November 2015


Rain had fallen for three days
and the cold air
sheathed every tree in ice.
Many had split
and crashed.
Power was out in some neighborhoods.
Sunday dawned misty
and gray
but by noon,
no precipitation fell
and so the Global Climate March
in downtown Oklahoma City
was on.
Every hardy, hearty soul
who approached Bicentennial Park
outside the Civic Center
was greeted warmly.
Green ribbons were pinnedto their coats; reminders
that for the next two weeks
leaders from 196 nations
will decide whether or not
to commit their countries
to lowering carbon emissions.
Julie Conrady, Connie Johnson
and Chebon Kernell
spoke with great passion
and wisdom.
The Starvation Army Band
played great music.
Children young and old
made games with the Earth balls.
And just when we thought
our feet were too cold to walk,
we marched.

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The Oklahoma City march
was one of 2,300 in 175 countries
where 785,000 people
marched for a 100% clean energy
future. So glad
to be part of this global
push.

{UPDATE:
It’s an icy morning in central Oklahoma!There has been much rain too,
for which we are grateful.
Because it is so critically important
that people all over the world
attend climate events this weekend
on the eve of the UN Climate Summit in Paris,
we will march tomorrow in Oklahoma City
at the Bicentennial Park outside the Civic Center.
AND IF IT IS STILL RAINING,
we will meet at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral,
127 NW 27th, not far from Bicentennial Park.
Bring your friends, family,
signs, banner,
voice
and let’s show world leaders
(this weekend’s first march was in Australia
and 60,000 people showed up!)
that we want them to commit to carbon emission reductions
because we care about our stupendous
planet home.}

 

A year ago,
hundreds of thousands of people
globally
marched in the People’s Climate March
to let world leaders know
we want them to commit
to reducing carbon emissions
and reduce global warming,
lessening climate change.
More than 300 of us marched
in downtown Oklahoma City
that beautiful September  day.

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This coming weekend,
on the eve of the UN Climate Summit in Paris,
we are marching again.
As climate change increases,
as the temperatures reach ever-higher records,
as CO2 in the atmosphere reaches 400
(the Earth can only withstand 350 parts per million,)
as we discover that all the “climate denial”
was manufactured and funded by fossil fuel companies,
as air pollution in China is at its worse,
this is the greatest chance ever
for world leaders to agree to commit
to reducing carbon emissions.
The Global Climate March supports
that effort.
In Oklahoma City we will march on Sunday,
November 30. Gathering at 2 p.m.,
at Bicentennial Park,
on the east side of the Civic Center.
Music and speaking and tables of information
begin at 2 p.m. We will march in downtown Oklahoma City
at 3 p.m. Those who want to stay in the park
during the march
are invited to bring lawn chairs.

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We will carry the Turtle Rock Farm banner
and we will have a table where you can pick up
a green ribbon.

Green ribbon poster 1

Green ribbons are to be worn each day
during the Paris Summit, Nov. 30-Dec. 11.
Also each day during the summit,
we will participate in another
of the Earth Holder activities.
Every morning at 7:35,
we will gather on the south side
of Angie Smith Chapel,
on the Oklahoma City University campus,
and participate in the Global Climate Prayer—
a walking meditation
for and with Earth. We will end by 8 a.m.
All are welcome to join us,
any day,
or every day.

Thich Nhat Hanh:

We think that the earth is the earth and we are something outside of the earth. But in fact we are inside of the earth. Imagine that the earth is the tree and we are a leaf. The earth is not the environment, something outside of us that we need to care for. The earth is us. Taking care of the earth, we take care of ourselves.

When we see that the earth is not just the environment, that the earth is in us, at that moment you can have real communion with the earth. But if we see the earth as only the environment, with ourselves in the center, then we only want to do something for the earth in order for us to survive. But it is not enough to take care of the earth. That is a dualistic way of seeing.

We have to practice looking at our planet not just as matter, but as a living and sentient being. The universe, the sun, and the stars have contributed many elements to the earth, and when we look into the earth we see that it’s a very beautiful flower containing the presence of the whole universe. When we look into our own bodily formation, we are made of the same elements as the planet. It has made us. The earth and the universe are inside of us.

One of Thich Nhat Hanh’s
walking meditations,
to be said in silence
walking slowly,
(perhaps one step for an in-breath,
one step for an out-breath)
feeling the solidity
of Earth under our feet:
Breathing in, Mother Earth is breathing in with me.
Breathing out, Mother Earth is breathing out with me.

Meditating with Earth
is a huge contribution
to the health of life on the planet.
Again, Thich Nhat Hanh:

…to meditate is the most basic, crucial thing we can do. To meditate is to give ourselves a chance to free ourselves from despair, to touch non-fear, and to nurture our compassion. With the insight and fearlessness born from meditation, we will be able to help not only ourselves, but also other species, and our planet.

We can breathe with the Earth and we can breathe for the Earth. Many of us are so caught up in our plans, fears, agitations, and dreams that… we’re not in touch with..Earth. We can’t see all the miraculous beauty and magnificence that Mother Earth ceaselessly offers to us. We live in a world of imagination and we become increasingly alienated. Returning to our breathing brings body and mind back together and reminds us of the miracle of the present moment. Mother Earth is right here at every moment, all around us – so powerful, generous, and supportive; so patient, accepting and compassionate, and with an immense capacity to transform. Once we recognize these qualities in Mother Earth, we can take refuge in her in difficult moments, making it easier for us to embrace our fear and suffering and to transform it.

With the practice of breathing, we can regain our freedom. We are no longer helpless. We regain our sense of gratitude and reverence for the Earth.

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We hope you will march
with us Sunday
(Dress warmly—we hear
a change in the climate
is on its way!)
And join us
for the Climate Prayer,
mornings
at OCU.

A city cat
chose a sunny spot
in the food forest
the afternoon
of this first-freeze,
late-Novemer Sunday.

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By then
sun had warmed the chill
and the cat wasn’t the only one
out among the sunlight and the trees.
We humans too
were out—
some in Oklahoma City’s Edgemere Park—
taking in the flabbergasting beauty,
the mystery,
the wonder;
gratefully bearing briefly
the unkeepable impact—
that soaring vigor raging in the chest—
when standing amid light and leaf.

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I changed my city sit spot.
I thought it was in the food forest,
under the umbrella of trees
and amid the undergrowth.
But then, a few mornings ago,
I was in the urban farm before anyone else
and I sat down on a half-log
that serves as a bench
and before long
birds
returned
and it was like coming home,
like sitting on my front porch
at the other farm,
Turtle Rock Farm, up north.
It felt so good
to feel in the city
what I feel at the farm.

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Mockingbird

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Female Red-Winged Blackbird

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Robin

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I watched and listened to Mockingbird
and Robin, chirp and eat Juniper berries.
I watched three gulls
flying high in lazy circles
in the gorgeous, cloudless blue sky.
When they caught the sun
at a certain angle
their white feathers
shined silver.
I watched a female Red-Winged Blackbird
(I think) and Sparrows play
on the high line pole.
I watched a squirrel scamper across
a high line wire,
with trips into the trees.
The afternoon sun was warm,
the breeze soft
the light golden,
shadows long.

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View of CommonWealth Urban Farm from new sit spot

Evidently it’s true what they say:
Your sit spot
finds you.

They came,
concerned and discouraged
about future life on the planet.
After a day together
deeply engaged
in the work
of the Deep Ecology Deep Hope retreat,
they left,
committed and encouraged.

DSCN8696The Cosmic Walk

DSCN8699The Truth Mandala

One of the exercises
we participate in
during the Deep Ecology
Deep Hope retreat
is the Mirror Walk.
One person closes her eyes
and the other person guides
her to something in nature,
invites the closed-eyes-one
to touch it,
then to get up close to it
and open her eyes
as the guide says,
“Open your eyes
and look in the mirror.”
We did this exercise Saturday
and then talked about our experiences.
When I asked,
what did you feel when your guide
asked you to look in the mirror,
everyone laughed: “Oh,
we forgot that part!”
This happens with every group
every time we do this exercise,
even though, by now, I’ve learned
to stress this part. During the instructions
I say, repeatedly, “When you ask them
to open their eyes, say, ‘Open your eyes
and look in the mirror.”
Rarely does this happen, which helps me realize
how deeply it is embedded in us—
Western, non-indigenous people—
that we are separate from the natural world.
How much hope I have,
that in the evolution of humanity
when we come to understand deeply—
like our indigenous sisters and brothers—
that we are part of the natural world,
we will make changes in our lives
so that all life
can flourish.

The day after the change
to Daylight Savings Time,
we gathered as Earth rolled up
and sun disappeared,
outside the Jim Thorpe building,
which houses the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
In less than a month—December 1—
the Commission will hold a hearing
about OG&E’s request to charge tariffs
for individuals and businesses
that use solar panels to create energy.
During an Interfaith Prayer Vigil
sponsored by the Oklahoma Interfaith Power and Light,
the Oklahoma United Methodist Environmental Coalition
and the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House,
people from several faith communities
joined in prayer, readings and song.

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Many earths  will be required
to support humanity if we don’t reduce our carbon footprint.

DSCN8637Peace House Director Nathaniel Batchelder standing by Earth
outside the Jim Thorpe Building

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DSCN8647Mark Davies, co-chair of the Oklahoma Environmental Coalition
leads readings and introduces interfaith prayers

DSCN8654Chebon Kernell sings and prays from the indigenous peoples’ traditions


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Kris Ladusau prays from the Buddhist tradition

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Imam Imad Enchasi prays from the Muslium tradition

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Nathaniel Batchelder, director of the Oklahoma Peace House
leads the song “Touch the Earth Lightly”

 

Here’s the prayer Pat lead:

May we be in an attitude of reflection.
Out of nothing,
creation came forth and created a world of galaxies
in which a collision of hydrogen and helium
spawned the fiery cauldrons that are stars—
stars that burn over 100 billion degrees
as they blaze out in supernova explosion s
with the brilliance of a hundred billion stars
and from which the nuclei of all the elements of the universe
are created.
In the supernova explosion
that birthed the star that we call Sun
and the small planets
that rotate around her,
came life on planet Earth.
This is a world
in which a star a million times larger than Earth
burns so much of its self,
that there is life on our planet home, 93 million miles away.
Sun’s warmth and light give everything that breathes on Earth
the possibility for its next breath.

In silence, may we stand in awe of this stupendous, magnificent, wondrous miracle that is life.

In silence may we stand in gratitude for life on Earth, life with each other and with all creation, powered by the sun.

LAMENT
May we be in an attitude of lament.
Too often
we are blind
to the miracles of creation,
and deaf
to the cries of injustice.
May our eyes open,
to see the beauty of the world.
May our ears open
to hear the cry of the earth.
May our hearts open
to care for all living things.
May we be lifted
from despair to hope,
from apathy to action,
from indifference to compassion.
May the Impetus for Life
lift us and heal us,
for love’s sake.[i]

ACTION
May we be in an attitude of contemplation.
Can a butterfly in China
affect the trajectory of a tornado
in North America?
Will aerosol sprayed in London
mean skin cancer in Australia?
Or a road trip across Oklahoma
add to hurricanes in the Caribbean?
We know each nation’s carbon
will affect all someday.
The details may elude us
but all our actions matter
in this great web of life.
For this complex living planet
does not know divided nations.
The lovely blue marble that is Earth
simply needs co-operation
to house human populations.[ii]

Wondrous, Mysterious Impetus for Life…
we hold in our hearts and minds
planet Earth and all that compromises
the flourishing of life.
We pray for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
Grant them insight to perceive that Earth is at risk.
Grant them the vision to see the implications of burning fossil fuel.
Grant them compassion for all life that suffers due to climate change.
Grant them the wisdom to take those actions that will reduce carbon emissions.
Grant them courage and empower them to create an environment in Oklahoma where the free and priceless energy of the sun can provide the carbon-free power needed for all to thrive.
We pray for ourselves.
Grant us hearts that love creation in all its aspects.
Grant us courage to acknowledge our failure to care.
Grant us compassion for all who suffer due to climate change
and the courage and will to bring about a better and fairer world.[iii]
Amen.

[i] Fiona van Wissen, in A Heart for Creation, edited by Chris Polhill. P. 87
[ii] Adapted from Polhill, p. 149 (by Chris Polhill)
[iii] Adapted from Polhill, p. 151 (by John Polhill)

 

12112059_1212332732115808_2512906843229288837_nEarth Huggers:
Oklahoma Sierra Club state director Johnson Bridgwater and Pat

To write a letter to the editor
and to send an email letter to
the Corporation Commission,
click on the Oklahoma Sierra Club’s
website.

When it came time to get the word out
about CommonWealth Urban Farm’s neighborhood potluck,
a flier was created
and placed on a facebook event page
and emailed to friends. The flier
was also copied
and handed out door-to-door
in a six block area around the urban farm.
It has been a long time
since I went door to door in the city.
It was a very different experience
from inviting facebook friends
by sitting at my laptop in my house,
clicking on their names. I met
new people,
sometimes we chatted awhile;
always,
we smiled and were friendly
with each other. I loved it:
walking the neighborhood
in autumn, beneath golden and copper-colored
trees, greeting people,
inviting them to a potluck picnic
in the garden.

Hurray! It rained most of the day Friday.
Saturday dawned damp, misty, cool.
Still, people came for the Saturday morning
Garden School. They made compost sifters
out of recycled wood and new screen.
It was dry and autumn-cool
when we sat up the tables for lunch,
and neighbors, supportive friends and food
began to arrive. David and Clem Braden
played guitar and mandolin;
David sang. Sweet neighborliness
broke out all over the place. Music, food
conversation. I didn’t see one single cell phone
answered.

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Food and neighbors continued to arrive.
Lia gave a tour of the garden.
Several adults and one child
set out to gather items
during the nature scavenger hunt.
The little girl finished first
and judged the order of when the others
would collect their prizes. Everyone
won that way.

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By mid-afternoon,
guests were gone,
tables, chairs put away.
But we who live in the CommonWealth
Urban Farm neighborhood
will for a long time
feel the sweet support
of community.