October 2017

every day is earth day

I wrote this post in 2013 for Wisteria & Sunshine and am sharing here, as an addition to today’s post at my blog…because I am always aware of the challenges of eating more thoughtfully and want to make sure that my awareness of the challenges comes across. I struggle greatly with living and eating more compassionately…we all do. So let’s keep helping one another, encouraging one another. You may be happy to know that this post received more than a dozen positive responses at the time. Yet, I’ve still tiptoed with talking about it more…hmmm…obviously in public. Trying to break through all of that these days…


I heard on the radio today that is Earth day. I’ve never really celebrated this day in a focused way, just because my daily rounds don’t seem to rub shoulders with communal observations, as glad as I am that they exist. But the title of this post is not just a catchy phrase…it is the way I have been trying to live for more than thirty years. Sometimes I can flow with it, sometimes I am overwhelmed with what it may require of me. I believe we all feel this to one degree or another. I believe we would all feel it much more deeply if we let ourselves, but that path is fraught with many steep hills and dark woods.

As I mentioned at The Bower recently, I saw a movie that has set me firmly back on the path again after some wandering of late. Do you remember just last week I showed a photo of the handmade paper bag that hangs in our laundry room and collects all of the “recyclable” plastic bags? And just a few days after that post, I took three plastic bags full of those plastic bags to the recycling bin at the grocery store in town. Then just a few days after that, I saw this film and learned what happens to those plastic bags that we collect and dispose of in what we believe to be a responsible way. It turns out that plastic bags are very hard to actually recycle in a responsible manner, so our country sends them all off to China and other countries to deal with…and it isn’t in a responsible manner…towards the earth or the its people. I won’t soon forget, I hope I don’t soon forget, the scenes of women stirring vats of melting plastic, their little ones sitting nearby or wandering amongst the fumes and bags floating eerily around.


My mind and my heart have been often heavy since they have been reawakened all over again to the problems…and then quickly to how complicated and time-consuming and perhaps expensive it can be to live this modern life in ways that are less harmful to the earth and all of its creatures, human and otherwise.

Do you feel the same things?

It seems that my posts here that touch upon this are the least well-received of any…in the sense that there is usually little response. I have always thought, as I so often feel this myself, it is because it all seems so challenging. It touches so much…what we eat and all the traditions and habits and pleasures associated, how we live, minute to minute, day to day, how much our hearts and minds can hold of suffering and harm…and yet…how can we not think about it? We of all, as women, who are made to nurture and see the connections and tenderly care for what comes within our realm?


I know that this is depressing…I do know. I think that is why I dance around it here and in my life and everywhere. It is sad, it is overwhelming, it is hard to know where to begin…or to continue on. But I am writing this post today because of the film…because part of my healing is letting me know that I have to face it and find both small and gentle and big and gentle ways of working with it…that it is part of what I have to offer the world…

Also last week, I read something someone wrote about not really getting the usual approach to the question of “what would I do with my life if I didn’t have long to live?” They wouldn’t go on a spectacular trip or do as many of the things on their “bucket list” (they probably don’t even have a bucket list) as they could manage…they would simply allow themselves the freedom-with money, with time, with attention-to live how they most want to live, closer to the earth, more simply, more in tune with their hearts. I could see what that could might look like, in a hazy sort of way….how you might make some cloth bags and take the time to go the farmers market that seems too far a drive now…how you might more quickly remember or recognize when you don’t need to buy something or spend time chasing false dreams or needs….just glimmers of what might be part of the answer, even if we have a long life ahead of us, as I hope that we all do.

So…you will see more Small Ways posts here in the future, sometimes Very Small Ways. It is part of me living more authentically, more simply (in the end), more connectedly…which is so much of what we are about here, yes? As with everything I offer, it won’t always be something you want or need or can manage, but it will be there for the considering.

I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.

~Mother Teresa

the web of life…

is so easy for us to lose our wise instincts, to even be aware of the webs we are helping to weave in the world.

Monday…A title and one photo are all that I have to give today, but they are a hint of what I am trying to wrap some words around. I’ll keep coaxing and be here again tomorrow…

Tuesday…And the coaxing continues, but as I keep waiting to write here until I’ve finished a good day’s work, my mind is now weary and my skin pleads for time away from the screen. So I and my book are going to spend time beneath the old elm’s rather withered leaves while there is still light, with a plan to share my heart in the morning…

Wednesday…Candle lit, fingers over the keyboard in my lap, how to begin? Not really beginning, tho’…I’ve been here before. Heart and mind full, voice and fingers still. Not my inner voice, not the responses that echo through my own head while I pin another piece of laundry to the line or place a scrubbed, dripping plate in the dish rack…oh no. The connections, insights, opinions and dare-I-say-it…wisdom come thick and fast these days. It seems to be one of the gifts that have come along with the more-challenging physical manifestions of ever-closer menopause.

Not that it is new to make connections, but the depth and breadth of them in recent years is all-encompassing, sobering, overwhelming, astonishing, beautiful. Nature-made connection brings a sigh of contentment, awe and a falling-into-place. Human-made connection mostly the other sort. I remember hearing about a chemical plant that was compromised during the hurricane and flooding in Texas, releasing dangerous gases into the air, and learning that it was a chemical used to make plastic. Oh. Of course. I already knew about the tiny micro-beads of plastic made in China and transported all over the world in container ships to be made into other plastic things. And that many of those micro-beads leak out into the ocean to pollute it and be eaten by fish. And that plastic never biodegrades, only breaks down into smaller pieces in our land and our water. So all of the plastic clothing we buy and wear and wash (the fleece, the micro fiber cloths, the spandex, the polyester) sends tiny bits of plastic out of our washing machines and into the water we eventually drink and into the creatures and plants on land and sea. This and so much more I’ve learned about plastic.

But I hadn’t thought about the chemicals needed to make it into its many forms that surround us these days. Another strand to add to the web of plastic that I’ve become so aware of being woven around our planet, and into our everydays. It is these human-made webs that preoccupy my mind and spirit, for as the world wags on, following each new strand of newness in a short-sighted, linear way, my vision is clouded with the many strands attached to what is actually the web of every choice we make, ever action we take…

That is as it should be.

And isn’t it beautiful and comforting and liveable when such a web is woven with understanding and care? Instead of the obliviousness (at the very least) and greed that weaves so many webs these days?

I’ve been watching a garden spider weave her web above the tomato patch when I go to shut up the hens at twilight. Slow and careful work. She does not need understanding for her weaving for she has her instincts intact. But is so easy for us to lose our wise instincts, to even be aware of the webs we are helping to weave in the world.

I read something recently that I discovered when I wanted to know if male spiders weave webs. It turns out that only young male spiders do, until they give it up and turn their attention to mating. So I have been correct when I use the feminine to describe the spiders and their weavings around my home and garden and fields. This is so pleasing to me, because I have such a passion to share with the women in my world all of the ways I hope we can reweave our webs, large and small, to create a more beautiful, comforting and liveable world. And the passion seems to be finally overcoming all that keeps me quiet. Tho’ I am not so quiet at Wisteria & Sunshine, and if you long to learn more about these weavings, please join us there. I can speak more openly within its sheltered, peaceful walls. But I will write again soon here, perhaps about a connection I recently made about my reticence to speak, in general. I know it is a common one as the world gets noisier and more coarse. Until then, here is that something that I found…

Spiders do not weave their webs just to catch prey. They also use the web as a safety line when they are in danger of falling, or if they want to throw themselves into the air. Some spiders also weave a web around objects such as eggs and food that they wish to preserve.

Doesn’t that make you want to bring more care and understanding to your own weavings? It does me…so deeply! Back soon. xo

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