Monday, June 27, 2011

The Robin Flies - Standing on the Edge of Home

After having been away for two days, I awakened this morning to tweets, not those found on-line, but the baby bird kind. The little one that just last week was only a beak bobbing in the nest perched on uncertain legs on the edge of home.

Would this be the day he or she began to explore the wider world beyond this home of twigs and leaves in the crepe myrtle just outside the kitchen window?

I poured a cup of coffee, called my neighbor who I've learned also loves
birds to update her of the potential for flight as little tweets continued.

Before settling in to write, I looked out again to find the source of tweeting, the little life I've watched in the nest for two weeks, whose mother I've watched for much longer sitting on still uncertain legs perched on the hood of the neighbor's car.

That was two hours ago as I've continued periodically to find myself at the kitchen, actually in the kitchen window standing on my own perch a bar stool providing better access to view this new life leaving home.

Twice the little robin fluttered from the car's bumper then hood to the nearby garbage can before loosing his balance or flying into the wall.

After not seeing it for awhile, I made my way outside where the neighbor found it perched at the base of the crepe myrtle. How can some thing so small feel so precious?

I now of course want to regularly run out to ensure a neighboring cat doesn't find little bird. I want to hover as it grows to ensure the hawk occasionally circling above doesn't discover it. I want to dig worms for its sustenance in case the mother doesn't return. She came around twice with food but I question whether that's enough for one so young. Then I recall she also had another in the nest, another child that seems to have left over the weekend. Like a mother working two jobs, she may be flying back and forth with worms to feed two not to mention herself.

The last time I watched this process from start to leaving was nine years ago. A robin nest in the corner of our carport arbor became the delivery room for five babies. My nephews who were closer to baby birds than young adults in my mind at that time were visiting as the last ones flew from the nest. Somewhere in a drawer upstairs I have recorded on cassette the flight of one into our house. It not so gracefully flew right into the siding on the house then recovered on the gutter's edge before leaving.

This robin is precious to me because it is life reminding me of the preciousness of moments, moments of life that tick away on time's clock.

Outside the kitchen window, the nest once a womb, once home is now empty.

Humankind, you and I, stand on uncertain legs on the edge of home, deciding like the little robin when and whether to fly.

The Night of Flight

After watching this dear bird off and on throughout the day and ensuring a neighbor's cat found lounging under the car didn't "find" it also (though the cat obviously knew it was there), I awoke in the middle of the night to hear a down pouring rain. Oh how it rained and I worried. I thought of parents concerned for their child's safety and my own mother worried about me as I flew to California at twenty and Africa at twenty-two.

I lay in bed that night with my hands raised in prayer asking that the little bird be protected wherever it might be.

The next morning an eerie quiet pervaded our yard where usually there are sounds of robin, cardinal, wren, blue jay and crow. I hoped the quiet was related to the skies still gray dampness.

That was two morning's ago.

This morning I pull into my driveway to see two robins, the larger of the two see sawing back and forth, bobbing its beak to the ground then back, modeling for a smaller one how to find worms. The larger one bobbed then the smaller one imitated. I stood and watched. I don't know if this is 'my' baby bird but I want to believe so. Regardless I watched the instructor of the two hop from the asphalt to soil where it found a worm which was immediately delivered to the younger one.

I too was delivered nourishment, food from nature feeding my soul instructing me in the beautiful ways of nature.
-Dawn, The Good News Muse 27 June 2011

Sunday, June 26, 2011

To Rory McIlroy Wherever You Are

Though his victory is a week old, ancient in today’s news cycle, I’ve continued to ponder Rory McIlroy’s winning golf’s US Open. At the young age of 22, McIlroy has I suspect kept golf writers and analysts busy this week dissecting the techniques or secret to his record setting and recording tying win last Sunday in Bethesda, Maryland just outside the nation’s capitol.

For those unfamiliar with this young Irish golfer’s story, it’s not just any story. There are four coveted majors in golf - the Masters, the US Open, the British Open and the PGA Championship.

In April McIlroy entered Sunday’s final round at the Masters with the lead having led each of the three days prior. Then before the golfing world he proceeded to shoot the worst round in Master’s history by any professional golfer leading after the third round moving from first on the leader board at the day’s start to tied for fifteenth at day’s end . McIlroy’s play mid-round set the stage for major humiliation when he triple bogeyed the tenth hole followed by two three putts and another shot hit into the water.

The proverbial wheels came off yet McIlroy did as most men do not. With all of golf watching, he publicly owned his disappointment and heartbreak responding in complete contrast to how men generally respond when vulnerable.

I still recall Australia’s Greg Norman in the ’96 Masters blowing the largest 54 hole lead in Master’s history to loose in the last round. Rather than fully owning the day’s disappointment, Norman chalked it up to a bad day vowing he’d forget about it and go out and play again.

He definitely had a bad day and resorting to analyzing his game rather than owning his full emotional experience led to bad weeks, months and years as his golf game was never the same.

After McIlroy’s meltdown, rather than resorting to positive thinking and rationalizing as happens in our head over heart, disconnected, disown your insides, don’t let them see you vulnerable and emotional society , McIlroy owned his insides rather than acting like they didn’t exist.

In our not-so-open society, he spoke to reporters from his heart. He was transparent and real after a devastating loss thus increasing his chances of ultimately winning.

Sponsors will now pursue this young man, needing his commercial presence to capitalize on his recent success and maximize their profits.

I suggest men and many women of the United States need McIlroy. We need his authenticity and willingness to own the spectrum of emotional experience from heart break to joy as was so beautifully displayed at the Master’s and the Open.

We need you, Rory McIlroy, because you won the Open in a society that is emotionally not-so open. When embarrassed and humiliated as you could have easily been, you didn’t deny or hide your emotional self. You named and claimed your full experience.

Americans including our many politicians could benefit from this young man’s beautiful example of owning the full array of human experience without shame. The disowning of experience and vulnerability lends itself to an internal disconnect laying the foundation for quiet shame, compulsions and addictions evidenced in politicians and authorities who serve as mirrors for a deeper dynamic In our culture.

We could all learn a lesson from this young man’s playbook. The lesson of taking the risk to be authentic in the face of vulnerability would dramatically alter our daily personal interactions potentially influencing global interactions.

Rory McIlroy, wherever you are, I encourage you to stay open. Continue to be a model of emotional authenticity. Continue to experience the light in a child’s eyes as I’ve read you did in Haiti and take time off from tournaments as you’re doing presently. If you continue to be true to yourself and not what others want you to be, you are already a Master of the secrets to a deeply satisfying journey. You’ll stay atop life’s leader board, the one that counts far more than the one holding Sunday’s scores.

-Dawn, The Good News Muse 26 June 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tear Down That Wall

I reach to pet my cat, this tabby I found that also found me three years ago.
I stroke his white neck, rub an ear.
His ear's warm. Is he okay?

I don't want him to die, darts through my mind.

Where does this come from, this fear prompting me to hold back?

Have you ever felt that moment, the precise second fear wants you to retreat,
when the wall or shield ever so slightly reveals itself?

I've spent much time behind that wall.
This crucial moment with my cat illuminates the choice.
To lean into fear or stay behind the wall.

Risk all, feel all.
Risk nothing, feel nothing.

Although I was not a fan, I hear shades of Reagan to Gorbachev,
"Dawn Kirk, tear down that wall."

My wall needs no wrecking ball.
Bogey does just fine.

I reach to pet my cat.
Through this tabby that found me, I find me
as well as the bridge from my heart to the world.

Bridges are the infrastructures in which I invest.

-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 23 June 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Key

Summer in my yard is lively.

Hydrangeas, coneflowers and lilies take turns
pleasing me and hopefully a few passers by.
Bees dip into the hosta blooms

Tiny bird beaks bob up and down in the nest
as their mother arrives with food.
Summer is alive.

The key is to see the aliveness when all appears lifeless.
To sense and feel life flowing in leafless trees, bare branches, frozen soil.

The key is to find and feel the soul in all things
especially things appearing dead.

This is how we will heal the hardened heart of man.
-Dawn, The Good News Muse 22 June 2011

Chasing Light, Finding Light - A Solstice Reflection

"Light may be chased and light will be found wherever creativity and soul abound."

Summer Solstice in Nashville was short on sunlight as clouds delivered episodic rains through the day. Yet as I reflected this morning on my yesterday, I realized light was anything but sparse.

After work I wove my way to Jane & Rod's house on Elmington to find soul friend Bernie Ellis sitting on the tailgate of his truck selling his first batch of blueberries! This is our fourth year to enjoy Bernie's berries. The first summer we picked them early on a Saturday morning on his farm in Fly and I returned home to make several jars of jam for the first time. Last summer I went into a berry frenzy of sorts and made blueberry bread, cobbler and thirty something jars of jam dispersed over the year to family, friends and self. In addition getting Bernie's first bunch of beets, made me nearly as happy as the kid in "The Christmas Story" who finally gets his coveted Red Rider bb gun.

I then made my way to Centennial Park where I found even in dicey weather the Nashville Symphony's conductor Giancarlo Guerrero, President Alan Valentine and the symphonies Brass Quintet performing and selling the symphony's just released cd "Chasing Light." I especially wanted to share with the conductor what the symphonies music had meant to me. In his comments to those assembled, Conductor Guerrero said, "Music is not just to be listened to but to be experienced."

This was one of the gifts our symphony gifted me with this year, the experience of feeling classical music, feeling it in my body, heart and soul.

Lastly I nabbed Jerry just home from work and went to the LeQuire Gallery for a summer opening of "The Stable" works from various artists represented by the gallery. Alan and Andree have created a storehouse of light in their gallery on Charlotte. (Cllick HERE for a complete listing of summer events and classes.) Sculpture, paintings, block prints and more shine with creativity offering inspiration.

Turning out of the gallery parking lot, the setting sun painted swaths of pink across the west bringing to a close the longest day of the year. We turned into a nearby empty lot and stopped to view Nature's art as "Chasing Light" played.

On the cd I purchased, Conductor Guerrero had written "Dawn, Keep chasing the light." On this Solstice evening I literally did that very thing driving about town surprisingly not entangled by traffic but with ease chasing the light and finding light, the light of food, music, art and the setting sun itself.

Now on this day after Solstice, seconds of light drift away day by day as dark gradually returns. Yesterday's experience of light despite clouds will remind me in winter's short days that experiences of light are anything but sparse. Even in the dark, light may be chased and light will be found wherever creativity and soul abound.
-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 22 June 2011

The symphony performs a free concert next Tuesday at 7:30 at Centennial Park. Click HERE for info.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The GAP - What Might Your Cap Read? (A Tribute to My Father)

It's fitting that after a five year absence this cap reading "Genuine Antique Person" came home to my mother last week as Father's Day neared. She and I initially found it, a prior holiday gift from my sister, in early 2006 while cleaning out my father's closet after his death. Although I took many of his clothes to the rescue mission a place to which he contributed, it didn't seem right not taking the cap where it said it needed to go, the place my father frequented when living. The tag reads:

"Genuine antique people sometimes loose track of their comings and goings and need help getting back. My name is Don Kirk. If found, please return me to the Coffee Club at the Dinner Bell Restaurant."

Yes, we took the cap to the Dinner Bell, my father's second home, a local restaurant where when not delivering the mail, riding country roads or birdwatching on his hillside porch, my father could be found in country give-and-take, sitting in circle telling stories, tall tales and real with the Coffee Club.

My mother called last week to share the story of the caps return or second return of sorts. A young man she hardly knows, a former employee of the now closed Dinner Bell, had just brought it to her. He had seen it lying around now homeless and thought she might appreciate it.

The cap reminded me of my father but also the beauty of rural folks who have been connecting through telling stories in restaurants and Sunday School, on front porches and roadsides, at ballgames and in backyards forever.

I began to ponder the word antique. In this case antique implies old, old and forgetful thus not having value. I associate antique with having value, not monetary value as much as meaning filled value.

Value's a concept as varied as people. Yet with busy lives today and our propensity for sound and sight bites over thinking, value's a concept increasingly co-opted by advertisers, politicians and political action campaigns - values-oriented organizations in name often serving as covers for the wealthy and corporations.

Recently on a road trip I saw a (corporate owned, of course) fast food restaurant selling a mini-size ice cream treat. In this era of half-gallon size soft drinks for 99 cents and cheap, jumbo, biggie, super-sized everything, I found a mini milk shake a move toward the positive until I remembered how AgriBusiness treats cows warehousing them to produce milk for corporate ice cream. Personally I find the way animals are treated today unconscionable and try to avoid buying corporate name brand milk products for this reason.

How does this relate to value? We're continually being told through commercials, ads, articles and the fair and balanced news as to what we should value and believe when each of us has the capacity and opportunity to reflect and consider what we really value.

Contrary to appearances that I'm a Genuine Antique Person (GAP) who's lost my way in the above comings and goings and need help getting back on track, I suspect GAP's know something valuable that's forgotten as we in our comings and goings are bombarded by ads and political sound bites. We're the ones often unknowingly lured off track.

Just as my father experienced connection with nature while watching birds and driving rural roads, he likewise found connection and community with others through the Coffee Club. Genuine antique people may not be tweeting or climbing corporate ladders. They may loose track of their comings and goings but in doing so many of them know the things that most deeply hold meaning. Through their quiet examples, they offer us something of value in relation to the simple savoring of life in today's busy world. I suspect my dad wasn't the only GAP who closed the gap between self and other through stories over coffee, riding rural roads, walking neighborhood streets or counting finches at the feeder.

This idea of antiques and what I value got me to thinking. What would my cap read?

"I, Dawn Kirk, happily loose track of my comings and goings. If you find me though and fear I'm lost just lean me against the nearest boulder or tree. Take me to a field where cows still graze or to a running stream or sit me in a wicker chair on my neighbor Judy's front porch where I'll happily share energy, stories, sorrows and dreams
as I'm reclaiming the value of antiquity."

I imagine a world in which we more consciously contribute to the closing of the GAP within and between. What might your cap read?
-Dawn! The Good News Muse, 20 June 2011

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I Am One with My Rain Barrels

Yesterday post-rain, hail and lightening as a group of folks left my home, I hurriedly walked out the door with them. Feeling more like five than fifty two, I excitedly announced I wanted to check my rain barrels.

I was surprised to hear one person ask, "Why do you have rain barrels?"

I quickly said, "To water my garden. I've raised beds."

She shared her attempts this year at growing tomatoes and left.

Yet I was left with her question and my unsatisfying answer.

Why do I have rain barrels?

The obvious answer is to water my garden. It's not about saving money since beyond my two raised beds and four potato bags we've dozens of hydrangeas, ferns, coral bells and hostas reliant on Metro's water.

'Why do I really have rain barrels?' I wondered.

The seed was planted at Uplands, a progressive little retirement community to where friends moved in Pleasant Hill, TN. They along with their neighbors had rain barrels. Rain barrels then became PC or environmentally fashionable.

We purchased our first one in 2008, cut off the gutter despite Jerry's concern, and presto the next time we had rain it worked. I felt such satisfaction watching the gutter's little waterfall. I also discovered the water fall quickly filled the barrel. Store bought rain barrels can be pricey. Thanks to a news story, I found a class at Shelby Bottoms in which for a third of the retail cost I could make my own.

One quick class and a few bucks later, I had three rain barrels and verbal directions on how to drill holes in the sturdy plastic and connect the three with PVC pipe. I suspect I was the first woman on my street fifteen years ago to own a plumbers snake and know how to use it but fast forward all those years and now I'd rather write about plastic and PVC than tackle drilling and gluing.

Last week I realized there might be another option for connecting the barrels. With sections cut from an old garden hose and the gadgets that go on the end of hoses (thanks to Hillsboro Hardware) the barrels were joined. For ten days I've hoped for rain on our rainless radar until yesterday when it appeared we might have enough liquid sunshine to prompt an overflow from barrel one to barrel two.

As I said goodbye to folks I'll probably never see again, I really did feel like a kid running out to check on a new toy. I excitedly showed them, "See. There's the water line." Since the cheaper versions are white, the water level's visible. Barrel 1 had filled and overflowed to barrel 2.

Today I've checked the barrels several times and smiled. It's not as much about my idea working as the satisfaction felt in collecting rain and appreciatively holding it until the skies aren't so rainy and my plants are needy.

Not only have I acknowledged the held water but this morning as most mornings, I went out early and greeted my garden. Yes, I audibly said, "Good morning. I'm happy to see you."

The plants were glad to see me too. In the process I found a green bean and was surprised by what I think are carrots that need thinning.

So here's what I've discovered about why I really have rain barrels.

I've rain barrels for the same reason I plant seeds. I experience a harmony, peace and presence in my body, deep satisfaction within, when I'm consciously in relationship with the environment. When I'm on autopilot, not listening or awake, I'm anything but peaceful and present.

Collecting rain, growing things, feeding the birds, escorting the bug from my journal page via a leaf while writing outside are all about beauty to me, the beauty of being in relationship with Nature's living things.

Beauty is being gifted with water from the skies which I in turn gift to my garden when it's dry. Even if my plants do not bear fruit, I am gifted through their presence and process.

The rain, the plants, the soil, the sun are integral in the many magical circles in our world, magical circles through which Mother Earth is sustained and sustains us.

When awake and aware, we are like the rain barrels collecting the wisdom, love and imagination spilling down from Beyond flowing into form as words, images, songs, sensings and knowings, growing circles and supporting sacred cycles everywhere.

When I am awake and aware, I am one with my rain barrels.
-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 16 June 2011

Rain barrel class this Saturday June 18 10am with Gardens of Babylon at this link. Class is ten dollars and rain barrels will be sold discounted according to website site HERE

Here's a link for ongoing rain barrel and composting bin's for reduced prices in Middle TN with upcoming area events sponsored by TN Recycling Coalition. Click HERE.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Bringing Fire, Waking Up - Grandmother Spider is Alive

One of the Cherokee stories around light involves the Western hemisphere being enveloped in darkness until Grandmother Spider created a little pot of clay with which she traveled to the other side of the world where it was rumored light existed. She was tiny so none of the people there noticed her. Quickly she snatched up some of the sun, put it in the clay bowl and scrambled back home. As a result, Grandmother Spider brought
the sun and fire to the Cherokee.


I didn't know this story Saturday when I found a spider at Clingman's Dome in East TN's Smoky Mountains. Actually I didn't find the spider, a kid in front of me did. She was screaming, "A tick, a tick." I don't mind ticks as long as they stay off my body, but I really don't like drama over insects. They're so small compared to us yet companies label them "Pests" and market poisons to kill them. Seems to me we're more often the real pests to the environment while unknowingly sabotaging our own health as pest control sprays seep into earth and ultimately into our water supply and bodies.

On the spiraling concrete path up to the lookout, I assured the distraught girl then realized she was alarmed not by a tick on the guardrail but by a spider, a little spider with a yellow ball on its back.

A couple of hours later in the Museum of the Cherokee Indian I heard the story of Grandmother Spider bringing sun and fire to her people.

While downloading photos and digesting my experience, I realized Grandmother Spider through this child offered herself to me for a photo.

The little spider had been on the side of the rail so I randomly snapped my camera not knowing what I was getting.

I was gifted with the perfect shot for a beautiful story. See the sun in Grandmother Spider's bowl as she makes her way over the horizon?

Ah, stories....As Indigenous people around the world do, the Cherokee shared stories of creation and the ongoing conversation with the animals, plants and Nature. These stories and their teachings were passed on through word of mouth. Although my trip was just a day, I sensed the fire is returning to this community of people, that Grandmother Spider is emerging again very much alive and a light.

Yet in white man's world, we've stories of little substance providing little sustenance. Many people feed on fast food stories offered at the drive-through of instantly accessible media outlets serving up the latest titillating, provocative political, Hollywood scandal that's here today and gone tomorrow.

There are also the unconscious stories in which we're immersed whether we're afraid of a tick or ticked off at someone or something. These stories quietly affect and direct our looking-awake moments.

This week I came across a December 2007 journal in which I had noted: Scientists estimate the average person has 60,000 thoughts daily. All but 2 % of the 60,000 thoughts are the same ones we thought from the day prior.

Don't ask me to quote my source beyond my December '07 journal with the cover that's an imitation of 17th century brocaded paper in gold, green and orange.

I don't think I have 60,000 thoughts in a day but if this is true (and a couple of on-line sites suggest it could be) I imagine many days only a tenth of 2% of them are actually new.

I may have reacted to the alarmed girl on the spiral path, but I alarm myself with the stuck sameness of my thoughts. This unconscious stuckness creating an amnesia in the masses is what fast food stories appeal to offering a quick jolt or shock to the system when most folks don't even realize they're stuck or asleep. Temporarily folks wake up through vicariously experiencing another person's misery, victory or humanity. Then stuckness and sleep returns.

Nature, music and art help me get unstuck oftentimes when I intentionally dig in the dirt or tend my garden. Then there are experiences of unexpected grace like those with the spider waking me, prompting me to pay attention to the simple, ever present aspects of beauty in my day and the mysterious layers of unfolding story in my life.

The spider reminds me the animals and insects are here to partner with us. Their messages surround us, helping us find our fire.

They remind us we come here travelers
from afar, each with our own pots of light, suns illuminating wherever we are.

Imagine the shift if you stopped to notice and listen for a moment each day to the animals on your life's spiraling path. Imagine the story being offered to sustain you.
-Dawn! The Good News Muse, 13 June 2011

Friday, June 10, 2011

Our Words Have Wings - Artists, Animals and Alchemy

One last April morning, I entered my office for a moment of quiet. As I walked in the door, I glanced at the bookshelf and heard: "Maybe there's a poem that speaks to me."

It's only been late in life that I've paid attention to the sayings and hearings of my Inner Voice. I don't know if it's been there all along and I've been too busy to hear or if it's only shown up later in life. Fortunately dancing on the cusp of menopause has put me on pause.

From the shelf, I took "Poetry in English." Bought for a dollar at a sale, this book filled with poems some written over six hundred years ago reminds me of the young me who sat in the corner of the tiny elementary school library immersed in stories and poems especially those of nature.

Although I had taken the book from the shelf, I placed it beside me on the sofa in order to reflect on an owl I had previously come upon. I sat pondering the owl when IV said: "What if this book holds a poem about an owl?"

I turned to the index and there it was: Owl, The, p. 533 a poem by Edward Thomas* a poet of whom I had never heard but a poem that was certainly meant for me.

Three particular lines caught my attention.

"An owl's cry, a most melancholy cry....
Speaking for all who lay under the stars,
Soldiers and poor, unable to rejoice."

I was immediately reminded of a memorial in Orleans, France to the half million American soldiers who died on European soil in two world wars. The bodies of just over 67,000 of those men were never found, never returned home to family or to American soil. I've stood before that memorial while realizing we've the capacity to bring healing to the spirits of these men and call them home through intention and the vibration of love.

The night prior to this poems finding me, I fell asleep with the thought "Our words have wings" repeating in my mind. The owl's cry, vibrational wings, expressed what those laying under the stars could not.

What a beautiful example of animals and artists as alchemical vessels of healing as the author through the owl was a witness to the lives of the soldiers and poor.

I thanked the owl and poet then wrote a prayer: May my words comfort those unable to rejoice. May my heart hear their sorrow and bring them deep peace and rest.

I didn't know until later in the day that this particular morning marked the beginning of the Civil War. While running errands, I caught a radio interview with an author discussing the wars start 150 years prior.

I've never really been into the civil war. I'm not into war in general. Even today it seems to affect those referenced by the poet, the soldiers and the poor, most deeply since many people of wealth benefit from war through financial investments in the military industrial complex.

I've also never really gotten why people do the re-enactment thing. I've wondered if on some level folks are trying to reach a new conclusion to an old story. The author being interviewed spoke of commemorating those who died rather than celebrating the civil war. This was something I could definitely hold and consider.

I ran my errands along Nashville's streets reminded of the traumatic endings to thousands of lives in that four year period and how the energy of these lives lost is still held by the land, much of the land on which I was driving. Suddenly I realized re-enactments do hold the potential for reaching a new ending to an old story!

These times hold the seeds for deep re-enactment with a profound healing resolution thanks to the heart's capacity for alchemy. Just as our words have wings the expressions of the heart have wings that can change the structure of energy turning torment into rest and grief into peace.

These times offer a beautiful, grace-filled opportunity. People of heart and higher consciousness are integral in reaching a very new conclusion to an old story.

Artists, the animals and we bear witness to the depths of what's possible in the higher and deeper story.

We and memory-filled Earth hold the gold the alchemists sought. It is carried within in our hearts of gold wherever we go.

*After Story*

I just rediscovered this story after having started it nearly two months ago. I've had an extremely hard time completing it and have been so tired every time I tried. Much of my weariness comes from living with a huge heart on this dear planet. I am drained, not by sadness, but by my resistance to allowing sadness to flow through me. My heart becomes blocked and I begin to walk through my life disconnected, on autopilot.

This morning I determined to find some way to bring this piece to completion. It was only after doing so that I searched to see who this Edward Thomas man was, the man who wrote the poem that spoke to me.

Tears flow down my face now as I write because I just learned Mr. Thomas was considered a war poet. Already an accomplished British writer at a young age, he turned to poetry at the age of 36. He then enlisted in the army the following year with the Artists' Rifles, a volunteer arm of the British army, consisting of professional painters, musicians, artists and architects.

Mr. Thomas was killed in the war soon after arriving in France and was buried in a small northern French village.

This is the profound beauty of art. Thomas Edwards died yet his spirit lives on in "The Owl" and other works. Thomas Edwards died yet his spirit lives on through me.

Our words have wings lifting vibrations in the present and down the corridors of future history.

Imagine the Shift !
-Dawn, The Good News Muse 10 June 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Inextinguishable

On yesterday's walk, I came upon a magnolia filled with fire.

Little match sticks were cupped in a petal, gifts from the center spire.
I took a photo then walked on.

Today I came upon the same blossom and was shocked to find it silken brown,
no less beautiful but brown, brown and closing.

The matches had turned to rice.

I am fed by fire, the fire of energy and inspiration.

This same morning as I cleaned out a bag filled with clippings and papers from days gone by, I came across the symphony program from January of this year.

'Why on earth had I saved this?' I wondered.

I opened the booklet and knew. I had heard "The Inextinguishable" by Scandinavian composer Carl Nielsen. Written nearly one hundred years ago, Nielsen had an idea for a new work, one expressing what in his words was the will to life.

In the symphony's 1916 premier, the composer wrote "The inextinguishable refers to the indestructible character of the life force and music alike."

The magnolia down the street is music and life force to me.
Whether white and opening or brown and closing, there lives the Inextinguishable.
-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 8 June 2011

Saturday, June 4, 2011

When Heartlines Make Headlines

I just came inside on this now dark Saturday night from having watched five bats fly about the back yard. I love bats and the mystery they represent all caved in for winter then suddenly as Spring warms they make their way to the upper world where they feast on bugs -pests to some, sustenance to the bats.

Savoring the bats prompted me to reflect on my week and the things that have sustained me.

First there was the robin outside the kitchen window nesting in the crepe myrtle awaiting her brood earlier in the week and Bogey our tabby sitting behind the kitchen curtain window mindfully watching her. (She and Bogey still sit and wait.)

Today's sustenance came from finding the first five green beans ready to pick and eat in my raised bed while picking lettuce and arugula for lunch.

Helping others has sustained me this week starting with helping neighbors look for their dog who after many hours was heard barking in the woods and was found, helping a friend pack just a bit as she prepared to move and meeting a new friend whose vision I wanted to encourage.

On the entertainment front, I saw a beautiful documentary about honey bees and an hour prior found nesting bluebirds at a friend's house.

But the highlight of my week was going to the symphony to hear Mahler's "Resurrection." The closest I got to classical music in childhood was piano lessons. Beginning around second or third grade once a week I would be dismissed from class for a piano lesson with Mrs. Loy. It was really a big deal when 'later in life' I got to walk down the hill from the elementary school to the high school for my lesson.

I can still recall (and play) the first two pieces I learned involving all of six keys. They went something like: "Here we go, up a row to a birthday party." and "Dolly dear, Sandman's near. You will soon be sleeping." These were the first two pieces in the red music book from which I played that first year. How is it I recall that music book but not what I did earlier today?

I know Brainologists have the sciency answer for that but for me the most important answer lies on the inside, in the heart. I recall that slim, red music book because my heart was into learning those two little songs, just like it is into watching the green beans, lettuce and squash grow, the bats fly and the robin hatch her eggs.

My heart and intuition is what took me to probably the highlight of my week with the symphony. A month ago I had two friends in town. Thinking they were coming to Nashville Home of Country Music, I surprised them with musical options one night. They got to choose between Ashley Cleveland's rock/gospel at the Bluebird, a jazz singer from LA at Bongo Java or a young Russian pianist at the Schermerhorn Symphony center.

Learning that one friend's mother's middle name was Schermerhorn answered the question. We ended up at the symphony for a concert that was exquisitely perfect for how we had spent our two days together.

That night I noticed the June 2nd performance was Mahler's "Resurrection." I sensed I needed to hear this and tucked the idea away in my never ending list of things to do. As happens often, I began to second guess myself when June 2nd arrived. I tried to talk myself out of going then finally called a friend, my go-to adviser on things classical, who promised I would not be disappointed.

Was she right !! Within minutes of the fourth ovation, I called her to tell her what a treat we had given ourselves. Near the symphonies end, I was in tears and Jerry was feeling as if he could soar from the balcony which takes me back to tonight and the bats.

I began this story after delighting in the bats flitting about our yard. I came inside mindful of how happy the bats made me and wanting to tell someone. I knew I could go on line and find the headlines of the day and week but none of the headlines would note the bats, lettuce or Mahler.

My headlines are heart lines whether they're between me and the bat in the night or the musician from a hundred years prior. My headlines are heart lines revealed in the beauty, grace and connection found in nature, the arts and friendship.

I imagine a world in which heart lines sustain us. I imagine a world in which Heartlines make headlines.
-Dawn, The Good News Muse 4 June 2011

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Threads of Memory in the Singer & Me - Big, Little Epiphanies While Sewing and Sowing

"Threads of memory woven through the fabric of time linger in the body, Earth's, yours and mine."

Two years ago, my neighbor gave me her deceased sister's former sewing machine, a 1961 Singer. The top of the Singer cabinet became a catch all for recyclables, canning jars and all things extraneous on their way to the garage. That is until last week.

For some reason on the eve of my 52nd birthday, I lifted the body of the Singer from the cabinet's underworld. I then sat down and escorted thread through various loops and parts and through the eye of the needle where it met up with the bobbin thread from below. A gentle nudge of my foot to the peddle and hand to the wheel created a hum and stitch blending time and blurring boundaries. Suddenly forty years ago was Now.

Three inches of thread woven in and out of fabric evidenced my remembering a pattern from time long prior when my grandmother taught me to thread her Singer and sew. In sensory time, I was in her living room yet I was in my home. Thanks to my senses and safety, I was in my body.

A day later, I dug around in my lettuce bed. I've had this small spot for three summers. The first summer it held no signs of prior life. Last year, year #2, I dug around and created the lettuce bed which I shortly learned was formerly the poppy bed for the prior owners. I didn't know this as I fed friends my first homegrown lettuce. I thought the whitish leaves with jagged edges were part of the mix I had sprinkled and sown weeks prior. It was only after some of the lettuce leaves shot up two feet high with buds and blooms that I realized we had eaten poppy leaves.

Not knowing poppies don't take to being moved, I began the poppy relocation project, insisting they grow in another area, not in what I deemed my garden.

On this recent day as I thinned, weeded and watered the lettuce, I mourned the poppies not rising from their transplanted home. I had anticipated their emergence, regularly inspecting the area in which I had placed them.

Loving nature and growing things, their loss was my loss. Loving nature and growing things, I was ultimately elated upon closer inspection to find tiny poppy beginnings scattered all about growing again in the lettuce. Fortunately knowing their needs better than me, the poppies insisted on growing in the space that had been their home.

I continued my tending careful to work around every little emerging poppy plant. I marveled at the memory of seed and pondered the energy awakened through loving engagement in both seed memory and me as happened the day before with my grandmother’s machine.

There’s a magic in experiencing the present on a sensory level. In shorter than a second, I had felt the former me, a pre-teen internally at home, learning to sew. In shorter than a second, I went from sadness to gladness while working in the lettuce.

How had I gotten so far away from the magic of my sensory self?

Over the decades, like the Singer standing near the door I became the catch all for so much belonging to others, their energies, judgments and fears. Yet my loving, safe grandmother planted positive memory seeds in the garden of my body’s experience.

Thanks to my neighbors gift and Earth’s soil, my senses and presence in the present, memory was awakened while sewing and sowing reminding me of the magic of deep engagement and what it is like to be home inside, fully alive.

Earth too like the Singer has been the catch all for so much, a catch all for our many actions intentionally and unconsciously as happened with my transplanting the poppies, putting my needs first as to their home.

I imagine Earth’s body filled with memory, the energy of rocks, soil and trees as well as the heart-based energy of animals that have come here and passed. I imagine dormant energetic seeds of deeds enacted over Time.

Earth’s body like the Singer awaits ready to be lifted from the Underworld of the unconscious and shadow so threads of the above may be sown and engaged with threads of the below. We are walking, waking Singers with the opportunity to engage with Earth’s body memory through loving intention and presence for Earth too is the Singer very much alive.

Threads of memory woven through the fabric of time linger in the body, Earth’s, yours and mine.

Threads of memory woven through the fabric of time wait to be evoked, want to come alive.

Threads of memory sing in us all.

Threads of memory. Sense their rise.

-Dawn! The Good News Muse, 2 June 2011

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tending Patterns, Tending Pattern - The Cardinal

This morning in the corner of my city yard, a cardinal brilliant and red moved from the feeder to the ground nearby taking seed to feed a smaller bird, a young one or its partner, I could not tell.

Then it flew to the deck and drank from the dish of water filled for moments such as this.

I watched the cardinal's tending pattern reminded of acts of the masculine to feed, care and protect - unnoticed, unacknowledged.

Tending patterns.

Tending pattern.

By the cardinal, I am fed.

What feeds you?
-Dawn, the Good News Muse, 1 June 2011