Gratitude and Wonder

Two questions came to mind this morning.

What did you notice today that inspired you to feel gratitude?

What did you notice today that inspired your curiosity and sense of wonder?

My granddaughter and daughter inspired my answer for today.

My granddaughter greeting the morning on Madeline Island (Photographer – Jnana Hand)

These may be questions you ask every day. From my experience, though, these are questions that are rarely if ever inspired by mainstream media. Instead, mainstream media focus on events that promote fear and anger. We are programmed to live in fear of a virus, economic insecurity, and each other. We’re constantly reminded of the egregious harm and suffering of our ancestors and encouraged to blame the descendants of peoples who are no longer living, perpetuating violent divisiveness.

Another question follows.

What if we focused on what is really important for our collective well-being and survival?

I remember the work of Louie Schwartzberg, “Nature’s Beauty Inspires Gratitude” (TEDxSMU, December 18, 2012).

A passage from Robin Wall Kimmerer’s (2013) book, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge, and the teachings of plants, surfaces as I watch Schwartzberg’s film.

“Science can be a language of distance which reduces a being to its working parts; it is a language of objects. The language scientists speak, however precise, is based on a profound error in grammar, an omission, a grave loss in translation from the native languages of these shores.

“My first taste of the missing language was the word Puhpowee on my tongue. I stumbled upon it in a book by Anishinaabe ethnobiologist Keewaydinoquay, in a treatise on the traditional use of fungi by our people. Puhpowee, she explained, translates as ‘the force which causes mushrooms to push up from the earth overnight.’ As a biologist, I was stunned that such a word existed…

“In the three syllables of this new word I could see an entire process of close observation in the damp morning woods, the formulation of a theory for which English has no equivalent. The makers of this word understood a world of being, full of unseen energies that animate everything.” (Kimmerer, 2013, p. 49)

Schwartzberg’s work clearly shows the magic of those unseen energies at play.

I sincerely hope you have a chance to notice something today that inspires gratitude and a sense of wonder.

Work Cited

Robin Wall Kimmerer (2013). Braiding sweetgrass: Indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge, and the teaching of plants. Minneapolis, MN: Milkweed Editions.

An Early June Morning Stroll – 2020

While walking my dog this morning
on this sunny warm day
“I came across a child of god”
He was helping his dad
build a tree house
“And this he told me”

 

‘I chose this tree
because it has flowers
and I thought people
might see how beautiful
this tree is.’
 
We chatted about his tree house
as he showed me
the special place he reserved for himself
although he reluctantly shared
the rest with his little sister
He called out as we left
‘Have a good day’
I replied, ‘You, too Sweetie.’

*


Note:

In the poem above, apostrophes ‘mark conversation.’ “Quotation marks” acknowledge words from a song that played through my thoughts as I began typing this story. The song is from Woodstock by Joni Mitchell.

*

*

Reflection:

Life is so challenging these days. As I greeted the early morning with the sweet scent of lilac and bleeding heart blossoms in the air, a thought flowed through my mind. “I have been to the mountain top.”

A memory long buried surfaced. I doubt that the mountain top I was on was the same one that inspired Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his famous speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountain Top.” Instead, it was a high hill in Gill, Massachusetts, near the Olde Stone Lodge where I was living at the time. A member of a struggling commune.

Breathing in the stillness, I was transported to another time and place, to a different mountain retreat. I was surrounded by wise, loving beings who showed me the power of the communion of spirits. “Times ahead will be challenging,” the wise beings said, “but you can come here whenever you choose.”

I haven’t been able to go back there, though, for a very long time. The reasons are too many to recount. This morning, I remembered the visit, though, before Pinto and I left for our walk.
Like the song, Woodstock, decades ago I set off as a young mother to “try and get my soul free.”

As I’ve mentioned before, I set off with my young daughter to live on a commune. It was the beginning of a long journey trying to find or create a loving community that finally led me to a simple life closer to my daughter and grandchildren.

This morning, I remembered the message, echoed in Mitchell’s song.

*

We are stardust. We are golden.
And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.

Autumn Reflections – October 21, 2019

Carol A. Hand

Golden moments in October

*

A golden moment when I got home after meeting with my class – Saturday, October 19, 2019

*

help one keep balanced
when life presents
too many responsibilities
to complete
before the winter snows

*

Preparing to process a bounty of carrots

*

Harvesting gardens and preserving food
Celebrating joyous family events

*

Celebrating My Daughter’s Birthday – October 18, 2019

*

Grading student papers in ways
that build knowledge and confidence
providing encouragement for all
to continue on the path
of life-long learning

***

Please know that I appreciate all of my virtual friends. I apologize for missing your recent blog posts and failing to reply to comments in a timely fashion. Despite rising early many days and going to bed in the wee morning hours, I am having a hard time finishing everything that needs to be done. I honestly can’t remember a busier time. The list of assignments that need to be graded keeps growing each day while gallons of carrots await processing in bags and containers that leave little space in my refrigerator even though I have given many away to neighbors and friends.

Maybe I’ll have some time to catch up between semesters… In the meantime, on this rainy, blustery day, I send my best wishes and hope you all experience golden moments, too.

*

Mothers’ Day Reflections – May 12, 2019

Carol A. Hand

Walking down the street of a once thriving tourist town

*

Two Harbors, MN – May 12, 2019

*

I wonder about the stories these old buildings hold

*

Two Harbors, MN – May 12, 2019

*

about The Oldest Sister and the Muffin Makers
and those who spent their summers here long ago

*

Enjoying Lake Superior – May 12, 2019

*

I wonder if the superior lake carries memories
through all time of those who once visited her shore

*

Family Celebrating Mothers’ Day – May 12, 2019

*

 

A Snowy Birthday – 2019

Carol A. Hand

The super moon brightened the sky
on the night before my birthday
despite increasing cumulus clouds
promising another imminent storm

*

February 19, 2019

*

The snowiest February on record
was older than me on my birthday
yet the sight on the morning after
brought this year close to a tie

*

February 21, 2019

*

It seems all I’ve done is shovel snow,
grade student papers, and prepare classes
My yak trax are wearing thin with use
and my little car, White Pony,
is surrounded by growing piles of snow

*

February 23, 2019

*

Given the weather forecast for this week
we’re likely to set a new record
Ah, my aching back and shoulders
make me hope the meteorologists are wrong…

*

Yet I am grateful for so many things
The chance to work with colleagues
who genuinely care about students and teaching
The opportunity to work with students
who are eager to learn and think critically
Virtual friends whose creativity, passion, and kindness
bring blessings of beauty, laughter, and new knowledge
A long life that has brought me to an old house
in the northlands where I can marvel
at the beauty of tiny crystals and wonder
how many billions it takes to blanket the earth
for hundreds of square miles under three feet of snow
And the health and strength to shovel
and shovel
and shovel
wondering
if spring
will
ever
come
again

 

PS – If you’re curious to know how my car got the name “White Pony,” here are some links to older posts that tell pieces of the story:

https://voices-from-the-margins.blog/2015/01/01/reflections-on-winters-past/

https://voices-from-the-margins.blog/2015/07/25/la-joie-de-la-vie/

A Trip to the Park

Carol A. Hand

Skyline Drive – October 14, 2018

*

We set off for a visit to Enger Park

*

*

despite a sky growing increasingly dark

*

*

passing by rocky cliffs

*

*

and winding shore

*

Engler Tower – October 14, 2018

My Daughter and Granddaughter at Enger Tower -, October 14, 2018

*

toward Enger Tower to explore

*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*

beneath trees adorned with autumnal glory

*

A Dusting of Snow – October 15, 2018

*

just before winter snow in northern territory

*

Reflections on a Rainy Thursday in September

Carol A. Hand

Who would believe it?

That inspiration for grading student papers

would come from advice inside a fortune cookie?

“Nine tenths of education is encouragement.”

I will just have to wait and see

if following this advice helps students

overcome at least some of their fear

about taking a course in “research”

***

Rain-kissed Petunias – September 20, 2018

***

An apt quote from my horoscope on an unremarkable day a while ago:

“Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.” (Wernher von Braun, rocket scientist)

***

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: