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The Times once sent out an inquiry to famous authors, asking the question, “What’s wrong with the world today?” and Chesterton responded simply, “Dear Sir, I am. Yours, G.K. Chesterton.”* I know yo…

Source: An Answer, To Start With

Change Over

We approach mid-summer.  Time of Shakespearean “Dreams”, Lammas or first harvest.  Change over at camp.  And, in Iowa, the realization that “fall” activities will soon start.

First Harvest

Vegetables abound this time of year.

But for now, we revel in long days, towering cumulus clouds, fair breezes, and a sense of plenty.

Mid summer – the half way point between spring and autumn.  Day light has shortened but still lingers.  Shakespeare’s comedy “Midsummer Night’s Dream”  begins with moon references.  How appropriate since July’s new moon will have just passed and August 1st will see a waxing crescent moon.

“THESEUS

“Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
Draws on apace; four happy days bring in
Another moon: but, O, methinks, how slow
This old moon wanes! she lingers my desires,
Like to a step-dame or a dowager
Long withering out a young man revenue.

“HIPPOLYTA

“Four days will quickly steep themselves in night;
Four nights will quickly dream away the time;
And then the moon, like to a silver bow
New-bent in heaven, shall behold the night
Of our solemnities.”

Lammas or “loaf-mass” among Anglo-Saxons or First Harvest still rings true today.  All over the northern hemisphere gardeners are harvesting crops.  Nature’s natural bounty keeps pace with wild strawberries, black and red raspberries, cherries and the developing blackberries and apples.  Plentiful wild weeds beckon the Euell Gibbons in some.

“Change Over” at camp meant a new group of “4-weekers” coming in for the last half of camp. Usually we then enjoyed a week to ten days between end of camp and start of school, quite sensibly after Labor Day.  Energy was high with the influx of new faces, songs continued to be raucous and playful.  Then, suddenly the songs changed becoming ever more melancholy as camp wound down for the season. “There’s a web like a spider’s web, Made of sill and light and shadow, Spun by the moon in my room at night. It’s a web made to catch a dream, Hold it tight ’til I awaken, As if to tell me that dreamin’s all right.” And “Dona Nobis Pacem.” And tears. Oh, my.  Campers, counselors alike wept when we left.  Even gruff ‘ole Toxie Nissan, the director, had been known to occasionally wipe away a tear.

August – hardly a time to begin “fall” but that is what happens these days.  And, in our frenetic pace, nostalgia is scarcely acknowledged. The passing of warm days, once lazy days, staying up late to take in meteor showers or take cover in thunder showers. Time of cicadas and katy-dids that call long into the night.

Sometimes, we do pause and acknowledge that the year is more than half gone and that a new cycle of work, school, harvest itself is before us. Still hopeful for accomplishing our summer dreams, we push on.  After all, State Fair has yet to come, so it must still be summer.

This year at Mid-summer, Lammas, Change-over Kathy Davis and I plan a labyrinth walk and First Harvest celebration.  More to come on that.  But save out August First in the evening.  Join us in person or virtually and toast this year’s Change-over.

 

View

What Jane and David see from their living areas.

Jane and David White moved from Tibbetts Hill Road in Goffstown to an equally beautiful setting in New London, NH.  The drive up from Goffstown was quick and pleasing – forests, ponds and rising foothills of the White Mountains.  Up near where Dad grew up.  Jane and I visited, she gratefully received Reiki, which we continued for a number of months after by distance, we drove to Lake Sunapee for lunch and took in a labyrinth.

After this October 2012 visit, we worked by distance, did distance Reiki, exchanged notes, emails and calls.  But this was the last time I saw Jane.  I knew from the increased time between communications that she was less and less able to make the effort.  Friends in the area came in to assist. David was stalwart in his support.  Jane always optimistic about her condition.

I am grateful that in August 2010 I listened to the voice within that said to make plans to go East before we went to Alaska.  Usually I would have waited until after a long trip like the OWAA Alaska one, but one day something said, “Make reservations now.”  So, I did.  Visiting around with family and high school and long-time neighbor friends that October was wonderful.  The time with Jane priceless.  So, I was surprised and a bit hurt, well more than a bit, that I didn’t know within that Jane died until David sent an email on the afternoon that she died.  And, how thoughtful was that!   Here he was in the aftermath of her illness and death and chose to contact me.

After I sat with the knowledge and the emptiness of her death, a still small voice reminded me that I had done what I was supposed to do two years ago.  By responding to the command to go East in 2010, by offering Reiki, by sharing Mary Swander’s book, by staying in touch regardless, by receiving her initiated call a few months ago, I played my role.

New London Labyrinth

A lovely labyrinth well sited, constructed of native New England rocks.

This I knew inside.  All last fall I thought, “I should go East” but the weather, commitments….so it never happened. Same as this spring.  I guess I really knew.  Just as I really knew the moment we first did Reiki, “she is dying.” That I held close and allowed her to process each time.

Other meaningful moments have been walking the labyrinths at New London, NH, as Jane watched from the car, and in Minneapolis, MN, at the Minnesota College and Art and Design. The White’s son, Thomas, attended here before he died so Jane was always interested in this labyrinth.

Well, I seem to just be matter-of-fact in writing when feeling something deeply.  ALS  is a stinky degenerative disease, brought more to light with Mitch Albom‘s book, Tuesdays With Morrie.

OK, this is enough.  Rest well Jane and David.  We’ll be in touch.  It’s been an honor to have known you, Jane. David, when I am “East” again, I’ll let you know.  We’ll talk as you wish.  Meanwhile, labyrinths are calling so blessings I’ll send to all.

*Lyrics from a John Denver song.

MCAD_ViewUpSide

View into the sky with The Ramada reflecting the pattern of the labyrinth below.

Frog Camp 2014

Plastic Man meets Frog

Theme of the week with Super Heroes.

Well, Jane Shuttleworth and I along with her three trusty interns are rocking things at Lakeside Laboratory on West Okoboji Lake.  We’ve had spectacular weather and even were blessed with a wonderful double rainbow tonight after a moderate T-storm moved through.

The eighteen “froggers” from ages nine to about 13 are fun, intelligent and  basically well-mannered.  They can get a bit much, but they reel in well.

We’ve studied the science of amphibians, collected samples in two wetlands and along Gull Point. Leeches.  How charming. (What is the “point”? asked one girl.  “This is The Point –  Gull Point!” replied Jane. And, they both laughed as they scooped up “vegetarian” leeches for the evening presentation.)  Poor Lonely Luke got nailed by a non-vegetarian leech intent on sucking his blood!  Arrrggghhhh!

Canoeing to the eagle nest.

The adult eagle let us paddle by as it guarded the nest.

An eagle nest with adult guarding the eaglets.  Swimmers’ itch with the nasty flat worms. High Road.  Middle Road.  Lake Road. (all trails to and from the classroom and mess hall)  Land snails and water snails.  Overview of a wetland.  Reconstructing wetlands.  Useless stories, Spoonerisms, and silly songs compliments of “Ms. Patt.”  Games and slack lines.  I even explained to people about Dean Potter a renowned slack liner from New Boston, NH, one of my “hometowns.”  I have included a video of him crossing at Yosemite.  The children are particularly good at slack line and after two days began to take numerous steps on their own.  Ninja, clover chains, and juggle sticks divert our attention at lunch. Then, back to studying amphibians and the “so what” of wetlands.

Saturday Jane alerted me to a drum circle so I screwed up the courage and attended.  What fun!  Now to find a group in CR area that I feel comfortable with.

Drum

My first drum circle

Sunday night was the fund raiser for Lakeside Labs. Watching Jane circulate was interesting.  She really does appreciate the contributions from the people in the area.  And, people seem to appreciate her.

Monday evening she and I met to brainstorm and I did some Reiki on her which was pleasant for both of us.  Tuesday I joined the Shuttleworths for a wonderful Cod dinner that Hank prepared.  Wednesday was a long but good day with activities, practice for the Wild Wednesday presentations, and then the evening presentations which went really well.   Parents were excited, kids energized and confident.  How fun!

I have put FB one-minute videos up with Splice to show the activities and enthusiasm and knowledge of the children.  So, now we approach the last day which the interns have taken charge of.  The week has been great and again, I am a bridge between people.  Just like this rainbow.

Rainbow over Okoboji

After the rain.

 

Into Your Soul

The trash of our lives can become the rich compost of a bright future.

The trash of our lives can become the rich compost of a bright future.

You let me see into your soul and hear your deepest hurts.

*  “I’ve done horrible things.”

*  “I am not enough.”

*  “I am alone facing eye surgery…again.”

*  “I never finished anything.”

*  “I was assaulted.”

*  “Kids need a good home.”

*  “I was downsized. How do I get a job?”

*  “I was abandoned as a kid.”

*  “My son died in a car accident.”

*  “We moved a dozen times before I was eight.”

As you shared your deepest fears, the reason you “cannot write” about yourself becomes clear.  Your pain is deep.

“I cannot write,” you insist.  Yet, your short reflections that I insist you do before you leave for the day and leave on the desk for me to read and respond to, are well composed. Poignant.  Honest. Sometimes hopeful.

“I’m not enough,” you lament in tears. Yet, how you support each other every day with accountability, a compliment, a quiet word, a respectful discussion of opinions on parts of a sentence reveals your compassion, connection and resiliency.

So, here is the deal, readers. Part of this remarkable program Kirkwood Pathways to Academic, Career and Educational Excellence (KPACE) in which I teach needs one more component.  We can work with the adult students in academics, get professional clothes for their interviews and connect them with the business community.  All of these important pieces to help the disenfranchised and wounded re-enter our society.

Now, we need the critical piece of “How to Let Go of the Parts Holding Me Back.”

Have the participants done dopey things?  Certainly.  (Who hasn’t?) They recognize that the old path serves them poorly.  It always has, but at least was familiar.  They seek a different path.  How do they navigate it?  Without guides, falling back to the familiar negative lifestyle is a tempting option.  Because change ain’t easy.  Oh, some will move through all this.  Think of how many more we can help move into their true self and contribute to our world positively. Think of how many more we can help break the cycle of poverty and abuse.  Think of how much happier and productive we could all be. Less welfare.  Less abuse.  Less poverty. Less low self esteem.  And, more of the I AM WORTHY and will help you along, too.

These men and women from ages 18 through 70 are courageous. I am honored to work with them.  (Even in times I want to “whop” them upside the head.)  So, I put to the Universe please guide me in what is mine to know, what is mine to do. Above all, how is mine to be?

 

When Feather Hunting I walk with measured tread and look with soft eyes.  Perhaps a good metaphor for life.  When we rush, we can miss a lot.  But, a purposeless meander can also yield little. Although the serendipity of “purposeless” can be delightful, so I rarely rule that one out.  Too, the painful “one-foot in front of the other” (Sorry FUN) can make life’s journey pretty dull.

So, what is the balance? For me “balance” is fluid.  Not static like a perfectly aligned scale, but a gentle rhythm back and forth.  My practice field is Faulkes Woods scouting deer sheds  or on the steep and perilous north slopes above the Creek in search of fallen feathers.  Usually the hunt yields a handful – primary and secondary flying feathers, occasional tail feathers, and rarely the small under feathers.  Gazing with soft eyes I note changes in the woods’ floor patterns.

Then, when I am done, I pick up the pace and stride out, ready to be home.

walk with soft eyes

walk with soft eyes

Heart of Sedona

Sometimes serendipity happens!  Wednesday while removing dead stalks from the labyrinth, I noticed a car had pulled in. Out stepped a friend with a gift from her trip to Sedona.  The story:  I had asked her, only partly in jest, to bring me a rock for the labyrinth like she did last year.  While not specifying what type, I really hoped for one that called to her on “a trail.”  During a walk with people she knew there, she stopped and said, “It’s all about the Love.”  Friends said, “Look between your feet.”  There was a small heart-shaped red Sedona rock.  Bingo!  So, she had a local artisan craft silver wire around it, tied it with a chartreuse ribbon and brought it to hang in the magnolia tree!  How fun is that!  Very sweet and now the Laughing Labyrinth is tidied up for the season and the plants already showing through  the burn we did.  Birds checking out the tree, the bird bath, the bugs to eat.  Sweet songs and lovely sunshine.

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