Monday, March 28, 2011
A few photos of the great weekend in Eureka Springs, AR with dear SparkFriend Stephanie (SLASALLE) and her delightful partner, Beth. We both drove around four hours to get to Eureka Springs, a delightful village in the Ozarks of NW Arkansas; they drove south from Kansas City and I drove north from Conway, AR.
I stopped twice in the Ozarks -- first upon arriving to Leslie, at Serenity Farms Bakery, where I bought two Sourdough Multi-Grain Brick Oven-Baked Baguettes (which went well with the cheeses, veggies, and fruits we munched on Saturday evening) and oatmeal raisin cookies:
and then on to the Amish Bakery in Harrison, where I purchased some unnamed goods (and if anyone tries to pin any specific purchases on me, I'll vociferously deny them):
Saturday evening was particularly special as we enjoyed a delicious meal by candlelight in our rooms, celebrating WWF Earth Hour .
Here we are setting off on a 2+ hour Saturday hike at Lake Leatherwood, a spring-fed waterway situated inside 1600 acres of hiking trails:
I'm prepared for rain with my yellow rubber parka!
Stephanie at the dam
More views of the dam:
A sneak preview of the redbud in the Ozarks
Back at the room, Steph cleans up purdy durned good
Sunday morning we went to the fabulous Local Flavors Cafe and shared a wonderful brunch with new friend Carmen, the Inn keeper (with her cool-esque husband Robert) where we stayed at Tall Pines Inn.
I loved being a part of Stephanie and Beth's 10th Anniversary, which is actually on April 1 (they're no fools!!!)! We also found out that Carmen's birthday was Saturday!
A few photos from that lovely experience:
Here we all are
Carmen's pumpkin waffle and my huevos rancheros
Beth's eggs benedict and Stephanie's vegetarian omelet
Beth's favorite -- creme brulee...but she did share it with all of us!
Carmen extrapolating about something profound, I'm sure! haha
Stephanie sez "...and furthermore!" haha
And then...no matter where I am or what I'm doing...there is always this, cutting through my soul:
I want to tell you that the world
is still beautiful.
I tell you that despite
children raped on city streets,
shot down in school rooms,
despite the slow poisons seeping
from old and hidden sins
into our air, soil, water,
despite the thinning film
that encloses our aching world.
Despite my own terror and despair.
I want you to know that spring
is no small thing, that
the tender grasses curling
like a baby's fine hairs around
your fingers are a recurring
miracle. I want to tell you
that the river rocks shine
like God, that the crisp
voices of the orange and gold
October leaves are laughing at death,
I want to remind you to look
beneath the grass, to note
the fragile hieroglyphs
of ant, snail, beetle. I want
you to understand that you
are no more and no less necessary
than the brown recluse, the ruby-
throated hummingbird, the humpback
whale, the profligate mimosa.
I want to say, like Neruda,
that I am waiting for
"a great and common tenderness",
that I still believe
we are capable of attention,
that anyone who notices the world
must want to save it.
~ Rebecca Baggett ~
(Women's Uncommon Prayers)
Thursday, March 24, 2011
I feel like carbohydrates get such a bad rap and rep. And so I hereby proclaim my allegiance to -- THE GOOD CARBS!
Why? Not all carbohydrates are created equal. Whole grains, fruits, and veggies supply us with prolonged energy, fiber, and multiple nutrients that our bodies need for optimal health. Good quality carbohydrates can also trigger serotonin synthesis. Recognized as the "happy hormone," serotonin is an important neurotransmitter that affects our mood and sleep. The next time you feel blue, instead of reaching for that bag of chips or sugary cookies, opt for unrefined, unprocessed carbohydrates that will provide you with sustained energy and an improved mood. Toss that muffin and enjoy a whole grain cracker with a tablespoon of natural nut butter for a delicious and uplifting snack!
It doesn't have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don't try
to make them elaborate, this isn't
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.
-- Mary Oliver
St. Scholastica Benedictine Monastery, Ft. Smith, AR
This was my FOURTH retreat at the monastery with gifted teacher, poet, writer Sister Macrina Weidheker (a family of monks, priests, and wine growers www.wiederkehrwines.com/ ).
Here is her blog: www.macrina-underthesycamoretree.blo
gspot.com/ (I've enjoyed sitting in that swing many times on the monastery grounds.)
The winding path of the labyrinth served as a metaphor for our spiritual journey. And we also explored other forms of walking meditation, as well as sacred journaling,
My friend Marilyn, who shared the retreat experience, as well as the ride to and from the retreat, caught some lovely images while there:
At the entrance to the labyrinth
Saturday afternoon of the full moon (March 19, 2011) on the labyrinth; I also trod it in the glow of the moon
Love the feminine aspects of the divine
Can you see the dirt and grass on the bottom of the feet?
The pond is home to several huge bullfrogs
Some photos of me with/on MY NEW BIKE KaliMa, out-and-about, enjoying the day:
Kitty Rama wants in on the action too!
Aha! She has snuck into the frame again!
I rode just under 16 miles yesterday, including campus and downtown:
I definitely wasn't the only one out-and-about!
I am rendezvousing with dearest SparkFriend Stephanie (SLASALLE) in Eureka Springs, AR over the weekend, as well as wonderful Beth, finishing up my spring break in style! They are coming down from Kansas City; our drives are about the same (around 3+ hours).
Tall Pines Inn, Eureka Springs, AR
We'll be staying at Tall Pines Inn, which I found out about because Carmen, the Inn keeper with her husband Robert, attended the labyrinth retreat as well. I had originally met her a couple years ago at a sacred journaling silent retreat at the monastery.
We're thinking of having Saturday lunch here:
...and Sunday brunch here:
Local Flavor Cafe, Eureka Springs
The current plan is to eat the rest of our meals "in." I'll have a simple sandwich and salad ready for their arrival on Friday evening. I'm picking up something decadent at the Amish Bakery on my drive there: www.homeyhearthbakery.com/ for Saturday morning breakfast with Greek yogurt and coffee and we're talking about fruit salad and cheeses, etc. for Saturday dinner.
hikes (if weather cooperates)
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
I am a lover of spring. Many of us have acknowledged lately that we feel ourselves coming alive out of our winter hibernation, feel the earth moving under our feet, feel life coursing through our veins.
Ah spring! How it caresses us back to life.
And...I guess you could say that I have in recent years become a Mary Oliver devotee...and here is just one of the many reasons why:
Look, it's spring. And last year's loose dust has turned
into this soft willingness. The wind-flowers have come
up trembling, slowly the brackens are up-lifting their
curvaceous and pale bodies. The thrushes have come
home, none less than filled with mystery, sorrow,
happiness, music, ambition.
And I am walking out into all of this with nowhere to
go and no task undertaken but to turn the pages of
this beautiful world over and over, in the world of my mind.
* * *
Therefore, dark past,
I'm about to do it.
I'm about to forgive you
~ Mary Oliver ~
from WHAT DO WE KNOW: Poems and Prose Poems
Oliver and beloved Percy
I Ask Percy How I Should Live My Life
Love, love, love, says Percy.
And hurry as fast as you can
along the shining beach, or the rubble, or the dust.
Then, go to sleep.
Give up your body heat, your beating heart.
~ Mary Oliver ~
from The Truro Bear and Other Adventures
Mary Oliver's poetry is grounded in memories of Ohio and her adopted home of New England. Influenced by both Whitman and Thoreau, she is known for her clear and poignant observances of the natural world. Her poems are filled with imagery from her daily walks near her home in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Maxine Kumin calls Oliver "a patroller of wetlands in the same way that Thoreau was an inspector of snowstorms" and "an indefatigable guide to the natural world." Oliver has also been compared to Emily Dickinson, with whom she shares an affinity for solitude and interior monologues. Her poetry combines dark introspection with joyous release. Oliver is also known for her unadorned language and accessible themes.
A "taste" of Dickenson:
Friday I tasted life.
It was a vast morsel.
A Circus passed the house --
still I feel the red in my mind though the drums are out.
The Lawn is full of south and the odors tangle,
and I hear today for the first time
the river in the tree.
A lovely interview with Mary Oliver:
Thanks, Vivian (SMASHY1) for sharing this with me!
Monday, March 21, 2011
Today I picked up the Specialized Vita Sport from my local bike shop, The Ride! I'm astounded at its responsiveness, speed, lightness...and sleek beauty!
Carol (DAISY443) commands...in a nice way, of course: "Well, Maha, my friend, we need pics, please!" And Maha acts!
I loved MZZCHIEF's feed comment: "So happy you have found yourself a special stead to ride into Spring!"
(BTW, The Three Faces of not-Eve are "Ms. Chef," "Ms. Chief" and, most emphatically, "Mischief"!)
Don (DDOORN) said, "VERY nice news of your new ride!"
Isn't she lovely!
Vita Sport features and specs:
Don must have a Specialized, because he said, "I might be a tad partial to the brand...lol, but there are great reviews of it too!"
To answer Carol's question about beloved Trek, not on your life "RIP!" As Vivian (SMASHY1) said, part of the motivation to replace the Trek is that a friend has been using it quite a bit lately and is in need of a bicycle. The Trek has many more service-ful miles ahead.
Some photos of the beloved 14-yr. old Trek, with maintenance, new seat, and other miscellaneous spiffing up completed, as given to my friend. And the owner of the bike shop did not charge me for the maintenance, knowing what I was doing with the Trek!
And just-for-fun, some bumper *graffiti art* on my "other" rides, the Honda Civic and Toyota Dolphin:
Between "Kill Your TV" and "Live Aloha" is a co-exist peace symbol with a car on one side and a bicycle on the other. The faded one between two Obama stickers is "Stretch Your Horizons" referring to yoga.
"Harmony" is on one side of "Coexist" and "Yogaville" is on the other side.
Monday, March 21, 2011
~ walking the monastery labyrinth Saturday night under the full moon's shimmering glow shining through the trees, occasional passing clouds adding graphic beauty and striking shadow-shows
~ the warbling of unnamed birds going crazy with joy
~ light breezes caressing my sun-warmed skin this morning
~ my new *ride* ready to be picked up, a Specialized 2011 Vita Sport road bike
...all this (and more) contributes to my celebration today -- along with Delmore Schwartz's variation on a theme by Rilke of the glory, the feeling of the newness of life, and the hopefulness -- of SPRING!
Cliff Lake and the Tatoosh Range, Mt. Rainer National Park, WA
Spring has returned! Everything has returned!
The earth, just like a schoolgirl, memorizes
Poems, so many poems. ... Look, she has learned
So many famous poems, she has earned so many prizes!
Teacher was strict. We delighted in the white
Of the old man's beard, bright like the snow's:
Now we may ask which names are wrong, or right
For "blue," for "apple," for "ripe." She knows, she knows!
Lucky earth, let out of school, now you must play
Hide-and-seek with all the children every day:
You must hide that we may seek you: we will! We will!
The happiest child will hold you. She knows all the things
You taught her: the word for "hope," and for "believe,"
Are still upon her tongue. She sings and sings and sings.
~ Delmore Schwartz ~
(Last & Lost Poems)
Such beauty Schwartz shared from within his tortured soul:
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