Tag Archive: friendships


Mandala Making 4

The making of our Dark Moon Mandalas is an art project. In essence we are creating a collage of images on a blank dark moon posterboard canvas. We are not looking to make professional art. We are engaging in dreamwork, journal work and manifestation work all at once without writing in a notebook. Our process is a cut and paste project done in silence to soft  meditative music. In essence, this is serious playtime AND a spiritual retreat.

Artwork requires imagination and supplies. Our supplies are collected old magazines wherever we can find them…from friends, from our hairdresser’s studio when she’s putting out the new ones, or some that we have received as gifts but don’t have time to read. Magazines of ALL kinds…OPRAH! Martha Stuart Living, Heirloom Gardening, Spirituality and Health, Self, FAERIE Magazine (although THAT subscription is almost to beautiful to cut up), etc. I keep several large double-handled paper grocery bags to store them in for use in our evenings. A basket holds these items for making our mandalas: scissors, glue sticks, glitter glues in different colors, but especially silver and fold, loose glitter, metallic colored pens, a silver fine-tipped permanent marker, a hole puncher, and thin ribbon.

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The Process/Themes- Each month, the Dark Moon/New Moon is in a different astrological sign, each sign addressing a unique part of life and special opportunities to open up to, or particular situations to release. Each of our sessions start with an astrological review of the month’s themes with journaling questions to answer based on those themes, deepening our awareness of what is happening in our lives. Questions are journaled in silence, and our answers and input then shared with each other. This sharing in truth is a form of group peer mentoring and spiritual guidance.

Mooncircle

 

AND THEN….THE ARTWORK!  Dark Moon Mandala-Making!

… Bags emptied on the floor,  magazines scattered everywhere, scissors in all hands, SILENCE,  quiet music, and then browse, ponder, select, and cut images and words that appeal to you or catch your attention. Don’t analyze…go with your spontaneous attractions!

lunas circle

Timing…We allow about 1/2 hour for choosing images. When it is time to stop collecting images, the timekeeper will call out “Start paste-ing!”…and for another 30 minutes the images and words are arranged on the dark moon, glued, glittered and dated with the silver permanent marker.

 

lunas 10

lunas 13

Mandala Making 7

 

 

 

 

 

Mandala Making 1

 

 

 

 

 

We find this process to be one of intense and deepening sacred play…relaxing and fun…but a true time out from the rushing pace of daylight.

The sharing that follows our completion of our personal dark moons fills the room with deep wisdom, laughter and delight and a lovely soul-level connection amongst us all.

These women are the LUNAS for me and each other in our lives!

Mooncircle FiveFrom Christine, the Greening Spirit

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Flower 4

I am a member of a wonderful Unitarian/Universalist community. Part of our Sunday service is this pledge:  

“Love is the spirit of this congregation, and service is our prayer. This is our great covenant: to dwell together in peace, to seek the truth in love….and to help one another.”

Time and time again I have witnessed these precepts in action in this group, gently pulling people out of isolation and into warm connection and belonging especially in times of need or challenge. A truly caring community free of dogma, as is the way of Unitarians, and full of kindness and sincere interest followed by action.

This past Sunday our interim minister, Rev. Jan, spoke so wisely and compassionately in his sermon about the experiences of “Loneliness and Intimacy”. He addressed the sometimes familiar feeling of sometimes being “alone in a crowd” or even “alone in a relationship”. He clarified the differences between men and women when it comes to “intimacy”, men sometimes associating it with a sexual relationship, but women often identifying its presence in deep sharing of stories, deep listening and being “heard”.

I loved all that he shared in his sermon and I KNOW that his thoughts and insights hit home with just about everyone who was there and have lived life alone and with others.

My own family knows that Intimacy is a deep need that is primary for me. Speaking the truth of feelings and experiences with each other, trying to live without judgement, attempting to understand each other’s viewpoints and perspective have been things I as a parent have attempted to teach my children as they grew up. In my later years, I found that the way of Unitarians matched my thinking about this. In my personal friendships and in the workshops I have facilitated, deep sharing, respectful listening without judgement have always been things we have aspired to and attempted to be mindful of. These things foster trust, true soul-filled connection and healing of spirit and emotions.

I am so thankful to have been blessed with friends with whom the treasures of “intimacy” in these ways have been a part of my life. I am happy when I have been able to offer that same treasure back in return. A win-win..we are all healed, and gently drawn out of the lonely place of isolation and disconnect able then to then express our full potential and unique gifts with the blessing from others.

Yesterday, while thinking of the words of Rev. Jan’s sermon which powerfully hit home and have lingered in my consciousness for several days, I went through my photos looking for a nature or garden picture to write about. Instead, I came upon these pictures of a past birthday of mine, and a dear dear soul sister who had stopped by unexpectedly to honor my birthday with a special gift.

Flower 5

This Soul-Sister, “Julie” whom I often call “Jewel-y” because she is a jewel, has been at different times “girlfriend”, “daughter”, “teacher”, “student,” “devil’s advocate”, or “vulnerable and open-hearted seeker”.  Over the years, these individual roles in our friendship have shifted depending on the situations of our very individual lives. A tender shining example of soul-ful “intimacy”… listening deeply to each others stories, challenges and successes, encouraging each other when down, celebrating with each other when up, holding secrets, offering alternatives, challenging decisions and actions that might  block our paths, and more.

Women know these kinds of friendships that sustain us through all other relationships with lovers, partners, parents and children…  Often Soul-ful intimacy may or may not be found in those other situations.

Each of us, my friend Julie and I,  have gone through some very serious and stressful changes in our individual lives over the past several years. We cannot get together much or connect as often right now as we give attention to new situations requiring deep focus and other connections. But I love these pictures of our friendship that seem to have captured the depth of sustaining  support, delight and unfolding that have, and always will, shelter us from the experience of isolation and disconnect in our lives when we might sometimes “feel alone in a crowd”.

btw: my birthday gift from Julie was that throw blanket in a wild animal print. We had been in our women’s group celebrating our wild creative selves and artistic self expression.. there were also cookies are for the sweetness of friendships…!

shawlFrom Christine, The Greening Spirit

 

Plantspeak

In various herbal conferences I have attended, I was always intrigued when certain teachers and indigenous speakers would make references to hearing the plants sing, or receiving messages from them about how to use them for healing. As far as I knew in my long years of gardening it had never happened to me… at least not yet until one summer when I unexpectedly became a wandering minstrel gypsy with a performing Ecuadorean family of musicians as their co-ordinator, unintentionally (but rather cavalierly) abdicating my role as garden mistress. That was the summer I finally “heard” the plants…only it wasn’t a song…it was an indignant lecture and chiding.

Attentively planting and raising my heirloom vegetable plants from seed in early spring, I looked after each stage of their emergence and growth with great delight. Planting them in the rich prepared soil of the side garden, I looked forward to seeing them begin to take root and thought of how much fun it was going to be, as always, enjoying their delicious goodness in my kitchen and table during harvest.

But, after working as educational co-ordinator during the winter with this gifted family of musicians for school concerts, it was decided that I would accompany them on the road in summer for a variety of festivals. That meant that I would teach piano Tuesday through Thursday morning, and leave with them in the dark of night on Thursday, returning late Sunday night or Monday morning.

Obviously, my home and garden life was disturbed and disheveled as I came and went balancing my music teaching with on-the-road away adventures with the performers.

Late midsummer when the plants have set  their fruit and begin to offer their goodies harvest, I stood by the garden in a now-rare state of presence and mindfulness thinking to bring in some tomatoes or squash or beans or SOMETHING and was shocked at what I saw.

My originally carefully and lovingly planted veggies and herbs were…were…a mess or just plain dry and barren. Rich soil, good enough rain and moisture,  a wonderful contained spot, but the garden was now overgrown with tangled weeds around the plants that (WHO) seemed to be gasping for life. The WEEDS were doing GREAT! The poor vegetables…oh dear.

I had to admit that I had not had much time if any to tend them as I came in an out each week between my work at the piano and my work …and adventure…on the road. I stood there trying to analyze why the weeds looked so healthy and robust, and the vegetable plants that I had helped to initiate into this life experience where so…stunted and forlorn. I stood there really trying to figure this out logically….and then, all of a sudden…….  WHAM! 

Plantspeak

In my mind’s eye an image came of its own accord of a Walt Disney-like cartoon plant… tall plant with leafy tendril-ed  arms, one of which was placed indignantly upon its stalky hip and I “heard” these extremely clear, stern and huffy words, not in my head, but somewhere in the middle of my chest..in the region of my heart:

“Wh-elll ! WE who are FOOD, are not like the others that grow in the forest on their own without help. If you say you are going to be here for us and are not, we are DISAPPOINTED!”

I was totally stunned. I had just been told off by a garden of Disappointed Vegetable plants. Yes, I had led them to believe we were going to do something grand together as we always had done in the past.. And then I took off for a summer adventure leaving them to fend for themselves in the heat, the winds, the bright hot sun, the sometimes rain and sometimes not, the encroaching tangle of strangle-weeds and vines.

They sure TOLD me what’s up and Truth isn’t always pretty….

All I can tell you is that this is not a made-up story. It REALLY happened and I have never forgotten it! Plants, like people who are family and friends, do count on us to be there when we say we will…and we hope for the same support in return. Sometimes we are better at it than at others times…life is so full of distractions and personal challenges that we get side-tracked as we try to personally stay upright.. But we are all in the garden together and interdependence often is the key to survival ( and pleasure) as we flow through the seasons of our lives.

Yes, the Plants DO speak to us when we stand still enough to listen. 🙂 AndI always do try to listen now. The kind that of listening that is centered in the Heart.

At a fair with Manuel of YARINA

At a fair with Manuel of YARINA

*** Writers love to hear from you if you enjoyed our story. I’d love you to click *like* if you did. Feel free to share and repost, or leave a comment! Thanks!

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

School Concert with YARINA

School Concert with YARINA

On the Road with YARINA

On the Road with YARINA

At home with the Family Cachimuel (YARINA)

At home with the Family Cachimuel(YARINA)

IMG_0684 (2).jpg Thanksgiving Celebration (Reposted from November 2010 by request)

Many Thanksgivings have come and gone and once again we are on the eve of that special day, each year the experience of the holiday both familiar and new as people come an go in ours lives.

And yet, we approach the day with precious memories that may or may not have anything to do with the picture painted by Norman Rockwell, in which a Gram and Gramps preside over the holiday feasting table of sons and daughters with their spouses and children, all gathered as one big happy family.

It is a picture with a homey, old-fashioned air of harmony, peace, togetherness and the ongoing family story, extended into longer chapters with each new marriage, each new birth. The thing that is so touching in this painting is that it feels real and comforting, eliciting the longing for “coming home” where we are loved, accepted, connected and recognized, and it’s fulfillment on Thanksgiving Day.

But as I pondered this,  other not- so- cozy scenes of the holiday prompted me to to ask the questions ”where are all the OTHER sets of parents of the spouses who married into the family in this picture ? Their own children, now all grown up, are HERE at this table, not at their table, so where are they? And how are they celebrating this day of  “togetherness and home-coming”?

I suspect they are: #1. With their other children, or with friends  #2. Eating a turkey dinner at the local Fire Station with other child-less elders. #3  Alone at home watching QVC. The Norman Rockwell painting may portray the experience of some, but what you can’t see are all the others who are attached deeply to those seated around the table, but who are NOT there, and having to create a way to alternatively go through the day somewhere else where they find kinship or seek solace in some manner in solitude that may be piercing to the heart.

So it was that yesterday, a day after Thanksgiving itself (when my out-of-town daughter, son-in law and grandchild came through for an overnight after spending this year’s Thanksgiving with his extended family elsewhere), I made my way to the home of dear friends where 19 of us gathered once again around the welcoming table at Madeline and Michael’s in a nearby township. Madeline had to work at the hospital on Thanksgiving this year and so the official celebration was moved to Friday, which served us well. For some, it was Thanksgiving #2, having spent Thursday elsewhere with blood family or friends,  and for some, it was THE Thanksgiving #1, having spent Thursday alone cleaning the house or yard or watching the football game without family. But for ALL of us, no matter what the official day of Thanksgiving had been, gathering once again around the table at Madeline and Michael and with each other, was  THE “coming home” event, as we greeted each other with open, cheerful, tender, or wounded hearts that could, for these hours and in this company, heal with welcoming, stories, hugs, laughter, updating, and the bounty of the earth.

Everyone contributed a specialty to the banquet table, an offering sharing delight and nourishment to pleasure and sustain both body and spirit. The age range of guests around this table spanned a great swath of time and several decades, from age 80 down to age 1½.  There was a 7 year old, some young 20 year olds,   a couple in their 30’s, a number of 60+ year olds, a 75-er and a great elder of  80. And unlike sitting at the table with one’s children in their 30’s plus toddlers in which there is no possibility of starting or actually finishing a sentence,  there was REAL conversation, and the topics varied…who’s doing what, how to cut down a tall tree, the price of ink (one of the costliest commodities at $5000 a gallon), growing potatoes and butternut squash organically in the neighborhood gardens, what the difference is between the space shuttle (that part which propels the whole affair) and the capsule( where the astronauts live and work and float about in space), how a cat sitting atop a tv survived a lightening strike, what it’s like being on a construction crew working on building mega-mansions for the mega rich ( summer homes that include helicopter pads and indoor private theatres)  and many other interesting topics to mull over  keeping the conversations lively with stories.

At this table were artists, painters, a dollmaker,a woodcraftsman, a piano teacher, a flute player,  a roofer, a construction supervisor, a soon- to- be aeronautical engineer, a lady bartender, a teaching assistant,  a grade-school teacher,  two medical lab technicians , potters, an astrologer, a Chinese translator, lots of great cooks, gardeners, herbalists, former professional photographers, Irish set-dancers, English Country Dancers etc-many of us wearing more than one hat in what we do for our both Vocations and our avocations, and a great pool of wisdom, expertise and services to offer within this little “village” of companions.

Times have changed from the evocative scene portrayed in the painting of Thanksgiving by Norman Rockwell. Yes, families still do gather at long tables, and carve the turkey, and watch the grandchildren, nieces and nephews dash around the house in rambunctious delight and play. They still note with bittersweet memory those who are no longer alive, and their absence from the banquet of Life. But this scene attempts to portray a wholeness and a continuity, which is does in a lovely way. Yet in these times, the changes include family continuity challenged by many divorces, great distances between people, and a cultural ethic that puts commercialism and glitz (Thanksgiving stuffed animals and baskets on display in September, Christmas goodies with sports, Disney or designer logos on display in November) before the simplicity of community coming together in some form, either familial or intentional, consciously, and with a gentle ease, to linger together, take refreshment, tell stories, laugh, and be grateful for the hours of gathering set apart from the mundane daily routines. And if there is the possibility of a span of generations present, than there is an extra richness and nourishment around the table  and afterwards, in front of the fire.

For the wonderful  Thanksgiving gathering on Friday at Madeline and Michael’s and the members of the day’s intentional “tribe”, I am very nourished and full of  Gratitude. Thank you, Thank you, dearest of Friends.

Circle 2

The world is in such turmoil. So many petitions to sign trying to stop the chaos, so many rallies for and against things that are so seemingly larger than us in the sweep of history. How do we deal with it, often feeling powerless? There are many ways of giving Voice and  effect change, and one of them is by going local and “grassroots” starting where we are in our own Community…AT the grassroots. Circle 5

 

Last week the Women’s Creativity Group from our Unitarian Church held a fire circle at the home of one of our members. There really was no agenda except to be there in Community, to build the fire and be together in its light and radiant elemental energy, to write down on a slip of paper something that we wished to release and place it in the flames to burn and be free of whatever burdened us or had served its usefulness in our lives. A simple ritual and a plate of sliced watermelon passed around for refreshment on a waning summer’s eve.

Staying in the immediate area of our neighborhood, and in the immediate interior stories lying tender within our souls, we were able to gain both freedom, release, and comfort in the presence of Community and the powerful mesmerizing energy of the fire.

In every fire circle it seems that there is one person who voluntarily and quietly moves forward out of the circle to adjust the logs and twigs, setting them up for the burning. Often also, that person becomes like a Priestess and Keeper of the fire, archetypally, as she moves around it during the evening prodding and poking to contain its elemental power and to encourage its fullness. Sarah, with her jacket for evening chill, placed it over her head to tend the flames and in the dwindling natural light of the closing day around the fire, she indeed looked like a Priestess as little sparks drifted up and out of the center into to air. Circle 3

In times of great cultural, political, economic, social and global change it is good to gather locally with old and new friends. To go “elemental” whether it be fire, or water, or wind or earth. In the circle of good people, being close to the elements brings out our humanity as well as our connection with powerful natural forces that symbolize how we might go about change creatively…EARTH for community gardening, WATER for compassion and tenderness, AIR for intelligent investigation and positive words that create what we want, not what we don’t want, and FIRE for belonging, releasing, passion and action, just to name a few of many  possibilities!

Circle

We need to work with the metaphors of the Elementals and nature. We NEED to accept our humble roles as true Priests and Priestesses at the grassroots, making sacred ritual out of everything we do. We need Community and Belonging right where we are. Now. Today.

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

IMG_7728
NOTE: Synchronicity is one of the amazing surprises of the Universe’s ongoing conversation with us. While preparing to write this essay, I was led to this link below through other mysterious connections having to do with another topic entirely on music and Cultural Creatives amongst us for inspiration. Elemental Fire Rituals are in the consciousness of people and communities in this intense period of change. For more inspiration and information on Community Fire Circles check this site: http://sacredfirecommunity.org/communityfires/why-fire/

**** This site hopefully is Food for the Soul. For Food for the Body, please check out my other blog here  http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

 

 

 

The Letter

Perhaps it is the long cold isolating winter this year, or perhaps it is a seasoned Maturity marching to an old and distant drummer which is somewhat at odds with, and questioning of, the fast pace and material focus of contemporary life. Perhaps it is a personal longing for communication with grown children who live busy lives elsewhere as parents and professionals and a puzzlement as to how things have become so intensely busy that even a 3-line e-mail is too long to ponder and respond to with presence or care.
 
 It seems that the social forces want everyone to link up and “connect” but to do it as quickly as possible…get in and get out, skimming over the surface of life with sound-bites of information/touching base that become trivial because there is no time to pause, go deeper, reflect and dialogue for the fuller, more complex and truthful story. And that may be okay for some, but for others it simply is not enough to satisfy the longing for the treasured communication that was often inherent through the more personal presence and practice of letter-writing. In fact, I would go so far as to say that in these past several days of Winter isolation, I have been pondering the lost art of letter writing, as a sweetly archaic form of personal communication that is unknown to the generation of the 30 year olds and younger, and which has been almost forgotten by many who are older and now tech-saavy.
  
 
As a youngster and a teenager, one of my greatest delights was the rhythmic correspondence between myself and my beloved cousin Edmond in which we shared endlessly about books, youthful and deepening philosophical ponderings of the meaning of life, teasings and humor -an ongoing lively in-depth dialogue that started about age 10 and continued through his tour of duty in Vietnam and my marriage and new life as a wife, and mother. In a real sense, these letters to each other were like diaries in which we shared with each other great trust and patience, depths of intellect and for sure, depths of Soul in spite of our youth.

In my teens also, I had a handsome pen-pal named Sujit Banerjee from India who sent me marvelous and intriguing pictures of himself in school uniform, riding an elephant and visiting exotic holy temples made of polished glass and sparkling mirrors. How exciting it was to receive the mail and see his paper-thin air-mail letters with unusual stamps and to open it with news and Kodak photos from a place so far away in miles and in culture!

In the years of my marriage and motherhood 3 states away from my own family and my in-laws, letters flew back and forth on a weekly basis to both my Mom and Dad, and my beloved Italian Mother-in-law, Maria, filled with stories of our life and the babies, and the joys and struggles as a young couple while my husband attended graduate school at the University. My parents and my in-laws were connected to us and we to them across the many miles with those stories which gave them an ongoing “picture” of their children and grandchildren allowing us all to feel, know and experience the continued unfolding of our lives as family, through words, images, thoughts, sharings. And they told their stories to us too as parents do…you know, the weather, their health, the state of the changing world. In these letters, we spoke, were listened to and were heard. To get a letter, to open it and read it was a bright spot in the day, and no matter where we were, it was a a reminder that we were connected to those who knew us.

Not that ALL letters were sweet and warm…in times of family or relational stress, letters could come that challenged the calm, drew lines in the sand or broke the heart. However, the letter carried the truth of the moment of a situation and the truth emerging from the heart, and allowed one voice to speak without interruption, interception or deflection. The letter allowed a period of listening time, and if a bond was not irrevocably broken, a possibility for ongoing, albeit sometimes scary or courageous, reflection and dialogue in the service of reconciliation. The point is, the letter always had the potential for authentic communication…which takes TIME, and a certain spaciousness for thought…and perhaps, a certain conscious elegance that could nurture and deepen Relationship.

Of course, the teasing, passionate or longing and SEMI-PRIVATE e-mail or FB announcement of ardent devotion can never match the treasure and intimacy of the Love Letter straight out of the depths of the heart, to be read and re-read and kept secret and personal under the pillow or tucked away in a special box, with a key…to save for years if love is true. And if love is fickle, the solemn ritual of tossing the letter with its personal handwriting into a roaring fire is much more powerful and magical for healing than pressing the “delete” button!

Letters, letters of all kinds…the paper, the pen, the stamp, the time it takes to write, the time it takes to read…there is an element of beauty, honesty, respect and genuine contact and communication directly from the heart and head and through the hand that offers a human touch and presence that no e-mail, twitter or texting message can match.

And like taking the time to prepare and sit down with a cup of tea, the writing/reading of a letter is an opportunity for a centering “Time Apart” from the world, so fast and full of noise and invasive chatter about so many things that do not matter.

The Letter. It is an art and a craft worth reviving.

(Christine Phoenix Green, January 2011)

Coming up next

The Art of the Letter

Part 2

Please respect my ownership of all writings and photos on this site, and  credit me and this source if passing on or sharing this in any way. Copywrited material is part of a book in progress. Thank you.

 

 

The Magic of Chosen Kin,Communion and Conversation on Thanksgiving


Re-posted from 2010

IMG_0684 (2).jpg Thanksgiving Celebration

Many Thanksgivings have come and gone and once again we are on the eve of that special day, each year the experience of the holiday both familiar and new as people come an go in ours lives.

And yet, we approach the day with precious memories that may or may not have anything to do with the picture painted by Norman Rockwell, in which a Gram and Gramps preside over the holiday feasting table of sons and daughters with their spouses and children, all gathered as one big happy family.

  It is a picture with a homey, old-fashioned air of harmony, peace, togetherness and the ongoing family story, extended into longer chapters with each new marriage, each new birth. The thing that is so touching in this painting is that it feels real and comforting, eliciting the longing for “coming home” where we are loved, accepted, connected and recognized, and it’s fulfillment on Thanksgiving Day.

But as I pondered this,  other not- so- cozy scenes of the holiday prompted me to to ask the questions ”where are all the OTHER sets of parents of the spouses who married into the family in this picture ? Their own children, now all grown up, are HERE at this table, not at their table, so where are they? And how are they celebrating this day of  “togetherness and home-coming”?

I suspect they are: #1. With their other children, or with friends  #2. Eating a turkey dinner at the local Fire Station with other child-less elders. #3  Alone at home watching QVC. The Norman Rockwell painting may portray the experience of some, but what you can’t see are all the others who are attached deeply to those seated around the table, but who are NOT there, and having to create a way to alternatively go through the day somewhere else where they find kinship or seek solace in some manner in solitude that may be piercing to the heart.

So it was that yesterday, a day after Thanksgiving itself (when my out-of-town daughter, son-in law and grandchild came through for an overnight after spending this year’s Thanksgiving with his extended family elsewhere), I made my way to the home of dear friends where 19 of us gathered once again around the welcoming table at Madeline and Michael’s in a nearby township. Madeline had to work at the hospital on Thanksgiving this year and so the official celebration was moved to Friday, which served us well. For some, it was Thanksgiving #2, having spent Thursday elsewhere with blood family or friends,  and for some, it was THE Thanksgiving #1, having spent Thursday alone cleaning the house or yard or watching the football game without family. But for ALL of us, no matter what the official day of Thanksgiving had been, gathering once again around the table at Madeline and Michael and with each other, was  THE “coming home” event, as we greeted each other with open, cheerful, tender, or wounded hearts that could, for these hours and in this company, heal with welcoming, stories, hugs, laughter, updating, and the bounty of the earth.

Everyone contributed a specialty to the banquet table, an offering sharing delight and nourishment to pleasure and sustain both body and spirit. The age range of guests around this table spanned a great swath of time and several decades, from age 80 down to age 1½.  There was a 7 year old, some young 20 year olds,   a couple in their 30’s, a number of 60+ year olds, a 75-er and a great elder of  80. And unlike sitting at the table with one’s children in their 30’s plus toddlers in which there is no possibility of starting or actually finishing a sentence,  there was REAL conversation, and the topics varied…who’s doing what, how to cut down a tall tree, the price of ink (one of the costliest commodities at $5000 a gallon), growing potatoes and butternut squash organically in the neighborhood gardens, what the difference is between the space shuttle (that part which propels the whole affair) and the capsule( where the astronauts live and work and float about in space), how a cat sitting atop a tv survived a lightening strike, what it’s like being on a construction crew working on building mega-mansions for the mega rich ( summer homes that include helicopter pads and indoor private theatres)  and many other interesting topics to mull over  keeping the conversations lively with stories.

At this table were artists, painters, a dollmaker,a woodcraftsman, a piano teacher, a flute player,  a roofer, a construction supervisor, a soon- to- be aeronautical engineer, a lady bartender, a teaching assistant,  a grade-school teacher,  two medical lab technicians , potters, an astrologer, a Chinese translator, lots of great cooks, gardeners, herbalists, former professional photographers, Irish set-dancers, English Country Dancers etc-many of us wearing more than one hat in what we do for our both Vocations and our avocations, and a great pool of wisdom, expertise and services to offer within this little “village” of companions.

Times have changed from the evocative scene portrayed in the painting of Thanksgiving by Norman Rockwell. Yes, families still do gather at long tables, and carve the turkey, and watch the grandchildren, nieces and nephews dash around the house in rambunctious delight and play. They still note with bittersweet memory those who are no longer alive, and their absence from the banquet of Life. But this scene attempts to portray a wholeness and a continuity, which is does in a lovely way. Yet in these times, the changes include family continuity challenged by many divorces, great distances between people, and a cultural ethic that puts commercialism and glitz (Thanksgiving stuffed animals and baskets on display in September, Christmas goodies with sports, Disney or designer logos on display in November) before the simplicity of community coming together in some form, either familial or intentional, consciously, and with a gentle ease, to linger together, take refreshment, tell stories, laugh, and be grateful for the hours of gathering set apart from the mundane daily routines. And if there is the possibility of a span of generations present, than there is an extra richness and nourishment around the table  and afterwards, in front of the fire.

For the wonderful  Thanksgiving gathering on Friday at Madeline and Michael’s and the members of the day’s intentional “tribe”, I am very nourished and full of  Gratitude. Thank you, Thank you, dearest of Friends.

Christine, the Greening Spirit

 

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