Rabbit Hole Treasures
Another title to summarize this post is:
"Oodles of Links to My Favorite Things!"
Mindless clicking these days may lead down many paths...some enriching, others less so. When I'm not walking trails or binging on everything Hamilton with my free time, these are some of the rabbit holes I have jumped down and the treasures I discovered. I hope you may enjoy them too.
Poet Billy Collins shares his poetry, dry wit, reading recommendations, and jazz during a daily poetry broadcast (weekdays only.) Here you can find a list of every poem he has read since March! That will keep us all busy for a while.
A month or two ago he read the poetry of John Clare, a writer unknown to me. Collins described him as an English peasant poet celebrated for his nature and folklife themes. I don't typically enjoy rhyme and meter, but since he wrote his observations of nature, I was drawn to learn more and read his work.
Reading Clare's words is like a walk back in time. The titles of his poems quickly lured me in: "The Fallen Elm", "Wood Pictures in Spring", "The Eternity of Nature", "Stepping Stones" - a title that uses just three syllables to conjure the feeling of skipping through his work as one might over a creek.
In September, I'll read "To Autumn" on page 49 of "I Am", hopefully on a cool day with low clouds before the Wood Thrush depart.
One of my favorites for today from "I Am": The Selected Poetry of John Clare is "Summer Moods." (psst - the link included for his book takes you to Bookshop.org which allows you to support local independent bookstores of your choice.)
Did you think I forgot about the jazz Billy plays each broadcast? One of his lovely listeners compiled a playlist of music he has shared. You can go a-scrollin' to find that. Has music not been a lifeline these recent months? It has for me.
Recently Billy featured Johnny Hartman. Have you heard of him? He played with Dizzy Gillespie, was a balladeer singing love songs before he was deemed commercially viable, but it was a 1963 album that made the difference in his career and legacy.
I'll leave you with Johnny Hartman and John Coltrane, an album I've loved for nearly 30 years. Provided to YouTube by Universal Music Group. Enjoy - it's delicious!
In May I took a four-week online writing workshop focused on writing the natural world with Nashville's The Porch Writers' Collective. The Porch educates, inspires, and connects writers of all ages and stages. And these days they can reach a larger audience through their daily free writing prompts and online workshops. In other words, you don't have to live in Nashville to join a one-time or multi-week class! The workshop I participated in brought together folks who appreciate nature and have a desire to share how and why nature matters. That workshop helped me set a more consistent practice with this blog -- a fulfilling outlet for my creative energy.
That workshop also led me to the writing of Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of "Gathering Moss" and "Braiding Sweetgrass." Whether this is ironic or ridiculous, "Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants" was already on my bookshelf. I do often judge an actual book by its cover, its table of contents, and the words of one random page. Upon finding this book in my home I remembered buying it...and why.
Every page has sentences to savor.
Perhaps that is why I'm only on page 31 after two months.
"But in Native ways of knowing, human people are often referred to as "the younger brothers of Creation." We say that humans have the least experience with how to live and thus the most to learn -- we must look to our teachers among the other species for guidance." ~Robin Wall Kimmerer
As we do when enamored with a singer, a musical, a new tv series, a recently identified bird, or an author, I went a-Googlin'. (We all do this right?! I know Brene Brown does. She talked about it in her recent Netflix special. Thanks Brene!)
One or two searches later I found Alie Ward's OLOGIES EPISODES. If you have an interest in anything, you may find a podcast episode about it and learn more than you ever expected.
Decluttering? You bet.
Bread baking? Nom. Nom. Nom.
Macro photography? That too.
Jellyfish? I suppose you get the point.
Brew a big pot of coffee and settle in for what Ward describes as "the most beautifully doled-out information about hidden worlds, overlooked mysteries, botanical drama, forests in miniature, Native peoples’ uses for moss and philosophies about science and ecology."
On the same web page as Dr. Kimmerer's episode you'll find more than 20 additional links Ward has compiled! In fact, every episode offers a plethora of links to take us down even more fascinating rabbit holes, like this one -- perfect for a stormy weekend.
The Hummingbird symbolizes enjoying the sweetness of life, lifting up and letting go of negativity, being able to observe and adapt, and bringing love and joy to yourself and others.