Maybe it's the late landing of spring, the convergence of personal history and life lessons, or just chaos and good timing, but I've been tripping into unexpected graces lately, small or big moments that surprise me with such joy, connection, beauty, even something akin to healing. On our trip to Brooklyn, New York City, and New Jersey -- aka the mothership for me -- grace abounded, often like a slip of paper or wings at the edge of vision. The moment we emerged at a new subway stop for us in Brooklyn, staring blankly at the sun after eight hours [...] Read More
There I was, looking for the rising moon and wondering why it hadn't yet shown itself. Maybe it was too early for moonrise or prairie fires just to the north of Hwy. 35, which I was driving from Emporia to Lawrence, were hiding the ceiling of the sky. So I kept driving and looking, hoping for the moon to catch up with me. I was also simultaneously tired and exhilarated, in part because of the moon the night before keeping me up despite my "go-back-to-sleep-you-have-a-big-day-tomorrow" self-talk attempts. Even with the curtains of our bedroom closed, I could feel that big moon [...] Read More
The week began with news that blew me away: a beloved colleague, who was the rock and heart of the college where I work, died suddenly. Then the wind picked up to the tune of 50-plus mph gusts that shook the house around my shaken heart. The wind, part of a weather system called a bombogenesis, was so strong that I had to postpone a classroom visiting and reading in Hutchinson, Kansas, 200 miles from here, because it was too risky to drive without being blown off the road or into oncoming traffic. The grief my college community feels is [...] Read More
Tiny crocus from the backyard in a tiny vase Daylight Savings Time, beside being a kick that keeps kicking our sleeping patterns for a while, heralds a kind of lightening up, particularly if, like me, you're not an early riser. For those of us sleep-until-it's-been-light-for-awhile slackers, the time shift surprises us with more light at the end of the day, but I also experience this time of the year as a weight off my shoulders. Winter, which took up big-living residence in the house of time this year, is showing signs of packing some of her [...] Read More
I've been passionate about how the way we make livings speaks, argues with, or sings loud and proud through our lives. My first degree was in labor history because of how I was innately drawn to the often messy dilemma of work and life, and no surprise that over the years, I've returned to this question, especially when, decades ago, I stumbled across the Buddhist term "Right Livelihood." I just wrote a piece on this along with callings and some ways to follow the work we love into fruition, published this morning on Medium -- "Six Ways to Find the [...] Read More
A moment yesterday (big round thing is rain barrel we're repairing). Note approaching deer. As life has repeatedly, February is the longest month. Maybe it's the overwrought repetition of cold, ice, and snow after months of winter. Maybe it's the shy hints of spring to come -- often snow drops before they get snowed under, or days like Thursday, when Harriet and I walked unfettered by heavy coats andg ear in 55 degrees -- before the heavy hand of the winter storm warmings land again. Maybe it's more personal because this is the month when my [...] Read More
I am watching a happy squirrel make his way through the birdseed buffet I poured along our deck railing, his tail in full fluff as he bends to gingerly pick up another black oil sunflower seed. Meanwhile, the snow around the legs of the chair melts slowly, the dog snores, and the cat takes in the big-picture field and sky. It's an oasis moment in the middle of big picture days: stretches of long conversations with myself and others about how my work is evolving, where I feel led, and how I can discover more about the metaphoric wells in [...] Read More
Forest a few months ago with his Aunt Linda Eighteen years ago, we almost lost our youngest son Forest in a car accident involving black ice, three kids and me in a van, and the only spot on the road that led to a deep ditch. Our van plunged, flipped and spun around, ejecting five-year-old Forest through the broken window to land about ten feet away. He was unconscious, his jaw broken in multiple place, and his brain bleeding in three spots. But through superb and swift medical care (including being life-flighted to Children's Mercy Hospital [...] Read More
"I started early -- took my dog" begins an Emily Dickinson poem that speaks to Mary Oliver's generous life and poetry. She loved her dogs, getting outside early to wander for hours ("Tell me, what else should I have done?" she writes) and, along the way, inviting countless people to love poetry early, or at least earlier than never. Oliver's writing is a gateway drug to poetry, gently and fiercely cajoling would-be readers into the wilds of the shining earth and living poem. I can't remember when I first encountered Oliver's poetry, but I know this: it wasn't when I [...] Read More
A Mount St. Helens Vista When Ken and I went to Mount St. Helens with friends several years ago, I was dazzled by the patterned forests full of checkerboard green across green. Ken explained that this pattern, so unlike all other mountains of forests I've ever seen, was because all the trees were the same age, starting anew together after the volcano blasted all this land clear and bare. I'm a pattern-hunter, watching, tallying, and seeking to understand patterns that come through my life. This particularly appeals to me when happy things tumble together, like in [...] Read More
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