prayer for gentle earth

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: monsoon.

Today’s prompt of monsoon makes me think both of the fires burning all over, California, eastern Washington, and of the floods in other places.

I took this on a vacation, two days on Herron Island. In the morning we were relaxed on the porch when I spotted smoke on the other side of the cabin. A lot of smoke. My friend explained that sometimes people burn slash, including tires. I was unreassured and insisted on going to look.

It was a house burning down.

The firetrucks must come from the mainland by ferry.

It was terrifying. I took this within 5 minutes of getting there, within 10 minutes of seeing smoke. There were oxygen tanks, live ammunition and propane, exploding.

At first we didn’t know if there was anyone inside. It was clear that we were not getting to them and that they were gone. The only person home had escaped, with the help of a neighbor on the other side. The house burned to the ground very quickly. I had our things loaded back in the car as soon as it was clear that the island responders were waiting for the fire trucks. This house was across the street and one door down.

Prayers for the flooded and the fires. Prayers for us to care for the earth and the earth to be gentle with us.

 

 

the deer remind me

the deer remind me

the deer are not a metaphor
nor simile
they don’t mean anything
they are in town
because we don’t shoot them
outside the town limits
they are shy

here they cross at the crosswalks
and teach their young
about cars and trucks

the deer remind me

each time I see them
they have no voice
I remember
we think of bambi, gentle
and tragedy of a mother’s death

are deer gentle?
they are strong
fast, we are told hooves can kick
sharp and wound

I sing to deer
when I come across them
almost daily

they look at me
singing, watch me

the deer want to live
as I do too

the deer are not a metaphor
and yet they remind me
to be gentle
and that I am strong
and fleet
and can run when I have to

even when I do not have a voice

prayer for the gentle

Oh small gentle heart, small self, young one. May I listen to you, may I hold you close, may I let your innocent heart be open and joyful, may I not fear contact with others. May I let you open. May I open without fear or in spite of fear. May I be generous and kind. May I listen with you, oh gentle self, and may I hear the gentle self of others: the gentle self of a friend, of a loved one, of an acquaintance, of a stranger, and even of those who have hurt me. May I have no enemies. May my heart shine with your glory, oh small gentle heart, small self, young one. May I stay connected with you, open to you and open through you to the Beloved, to all beings and all things.

Blessings and thank you, Beloved.

 

For the weekly prompt: satisfaction.

 

Armour Suit III

My trial run for this vacation is swimming 400 yards. The swim is slow but fine. However, at 4:30 am I start having vertigo and throwing up. Have to cancel clinic. Lasts about 4 hours. Not reassuring for our Christmas plans.

My daughter has her wisdom teeth out on Monday before Christmas, so is instructed to not exercise heavily for five days. I got dry sockets and was sick as snot in college, but mine were much more impacted. She does fine, stops the hydrocodone in 24 hours, and drops to a 200mg ibuprofen three times a day by Christmas. On with the ski plans!

We head for a family resort on the east side. Up to to slopes on a hotel ski bus the first day, renting skis. For the first time ever, my goal is to ski gently. I have been skiing since age 9, but have not skied in five years and had two major bouts with strep A that affect my muscles. The second time my fast twitch muscles didn’t work for ten months. The first goal was to survive and the second is will I get my muscles back?

I rent downhill skis. Last time I skied telemark, but they don’t have any to rent, and anyhow, tele is harder. In college I had 190cm dead straight Heads for downhill, so now they rent me 163cm skis. We ride the lift up. 20 degrees at the top, an inch of new snow on groomed slopes and gorgeous. And… I can ski.

I am trying NOT to engage the armour suit. My massage person thinks that’s what made me sick swimming, reengaging it and just trashing my muscles. He’s right, I think. I just swam the way I always have, but slowly. My goal down the hill is NOT to fall into old patterns. I ski gently, let the skis do much of the work, carving swoopy turns. Every so often I get quickly and feel the suit kicking in and I back off. I drag my right pole for balance when I am tired.

My daughter asks for pointers on our third or fourth run. She has not skied for five years either. She is doing the work and I show her how to finish a turn using the curve of the ski. Finishing the turn lets her slow down, so she gets the swoopy feel in the turn but doesn’t lose control. On the lift we watch people. Nearly everyone drops their hands. Try turning your lower body with your arms dropped behind. Doesn’t work. Hands and shoulders down the hill and let the lower body do the turning….

I can ski! I ski with my toes lifted, not curled and gripping the ground. It changes my balance and I have to pay attention not to engage the suit. By 11 I want food and on the chair at 2 I am on my last run: I can feel the cold through my coat. We have a few more days, save energy. Also my right shin is informing me that I’ve bruised the crap out of it…

And the next day! Bruised shin, but more skiing, still gently. Now I have hope that I will get muscles back! Hooray for hope! Hooray for skiing toes up! Hooray for skiing without armour!

Veracity

V for veracity in the Blogging from A to Z challenge.

I am thinking about veracity and my father. Veracity is truth, faithfulness, accuracy, correctness.

I was frustrated about how someone was reacting to something and asked my father about it.

My father said, “Most people don’t want reality.”

“What do you mean?” I said.

“Most people work hard to avoid reality. They have a set of ideas and a world view and they get upset if something does not fit in it or if it is questioned.”

I have been thinking about a song that I learned as a kid. It falls into one of the “Dead Girl” songs, as my sister called them. I think of them as teaching songs. I am taking guitar lessons and my teacher says that he won’t sing those songs.

I will. I like the dark songs. And I am very ambivalent about this song:

There was a wee cooper wha lived in Fife,
Nickety, nackety, noo, noo, noo;
And he had married a gentle wife,
Hey, willy, wallacky, ho John Dougle
Alane, quo rushity roo, roo, roo.

She would na bake nor would she brew,
For spilin’ o’ her comely hue.

she would na caird nor would she spin,
For shamin’ o’ her gentle kin.

The cooper has gone to his wool pack,
And he’s laid a sheep’s skin on his wife’s back.

“I’ll no be shamin’ your gentle kin,
But I will skelp my ain sheepskin.”

“O I will bake and I will brew,
And think nae mair o’ my comely hue.”

“O I will wash and I will spin,
And think nae mair o’ my gentle kin.”

A’ ye what hae gotten a gentle wife,
Send ye for the wee cooper o’ Fife.

This is Child Ballad number 277 and has been recorded by Burl Ives and others.

Ambivalence. It’s a song about wife beating, I don’t approve. But it’s also a song about surviving. A cooper builds barrels. The job division was that the wife would bake and brew, card wool and spin. However, this wife is “gentle” as in gentleman, of “good birth” and rejects the work as beneath her. Does she expect to be served? In the stories of happily ever after, we are happy when the poor underdog poor person wins the love and admiration of the other person, but we don’t see what happens when they go home. In Disney movies, the girls are poor and win a prince. Or Aladdin becomes a prince.

Skelp is defined as “hit, beat, slap”. The song doesn’t say whether the cooper does beat the sheepskin tied to his wife’s back or only threatens to do so.

I love word play so I like the “alane, quo rushity roo, roo, roo.” Nonsense words delight me aside from the topic of the song and I like the tune.

I think that our culture has years of men dominating women and expecting women to obey. I dislike that intensely. At the same time, I don’t like it when people won’t contribute and when they avoid work, so I also have some sympathy for the wee cooper. And our culture spends too much time thinking “happily ever after”, trying to find just the right person. We do not enough time actually asking each other what “happily ever after” would look like. And anyhow, it doesn’t exist. For richer, for poorer, in sickness and health: that is the veracity. We all will have challenges and everyone will have illness and hopefully good times too.

I am thinking of the many people lost in the recent earthquake. Lost: killed suddenly. Enjoy each day and be kind to yourself and others. We never know when grief will strike.