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Dec 6, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

Hoping this poem can be a "happy spot" for you.

The Peace of Wild Things

by

Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives might 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.

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Dec 6, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

Such a wonderful poem. That "for a time" just breaks my heart. A promise of solace, a promise of having to leave it after that time, and find whatever comes next. Maybe more despair. And always too, more solace.

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author

One of the all-time great poems. Thank you, Patrick.

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Dec 6, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

This line, among many others, but THIS line: What a vomitous collection of pasty-faced garbage they are. You articulate so many of my own rampaging, riotous thoughts so well.

I offer thanks for:

~The fact that I'm not yet broken.

~The fact that the bulk of my time on this astounding planet coincided with what seemed like small increments forward, small victories for positive social change, care for the air we breathe, the soil beneath our feet, the flora and fauna who share our habitat, the miracle that is life itself.

~The fact that I have fewers years in front of me than so many younger people--years that will inevitably be filled with loss, privation, strife, anger,, desolation.

~My years of good health--years during which I could push my ragged self farther and higher into remote areas that allowed me to feel like the only human being alive.

~The astounding beauty of sunrises/sunsets, clouds, storms, blazing blue skies, the Milky Way.

~The delicate faces of deer, the soft fur of a rabbit, the slow grace of a snake, the loftiness of a soaring raptor, the soft whoot of an owl.

~The bottomless brown of a horse's eye and the warm grassy smell of its breath.

~The joy and oneness of clinging to the back of a horse with nothing between us but a pair of leather reins, the wind whipping our respective manes, the horse's sure feet thundering over the prairie in rhythm with our two hearts.

~The luck of my privilege to be comfortably housed and able to enjoy a variety of fine, healthy food.

~Friends who would offer assistance if I needed it, if only I would ask for it.

~Painters, photographers, and writers, like the Irritable Metis, who help me see the world, sometimes in new ways, sometimes in disturbing ways, and often in beautiful ways.

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author

What a beautiful list, Linda. Thank you.

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Dec 6, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

Ditto. You articulate so many of my gratitudes. The fact that we are grateful to have fewer years ahead of us is a strangely ironic one.

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author

And kind of peaceful, isn't it?

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Dec 7, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

Yes it is, and thanks for pointing that out. No more grasping or resisting. Just remingling with the other stardust in the universe.

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founding

Water. Every day, every form of water. I find it a marvel, how it travels the planet and shape shifts and carries such tremendous beauty and power and never gives up, just changes course or form.

And for friends who look at truth and are able to find the words that can describe it with honesty.

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author

Yes, water every day. What a beautiful way to express it.

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founding

💦❄️🌊🌫

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I've decided not to engage. They've been trolls as long as I can remember. Young Republicans in my high school "joking" that they wanted to be guards at the death camps. joking!

And there is much to be thankful for. I'm thankful that I can explore the Pine Barrens, that I have good family and friends.

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author

I've tried that. I've typed out and deleted a books-worth of comments over the last couple years. But it isn't just trolls. For example, a couple days ago someone I do follow commented on a picture from someone I don't ... and that picture was from the room at the vet where pets are euthanized, a dog stretched out on the floor, a couple people sobbing next to it ... and it wrecked me. I've been in that room all too many times in recent years and I don't want to be taken there ever again ... though I probably will be. It is that kind of oversharing that I wouldn't ever tell anyone they "shouldn't" engage in but I just can't take it.

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Dec 6, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

OMG ME NEITHER.

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Yesterday, I was walking through the postage stamp size of a forest we tend here in our community. I love this little forest and I walk through her often, sometimes gathering medicinals, sometimes offering a song.

I learned a few weeks ago that many of the Douglas Firs have a root mold that is slowly killing them. The Alders are old enough that they’re starting to fall naturally. The new trees that were planted as a restorative effort all died within a few months of planting.

This little forest is dying. Forests are meant to span and stretch. The ecosystem of this forest can’t survive on the tiny amount of land we have here to preserve her.

The fog was heavy yesterday and as I walked the sun breached the horizon and shown through a distilled, quiet light that touched on the Eastern side of all the trees. Suddenly, the different hues of green were each illuminated. It was so touchingly beautiful it brought tears to my eyes.

I had to say thank you, then. Thank you for surviving, here, with what you have left. Thank you for nourishing me in the ways that you can. Thank you for preserving what biodiversity you do with your red huckleberry and your Oregon grape, your various fungi and thriving bird populations. Thank you for all the medicine: Nettle, BlackBerry, Douglas Fir, Cedar. Grandmother forest, I feel your giant ancient spirit. I grieve for you in your final moments and I’m so grateful to spend them with you.

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Dec 6, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

Thank you for sharing such a beautiful experience. I share your love of forests and want to share this with you:

An old tree made me cry today.

It is not particularly pretty with its

gnarly bark, rough scars and broken limbs --

the only sign of life a scattering of buds among its topmost branches.

And yet, everything about it is beautiful to me.

It has stood strong through countless winter storms, spring floods, summer droughts, autumn winds --

Always reaching toward the light,

Taking in the world's exhalations, breathing out life.

One day the old tree will fall to the ground.

Lying in the dirt, it slowly will become dirt itself.

Then, nurturing a new seedling, it will rise to life again.

Laying my hand on the old tree's rough bark,

I whisper "Thank you" and smile through my tears.

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author

I have a number of trees I visit. Thank you is hardly enough sometimes it seems.

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author

This is beautiful, West.

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Dec 6, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

Chris, a post that was hard to read but important. Sorry to lose you on Twitter -- the last platform I'm still giving a shot to -- but so glad to have your voice guiding us here. I came across this the other day. Sending it your way with thanks:

Thankful For Now

Walking the river back home at the end

of May, locust in bloom, an oriole flitting

through dusky crowns, and the early night sky

going peach, day's late glow the color of that fruit's

flesh, dribbling down over everything, christening

my sons, the two of them walking before me

after a day of fishing, one of them placing a hand

on the other's shoulder, pointing toward a planet

that's just appeared, or the swift movement

of that yellow and black bird disappearing

into the growing dark, and now the light, pink

as a crabapple's flower, and my legs tired

from wading the higher water, and the rocks

that keep turning over, nearly spilling me

into the river, but still thankful for now

when I have enough strength to stay

a few yards behind them, loving this time

of day that shows me the breadth

of their backs, their lean, strong legs

striding, how we all go on in this cold water,

heading home to the sound of the last few

trout splashing, as mayflies float

through the shadowed riffles.

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/151352/thankful-for-now

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author

Thank you, Nick. Todd Davis is one of my absolute favorites and a stellar human as well. He has a new book about to come out and I can't wait to have it in my hands!

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Dec 6, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

Thank you for posting the poem, Nick

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Dec 6, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

This is great. As far as social media, you need to do what feels right. Just please continue to write. Thank you.

We have snow here, 4 inches. And cold, 15° this morning. It finally feels like the holidays.

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author

Thanks, Victoria. I'm envious of your winter!

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founding

"Thank You" for that poem. And, thank you for writing in an honest open fashion, making me thankful for who you are. Thank you.

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Dec 6, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

I am thankful for this declaration of yours: "I must make a conscious choice to engage with the world different from what the manufactured world would prefer I do." I am thankful I have a care-partner/life-partner who shares my reclusivity. I am thankful for my monkish refuge in a small 12th floor condo looking westward over the city to the mountain panorama. Some people care for me. I have time to write every day; I make several poems a week. Sinemet helps me keep moving; a new hip will help give me relief from pain. My legs still work enough I can walk, if only back and forth in the hallway (my "rehab alley"--6 laps to one end and back is 1/4 mile). Did I mention my grandson? My daughters? My best friends? And the special organic tea I order from Oregon--which I brew every morning, a sacrament. And I keep discovering new poets to read and enjoy. I no longer recognize the world and have no place in it, but, oh! there are a few people and things in it I love and appreciate more than my life.

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author

Thank you, Wayne. You are an inspiration. And tea as sacrament — perfect.

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Dec 6, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

I am thankful for last night, the last of the semester for college prep students at Mt Tamalpais College in San Quentin State Prison, when one student said here in this room among other students where disagreements make us better human beings, here is tranquility.

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Yeah, that pic got me too. I've wrestled with the same demons for years, Chris. I alternate between pushing the phone away and embracing it, and haven't yet fully figured out how to come to terms with its influence over me and my emotions. That's one of the most insidious things about it: it preys on our needs as humans to belong to something, and in the pandemic, that need has only grown as we've been more detached than ever from each other. I started interacting with platforms as a way to engage people I knew but didn't get to see often, but it's truly morphed into something different in the last several years. More and more I am coming to the realization that it's unhealthy to expose myself to it and that it's just not worth what it makes me feel like anymore. I know I will miss seeing what my friends are up to, and it will lead to my feeling more disconnected, but I also know that in the end, I can be more present for the people that are a part of my everyday life, and they're truly the ones that are closest to me. As a species we not only survived but flourished for centuries not being connected in the way we're expected to be now. Perhaps it's time we all made the decision to take a step backwards in order to move forward as a society.

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author

Well said, Brooks. Thank you.

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Dec 6, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

I'm saying thank you for reminding me of that Auden poem, which I treasure whenever it resurfaces in my life.

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Dec 6, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

I've had to “curate” the hell out of my timeline. I don’t want to see what people comment on or who they plan to vote for or why they insist on Thanksgiving parades. I want to see weddings and new babies and family photos and the happy moments I miss with friends everywhere but where I am in a pandemic.

Fuck Twitter.

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author

I know there's a way to streamline it but I don't have the patience to figure it out. Of they update and everything breaks. *shakes fist at sky*

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Dec 6, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

They have changed it SO MANY TIMES aim honestly not sure where I’d tell you to start. When I see posts that piss me off I usually click the three dots and say “don’t show me sh*r like this” or block/mute the person

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author

Sometimes the cheeriest moments for me have been the glee with which I've blocked and muted.

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This little bit of control in the total shitstorm of social media feels good to me, too. Thankful for your thoughts and words.

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Dec 11, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

I love this - thank you! I a thankful for the turkey tail mushrooms I found growing like rolodex tabs all *over* this small log I walked by in the forest. I took a picture and sent it in to have made into a postcard. I'm also incredibly grateful for the birds that come to my feeders that I can see from my window. For my cat whose tail swishes so fast while watching them. I'm also grateful I've been using a bullet journal this past year and misplaced it three times - thought it was gone for good once and then it reappeared. All the stories I told myself while it was gone - 'someone stole it' or 'I left it in a public place and now someone's going to steal my identity' all made me realize just how much we tell ourselves is true when it's probably not. I'm grateful for that self-awareness and the ability to let things go. I still believe in the goodness of the world. I still send real letters and postcards. I still watch the birds.

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author

Thank you for this, Jenny. I lost my notebook this past summer and miraculously recovered it from the hands of a stranger myself. It's quite an experience, isn't it? I send letters and postcards too. And watch the birds.

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Dec 6, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

Grateful for this piece of toast. Buttery, salty, chewy, crunchy. It's 1pm and I'm eating toast and drinking coffee, and sitting with this Nordmann fir in the middle of my living room, who is called Noel because all Christmas trees in my house are called that, and who is hung with lights and with ornaments that mean something to someone in our household. Grateful for those people, those memories, this moment of calm presence to sit with them.

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author

Mmm, toast....

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founding

I'm thankful for you, and for (I think it was) Tiffany Midge for mentioning your One Sentence Journal book. Grateful to chat with you via Zoom for that poetry class we just did. Grateful for the words, when they flow. Grateful to see the Bear rising out of the eastern sky at night. Grateful for ideas in my imagination. Grateful for this house and the work that I did from top to bottom to make it a solid building with windows, floors, walls, and doors. Grateful for two floofs on my bed and one stupid Puggle on the floor. Best third husband ever. I'm on Twitter, mostly to catch the news, and to follow the few I trust; FB and IG to look in and see if my family members are still there (adult children who can rarely visit). Grateful for my library for all the books I can't afford and ThriftBooks for all the old books I can afford that the library won't stock. Grateful for baking, gardens, birds, and traveling...my various muses. Deciding to honor who I am and who I'd like to be instead of hating who I'm not. <3

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author

Beautiful, Julia. Thank you.

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