Saturday, August 1, 2015


Drought brings water-love to the surface. I want to thank you, water, for sometimes landing on our faces and in our mouths and for being so delicious:

Thank you, too, for crashing into us when we run through you and for making sidewalks more slippery:


Thank you for each beautiful ripple, and for cooling our feet:


Thank you for making the colors of stones so vivid,
    for finding your way to the roots,
    for making things soggy,
    for swimming with us.

Thank you for holding up all the fish.

Thank you for reflecting the trees and sun.

Thank you for cleansing us.

You are precious. Long may you flow!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Persimmon story

I really enjoy making up stories on the spot for the girls when something prompts it.

For instance, a neighbor recently shared some persimmons. While the girls were in the bath, I sliced one in half through the middle and found a beautiful sun at the center.

This led to a story: 

It was nearly winter and a little girl wandered through her family’s bare, brown garden, missing all the fruits of summer. She closed her eyes and rememberedstrawberries, blueberries, gooseberries, currants. Even the apples were long gone. She felt cold beneath the dark clouds, the garden already asleep for the winter. How she longed for just a tiny bit of sun!

The girl came to a funny little tree. Its leaves had fallen and its branches were bare, but it was covered in fruitsorange, round fruits as bright and cheerful as decorations on a Christmas tree. She snapped off one of the fruits and brought it inside her home, where she sat holding it a long time, just looking it over and savoring how shiny and lovely it was. Finally she started to cut into the fruit. When she pierced it with her knife, a beam of light poured out—a light so bright, the girl had to cover her eyes. After she managed to cut the fruit in half, she saw where the light was coming from. This fruit carried the sun inside it! She tasted it, and it was like tasting the sweetness of summer. It filled her with warmth and sunlight, and from that day forward it was the girl’s favorite fruit: persimmon.

"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer."Albert Camus

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Widening circles

I found this beautiful raindrop-on-the-lake pattern inside a golden beet. The smallest shape at the center could be called the nonmoving point of origin, what Masanobu Fukuoka describes in One-Straw Revolution.

A few nights ago as I fell asleep I became aware of my heart beating and imagined each beat like a drop on a lake, sending out widening circles from my chest into the room. Irene had fallen asleep across my chest, and I felt her heartbeat too, sending its own circles. Harriet lay beside us making even more circles.

When I was first pregnant with Harriet, an early ultrasound showed what looked like a tiny seed made almost entirely of fluttering heart. She was that first little dot, the center of all that follows.

Roxanne Swentzell at the Flowering Tree Permaculture Institute talks about this pattern and others in this video I came across last year:


And then there's this Rilke poem someone recited on a radio program twenty minutes ago:

I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one
but I give myself to it.

I circle around God, around the primordial tower.
I've been circling for thousands of years
and I still don't know: am I a falcon,
a storm, or a great song?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


A moment presents itself each day in our house, never at a convenient moment, usually as I struggle to complete multiple tasks in a noisy space: my daughter brings me a knot to untie. At the sight of it I tense up. If only I could see it in that moment, instead of just in this one, as an invitation to give the tasks a rest, sit down, and savor the unworking of a knot. A knot can be so enjoyable, like a puzzle. Sometimes the puzzle is twelve knots all in a row. Sometimes it's one very tight knot that requires extra fine handwork or a makeshift tool. Sometimes knots can be fun, sometimes not. Either way they present an opportunity to pause and focus. Long live knots.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The non-moving point of origin

I've been thinking a lot about permaculture as a model for education reform. During a search for others discussing the topic, I came across this wonderful excerpt from Masanobu Fukuoka's One-Straw Revolution (thanks to Manderson's Bubble,

"The path I have followed, this natural way of farming, which strikes most people as strange, was first interpreted as a reaction against the advance and reckless development of science. But all I have been doing, farming out here in the country, is trying to show that humanity knows nothing. Because the world is moving with such furious energy in the opposite direction, it may appear that I have fallen behind the times, but I firmly believe that the path I have been following is the most sensible one. . . .

"In general, people are only concerned with whether this kind of farming is an advance into the future or a revival of times past. Few are able to grasp correctly that natural farming arises from the unmoving and unchanging center of agricultural development.

"To the extent that people separate themselves from nature, they spin out further and further from the center. At the same time, the centripetal effect asserts itself and the desire to return to nature arises. But if people merely become caught up in reacting, moving to the left or to the right, depending on conditions, the result is only more activity. The non-moving point of origin, which lies outside the realm of relativity, is passed over, unnoticed. I believe that even 'returning-to-nature' and anti-pollution activities, no matter how commendable, are not moving toward a genuine solution if they are carried out solely in reaction to the overdevelopment of the present age.

"Nature does not change, although the way of viewing nature invariably changes from age to age. No matter the age, natural farming exists forever as the wellspring of agriculture."