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November 22, 2021


Oh, yes. So much here that resonates. I've been blogging daily this month after realizing that if I can find something to say on Instagram and/or Facebook, there's no reason I can't find something to say on my blog. But this question of "why" comes up time and again.

I had more to write about (more to share) when I was single, living in NH, and traveling. Now I have a house in the suburbs and spend less time exploring wild places, and virtually no time traveling due to pet and other obligations. I wouldn't trade that life for this one, but I find myself having less to say.

And yet...here we are. I continue to keep a journal, even on days when I don't have anything to say: I continue to keep a journal because I believe that words will *always* show up. Blogging is a similar act of faith, and we continue to keep that faith.

Such resonance, Beth, as always. Hasn't this been such a peculiar time? With so many of us so hungry for connection, and yet at the same time feeling so fragile, and without much to give.

I too had to recently clean out one of my old computers from nearly a decade ago, and was surprised at how emotional it was, this artifact from a time in my life I'd not particularly cared to reconsider. Getting through it made me think of the detritus of our digital lives-- which also feels both so fragile and yet somehow so enduring.

In any case thank you for this beautiful essay, and the solace of it. It feels a little like something dropped in a cavernous room, making you aware of so much space.

This really speaks to me. Trying to live an aware, balanced life--and write. But silence is the canvas off of which words happen. So big gobs of silence, especially in these times, are necessary.

Beth — so glad to read this and feel the echoes. I’ve been getting into Hildegard von Bingen and it has brought you to mind a lot. I’m planning on a big project, not sure I have the ability or stamina, but we’ll see how we go.

I’ve had occasion to look into the Feathers of Hope archives recently myself — gosh what a long time ago that was.

Sending hugs, my friend, and may your paths lead to new discoveries and insights. Whether you share them with us is entirely your choice. x

Beautiful post Beth. It is as if you have given words to all the complicated feeling that were sitting inside me and which I didn’t know how to express. It seems all of us are going through similar emotions in our own unique ways. The tussle with social media, especially Instagram continues for me too. I dislike how much it reduces the richness of life into tiny boxes and terse writing. I miss blogging, where I had to think about what I wanted to say and how to say it. I have wondered if I should resume blogging, if only for myself, but there hardly seems anything to say and the only antidote to a certain bleakness that settles over me at times is walking through nature and recording it in my journal. I hope you will continue blogging. I was glad to read this as I am sure so many of your loyal readers too.

Is poetry enough, enough to sate the
soul, the hungry soul, the soul in times
like these, these evil, ravaged times?
Is this the hope, the poetry amidst
the hopelessness, the momentary
joys – are these, are these still poetry?

Is poetry this sunshine after rain,
the sun now shining, slanting through
the trees, this peaceful resting now
to write it down, to hold it true – is
this the truth, the poetry? Is autumn,
autumn’s fleeting flowers, mellow fruits,

the carpet crackling, rustling rosy pink
and yellow leaves, the enclaves of
indignant singing birds, the preening
cat – oh, glossy, grinning tabby cat! – is
this the truth, the hope, the stillness,
even now enough? Is poetry enough?

I've been feeling many of these same things. Sometimes all the noise and words seem overwhelming and I crave silent meditation or immersion in music or art, or nature which have no words. And I have felt little inspiration to write for my blog, partly because I sense others feel the same way -- no additional words desired! I do keep up with my personal journals though.
Thank you for sharing -- YOUR words are most welcome.

"... That means making decisions, setting clear priorities, and cleaning out my spaces so that there is room, both figuratively and literally, to grow and change, and -- one hopes -- to have something to say."

You've given me much to think about while deeply appreciating your November photos, especially the first one and your art work, and then pausing a day before responding. This fall I've been "cleaning out my spaces" as well, making room for what needs an open place in order to appear in my life. Early December will be 15 years of blogging for me. Before blogging my life had become very very small, haunted by a past that I let hold me hostage. I'm grateful to have gradually been able process that past, directly and indirectly, gradually and anonymously, through art work, poetry, writing, music, literature and in opening myself to the joys and sorrows of bloggers near and far. I write far less on my blog than in earlier years, often simply posting things I want to share with blog friends -- music, documentaries, books I've read, poetry or anything that helped me move forward. My blog has been a delightful place to share my art work, which otherwise would be seen by far fewer people.

It is occurring to me that I write more on other people's blogs than I do on my own!

Thank you for your presence for these years that I have been reading your blog.

Amanda (Ella)

Everything you've said here is so beautifully put. My head has been nodding (yes, not sleeping!) to many of your points, especially about social media and questioning the reason for maintaining a blog.
I have deleted bookmarks to several blogs because they aren't in line with my thinking of late - I'm not interested in buying stuff, fashion, or humble bragging. Lately I have been working on developing a spiritual practice, and have found your blog to be a source of solace and beauty. This is not a plea to continue the blog, as I can understand what a commitment it is. And about your comment about this being the hardest year of your life, please keep trusting that it will get better. This advice was given to me during a very difficult period and I am so grateful to the giver of that advice.

Dear All -- I'm sorry to have taken so long to reply, but wanted to thank you for commenting on my blog post.

Lorianne --I'm glad we've been companions in blogging for so long - it helps to know there are a few others out there who continue to journal and to blog, and you are definitely one of the most faithful to your practice. Even if I don't comment on your that often, I do read what you write and am always grateful for your thoughtfulness and for the fact that you "keep showing up."

Siona -- our "fragile and yet enduring" digital lives - yes, that's it exactly, well put. And, personally, I'd rather have the blog represent me than the even more ephemeral tweets and social media posts. Of course it could all vanish if the platform goes down, too. I do keep a backup, which is not complete, but doubt I'd ever restore it. Oddly, I seldom look back through my old journals. The point seems to be to do the writing, and work things out there, rather than creating something with the intention of going back to it -- at least not very often!

Priya, you write "I dislike how much it reduces the richness of life into tiny boxes and terse writing" and I couldn't agree more. I always appreciate what you post, and one advantage of being artists is that we can let our images speak for us even when words area hard to come by. Yours always speak to me.

Jean, what a beautiful poem, and yes, that is the question, isn't it -- is poetry enough? Is art enough? I think so, but of course we all question this from time to time. We all need love, too, but that can be wrapped inside the art and the poetry. I hope that the love I feel for my readers comes across in what I post, whether it's expressed directly or not -- I find this in your poem too.

Liz, it's good to hear from you, and thank you for mentioning nature, which is the other place where I find so much solace, and where wordlessness never seems to matter or be missed.

Amanda, thank you for what you wrote, and congratulations on your own 15 years of blogging. I'm glad (and not surprised) that it helped you process complicated experiences and feelings. I've found that my blogging always evolves and changes, as I do. It's a fluid medium and I appreciate that, and also a resilient one.

Valerie, thank you for your kind words and the reminder that things will get better. I agree, they will, and we have to trust that, and well as trusting the process of our practices and of life itself. I too have deleted some bookmarks over the past year, to blogs that feel irrelevant or narcissistic, and it feels good to make that decision.

Pica: Thanks so much for commenting. Yes, it's been ages, hasn't it? And I love your new project and hope you'll keep at it! You've got a lot to say and the medium seems perfect for you; I'm also grateful and happy to see the fruits of what you've been working on so hard.

Edward: Thank you, my friend. Yes, the words have to emerge from the silence, otherwise they are pretty empty. A paradox there.

So many resonant thoughts from you and commenters. I'm late to this post because I was away, spending time with friends I had not seen for two years or more. Everyone was careful—no groups, carefully-kept distance—yet we were giddy with the pleasure of communion, face to face. I had not realized how isolated I'd become till I had six days of this intimacy, contact I had entirely taken for granted before the pandemic. I feel like a manually-wound watch, springy and capable. And I fear running down.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.