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Showing posts from May, 2010

Small Stuff (A Cross-Posting from Quaker Pagan Reflections)

For quite a while now, I've had a growing concern about plastic and its impact on the environment.

Pagans, of course, theoretically worship the earth, the land, and the cycles of nature. And not only do many Quaker meetings maintain an environmental witness, but Quakers have long been enjoined to "examine our possessions for the seeds of war."

What if we examined, all of us, our possessions for the seeds of a different kind of war, the war our species is waging on our planet's health? What if we thought for any length of time about the true costs of the lives we live, and the conveniences we feel entitled to?

This thought has been returning and returning and returning to me, in waves that leave me rather breathless. I'm starting to think of these waves of pain--sometimes pretty intense pain--as a kind of labor. I'm starting to think of this kind of pain as the difference between having a concern, and laboring with one. It feels an awful lot like needing to …

Small Stuff

For quite a while now, I've had a growing concern about plastic and its impact on the environment.

Pagans, of course, theoretically worship the earth, the land, and the cycles of nature. And not only do many Quaker meetings maintain an environmental witness, but Quakers have long been enjoined to "examine our possessions for the seeds of war."

What if we examined, all of us, our possessions for the seeds of a different kind of war, the war our species is waging on our planet's health? What if we thought for any length of time about the true costs of the lives we live, and the conveniences we feel entitled to?

This thought has been returning and returning and returning to me, in waves that leave me rather breathless. I'm starting to think of these waves of pain--sometimes pretty intense pain--as a kind of labor. I'm starting to think of this kind of pain as the difference between having a concern, and laboring with one. It feels an awful lot like needing …

Unweaving

A good and modest man is dead, and I am sad. Last night, my friend Alexei Kondratiev died. He was only sixty-one.

I found out online, at The Wild Hunt, the Pagan news blog, and my mind has been throwing these momentary blanks in the hours since I read the news; I'll be puttering along, minding my business, when I'll find myself wondering, Why do I feel so heavy, so sad? And then I remember: Alexei died last night.

We weren't particularly close. I honestly do not remember the last time I saw him. But he was one of a circle of men and women I call my friend, and my sense of him is not abstract, but is mixed together with memories of a Beltane when it was too humid and too rainy outside to want to picnic, or of another, later day in May when the sun beat down like swords on bucklers, and I crouched beneath a tarp, listening to him tell us stories.

I remember Alexei over breakfasts and late night snacks, I remember Alexei and Len sitting at the next table over from me at Pag…

The Simplicity of Rest

Last night, stumblingly tired after a full day of teaching on top of a weekend away at a Quaker retreat, I turned the heat on on the wrong burner of the stove. A few minutes later, picking up a pot lid I thought was cool, I gave myself a second degree burn on the fingers of my right hand.

Burns being what burns are, the pain increased throughout the evening, and by bedtime, I could not keep my hand out of a bowl of water for more than a few minutes without the pain being too loud for me to sleep. And sleeping with my hand inside a bowl of water... that wasn't too easy to arrange, either. By midnight, I acceded to the inevitable: a night without sleep. I got up and toyed with the computer, keeping my burn cool and quiet until, at last, around three, I was able to sleep.

At five in the morning, I called the sub dispatcher for my school, wrote up my sub plan, and emailed it in to work.

My whole job today has been to make up for a weekend of too-little sleep, and a single night essent…

The Smell of Forests

It is unseasonably hot today, and humid. More like late June than early May. And I have realized that it is the sugar maple that says "summer" to me. Now that the familiar shapes of sugar maples have taken back their female roundedness on the hillsides and edges of fields, my heart says it is summer. Even when the mercury drops again--as it surely will, as it always does in early May--I will be in summer now.

It is Beltane, and the woods are awake and full of life.

Walking in the woods today was like nothing so much as making love. Never mind the tracks and sounds and movements of animals, or the many small flowers on the forest floor, the smells of the woods were sensuously overwhelming. I kept opening my lungs as deep as I could, breathing in the scent of May woodland the way one can breathe in the scent of one's beloved.

It made me remember the weekend, when Peter and I were in the first, utterly-stoned-on-love stage of our relationship, when we stayed at Temenos t…