“For there is no friend like a sister
In calm or stormy weather;
To cheer one on the tedious way,
To fetch one if one goes astray,
To lift one if one totters down,
To strengthen whilst one stands”
My niece recently read this to her yoga class. It’s from Mark Nepo’s The Book of Awakening.
The Spider and the Sage
“I would rather be fooled than not believe.”
In India, there is a story about a kind, quiet man who would pray in the Ganges River every morning. One day after praying, he saw a poisonous spider struggling in the water and cupped his hands to carry it ashore. As he placed the spider on the ground, it stung him. Unknowingly, his prayers for the world diluted the poison.
The next day the same thing happened. On the third day, the kind man was knee deep in the river, and sure enough, there was the spider, legs frantic in the water. As the man went to lift the creature yet again, the spider said, “Why do you keep lifting me? Can’t you see I will sting you every time, because that is what I do.” And the kind man cupped his hands about the spider, replying, “Because that is what I do.”
There are many reasons to be kind, but perhaps none is as compelling as the spiritual fact that it is what we do. It is how the inner organ of being keeps pumping. Spiders sting. Wolves howl. Ants build small hills that no one sees. And human beings lift each other, no matter the consequence. Even when other beings sting.
Some say this makes us a sorry lot that never learns, but to me it holds the same beauty as berries breaking through ice and snow every spring. It is what quietly feeds the world. After all, the berries do not have any sense of purpose or charity. They are not altruistic, or self-sacrificing. They simply grow to be delicious because that is what they do.
As for us, if things fail, we will reach for them. If things break, we will try to put them together. If loved ones cry, we will try to soothe them – because that is what we do. I have often reached out, and sometimes it feels like a mistake.
Sometimes, like the quiet man lifting the spider, I have been stung. But it doesn’t matter, because that is what I do. That is what we do. It is the reaching out that is more important than the sting. In truth, I’d rather be fooled than not believe. 🕷
"Chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans have been living for hundreds of thousands of years in their forest, living fantastic lives, never overpopulating, never destroying the forest. I would say that they have been in a way more successful than us as far as being in harmony with the environment." --Jane Goodall
"One thing I had learned from watching chimpanzees with their infants is that having a child should be fun." — Jane Goodall
“Legend says that the kangaroo was blessed with a pouch to take care of its baby when it proved to be the most kind-hearted animal on the continent. The kangaroo then went around and gave other animals pouches as well so they could protect their children. Because of the kangaroos parental duties it undertakes, it is a great symbol for family, nurturing, and protection.” *
“A happy family is but an earlier heaven.” George Bernard Shaw
A Morning Stroll with the Dexters
by Lucas Henry
There’s nothing quite like the warm, humid mornings of summer. Spring, winter, and autumn all have their good points, of course, but it’s the warmth of a sun shortly after daybreak hitting the back of my neck as I’m walking in the pasture that really bolsters my spirits.
I love rising just as the stars are fading from sight and the morning sky is awakening with the brilliant colors of another day’s sunup. Tramping through the tall dewy grass, I am captivated every morning by the surrounding beauty. Although I walk the same route almost every day, I have never tired of watching the robins adamantly hunting for worms, the line of Osage orange trees gently swaying in the wind, or our Dexter cattle munching on the clumps of grass in the pasture.
As these gentle beasts of nature slowly meander across the field, I carefully survey the herd, checking to ensure that none have strayed from home during the night. Satisfied that all are present and accounted for, I quietly approach a nearby young calf and her mother.
Surprised by my unanticipated appearance, the young calf takes a step back as I kneel down on the wet grass. But sensing no immediate danger, as her mother doesn’t even look up from her breakfast, the calf juts her head forward, quizzically looking at this new fellow in her playground. I sit motionless as the calf cautiously approaches me. She stops from time to time to ponder what I’m doing, I suppose, but nevertheless, the gap between us slowly shrinks.
Having happily rested my bones for several minutes, the calf and I finally come face to face. A warm little nose stretches out and sniffs at my knee; I keep still. The little calf’s investigation goes on for a few more seconds as she gently nibbles my pants leg. Suddenly, she springs away, retreating back to the safety of her parent.
I rise from my seat, taking a last look at the spry little Dexter, and continue my stroll around the pasture. Yes, there’s nothing like a summer morning out with the Dexters…