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For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
~T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding"

Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares
which will not withdraw from us.

We need hours of aimless wandering or
spates of time sitting on park benches,
observing the mysterious world of ants
and the canopy of treetops.

—Maya Angelou

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

When Death Comes

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps his purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering;
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.
~ Mary Oliver

The polls have sung their opera of assent: the land wants war. But here is another America, candle-throated, sure as tide. Whoever you are, you are also this granite anger. In history you will be the vigilant dead who stood in front of every war with old hearts in your pockets, stood on the carcass of hope listening for the thunder of its feathers.

The desert is diamond ice and only stars above us here and elsewhere, a thousand issues of a clear waxed star, a holocaust of heaven and somewhere, a way out.

~Barbara Kingsolver, excerpt from Deadline, Another America

"I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my significance; to live so that which comes to me as seed goes to the next as blossom and that which comes to me as blossom, goes on as fruit.

~ Dawna Markova

I hadn't been out to the hives before, so to start off she gave me a lesson in what she called "bee yard etiquette.” She reminded me that the world was really one big bee yard, and the same rules worked fine in both places: Don't be afraid, as no life-loving bee wants to sting you. Still, don't be an idiot; wear long sleeves and long pants. Don't swat. Don't even think about swatting. If you feel angry, whistle. Anger agitates, while whistling melts a bee's temper. Act like you know what you're doing, even if you don't. Above all, send the bees love. Every little thing wants to be loved.

~Sue Monk Kidd, from "The Secret Life of Bees"

August said, “Listen to me now, Lily. I’m going to tell you something I want you always to remember, all right?” Her face had grown serious. Intent. Her eyes did not blink. “All right,” I said, and I felt something electric slide down my spine. “Our Lady is not some magical being out there somewhere, like a fairy godmother. She’s not the statue in the parlor. She’s something inside of you. Do you understand what I’m telling you?” “Our Lady is inside me,” I repeated, not sure I did. “You have to find a mother inside yourself. We all do. Even if we already have a mother, we still have to find this part of ourselves inside.”

~Sue Monk Kidd, from "The Secret Life of Bees"

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;
forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will forget tomorrow;
do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
give the world the best you have anyway.
You see in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
it never was between you and them anyway.

Mother Teresa

"I know in my heart the dream will be realized. I choose to believe. And choosing is a powerful thing. It's available to you at every moment. You can choose understanding over anger, believing over nonbelieving, action over inaction. It gives meaning to every choice we make."

"What we need to do is learn to respect and embrace our differences until our differences don’t make a difference in how we are treated."

~Yolanda King, at the Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation
January 20, 2004, Santa Cruz, California

An ending and a beginning. Renewed opportunity to stoke the oh so necessary fires even as the waters, salty and fresh, wash away the sludge and lay bare the forms upon which to sculpt anew.

To 2004 … may it bring strength and courage, joy and laughter.

Sooner or later we all discover that the important moments in life are not the advertised ones, not the birthdays, the graduations, the weddings, not the great goals achieved. The real milestones are less prepossessing. They come to the door of memory unannounced, stray dogs that amble in, sniff around a bit and simply never leave. Our lives are measured by these.

—Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) American reformer

An elder Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life.

He said to them, "A fight is going on inside me, it is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.

One wolf is evil—he is fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, competition, superiority, and ego.

The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.

This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too.

They thought about it for a minute and then one child asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what may life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry, Openings: The Peace of Wild Things

"Will the future ever arrive? … Should we continue to look upwards? Is the light we see in the sky one of those which will presently be extinguished? The ideal is terrifying to behold, lost as it is in the depths, small, isolated, a pin-point, brilliant but threatened on all sides by the dark forces that surround it; nevertheless, no more in danger than a star in the jaws of the clouds."

~ Victor Hugo

It's clear to me that I will return here, as well as to other wilderness frontiers within me -- whether next year or some time later -- because I know that what the river says is what I need to hear: to know myself, to feel wild again, to confront my own limits and move beyond them into the untamed country on the other side. I will return here in spite of the river's name; but I will never return the same again, and that, after all, is most clearly what the river says.
Jeff Wallach, What the River Says

"I love a good nap. Sometimes the promise of a nap is
the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning."

George, 'Seinfeld'

He thought his happiness was complete when, as he meandered aimlessly along, suddenly he stood by the edge of a full-fed river. Never in his life had he seen a river before -- this sleek, sinuous, full-bodied animal, chasing and chuckling, gripping things with a gurgle and leaving them with a laugh, to fling itself on fresh playmates that shook themselves free, and were caught and held again. All as a-shake and a-shiver -- glints and gleams and sparkles, rustle and swirl, chatter and bubble. The Mole was bewitched, entranced, fascinated. By the side of the river he trotted as one trots, when very small, by the side of a man who holds one spellbound by exciting stories; and when tired at last, he sat on the bank, while the river still chattered on to him, a babbling procession of the best stories in the world, sent from the heart of the earth to be told at last to the insatiable sea.
— Kenneth Grahame, from the Wind in the Willows

In order for something to become clean, something else must become dirty.
Imbesi's Conservation of Filth Law

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river
and he's not the same man.
Heraclitus of Ephesus

"What do you have when the last bear is gone? And the last wolf?"
"I don't know," the young man said. "What?"
"Why you have safety; it is safe then to have more farms too poor to support people and more
people who cannot live on the farms, and finally you have the tourists who are disappointed because they really
came to see the bears."
Dion Henderson, The Ninety-ninth Bear

Canoes, too, are unobtrusive; they don't storm the natural world or ride over it, but drift in upon it as part of its own silence. As you either care about what the land is or not, so do you like or dislike quiet things -- sailboats, or rainy green mornings in foreign places, or a grazing herd, or the ruins of monasteries in mountains...Chances for being quiet nowadays are limited.
John Graves, Goodbye to a River, ch. 4

"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Everyone must become their own person, however frightful that may be. —Einstein

Kenneth Grahme "So-this-is-a-River"
"THE River," corrected the Rat.
"And you really live by the river? What a jolly life!"
"By it and with it and on it and in it," said the Rat. "It's brother and sister to me, and aunts, and company, and food and drink, and (naturally) washing. It's my world, and I don't want any other. What it hasn't got is not worth having, and what it doesn't know is not worth knowing. Lord! the times we've had together..."
- From The Wind in the Willow

Harry Middleton "Many a time have I merely closed my eyes at the end of yet another troublesome day and soaked my bruised psyche in wild water, rivers remembered and rivers imagined.

"A state of grace is that kind of balance with which you ride the chaos that you find around you. It's not a matter of resolving the chaos because there's something arrogant and war-like about putting the world in order. It's a matter of riding the contours of the world as you encounter them."

—source unknown

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

— Read by Nelson Mandela in a 1995 speech. ~ From A RETURN TO LOVE by Marianne Williamson

The sound of lightning bugs is the same as that of fireworks—not the bang of going off but the glimmer of being on—the same as that of stars. It's the sound of amazement, people made breathless as the involuntary, unnoticed air of reverence explodes our bodies in embracing the twinkled sky, all eyes in wonder of where to focus, what to reach for, what to want to hold.
I know the sound of lightning bugs, for I've made it in their sea of wonder when sparkling spray milked the skyway and mirrored the mirror below, when starfish glowworms of early summer's field quit reflecting their silent winged partners and became them, when the near florescence of my own exaltation met the breathful skies and inhaled them.

—excerpted from Part 2 of Las Vegas—The Meadows, by Don Boklage, a Kentucky man lucky enough to live on a river in the midst of living, twinkling fairy lights, wise enough to be amazed by it, and gifted enough to write poetry that does it justice.

Advice to Beginners
—Ellen Kort

Begin. Keep on beginning. Nibble on everything. Take a hike. Teach yourself to whistle. Lie. The older you get the more they'll want your stories. Make them up. Talk to stones. Short-out electric fences. Swim with the sea turtle into the moon. Learn how to die. Eat moonshine pie. Drink wild geranium tea. Run naked in the rain. Everything that happens will happen and none of us will be safe from it. Pullup anchors. Sit close to the god of night. Lie still in a stream and breathe water. Climb to the top of the highest tree until ou come to the branch where the blue hereon sleeps. Eat poems for breakfast. Wear them on your forehead. Lick the mountains bare shoulder. Measure the color of days around your mother's death. Put your hands over your face and listen to what they tell you.


thought i knew my mind like the back of my hand the gold and the rainbow but nothing panned out as i planned and they say only milk and honey's gonna make your soul satisfied well i better learn how to swim cause the crossing is chilly and wide twisted guardrails on the highway broken glass on the cement a ghost of someone's tragedy how recklessly my time has been spent they say that it's never too late but you don't, you don't get any younger well i better learn how to starve the emptiness and feed the hunger up on the watershed standing at the fork in the road you can stand there and agonize till your agony's your heaviest load you'll never fly as the crow flies get used to a country mile when you're learning to face the path at your pace every choice is worth your while and there's always retrospect (when you're looking back) to light a clearer path every five years or so i look back on my life and i have a good laugh you start at the top go full circle round catch a breeze take a spill but ending up where i started again makes me wanna stand still up on the watershed standing at the fork in the road you can stand there and agonize till your agony's your heaviest load you'll never fly as the crow flies get used to a country mile when you're learning to face the path at your pace every choice is worth your while stepping on a crack breaking up and looking back til every tree limb overhead just seems to sit and wait til every step you take becomes a twist of fate up on the watershed standing at the fork in the road you can stand there and agonize till your agony's your heaviest load you'll never fly as the crow flies get used to a country mile when you're learning to face the path at your pace every choice is worth your while up on the watershed standing at the fork in the road you can stand there and agonize till your agony's your heaviest load you'll never fly as the crow flies get used to a country mile when you're learning to face the path at your pace every choice is worth your while and when you're learning to face the path at your pace every choice is worth your while words and music emily saliers copyright 1990 godhap music (bmi)

Hi my name is Jacqueline Orow. I am 12 Years old and I would like to let everyone know how sorry I am this tragedy. I just wanted to share two poems I wrote for the people who are involved in this tragedy. September 11, 2001 Tragedy in New York Everybody has a future Everybody has a past If we treat our world like this It will never last If you endanger 1 life You endanger us all After you hit the towers We didn't know they would fall The world shook people screamed countries were sad but others gleamed With thousands of people injured and thousand of people dead and thousands of people sitting at home With thousands of thoughts in there head When everyone got home they turned on the television and they were upset to see that the terrorists accomplished their mission they came and killed and tore us apart they tried to make us hate but they couldn't reach our heart Strong If we pull together we could make peace and it would remind us of that first thanksgiving feast if we get together and try to get along if we become allies we can do no wrong separate we are trouble together we are true if u believe in us then we believe in you together we are a family with a father and a mother and if we are knocked down then we will stand up for each other! Sincerely, Jacqueline Orow

"Blessed is the man, who having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact." - George Eliot (1819-1880)

"The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." - Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

In the moment before playing there's always that silence. It is exulting but it is frightening. For you are only who you are and you have only yourself to bring to it.

— from Sarah Smith's novel about the first woman concert pianist in 20th century France. Quoted by the keynote speaker at the 2002 SJSU Honor's Convocation.

"The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness." - Honore' de Balzac (1799-1850)

"I can't believe that!" said Alice. "You can't?" the Queen said in a pitying tone. "Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes." Alice laughed. "There's no use trying," she said: "one can't believe impossible things." "I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. —from Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Caroll

"That the birds of worry and care fly over your head, this you cannot change, but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent."

After a while you learn the subtle difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul. And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning and company doesn't mean security. And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts and presents aren't promises. And you begin to accept your defeats with your head up and your eyes open and with the grace of an adult, not the grief of a child. And you learn to build all your roads on today because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for your plans. After a while you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much. So plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers. And you will learn that you really can endure—that you really are strong. And you really do have worth. —anonymous

i'm gonna clear my head i'm gonna drink that sun the saddest sight my eyes can see is that big ball of orange sinking slyly down the trees sittin in a broken circle while you rest upon my knee this perfect moment will soon be leaving me suzanne calls from boston the coffee's hot the corn is high and that same sun that warms your heart will suck the good earth dry with everything its opposite enough to keep you crying or keep this old world spinning with a twinkle in its eye get out the map get out the map and lay your finger anywhere down we'll leave the figuring to those we pass on our way out of town don't drink the water there seems to be something ailing everyone i'm gonna clear my head i'm gonna drink that sun i'm gonna love you good and strong while our love is good and young joni left for south africa a few years ago and then beth took a job all the way over on the west coast and me i'm still trying to live half a life on the road seems i'm heavier by the year (heavier by the year) and heavier by the load (heavier by the load) why do we hurdle ourselves through every inch of time and space i must say around some corner i can sense a resting place with every lesson learned a line upon your beautiful face we'll amuse ourselves one day with these memories we'll trace get out the map get out the map and lay your finger anywhere down we'll leave the figuring to those we pass on our way out of town don't drink the water there seems to be something ailing everyone i'm gonna clear my head (i'm gonna clear my head) i'm gonna drink that sun (i'm gonna drink that sun) i'm gonna love you good and strong while our love is good and young i'm gonna clear my head i'm gonna drink that sun i'm gonna love you good and strong while our love is good and young words and music emily saliers copyright 1997 emi songs inc and godhap music (bmi)

"A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. "Herm Albright

"There are two types of people — those who come into a room and say, 'Well, here I am!' and those who come in and say, 'Ah, there you are."Frederick L. Collins

Every river finds time to drift, to ramble and babble and glup at the sky shining in. It also may dash and boil, seething spray and lashing at the earth like the raking of a dragon's claw. Both are natural for the river, as it reaches to find the truest paths. And sometimes, we who flow through life as a river, find ourselves caught in the eddies and backwaters of the flow. Hidden from all but a glimpse of filtered canopy light. Buoyed by the memory and residue of what was once the shore, spreading without course. A chance to reflect on the directions we've chosen, draw from the still depths of our wisdom, and prepare for the inevitable journeys that lie before us. Life is movement. Full of the obstacles and opportunities that make us great. A joining of the many lessons that make us whole. As we journey towards our dreams. — Rodger Chemnick

Letter to a Young Activist During Troubled Times,
by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D.

Do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so
many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are
concerned about the state of affairs in our world right now... Ours is
a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the
latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.

You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have
aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders,
everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is
breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend
your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not
lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is - we were made for
these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in
training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plane of

I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I
see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able
crafts in the waters than there are right now across the world. And
they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never
before in the history of humankind... Look out over the prow; there are
millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even
though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I
assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come
from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand
storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.

We have been in training for a dark time such as this, since the day we
assented to come to Earth. For many decades, worldwide, souls just like
us have been felled and left for dead in so many ways over and over
brought down by naivete, by lack of love, by being ambushed and
assaulted by various cultural and personal shocks in the extreme. We
have a history of being gutted, and yet remember this especially - we
have also, of necessity, perfected the knack of resurrection. Over and
over again we have been the living proof that that which has been
exiled, lost, or foundered can be restored to life again.

In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how
much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is
a tendency too to fall into being weakened by perseverating on what is
outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is
spending the wind without raising the sails. We are needed, that is all
we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great
souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them
when they appear. Didn't you say you were a believer? Didn't you say
you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn't you ask for grace?
Don't you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice

Understand the paradox: If you study the physics of a waterspout, you
will see that the outer vortex whirls far more quickly than the inner
one. To calm the storm means to quiet the outer layer, to cause it to
swirl much less, to more evenly match the velocity of the inner core -
till whatever has been lifted into such a vicious funnel falls back to
Earth, lays down, is peaceable again. One of the most important steps
you can take to help calm the storm is to not allow yourself to be
taken in a flurry of overwrought emotion or desperation thereby
accidentally contributing to the swale and the swirl.

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of
stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.
Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to
assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely.
It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the
critical mass to tip toward an enduring good. What is needed for
dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding
more, continuing. We know that it does not take "everyone on Earth" to
bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will
not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.

One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in
a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines
like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send
up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To
display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these -- to be fierce
and to show mercy toward others, both, are acts of immense bravery and
greatest necessity. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who
are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the
tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.

There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt
despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it; I will
not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate. The reason is
this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that
there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who
you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good
deeds we do are not ours: They are the words and deeds of the One who
brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your
wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can
be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.

This comes with much love and prayer that you remember who you came
from, and why you came to this beautiful, needful Earth.
©2003 C.P. Estes, All rights reserved.

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