Since we celebrated Dia de los Muertos, life has been a series of touchstones, which has felt much like the path that Noé and I walked on our wedding day. I’ve stepped from stone to stone, each a distinct world unto itself.
First stone: With deep gratitude and respect, I announce that Rebecca Farr achieved her goal of raising $2,000 for Rancher’s Relief through her “I support South Dakota Ranchers” t- shirt efforts. While we realize this is a drop of water in an ocean of need, I have to believe that if only all of us do what we can, we transform the world. I thought of the story of the starfish.
The story goes of a woman walking along a beach filled with thousands of starfish stranded on land, destined to die if they are not returned to the ocean. One-by-one, the woman picks up starfish and tosses them back into the ocean. A man walks by and comments, “What’s the point? Look at all of these thousands of starfish. There’s too many. You’re not going to be able to make a difference.” The woman tossed a starfish into the water, “I made a difference for that one,” and kept walking, tossing starfish one-by-one into the sea. Thank you and thank you to all who supported the ranchers of South Dakota by purchasing a t-shirt.
Next stone: A radio interview with Ray Bowman of the Food and Farm Show about Meadowlark and the Storm Atlas. What I loved about this interview was the sense of depth and substance of the questions and conversation: http://www.americaswebradio.com/podcasts/FoodandFarmNov01.2013.mp3
Hop to the next stone: Guatemala! I fell in love with the textures, people, and landscape of Guatemala last year when I participated in the Instituto Guatemalteco Americano’s (IGA) Conference for Teachers in Quezaltenango.
My stone path led back back to IGA’s Conference for Teachers of English in Guatemala City this year to work with teachers who inspired and humbled. Together we explored the “Freedom Within Structure” of “A Teaching Life.”
It was a special gift to get to spend time with Mary Scholl and Amanda Rossi in Guatemala. Mary is the founder of the school center Centro Espiral Mana, located in the heart of Costa Rica (one time we had to stop class to go and watch the sloth in the tree outside the classroom), where I taught for a summer. Everything about this place is extraordinary – the people, the setting, the ideas, the love. If you are interested in becoming a TESOL endorsed teacher and/or the ideas of Compassionate Communication, Centro Espiral Mana is the place to go.
Skip to the next stone: Anne Hillerman of the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference just published a book that I cannot put down that brings new life to the mystery series of Leaphorn and Chee started by her father. In Spider Woman’s Daughter we come to know Bernie Manuelito and a woman’s voice in new ways. We kicked off our time together with a radio conversation on Collected Words with
Dorothy Massey, Jean Schaumberg, and Lesley Poling-Kempes about the conference, Meadowlark, Bone Horses, and Place in writing: http://www.santafe.com/the-voice/podcast/collected-words-october-30-2013. I was grateful to be included in the conference by moderating the panel “Will this Book EVER Be Published?” a topic I an all-too-intimately familiar with along Meadowlark‘s journey! What I learned through the wisdom of literary agent Elizabeth Trupin-Pulli and writers James McGrath Morris and Susan Guyette was how distinct each writer’s path with what seems to be the common thread that no matter what we expect our journey to publication to involve – this journey unfolds with a life of its own and it is what we do with the unexpected valleys and ravines that often defines a writing life.
Hop to the next stone: La Cosecha Conference for Dual Language Education of New Mexico where amazing bilingual teachers and I celebrated multilingualism, multiliteracy, and multiculturalism along with freedom in structure in teaching. In that wonderful way that stones often overlap, one of Luke’s teachers was in our workshop.
And on to the next for Noé’s birthday brunch amidst it all.
• Meadowlark Reading in Image and Word, Santa Fe Community College, November 21, 4:00 pm, Jemez 1
• Meadowlark Reading in Image and Word, Cascabel Christmas Fair, Cascabel, AZ, December 6-7
• Meadowlark Reading in Image and Word, First Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Men’s Breakfast. All welcome. You do not need to be a man or Presbyterian to join us! December 14, 8:00 am
As I think of this path of touchstones, I am grateful for the unique texture of each stone, each world. In my experience, often in the daily demands of a life well-lived, we feel pulled in many directions, and often those directions seem to pull against one another. As I write by candlelight, I give thanks for the textures, people, experiences, and lenses through which to understand the world of each of these touchstones. In their coming together, they create the wholeness of the path of life.