spring equinox

i have been in the woods for five days now. i started this writing retreat with the new moon, and now, tonight, it’s the spring equinox.

and i love the moon. i love that my body moves in cycle with the moon, and how it’s one of the ways i know that nothing lasts forever and everything repeats…that knowing gives me peace.

i have several people in my life who are touching failure. i am with them, eating ice cream even though, even though, even though…oh but i love the lessons that come from failure. they take time, they expose to me where i, where we, still get the gift of learning.

writing a book is such a beautiful and daunting endeavor. they simmer, they touch everything, and they change the writer. to be less vague i am here writing this book on pleasure and it is changing me. i am in the phase where every day i’m like “i can’t do this i know nothing.” and i love the humility that comes from doubt.

i love holding on long after it makes sense. the best people in my life, i have held onto them in spite of logic, socialization and distance. composted, seeded, and something new is possible again.

i love the way i go mermaid dolphin whalerider creature in the water. how do i ever forget that i love this feeling? how can i never forget this again? how can i stay open to this just being good right now without feeling future regret?

i am happiest when i am writing. it’s the truth.

i love having living values – even if it’s small moves, they matter to me. i landed on this island and figured out how to recycle, compost, swim, talk with my nibblings and find local produce.

i love that i can feel pleasure in my bones. and that my pleasure comes directly from feeling connected – to my own body, to my life, to my lover, to my woes, to my nibblings, to this miraculous world.

and now, in spite of everything that hurts and that makes us want to freeze it all…it is spring.

in spite of the snow and rain, it is spring.

in spite of the bombs and assassinations and corruption and disappointment and lies…it is spring.

we grieve. even in spring the predators eat and the greedy reach for our lives.

and yet there is beauty here, and beauty coming. new life is beginning to seek the sun from deep down in the darkness. it is a devastating world loves, but we are miraculous, we are plants and pounding hearts, we are wired for pleasure and we, you and i, we are shapers in the springtime.

napowrimo poem 13: that springness

write a poem that contains at least one kenning. Kennings were metaphorical phrases developed in Nordic sagas. At their simplest, they generally consist of two nouns joined together, which imaginatively describe or name a third thing. The phrase “whale road,” for example, could be used instead of “sea” or “ocean,” and “sky candle” could be used for “sun.”

in the motor city crisis zone
a glacial age falls finally away
and in that gorgeous absence
we let the firefly season lift us up
we glorify the sun
which will give us every single thing
and then hold us with reckless wonder
until the first snow

Home is Here (repost of Autumn Brown)

(i wanted to share this gorgeous post with you all. as most of you know i spend a week of each month with my sister and her growing family in rural minnesota. here, autumn brown offers a glimpse into the living, rooting, healing and learning happening there.)

Hello good people!

And welcome spring! Maybe you noticed: it’s been awhile since I’ve sent a newsletter. For those of you who follow my writing, I apologize for the long delay. The last seven months I have been in a sort of hibernation, learning the ropes and loving the challenge of my still-quite-new job leading a young non-profit; stoking the fire in the wood burning furnace that heated my new home in the woods all winter long; and growing a new child (Mairead Irene was born on January 19th, at home in a tub, assisted by my sister, my midwife, my husband, and my mother). I was inwardly focused on growth and expansion, and I gave myself the space to fall inward, without commentary.

And as the winter wore on, I felt that my emotional well being was quite literally tested by the weather. Several snows came during the month of April; and yes, that is strange even for Minnesota. I began to have an actual, quite irrational fear that spring would never come.

And then it arrived. Yesterday I walked barefoot between long dead leaves, new grass, and sponges of melting snow, learning the outdoor landscape of my new home, a place I have never been in the spring. We are discovering that our house is surrounded by a carpet of tulips and crocuses that are just beginning to peek through the dirt. We planted our first trees: White spruce, scotch pine, and chokeberry. Mairead had her first taste of full sun, and loved it. Siobhan and Finn ran around naked, covering themselves in mud, and working hard with their father and grandfather to hang a bat box in the tree near our pond to attract mosquito eaters. We are preparing our garden, eager to get our seedlings into the ground: they grow taller every day and begin to smell like tomatoes and peppers.

Today I have that absolute sense of rebirth that I can only credit to having spent a winter so close to the land, and at the mercy of the physical climate. Surrounded by the silence of snow and dormant life, now the sounds of life return to our woods, and I truly feel them to be ours.

So I write to you now from a place of joyful understanding. I can feel myself in the balance, and always this is my experience after giving birth (I can really say “always” now, since it has been true three times). After giving birth, I become keenly aware of my own death and the future deaths of everyone I love, but I am less and less cowed by it. Death is just what is, in the same way that life is just what is. Life is painful and immeasurably sad, and then it is pleasure, release, the taste of boundlessness. Life is fear and not knowing, and then it is sudden immediate knowing. Life is hard. And then it’s not.

What I am feeling now can only be expressed as gratitude, though there is something deeper too. Something this army brat has only ever felt hints of before, but is coming closer each day to knowing: an actual place called home. Home for me has always been migrating. Home is where my family is, or home is where I’ve lived the longest. But for home to be an actual place, a piece of land with it’s own memory – that is a kind of magic I have never experienced. So here it is. My home, all around me. Home is here.