Gratitude Sunday: Random Spirituality: or, The Spark

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

Sunday Haiku
Pumpkin vine ready
to release its heavy fruit,
harvest completed.

Sunday Musings
Happy Autumn! Happy Equinox! Happy death! Happy new year! Harvest is almost over and winter is coming. Autumn feels so much more like the beginning of the year than New Year’s Day on January 1st. Let’s change it! Oh, wait, slow down, I’m getting over excited.

My mom used to say dying is a part of life. Death is not necessarily a bad thing; sometimes you have to let something go to let something new grow. Each year it comes around, the colors, the browning, the reds, oranges, yellows, russetts, the changing angle of light. It’s a celebration, not a dirge, because as the rains come and the deciduous run their colorful course, the weeds and grasses green, bright orange Chinese lanterns come out to light the way, rose hips and holly berries redden, evergreens gleam emerald, mosses soften in the rain. Plants and animals give the summer energy of their fruits and bodies to become our energy so we can take care of the earth that gives us all energy.

What dies in autumn gives life to a vivid rebirth in the spring. A quite reliable pattern so far. I shan’t rant about the injuries we face if we continue dependence on fossil fuels. We know there are effective sustainable alternatives. We know the right thing to do. It’s a matter of time. Year after year. Death. Rebirth.

I love the colors of death in autumn. I love the colors of birth in spring. The whole cycle of the year seems to be the only dependable thing in this world right now. Death. A final miracle, like mom said a part of life. Birth. A first miracle.

I am so grateful for families welcoming babies into our world right now. Precious new humans who don’t know about all the weird history we are making, who might be able to rise above and make a new world. Tiny bundles of flesh and blood all bound up in wondrous joy and ineffable heartache. Whether you believe in any god’s potential to give or create life the simple fact of conception is a miracle. That one cell from one body is shared with another cell from another body and at the moment they greet each other there is a chemical spark of recognition as the two create a new one, that’s some magical math. Babies are magical mathematical miracles. Another reliable thing: every day the spark happens, conceptions occur, babies are born; anomalies happen, of course, but many of us make it from spark to air and live a while before dying.

Parents die a little when a baby is born. They leave behind what they were before and become something more, something bigger because of the change in the family. They all grow. Babies aren’t born in vacuums only to the mother and father; they affect all members of the family and all people on earth, a magnificent constant global butterfly affect happening all over the world, all day, all night. DNA and blood connects us all, so each of us dies a little each time a new baby is born; we die a little for the sake of change and growth.

I can see why we want gods to thank for the miracle of birth. I want a million gods to thank. I’ll take them all, claim them all. I randomly acknowledge them without knowledge of them. I call my style random spirituality.

I surround myself with rocks, seashells, feathers, and crystals. My desk is cluttered with plastic toy dragons, tiny Buddhas, brass bells, bundles of herbs, and a little Burmese gong; Chinese statues watch over my shoulder, talismen of protection and mercy. I wear a Saint Christopher medallion, sandalwood and vanilla fragrance, and loose clothing. I practice tai chi exercises to Native American flute music. I dance barefoot in the rain and expose my skin to the sun. I immerse myself in water every day, in some form or another. My altars have pictures of my ancestors and items they made with their own hands; I live with memories of their spark and occasionally invoke their names. I read my old King James bible given to me in 1962 by the Baptist church I was raised in. I reserve the right to read the Torah, the Bhagavad Gita, the Koran, Baba Ram Dass, the Dalai Lama, Pema Chodron, Virginia Wolff, Germaine Greer, and Maya Angelou, and ancient lore and contemporary literature and journalism and science, and to pursue any other knowledge I wish. The words of Jesus, Buddha, Julian of Norwich, Gandhi, Wittgenstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, and some kind pagan witches resonate in my head. I walk a labyrinth, I occasionally attend church, I sometimes attend a meditation gathering. I examine all of it and I keep a golden nugget here, and discard a clinker there, rather like a magpie: Oh, shiny! Hop, hop. I give thanks to the earth that gives us life and spark and energy. You know, growth and random acts of worship.

You may think I’m a dreamer. I’m not the only one. I believe your beliefs can differ from mine and we don’t have to die because we don’t agree. I believe we can grow if we open our hearts and grant each of us the freedom to be exactly who we are and not expect others to be the same as us. I believe we are stronger in our differences. I believe we might all be right and we might all be wrong, and it’s OK to love and honor our differences.

I put my faith in the spark, though the spark may be random. The spark that gives us life and knowledge and the intelligence to use it. The spark that sprouts plants and grows animals for us to eat and appreciate. The spark that powers the universe with sun and rain and wind. The spark every moment every day that is the breath of our very lives.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – Green runners reaching out toward next year’s strawberries. Pale ghostly lavender autumn crocus fading fast. A red seedling sprouting amongst the green cushion of sedum. Bright red berries not of the holly variety. Spiky magenta seed pods. Massive pink blossomed stems weighted with fresh rain.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} Almost through with Wiseguy (1987-1990, not rated) and season 4 of Ray Donovan (2016, rated TV – MA) arrived. Wiseguy, late 80s TV with edgy high-crime plots, now seems sort of like the precursor to this generation’s harder hitting dramas like Ray Donovan. Viewing detoured.

Currently ReadingNutshell (2016, fiction) by Ian McEwan. A murder mystery narrated by an unborn fetus endowed with full intelligence and cognition who witnesses all from his shadowy viewpoint. Fascinated by this innovative perspective. Chilling story to begin dark-earlier autumn evening reading. * The Mother of all Questions (2017, psychology) by Rebecca Solnit. My apologies, earlier in the month I had the title wrong, corrected today. This is a finely rendered collection of essays about women, feminism, misogynistic violence, and fragile masculinity; Solnit has a singularly pointed, easily understandable way of analyzing current cultural effects. To make changes happen we must understand what is happening.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Clean bedding and still being able to make my bed myself.
  • Spotting a high water line of pine needles around my favorite mud puddle, which means the earth is absorbing the rain water efficiently, as it should.
  • My pool pal and me breaking into a spontaneous round of the Happy Birthday song for a lifeguard who’d come back from college for the weekend when he admitted he’d had a birthday while away. She can carry a tune and I’m all about enthusiasm; we cracked ourselves up and the patient kid sat there grinning and blushing while we amused ourselves.
  • Milder autumn weather.
  • Baking season.
  • Finding a small batch muffin recipe for that one forgotten banana.
  • Desiring a new farmers market cart with a different horizontal design so my fruits and veg don’t get smashed, but taking my old vertical grocery cart and frugally finding it worked just fine. Letting go of the cart desire for now until my old cart finally rusts out.
  • A perfect day to go to the farmers market, not too hot, not too cold, not too windy, tiny sprinkles of skin kissing rain.
  • No frost yet so I am still enjoying Oregon Albion strawberries.
  • Ditto the cherry tomatoes. I’ve found a vendor at the farmers market who grows the sweetest cherries and he must pick them at the right time as well. They’ve been so good.
  • Smushing some cottage cheese with minced lemon cucumber and onion and herbs and calling it dip. It was yummy.
  • Trying a new fig: candy stripe. In the past I have favored Brown Turkey figs. The skin of the candy stripe was pale green and yellow striped, flesh was firmish. First one or two were a bit tart. They aged well and the best ones I almost threw away, but I cut open the nearly moldy browned outside skin and found it completely edible, the sweetest, most complex fig taste I’ve yet experienced in the fruit inside. Kind of like aging.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

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2 Responses to Gratitude Sunday: Random Spirituality: or, The Spark

  1. piratesorka says:

    Oh my darling dearest Kate, You with all your little altars, dancing in the rain, loving water surrounding you each day. YOU are the holy woman. You walk the walk. YOU live in peace even in the midst of what is not-peace . You walk in Beauty as our Navajo people would say.. You are the book you open in the morning and close at night.
    You are In the earth you trod and the earth that is in your hands, the sweet good earth. You are made of wind which the stars ordained for you this trip around the world. You join the wind when you sing and join your voice in the beauty of all that sings around you.
    You are the fire that stirs your spirit and your words. You are holy. You are one with the world even if you do not feel it today. You may think you are just a mote of earth on this world but you are so very much more. The world needs more people like you.
    Love, C

    Like

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