A Tall Order

It’s amazing what you can get on Amazon. Recently, when I was in Lanesboro Minnesota visiting my friend, I learned that the nearby town of Peterson, population 200, had taken up a collection and ordered an 8 ½-foot gnome to honor their Norwegian heritage (and for fun and to drum up business I imagine). (Who knew you could get an 8 ½-foot gnome on Amazon?) Well, the gnome got lost somehow en route, so Amazon apologized and sent them another one. (How do you lose an 8 ½-foot gnome?)    Eventually, the lost one showed up, leaving Peterson with two 8 ½-foot gnomes. (Apparently Amazon thought it was too much trouble to ship one of them back.) Of course my friend and I had to drive to Peterson to see them. One gnome sits in Peterson’s city park and the other next to a sign welcoming visitors to the town. Turns out 8 ½ feet isn’t as large as you think (though still impressive). See photo. If gnomes are not your thing, we later discovered that the company that made these gnomes also sells (among many other items): A Welsh dragon that is 6 ½ feet high and 9 feet long; An African elephant that is 8 feet tall and 12 feet long; A giraffe that is nearly 12 feet tall and 6 ½ feet long; A charging triceratops that is 10 ½ feet high and 20 ½ feet long; and A Brachiosaurus that is 15 ½ feet high and 18 feet long. These huge items are probably intended for cities or companies, but I laugh, imagining one (or more!) of...

Liberating Limericks

A writer whose mind swam in fog, Was endlessly scribbling her blog. Ideas were few, And nothing felt new, So she quit, and went out for some grog.   She tried once again the next morn, But still nothing real could be born. Words wouldn’t come, Her brain stuck with gum? Her frustrated heart filled with scorn.   So she tinkered with limericks instead, Thinking playfulness might clear her head. It had been a long time Since she’d made silly rhyme, Was relieved that her mind wasn’t dead! (And she hopes they’ll amuse when they’re read.)       A tree green and lush in its crown, Stares out with a powerful frown. “This land is a wonder! Not something to plunder! All Earth is a verb, not a noun!”         A fairy with curls, looking stern, Speaks a lesson she wants us to learn: “Mother Earth needs our caring, Her magic’s still flaring, Match Her love with your own, let it burn!”         What is the limerick of your life...

Don’t Bore the Gods!

I had a humbling Aha! moment the other day. Humbling but also freeing. Tom and I have been reading a series of young adult novels, The Lost Years of Merlin. The five book series, which imagine Merlin from about age 9 to adulthood, are fun, full of enchanted forests, haunted marshland, fanciful and magical creatures, and resourceful humans (including females!). Merlin, who has discovered his grandfather was a great wizard, knows he has special abilities (though he doesn’t know much about what they are) and that he is destined to be a wizard also. Yet he struggles with this, alternating between being too cocky about his powers (and then either losing them or misusing them in some way) and angrily declaring he has no powers and will never fulfill his destiny (poor me). Friends tell him how he demonstrates courage and heart, and magical beings declare he has more power than he knows. We the readers know that all this is true, but Merlin, in typical adolescent fashion, moodily brushes it all away. While we were reading the third book, both Tom and I commented that we were getting bored with Merlin’s constant worry about his powers and whether he would fulfill his destiny. We hoped he would wise up soon. The Aha! came the next day while swimming at the health club. With embarrassment I suddenly realized I DO THIS! For years now I have worried aloud about what I am “meant” to do in the world and discounted or minimized what I have done. I fretted that my offerings were “not enough,” because I could do more,...

What Now?

How can we best navigate this difficult time in our country and the world? Yesterday, with that question in mind, I grabbed an old magazine, took a deep breath, and spoke this question aloud. Then I opened the magazine at random and ripped out the page under my hand. Quickly scanning the page I circled words and phrases that jumped out at me. Those words and phrases, arranged into a rough poem, answered the question this way: When clouds pass overhead, new incandescent beings are spotted all the time. Bioluminescent, they express themselves with light. A signal fire, helping us to find our location in the blackness.   Shimmering glow sticks, displaying intense cheek lights, luminous dappled bellies, glowing lures dangling from nose or arms, deep sparkling eyes   If met with a startle response, they can also match the color of moonlight.   Oh yes, I thought, let’s do all we can to shine brightly, so we can find each other, strengthen each other and dazzle the new world into being! (Or if necessary, glow more quietly like the moon.) Yet I was uneasy with this answer; I wondered if it glossed over too quickly the looming darkness… So I turned to the Tarot. Again I centered myself, asked the same question, and pulled a card from each of three tarot decks—and to my delight they worked beautifully together, affirming the message from the poem and putting it into a larger context. Here are the cards, along with what I heard when the cards popped up.   The 10 of Fire from the Gaian Tarot, a raging forest...

Deer Delight

For some time now I’ve been working on living more playfully (the irony of this is not lost on me). A frolicking fawn and her mother reminded me recently how it’s done. As I mentioned in my last newsletter, I gathered with a group of wonderful women a few weeks ago at a camp nestled in the woods on Madeline Island in order to bless Lake Superior. One day, as six or eight of us left the dining hall after a meal, we noticed a fawn and her mother. We were surprised to see them standing in the camp’s fenced in tennis court. Women and deer stood motionless, watching each other. Suddenly the fawn began to play, literally kicking up her heels around her mother, white tail bobbing up and down. Despite trying to be still and quiet so as not to scare them, we couldn’t help but exclaim with delight. And keep watching. After a bit, the mother set aside her caution about us and to our astonishment, joined in the fun, the two of them leaping and bobbing, circling each other with abandon. They lowered their heads and lifted their bottoms in little leaps, the way I’ve seen two dogs cavort, circling each other in play. Goofy-looking, and adorable. We were enchanted. None of us, avid nature-watchers all, had seen a mother and her fawn play together like this. We felt honored and thankful to be treated to this gambol which would ordinarily happen (I assume) deep in the woods. The deer’s exuberance was contagious. We felt the kind of elation—love and laughter entwined with the freshest of breezes–one...

Free From the List

We all try so hard in January: to “do better,” to complete the “shoulds” we failed to complete last year. Not me. Spirit is handling my agenda these days. And with more wisdom, kindness and efficiency than when I was in charge. I have been an organized, list-making gal, believing that lists were what made me efficient and productive. I was indeed efficient and productive, generally completing my daily or weekly to-do lists (“work”) before more exciting things (“play”). When I noticed I seldom found time for fun or creative activities, I began adding them to the lists. But grumpiness often muddied satisfaction in my competence. Then one day a shift happened. I looked at my to-do list in a new way. Instead of the sum of “what must happen today,” I saw it as a compendium of suggestions. I began asking, “what needs to happen today?”—and “what does NOT need to happen today?” Not what my clipboard-clutching, inner drill sergeant calls “need,” but need from a larger perspective. Perhaps what a soaring hawk’s sharp eye might perceive. To discover this I had to pause, breathe, shift attention from my head (and all its “shoulds”) into my belly and listen. “Make the call to the repairman now. You don’t need to pay that medical bill today.” This felt different. I didn’t resist because the drill sergeant was no longer ordering me around; instead, the hawk’s larger view was helping me see what was required in my world. These messages—whether from Hawk, my intuition, Spirit, or all three—worked well:  just before my call a cancellation freed up the repairman; postponing...