Wednesday, June 22, 2011

In Transition: Part 2

June 16

A new journal is always a reminder of the newness of each day and the possibilities to come.

I put off writing again and surrendered my time and attention to celebrating Regina's birthday, immersing myself in a day of crafting, prayer, and sharing meals. I am sad that I keep putting off intentional contemplation but am grateful for and greatly enjoyed this time of connection and creativity...

June 18

Marie, Jerica, Josie and I spent the night in Maloy, Iowa. We left Chicago shortly after yesterday's Loyola class on energy...Our drive was filled with lovely chats and an exchange of unsound "scientific facts"--underwire bras cause cancer, every night you unconsciously eat 5 to 10 spiders...

The morning light is being crowded out by dark clouds. The occasional rumble of thunder, though, is not nearly enough to drown out the dissonant medley of songbirds and the occasional crow of the rooster.

There is such spaciousness here. It started before we came, inside. Half the WRCW was out of town and there was room for my being to spread. Breathing and being; cleaning and cooking in empty rooms or talking quietly or laughing loudly or crying just a little with women content in themselves. "May this interior space remain whatever happens outside me," I prayed. And, thanks be to God, what has happened outside me is an ever widening.

I watched the storm roll in, first from the window, then the porch. First alone, then with Brian, hardly talking. I watched Frankie and Betsy milk the goats and walked the garden with B when the rain had reduced from a rush to a trickle, sprinkling my clothes and hair, settling in between my toes. Yesterday, in the car, I started reading Holy the Firm, one of the Dillard books Ted gave me. It is the perfect accompaniment; transcendant and grounding, like the farm. The natural space reminds me that there is more to earth than human activity. Yet, whether or not present, whether or not aware, we touch it all, and we all are touched.

Dillard's many musings on God and days as gods--from reckless to helpless to cruel to doting--remind me of an OnBeing interview about nurturing that brought up the idea of God as parent and of parenthood as "excruciating loss of control and vulnerability," drowning in a sea of love that swims with pain, the horizons beginning and end blurred into the indefinite edges of sky and water.

June 22

This past week has been one of what John calls "real Catholic Worker" days. We've had PeaceBuilder students at the house all week--educating them about consumerism, food, energy use, wast--offering opportunities for hands on work--gardening, crafting and canning, etc. Today they'll be at the farm. I am with Seneca who has been amusing herself by plucking the sunny head off every dandelion she can find and drinking muffin crumbs from a cleaned our baby food jar and crawling on me, speaking her myseterious language, while I try to write.

Yesterday, before the students came, we had an early morning vigil downtown, a prayerful presence for an end to torture and teh closure of Guantanamo. It was the first time I'd worn the hood since D.C. I hadn't given any thought to that being of any consequence. the moment I pulled it over my head the words, "God, have mercy" sprung involuntarily to my consciousness. God have mercy; on me, on us, on them.

Suddenly, I remember the men and their suffering. I was transported back to January in D.C., only now, instead of shivering in the jumpsuit, I was sweating. We processed and prayed together. Chantal led us in, "Courage, brothers..." and I read a transcript of the testimony of Omar Deghayes. After the vigil, the WRCW met with Joe S. and Mary D. to plan for our July 4 action. I started wishing I could meet up with our friends in Washington for the action this week but am glad, at least, that we are finding creative ways to bring education and awareness here.

The afternoon proceeded with students, and much harvesting of food from the garden; cutting, processing, and canning of food we picked up from Morse Market before they disposed of it. There was a break in food management for a lovely open meal with friends, the house meeting, then back to salsas and sauces...

In Transition: Part 1

I tend to feel a sense of sacred transition when completing the pages of one journal and beginning to mark the pages of a new one. It's similar to the feeling I have in an airport or train station, or when the wind is blowing steady and strong as it is right now; the feeling that there is something epic in the ordinary. Because this has just happened (the transition from on journal to the next), and because I have not posted in a while, I thought I would include a excerpts of the end of one and the beginning of another here:

June 6

Thanks to a combination of garden/chicken responsibilities, poor planning, zero cash and a broken ATM at the Loyola redline, I am now reclining beneath a willow tree by the lakeshore instead of listening to Iron & Wine at Millenium Park. I was feeling very frustrated and sad to miss the opportunity to hear their lovely tunes live and to visit with friends, but I am happy to be here. I have been feeling the need to find a little space in time to reflect and write. Finding that naturally had to mean losing something else.

Walking up to the lake, it was as though I'd come here for the first time again. I was filled with that aching love and wonder that feels almost like mourning. Holding up my long skirt with one hand, I waded in the water, wonderfully icy, and watched--two young boys playing, splash and chase; an attractive triad of sparsely tattooed young adults, waist deep; soft bodied parents quietly keeping an eye out; a dark brown woman in a bright orange shirt rowing a white boat. There was a man leaning against the sand behind me. He wore office clothes and had a computer bag by his side. In contrast with his environment but seeming very much a part of it, he watched only the horizon. It almost appeared as though he were not really watching anything at all, only letting the everything roll over and through him. I admired his just being. After relocating to this tree--where the sand is interrupted by lanky green grass blades, striped by shadows and bent by breeze--I continued to glance over and admire his ability to create a time for holy sabbath in the midst of this ordinary day.

"Everyday, do something that does not compute." Use "spare time" (if such a thing can be said to exist) not to catch up on phone calls or e-mails, or reading, but to be at rest--in mind and body--and immersed in your surroundings.

We read that poem, The Mad Farmers Liberation Front, of Wendell Berry's as part of the liturgy we held on the farm this morning. It felt profound and poignant to hear it read beneath the trees, with the sound of wind and of birds coming from the trees. One line in particular came to sit with me, not heavy, but awkwardly boney; "Love someone who doesn't deserve it." I thought about all the times I unintentionally (or otherwise) am sizing people up to assess whether or not they are worthy of my love. And I thought about aching Earth who continues to provide enough to meet all our needs despite our persistant negligence and abuse. Despite our unworthiness to be so loved.

Things are changing again, in me and around me and I'm not quite sure of where to look for center. Jerica and I were sitting on the bee bench, she was carving wedges into stakes to mark the herb bed and I was taking a break and trying to make plans for leaving. J. shared her desire for commitment from the significant people in her life--to her and each other and place and way of being--for a rooted life and a long view. I want that too and wish that I could offer it. I felt sad that my own mind has more been wandering to new or old places I could go. I spent much of the car ride out there envisioning what a life in California might look like and i've been doing that same thing with Florida lately, as well as imagining long distance adventures over seas. But these daydreams do not satisfy because I am continually reminded of how well connected I am here, how full my dys are of projects I enjoy and of people that I love...

June 9

...Overnight chicago experienced another dramatic climate shift from broiling, clear days in the 90s to torrential rain and cloudy days in the 60s and below...

I feel like there's a lot going on internally that I'm not giving access to. Almost everyday I can feel it kicking and shifting, like a growing baby not yet ready to be born...I feel torn by my tugging loyalties--how does one order her loves when they are many and widespread (Dorothy, I'd love to hear the wisdom of your experience)? I want to be attached, intertwined, but I keep pulling away...

While folding newsletters something came up again that I've been thinking about a lot regarding food 1) how do we connect the people who have it with the people who need it? 2) how do we help the people who need it become comfortable and confident with fresh foods and how to utilize them? I started thinking about having a CSA-type thing where you pay a nominal sum for the food box, then, when you come to pick it up each week, there is a free cooking class and a shared meal with the same types of food you would be getting--alternative food economy + education + building community = can't be bad.

I've also beeng thinking about both nonviolence and environmental care and how really brining them into consciousness will mean talking about them and living them everywhere. I am often afraid of seeming arrogant or ignorant or demoralizing. I am coming to believe in these things more and more and that if everyone doesn't bring them into everyday life, we are lost. Both in body and spirit. But I also want to keep withholding myself from internalizing them completely because I am afraid of the losses in relationship and lifestyle that would undoubtedly follow.