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Leisurely Pleasures

Leisure:
Like retirement,
a feeling
achieved through patient paths
of health
and safety.

Pleasure:
A similar feeling
achieved through polypaths
of healthiest wealth
and risky win/win opportunities,
more actively curious
than passively patient.

Resiliently resonant,
leisurely pleasured
sensory awareness
we can no more be
with the same person,
in the same place,
at the same time, twice
Than we can re-enter
the same river twice.

Baptismal pleasure
is less about one time immersion
than full time rapture.

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Imposed Unemployment

These matters of imposed sequestration,
home health quarantine,
residential segregation,
safety zone re-education

Can also become
contemplative solitude
growing sacred mindfulness,
healthy wealth revision,
2020 wealth of health
bicameral precision,
monoculturing capitalist rescission,
dipolar non-division;

Social,
political,
economic communication
significantly emerge from personal preference
but also left-hemisphere patriarchal enculturation
no different than propaganda
if delivered with both left and right-hemisphere
collusion intent,
unnaturally sinister,
calculating desecration,
the stuff of deep state
and dark conspiracy theories

Either True or False
or both/and complexly
ego/eco-bilaterally ambiguous,
subtle,
nuanced thought with unpolarized feelings
for interior nurtured spiritual intention
and exterior nutritional natural extension,

Discernment of which solitary seeds
and subterranean root systems are health watered
and wealth weeded,

And which are treated like worthless weeds,
not to be watered with contentment,
fed with commitment,
nourished for cooperative values,
cherished within ecosystemic futures,
compassioned.

This weediness of ego-neediness
prays for non-preying return
to ecosystemic communal fullness.

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Out To Pasture

Retirement from community development,
facilitating cooperative economic justice
in this post-millennial time of climate crisis,
feels like being put out to pasture
with the rest of us toothless and feckless horses

Stalking senior centers
and gated communities
to weather the fade-out storm
of physical
and mental,
natural
and spiritual encroaching unease
and disease.

This was not my fade away intent
to graze quietly
with quivering and lame
retired race horses;
although worse company
is readily at hand.

I do like pastures,
meadows,
forest and ocean beach trails,
grains and crunchy carrots
and apples.

But, I also like song and dance
and restorative justice more than retributive injustice,
and skilled multicultural mediation
rather than monopolistic invasion,
and economic cooperative win/win public health investment
and politically empowering regeneration
more than competitively disempowering degeneration,
and polypathic compassionate therapies,
and polyphonic healing designs
and listening with healthy young bicamerally balanced
connected
attached
integral
holistic lives of active hope.

It has taken me so long to get here
in this valley of the shadow of climate death,
and I am so grateful for this vulnerable moment
to share all I can compassionately hear
in multicultural mediation pastures,
including senior health-discernment circles,
of course,
but also echoing off granite bold walls
of win/win ego/eco-historic bicameral mountains,
polycultural peaks
cooperatively grateful
for bilaterally resonant river valleys
of ancient wealthiest memory.

Old nags never die.
We just keep gumming
around Earth’s double-binaries,
longing to speak compassionately
as we have learned to curiously hear,
remember
resonate
reweave
regenerate
seasonal pasture space
of all Earth’s pastoral reasoned time.

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Retiring Nomad River

I finally finished retiring four years ago,
a process that started in my mid-fifties
due to late adopting kids with special needs,
including needs for me to be home
to personally walk them on,
harness them in,
and wheel them back off, their diverse buses
and robotic ramped vans.

During those final weeks of quasi-gainful employment
I amped up my search for a new home
preferably in New London, CT,
because I had visited, and liked, All Souls UU;

But, possibly in Norwich,
where I have some family,
not necessarily white like me,
or someplace more rural
in-between.

Long story short,
which is not like tangential me,
I ended up
or started out,
depending on where this story starts for you
and me
on the south end of Norwich,
just north of the old State Hospital,
seeking healthy justice
above a steep and brooding bank
down to the troubled Thames River.

From here
it is difficult not to notice
how traffic flows
between Norwich and New London.

But, in the case of All Souls UU
and UU Norwich,
not so much,
maybe not enough.

When I lived in the Hartford area
I joyfully attended the Unitarian Society of Hartford,
a fairly large multicultural tent
filled with reviving gospel music.

So, when looking for a retirement destination,
I traveled on-line to uua.org
to see what might be available
in addition to All Souls New London
and found a small cell,
apparently renters quasi-homeless,
Norwich UU,
or UU Norwich,
or maybe both
I hope.

I pictured no choir,
no active faith formation options
for people of all ages
and figured,
probably not right for me.

Long story maybe a little bit short,
it took me over four years
to make my first Norwich UU visit,
recently.

I found somewhat fewer of us
than the number of Norwich residents
on the All Souls Members and ActiveAllies list.

My background is in cooperative economic
and affordable housing development.

With an MDiv from a Catholic seminary
and a double-Master’s in Public Administration
and Community Development
from Southern Illinois,
Carbondale,
where Bucky Fuller once taught
Synergetics,

It feels awkward
to invest in All Souls together
where all souls are welcome,
by commuting back and forth alone in my blue steel truck,
while there is clearly plenty of room
and welcome
available right in my new home town,
where I now know no one except family,
over four years later.

This is a schizophrenic discomfort
for climate activist
and cooperative local community investor
me.

Back in my early adoption years,
I worked in the Office of Urban Affairs,
New Haven,
for the Archdiocese of Hartford,
where I listened to a great deal of turmoil
about aging and poor urban parishes
thinking about how to join forces
to survive
while sharing a clergy ministry team.

So, I wonder
How would it feel to UU Norwich survivors,
activists,
communicants,
healthy and smart registrants to vote local
while thinking global,
to carpool to All Souls on Sunday mornings,
to sit together
in chairs hooked to-gather,
perhaps joined by us other emigrant immigrant
Norwich residents already All Souls affiliated,

To also share a discussion circle
after the chalice light is extinguished
to check in with each other over coffee,
maybe herbal tea,
to reflect on what we heard
and sang
and sometimes endured, today,

To ponder aloud how this speaks
and does not speak
why
and how
and when we arrive together
back in Norwich,
having solved
and resolved to absolve
most of the Thames River watershed issues
rolling back and forth
and swelling in-between
this tidal river’s ups and downs.

Perhaps some of us
or even all of us
would also like to form a Sanctuary Circle
meeting during the week.

Maybe have lunch together,
share our Norwich organizing
and multicultural explorations together,
contribute to All Souls Green Sanctuary
and GRACE anti-racism projects,
restore justice to replace retributive injustice,
speak power with truth,
live together, not apart,
more resiliently.

Perhaps it is possible
to grow more robust
as a distinguished part
of All Souls,
combine resources,
economize cooperatively,
ecologize more holistically
and theologize more healthily
without losing Norwich UU tradition,
focus
mission,
effective
resonance,
green and black and brown and rainbow
resilience.

As for me,
I’m still looking at New London
real estate listings
while troubled about abandoning
a nomad’s home
in which I never let myself fully invest

While dreaming of emigrating further south
downriver toward climatically rising water levels
while still in my first five carbon-burning years
of retiring immigration.

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Lively Fires

Life burns vigorously
predatively
until retiring,
slowing down to glowering embers
reflecting on all consumed since birth.

Flaming gratitude feels not yet fulfilled,
heatedly completed,
but hanging on for what calming
cooling purpose?
Embalming remnants of fueled meaning
with smug self-satisfaction
and feckless remorse.

Family relationships burn out
turn in toward former flames
risen higher
fueled deeper in memory
than capacity for renewed heat images
now questionable
in life’s resilient potential.

Fires nurture risk and opportunity,
but old fires grow risk of cold and acrid ashes,
fading active hope for new winds
smoking in renewed fuel opportunities.

This strong-fired life
of dried out climate difference,
strong inflaming protest,
oft questioned dignity,
smolders in wrinkling
shrinking maturity
over ripe with risk
of fading opportunity to yet see Earth
with new peaceful eyes,
with impassioned fires of understanding
what this human conflagration was all about.

Smoldering embers
dimly hope for new winds,
new unbillowing eyes
to recall that initial committed moment
of inspiration,
of spark and wind and fueled experience
inviting fires from first spark
til last light spent.

Fire,
like life,
like love,
builds its own waiting sanctuary.

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Retirement Planning

Retirement planning
may feel like civilian planning
as military ballistics continue incoming
so persuasively my objective is not to win
but to get home again,
although I sadly know
home will never be that home of memory sustained
as comparative peaceful compass.

What is my therapeutic vocational problem
retiring from front-line maddening trenches?

How much remaining spacetime do I have,
does Earth have, for living rather than dying,
and why does this feel so spare time
often mere despairing,
and why “spare”
and why “mere”?

Despite books and perhaps entire libraries on human purpose,
meanings,
ethology of nature,
callings for proper industry,
organic integrity of humane function,
whether blessed by divine inspiration
or mere humane perspiration
(and, again, why “mere”?)
I find too precious
this my footnote of non-historic proportion
that my vocation may not truly ever self-optimize
through individual ongoing autonomous discernment,

But also through healthier, more robust, fabric
interdependent
cooperative
democratically woven
of loving WinWin future society

CoDefining culture having let go of Win/Lose
evolutionary violence investment theories
in favor of overwhelming healthy
regenerative retiring revolutions
of Earth’s slower-grown therapies.

This is not Weber’s mechanical society;
Retiring histories are more mysteriously woven
like an organic beehive
ornamenting a strong-rooted universal tree,
or an ant colony
preparing for winter
within an ancient-grounded sanctuary
society for future multiculturing
creolizing
WinWin enchanted colonies.

What happens when we retire
into a newly autonomous vocational choice?
When all prior spacetime investments
appear to have been apprenticeships
toward what?
Dying?
Living with more freedom
for integrity
and WiseElder slow-grown discernment?

We are so hard-pressed to say
and do
and be wise discerners for internal and external peace
when all our training has been for Win/Lose battles

I struggle to prepare for extending family love
in ever more isolating autonomy
from new life invitations.

What does my environment,
our climate,
my experience,
our story about communal health development
still respect
and hope for loving, yet active, peace?

How do we call and gather elders together
to restore this profoundly interactive peace
inside as outside as inside
Earth’s justice
re-uniting integrity
toward universal love
and away from nationalistic violent hate?

Where do secular models
and sacred maps
together tipping point
toward personal
and political
and economic
and ecological
and theological healthy meaning
today,
rooted in all our civilian yesterdays
with hope for this next regeneration
already waiting within these ancient bones
and eyes for climate healing
within
as without,
below
as above,
inhaling old impoverished retributions
exhaling new health restorations
peaceful home

Retiring developments of active hope,
remaining positive energy,
non-violent doing,
being,
communicating,
praying,
experiencing,
medicating,
meditating,
healing,
living to continue breathing in
dying to breath enrichment out once more.

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Historic Traces

Embracing my retiring place
includes not only green and granite geographic dimensions
in space
But also extending back experienced roots
of 264 seasons past
having co-evolved this matriarchal wombing 2020 present

As if co-gravitation of historic time
with current place
were a creative pre-visioned design of space
dipolar co-arising deja-vu choice
to embrace, with coincidental love revivals,
or disgrace, with even more bipolar fear-mongering,

And usually something merely mortal
yet immortally cooperative
in-between what has been competitive Win/Lose explained
and what could become WinWin integrity
of exclaiming dance and song

Embracing my ego place,
How could that go wrong?
While not ignoring ecosystemic health
of this historic evolving space,
sacred integrity of revolving incarnations,
romantic race
toward multiculturing grace,

Withour fear’s least merely secular
ZeroTrace.

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Saturday Night

It’s another Saturday night
ending this week
as started
alone again.

I came here
almost two years ago
to my retirement hermitage
but oddly,
and often uncomfortably,
shared with my hurt kids,
mental and physical illness
adopted and then adapted;
an asylum for the perpetually incontinent.

Cars pass by.
Sometimes a loud motorcycle
or two or three or four
or even more
here on the southern boundary
of a county seat
in a State
where rural counties
have been disenfranchised
of political purpose.

Our largest employers
are two tribally owned casinos.
One across the Thames River
flowing past our backyard retreat.

Our second largest income producer
may be the County Courthouse
where attorneys and police
collude to extort voluntary donations
from poor young adults
red and yellow,
black and white,
guilty of speeding
and texting
and smoking medicine
without a license
in Great White Father’s sight.

I have been listening and watching
for what this half acre is.
We are not as rural as I had hoped,
with State highway 12 too near my front yard,
but this place is also not urban
or suburban.

What it is not,
whom we are not,
seems more clearly articulated
than any positive definition,
refining our becoming quiet place,
alone together,
shunned by healthier neighbors.

It’s another lonely ending
anticipating yet another not new beginning
tomorrows stretching out alone
long retiring shadows
on this southern edge
of a Connecticut County Seat
without apparent purpose
or co-defining meaning.

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Grazing the Garden

I retired a couple years ago
and decided to take a gardening class
because otherwise I probably would starve
even with food stamps,
given my retirement plan
was mainly to live off my still-freeloading adult perpetual-children.

This gardening class cost more than it was worth,
so just about exactly what a reasonable person would expect to invest,
except it was taught by a shaman
who called herself not a witch, but a Permacultural Designer,
and said she was even officially Certified as such.

She actually admitted up front
that we too would be certifiable if, along life’s way,
we applied her PermaCulture Principles
of nutritional arts and sciences.

So I planted my first garden
on my new retirement home
about half wooded,
or maybe a third,
actually I have no idea
but I can speak to the prodigious poison ivy.

A few of my seeds actually did not die prematurely
but, due to a series of unfortunate prior pollination events,
overall, the weeds won out
with few exceptions
to the natural law of might makes right evolution.

I thought for a couple of painful minutes
about pulling weeds,
with childhood memories of hoeing the weeds out of my 4-H garden,
but, heh,
I never did better than a red ribbon even with the hoe,
and, in my recently completed gardening class
I had learned the Principle of Greatest Nutritional Effect
with Least Gardening and Landscaping Effort.

I had already efforted the damned seeds into the ground,
so perhaps doing more would be unnecessary,
and besides,
who can kill all that kale anyway,
much less actually eat it.

Well, a couple days later I was mowing the lawn
with my electric quasi-powered push mower
and noticed how festively green and lush the garden looked over that way
so I probably didn’t need to worry so much about watering.

A few days,
or maybe weeks, later,
I went out to see if there were peas or string beans to harvest yet.
I had considerable difficulty finding them.
The surprisingly anemic-looking lines and patches of kale were visible.
As I had suspected,
that stuff will grow where even a self-respecting weed would not root.

Next week I’m gonna try to seed it down the middle of my gravel driveway
to see if I can create an edible boulevard.
Although, not sure what that diesel school bus exhaust will do for the kale.
Probably the kale will suck it all in
and save it for me later.
After all, that’s greatest effect with least effort, right?

Well now it’s late July and I finally see the wisdom of Greatest Nutritional Effect
with Least Gardening Effort,
I got hungry enough to start eating the weeds.

I mean, not indiscriminately,
I’m not quite that dim,
although now that I think on it,
it would be easier to just graze on handfuls
while standing
or even sitting
in my new weed garden.

I could set the wicker chairs
and the swing out there.
The family that grazes together
stays and shits and starts to stick together,
I would suppose,
avoiding all unnecessary excesses
of hunting and gathering their next meal.

That would probably scare off my freeloading adult perpetual-kids too.
That’s called the Principle of Positive Emergent Systemic Effect,
kind of another version of getting extra stuff done without actually doing anything extra.

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CoArising Transitions

Who do we invite this me to be today,
here and now planning for our next re-arising era
toward death’s patient resolution,
graceful resonance?

Is there some supermagical meaning
in more recent unfortunate events
capable of reading mystical tea leaves,
the web of palms rooted in life’s soul of Time,
in some way that would tip us toward discarding
memories of subsistence economies,
shortages of value,
insufficient wealth of health,
to transform some new place into nirvana,
a WinWin home for all
with sensory full-consciousness challenges,
suffering,
margiinalization,
poverty,
over-fueled wilting?

What is distinct about your vocation,
embedded in our co-operating mission?

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