i’ve got that new virus – you know the one they named “heartbleed”
i’ll bet you’ve got it too,
especially if you’re a teacher
or a counselor – or studying to be one
or involved in pastoral care
or a health care worker
or a parent
or a spouse
or a child
or a sibling
or a friend
i think i know how to contain this virus
once and for all.
stop working with people
actually, more than that,
stop loving people
sorry, no can do
this is a picture of myself today:
i’m curled up in my chair
ear buds tuned to the radio to take my mind off the ache in my head
a velvetty afghan is stretched from my toes to my nose
and my cat is lying horizontally across my chest as though daring me to move
my eyes are closed
i should go back to bed
i just called in sick to work
it really would be okay to go back to bed
but then i would have to get the cat to move…..
I am reading Wild Comfort by Kathleen Dean Moore, a book to savor slowly.
I’m in the middle of this collection of essays and the last paragraph of one titled “Overnight Fog in the Valley” is speaking to me this week:
“As we descend into the fog, we feel our way, step by step. I don’t know any other way to move through darkness, but to put one foot ahead of the other and listen for the exact sound of our footsteps. If we have to drop to our knees sometimes and press the palms of our hands against the duff and damp of the earth, then that is what we will do.”
My most favorite essay so far begins on the following page titled “Winter Prayer.” You’ll have to read the whole thing, the imagery is beautiful.
She paused on the trail and slung her backpack to the ground. How could a water bottle and gorp become so heavy? It was a glorious day, the trail was fairly easy at this point, but she wasn’t sure she was at all prepared for this hike. Friends had goaded her into this adventure. She looked ahead to where they were just rounding the next corner. Better not pause long or she would never catch up.
An older woman was coming up from below her. Silver hair braided down her back, her hand gripping a knotted walking stick with leather, colorful cords and bells that waved and jangled with every step. The crone looked ancient and yet her step was light and sure on the trail.
“Maybe I should just pause a little longer and let her pass,” she thought to herself. The woman came close and stopped next to her. “You were thinking you should let me pass because you’re feeling a bit winded,” said the woman. “I’ll wait until you’re ready to walk on, and then we’ll walk together. Let me tie some bells to your pack.”
It really was the perfect day for a hike. The views were spectacular, especially in those places where the trail was most difficult.
And the company of the wise woman made all the difference in the world.
“Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.” Proverbs 4: 6,7,12
Today every classroom except ours went to a play. My preschoolers had the building to themselves for 2 hours. We played on the playground for a full 30 minutes; we had a scavenger hunt that took us though every hallway, in and out of the gym and main offices. We even screamed loudly in the tunnel like entrance to our Pod.
What would your class like to do in school if they had it to themselves?
revelations from a walk on the first day of the year
I remember going to a birthday party for a child some years ago and as the child was enjoying the party and family, their parents were moving around with cameras attached to their noses. It bothered me but I wasn’t able to figure out what to say about it. But now I do.
Last week my niece, Phoebe, invited me on night walk with her classmates. It was beautiful. Each of the first and second graders carried a handmade paper maché lantern and sang a song as they walked on a path through a local park. The winding trail of candle lit globes was fairy-like and a photo of it all would have been lovely.
But Phoebe’s school discourages photography at their events and I have come to cherish this philosophy. What is a more powerful memory for a child – the photo in the album or the experience of a story told to loving listeners over and over again?
My answer to those with camera-noses is this – be there to witness life, and tell the stories.
My parents are weeding through their mementos, and while I occasionally take home some of the “stuff,” it is more important to me that I hear the stories, and retell them.
Headed home from a visit to Seattle, I pull into the rest stop and notice a family posing in the hollowed out portion of the giant cedar stump enshrined there. How I take that sight for granted! How amazing it must appear to someone who has never seen such proportions before!
Back on the freeway and heading north, I look to the left and right, trying to imagine seeing this countryside for the first time. Small hills rise abruptly from the flat farm land like the backs of humongous tortoises. Bits of my college geology course come back to me reminding me these humps of green were formed both in the advance and recession of glaciers in a past ice age.
The Cascade Range appears in the distance, a toothy jaw of snow-capped peaks rimming the yawning sky above. The white and wind-blown top of Mt. Baker plays hide and seek as I drive, sunset tinting it orange as evening descends into the winding valleys that narrow the road and slow my speed.
Finally emerging from shadows, I look to the west and the town I call home. The bay stretches before me; the last of the sun’s rays glint on the water, layers and layers of islands in shades of gray stretch north to south, from near to far, and farther away.
A place so dear and familiar yes, but still so much I have yet to explore.