that goes like this: A long time ago in a place not too far away from us here, there was a river running fast and cold. In the river were many rocks and it was well known that there was a rock that even in this cold river was hot. It’s heat could change your life for the better if you happened to find it. A young monk heard about this rock. He thought that if he could find the rock he would be able to change all of humanity for the better. He deeply wanted to do this. So he took himself to the river and knelt in its cold waters near where he felt the rock might be. He put his hands into the cold running water and began to feel the rocks as he picked each one up, he would say “cold rock.” He spent many hours in a day and many days. One day he was on his knees, “cold rock, cold rock, cold rock.” as he released them back to the stream. “Cold rock, cold rock, hot rock, cold rock, cold rock,” then he jumped up and cried out, “oh, I felt it, I felt it!” But nothing he could do, no amount of mindfulness or attention could bring the hot rock to his hands again.

This is what there is to be mindful about. We have all dropped the “hot rock” without responding in time. Chances missed are chances missed, it’s what we do after that defines us.
This young monk became clear on his wishes for himself and his dreams for the world. He redoubled his efforts – not at the stream, but in the world around him. He took his fine hands to the task of bettering all he found. His brave heart supported his efforts and his diligence made him into a fine man who many looked to and learned with. He never lost heart and he allowed whatever could happen to be.

Balanced

Saying “I love you” is the least
balanced thing I do. In order
to bring the words to mind, nevermind
to mouth, I have to distance myself from
you and the rainbow inside of me who want
everything perfect and resonable and true.
I have to make up lines as I go along, assuage
the person in my right who says I’m wrong,
give the person that I see who is you a chance
and not look too closely through it all.
And way more important than anything
is not to look too closely at me –
just get close enough to it all to feel
the warmth we share, then open my mouth:
I love you.

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In the field there is the tree I call “The Singer.” She is so out there, so full. Each of her years is a display of prosperous and prodigious longevity. Her limbs have fallen several times, she has no discernable trunk, no core, she’s all out to her edges. Still and evermore open to the winds and covered with apples when it’s her time to be in fruit, same for blossoms. She is a tree to emulate. A tree for the future.

 

 

 

 

 

When My Mother Was Young

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This isn’t a photo of my mother – it’s DeAnna Pellecchia from Paula’s company – but it is one of her dreams. Though never on the stage, she had a stage name. Paula Warren. Yes, it’s funny and that isn’t the only thing that she and Paula shared – Paula picked that name too – they shared a love of fabric and movement, placement of all things bright and beautiful. When something new would come into my life that my mother liked, she would say, “I bet Paula picked that out.”

Even though life with my mother wasn’t easy, she was fascinating and she enjoyed being difficult. I liked that about her and wrote this poem imagining a relationship with her that was less separate than the one we actually had. When in doubt, make it up!

No Dust In Her Eyes

Mother, I remember the sweet red smell of your Dentyne
As I sat in the backseat of the Roadster. You are always
In front of me, your hair flap-flying back from your face,
Cherry red lips and teeth so white clench an extendable gold
Cigarette holder. Smell of leather, gas and your Arpege, the wind
Whipping sitting up or quiet down along the seat. The fields swell before us,
The road snakes miles before a cross comes where you
Honk a warning and hope someone will see your dust.

Eli is just yawning

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distance, when there are no words to fill the space, no time-lapse to give my heart some heat, is cold distance where the eyes are closed to the sound of love, where the mind hurtles into space free falling. love is distant. love is space. no heat in my heart.


This photograph of Eli yawning looks threatening to me. I’m not the only photographer who takes advantage of a thing looking like a thing but it isn’t.
I used the photo and wrote the text which made the wordle in this time of loving our daughter and not being able to do much. In my heart I think I know who she is and that she’ll come around, but looking at what is happening is scary and I am deeply affected.
Things like Wordle help a lot. So do friends and all the love there is – which is a lot.
I am love, love is what there is, and I know that’s the truth and the truth will out.

Paths To Freedom

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What does it take to “let freedom ring?”
Sometimes it’s a look around, noticing the yellowed wallpaper
Testing the windows to see if they open
Running our hand along the top or bottom
Listening for the hiss of a leak or the silence of a buildup.

Not really talking about your house. Talking about your bone, skin, blood and muscle house. In speaking with clients week after week – and with myself – I’m making a list.
And checking it more than once.

The list takes courage. Not a “certain” courage, not a little courage,
A Lot of courage. In the annals of courage there are a lot of small entries.
Times when something tiny wasn’t overlooked. Times when a weak voice was listened to. A small finger in a small hole saved a city. A small heart beats with the biggest.

I took this photograph of the sun setting. It looks fairly dramatic. It was just the sun setting as it does every day. Something not to be overlooked. It is a path.
Counting the days is not a path, noticing each day is a path.
Watching for something to happen is not a path. Watching what is happening is a path.

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Remember This

Theodore Roethke

In a dark time, the eye begins to see,
I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;
I hear my echo in the echoing wood–
A lord of nature weeping to a tree,
I live between the heron and the wren,
Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den.
What’s madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstance? The day’s on fire!
I know the purity of pure despair,
My shadow pinned against a sweating wall,
That place among the rocks–is it a cave,
Or winding path? The edge is what I have.
A steady storm of correspondences!
A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon,
And in broad day the midnight come again!
A man goes far to find out what he is–
Death of the self in a long, tearless night,
All natural shapes blazing unnatural light.
Dark,dark my light, and darker my desire.
My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly,
Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?
A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.
The mind enters itself, and God the mind,
And one is One, free in the tearing wind.

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