Tuesday, May 17, 2011

shimmy shimmy, or whatever

Free thought is tied to a free body. I had a post last year about shaking off a creative block with dance. I'm not talking about being a trained dancer -I'm talking about moving your body around because you feel like you should.

I'm not talking about Yoga (at the moment)- I'm talking about reaching up and out when you wake to the day because you feel like you should.

A friend posted a video a while ago which I was immediately drawn to.

I was shown the video again a week or so later. Now there were a number of parodies as suggested viewing on you tube. I was struck by how uncomfortable people were with the movement. They didn't know how to digest what they had seen. This illustrated to me yet again how our thoughts are tied to our body. When traditional choreography is presented it offers a framework that makes it palatable, but just feeling it - man, that can knock people over. Hhhmmm. Did you know renaissance woman, Dr. Maya Angelou studied modern dance with Martha Graham? I'm not surprised.

"Everything in the universe has rhythm. Everything dances."
-Maya Angelou

"Those who dance are considered insane by those who can’t hear the music."-George Carlin

"The one thing that can solve most of our problems is dancing"-James Brown

"I should not believe in a God who does not dance." -Friedrich Nietzsche

"Dancing is the loftiest, the most moving, the most beautiful of the arts, because it is no mere translation or abstraction from life; it is life itself." -Havelock Ellis

Well, maybe you're not one to get up and shake it, at least tap your toes and smile. The worst that can happen is getting mistaken for a rebel....and from the looks of it that's pretty good company.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

food policy (that Marketplace report)

I was doing dishes and listening to the public-radio show, Marketplace last week when Pedro Sanchez stated, "If you ask me point blank whether organic-based farming is better than conventional, my answer is no. There are just too many of us, we just need too many nutrients." I was bothered by the report. How can we take as gospel the finding of an individual who's job it is to defend corporate-led agriculture? Where were the questions? Are you telling me when covering a topic as important as the world's food supply it's not necessary to bring in another expert opinion?

Sanchez is trying to answer a very difficult question - will we be able to feed the world in 2050. He has worked with developing nations to solve their food shortage problems by moving them toward what could be described as an American Agribusiness model. Hybrid seeds, pesticides and fertilizers are provided instead of direct food aid, but is this the only way? Instead of spreading our factory farming mess around the world, shouldn't we be supporting the development of safer more sustainable projects? I wanted more facts, more numbers and more opinions, but I wasn't sure where to find them. Eventually I stumbled onto this article by Tom Philpott. He crafted an excellent article which compiles some very interesting information and gave a link to Tom Laskawy's piece which addressed the Marketplace report directly...enough of my ranting, just go there if you're interested in the topic.

Food supply is an incredibly important issue and how we address the problem deserves debate. The approach that Sanchez suggests comes with a cost and the complications are hard to back out of.

Giuseppe Arcimboldo: Emperor Rudolf II as the harvest god Vertumnus, 1590/91, painting

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

hen house visit

The Ameraucana is still a favorite around here, but we've added a few new breeds that we're quickly falling in love with.  


 This is our adolescent, Cleo.
Here she is with her two best friends, Lily and Licorice, the Australorps. These three are inseparable; they share knowledge about food and never compete. At night they roost together.


Extremely bossy for a little guy - we're still getting to know her. Notice the carriage of the tail and the wings pointed down.


She is an extremely gentle bird who loves to come up and visit while we're tending the hen house.

  Peep show

Ameraucana chicks and one little Japanese bantam


Barred rock chick

The barred rock is a hardy chicken and prolific layer of brown eggs - I'm happy to add some to the flock.

All in all the new birds are getting along well and enjoying plenty of conversation around the water cooler.



Monday, May 9, 2011

the incarnations of the mother and child

On Mother's Day, I took some time to re-read a section of a favorite poetry book. I found this piece by Nancy Rose Meeker:

Here am I,
but also vessel of creation.

Rhythms of the ages
stir the Womb of Woman,
my own womb -
ancient pulse in my own heartbeat,
nourishment in my own breast.
This life through me
was fathered deep
in fire-consecrated flesh,
and here, behold!
A miracle,
that what was not before

This piece stuck out because I have friends who have welcomed new babies this month. My first child was born in the month of May as well and I was reminded of those first days - nothing brings you so fully into the present. The exhaustion, wonder, worries and love shift you into a space that allows for a concentration only a mother will know.

After focusing on the experience of birth my mind wandered to all the women who are mothers and did not birth their children. From there the definition expanded to grandmothers and sisters who have taken over the care of children and those who travel across oceans to find the one they will nurture and protect. Early in the morning I heard Sylvia Boorstein, a Jewish-Buddhist teacher, mother, and grandmother speak about loving and teaching children on Being with Krista Tippett. She said, "Parenting is a spiritual practice" Providing care makes you a care-giver; embracing the practice makes you a Mother.

All of these mothers are complicated and mysterious. I know this now because I am one and I can see there's only so much my children need me to be, or want to see - what I am beyond that doesn't need to be revealed even if it's essential to the practice.  I will wait out those years of first independence when they will inevitably turn away in one way and another so that, after a time, they can look again and we might understand each other differently. They will, like I did, start to piece together a life that happened while I was right there next to them - the incarnations of the mother and child. 

Uma and baby Ganesha

Florence Owens Thompson, the so-called "Migrant Mother," whose photo was used to help raise awareness of the plight of migrant pea-pickers in the Great Depression.

Achomawi mother and child


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