As soon as the U.S. Post Office reopens tomorrow morning, I am heading over with an armload of Woolgathering's second issue: Summer 2017. I'm really excited to send it to the readers--especially since this issue has two new collaborators: Peg Lentz and Mary Fontana. An Aurora, IL native, Peg Lentz is a Spiritual Director, Soul Collage Leader, long term Siloam/Spring Bird pilgrim, poet, and (lucky for me) my Mom. Armed with her PhD in Biology, Mary Fontana works to cure diseases, mothers two lovely boys in Seattle, and writes whenever she can.
Especially after settling into the holiday weekend, it really feels like Summer is here, and I'm reminded about the fun that this season brings: swimming, campfires, cookouts, and vacations. Be safe everyone and enjoy the upcoming months!
PS for more information regarding Woolgathering--click: here
As I have written in the Spring issue of Woolgathering, we are new to livestock management and are learning as we go. Unfortunately we have lost three drakes to predators. One of these attacks was caught in action by my son, Abraham. The other two have been more ambiguous. We are unsure if it is another bird, raccoon, fox, or coyote.
I think a lot about the living conditions we provide for our animals knowing that we are surely making mistakes. I really hope they have a good life while here, and feel so sad about losing these last two drakes in recent weeks. Some animal or bird has developed a taste for our ducks and knows where to find them
I wrote a quick poem yesterday evening in response to the most recent loss which happened sometime during the day yesterday.
You were snatched
during the day, no less.
Could have been
a bird that preys
or a fox that digs.
You left a trail of feathers,
us only to guess.
RIP Spring Bird Drakes!
PS There is still time to subscribe to Woolgathering. Summer will be mailed soon along with tote bags. Click here for more information!!!
You are here is the answer to every existential question, or maybe it's the statement that leads to the question in the first place. Either way, the fact remains--you are here. I came across those words carved into a board that was mounted to a stump. The sign sat at the edge of a path at Siloam (previous incarnation of Spring Bird). I imagine that David, Siloam's sign maker and previous owner, had placed this prompt as a reminder to each visitor to pay attention, to look around, to be here--now. The sign is also a designation for that place--a transformer of space to place. Where are you in the woods? on the map? You are here! An anonymous location becomes a destination because you are here.
I treasure David's wit so much that I stole his words for Woolgathering's tote bag. Now, the you are here sign moves with through space constantly reminding you to look around and to gather bits of wool while you are at it. I'm hoping it will spawn many mini-existential questions for those who glimpse it --or at least a chuckle or two.
Speaking of Woolgathering (shameless self-promotion warning), there is still time to sign-up for the remaining issues. Summer was just sent to the printers. I will be mailing it and the tote bags at the end of May! So, thank you to all of you who are already subscribers. Please spread the word if you know anyone who might be interested. I'm happy to send out Spring's edition, too, for the curious!
Enjoy the beautiful, warm day because you know what? You are here.
For more information for Woolgathering click here.
Back in January, I noticed a lump on my collarbone accompanied by some mild pain in my shoulder. My doctor ordered x-rays, and everything was fine. Still, the pain did not go away. So, she recommended that I see a physical therapist who has since diagnosed a repetitive injury that caused my collarbone to protrude forward. It turns out that those winter months of wielding a pair of loppers clearing honeysuckle for the nuttery caused me damage as well. Like I said, the pain was mild. I could live with it right? But, I didn't want to cause any further damage to my shoulder that would ultimately limit the use of my arm.
So as my physical therapist cradled my arm in hers gently moving it side-to-side, feeling the joint, and determining the muscle loss, I realize how I have compensated for the pain--how I have twisted my shoulder forward, limited its use, how it wakes me up in pain every night, and how I've accepted this until now as a manageable state. This contortion has happened over mere months, and I suspect it will take as long if not longer to heal and retrain my body.
Anyway, this experience has been a revelation in making me wonder what other areas both physical and emotional that I am pushing aside and ignoring. How else am I twisting and contorting away from the pain only to cause more? All of this rehab has left me feeling both empowered to encounter the wounds and longing for physical comforts as a means to recuperate. I want to swaddle myself in funny movies, hand-sewing, coffee on the patio, a cozy blanket, homemade bread, a nap, my cats. . . you get the idea. I can't explain it, but I'm sensing it is time to heal--to stop the wound circus that is happening in our world, the constant assaults, the buried pain. It's seems impossible to make change--be change--if not operating out of some sort of wholeness. I guess a wounded shoulder is a good a place to start as any. . .
Anyone else feeling this way?
On a Saturday of unceasing rain, our cats curled up together for warmth. They took turns grooming and snuggling each other for hours. Yesterday, during another rainy, damp day, I hosted the first meeting of writers at Spring Bird's cottage. We cozied around a table taking care of one another: cooking and offering food, clearing away dishes, pouring coffee etc. We talked and talked and talked ---some of it even about writing. One certitude surfaced among all of the whirling mysteries, uncertainties, creative upheavals, trials and tribulations of all shapes and sizes. We need afternoons like this where we can listen, offer advice, and be supportive of one another--especially since we are all creative women. I feel so lucky as a high introvert, hermit woman to have people in my life--near and far that can listen to my broken record with patience and insight. We can find comfort in one another's encouragement and advocacy.
So this artist to artist support made me think of about Rainer Maria Rilke's long distance mentorship to his writer friend Franz Xaver Kappus. One of Rilke's messages to Kappus was that ultimately, we are creating alone:
"For the creative artist must be a world of his own and must find everything within himself and in nature, to which
he has betrothed himself."
"It is through aloneness that you will find all your paths. All my wishes are prepared to accompany you, and so will my trust in you."
And while we are creating alone, we must embrace the entirety of ourselves, our circumstances, and our emotions. Most of all, we must be patient with your process. (I need that reminder tattooed to my hand). I wish to share with my friends Rilke's perspective since he made an appearance in our group yesterday. Maybe he would say this to us:
"You must not be frightened, dear Mr. Kappus, when a sadness arises within you of such magnitude as you have never experienced, or when a restlessness overshadows all you do, like light and the shadow of clouds gliding over your hand. You must believe that something is happening to you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand. It shall not let you fall.
Why should you want to exclude any anxiety, and grief, any melancholy from your life, since you do not know why it is that these conditions are accomplishing in you? Why do you want to persecute yourself with the question of where everything comes from and where it is headed? You do know that you are in a period of transition and wish for nothing as much as to transform yourself. If some aspect of your life is not well, then consider the illness to be the means for an organism to free itself from something foreign to it. In that case you must help it to be ill and to have its whole illness, to let it break out. That is the course of its progress.
So much is happening within you at present, dear Mr. Kappus. You need to be as patient someone ill and as optimistic as one recuperating, for perhaps you are both. And more: You are also the physician who must watch over yourself. But in the course of every illness there are many days in which the physician can do nothing but wait. And that, above all, to the extent that you are your physician, you must do now."
-----From Letters To a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke and translated by Joan M. Burnham
Anna Lentz, artist, writer, and creativity coach who blogs about making a creative life connected with nature at Spring Bird.