Amie Brodie

Amie lives in Oregon OH, where she owns a dog grooming salon, and is also studying to become a minister in the United Methodist tradition. She works at an Agrarian-based faith community called The Farmhouse. She and her husband have a bluegrass/Americana band called Wolf Creek Risin’, and she sings and plays fiddle. Amie loves reading, writing, music, dogs, and talking about ideas. This is by necessity a partial list. She hopes to live in such a way that her obituary will take up an entire page.

Gather Wisdom

How are you wise?

Do you do what is expected, 

Get good grades, make good decisions, 

Spend prudently? 

Or 

Do you listen for the speech of stones,

allow the clover to rally on your lawn, 

Startle a profane stretch of grass

With a holy fire of sunflowers,

Or

Know how to

Step outside your gate 

Into the dark,

 

And pass the stop sign

Of a spider's web,

To add to your collection

Of secret old moons

A powerful being is dying and I've got to let it go.

The ancient willow behind my house has finally fallen, and the tree guys have been called. What’s left must be cut down and hauled away, ignominiously chopped and stacked, with nothing but a stump to mark the spot where it stood for so long. Its huge and hoary head has dominated this piece of land for decades; it was at least a hundred years old, and likely has been here before this present house was built. It has sheltered countless generations of birds and animals, drawing its life out of the wormy wet ground, and giving it back again in an endless reincarnational cycle.

 

Now it will be gone, and I’m afraid. It has stood as an anchor to this property, a vast, deep energy holding the center. What will rush in to fill the void? I’m already at a rootless place in my life, so much changing, and I spin gyroscopically at times, unable to right myself. Sometimes all I’ve had to steady me is that first morning pause as I step out my back door to stop and breathe, and search its branches for the frequent owl visitor, or to watch squirrels race up and down its trunks. In spring it is full of warblers, and an oriole nested in it every year.

 

Now what? Superstitiously, I’m worried that somehow I’ll become untethered from this home I love and float away on currents of circumstance beyond my control.

 

My husband tries to reassure me. He’s relieved that the tree came down with minimal damage, and it’s true we won’t have to stress anymore about it crashing down some stormy night on the garage or the neighbor’s yard. Of course he’s right, Rationally, I know this.

 

So I plan to hold a ceremony to honor my tree. I cut a shoot, and will root it and plant it to continue its life. If the tree guys can cut the stump off smoothly, I might set up an altar or meditation space on it. Maybe I’ll take a chunk of wood and carve myself a little Buddha.

 

Lot of fuss over an old tree. You’d have had to know it. It has been a steadfast presence on this place, a solemn guardian of so many lives that have come and gone. Its life was as worthwhile as any could be. Nobody can say whether that life should matter more or less than any other. I know it mattered to me.

A New Hive

Two days ago, we put new packages of bees in our hives.

It may not have ever occurred to you that you can buy bees, or that anyone might want to, but this is the way new beekeepers will acquire bees; by ordering them from people who raise bees for that purpose.

They come in a wooden or plastic box with screen on the sides called a ‘package’.

There is a metal can with sugar water suspended in the box to feed the bees, and stapled to the top on the inside is a smaller box with the queen in it, separate from the workers. This is so you can find her and see that she is healthy and alive.

I'm so glad to have bees again. They bring a life to my property that's hard to explain.

On a sunny day, I'll slip unnoticed close to the hive; there's a deep, sweet smell that I can almost taste, and a fizzy, humming energy rising off the boxes as bees dance and reel, telling each other stories of warm fields and waving flowers.

I see them working alongside me in the garden or in the grass, to bring in the summer light and store it up against January's cold darkness.

In the evening they come home to settle in, each one close by her sisters and friends.

Do they talk together about the day?

I wonder; do they love?

Old Moon Haiku

 Old moon sees the sunrise;

 

She's not afraid to look at life,

 

Crone with clear eyes.

Cardinal

I saw a cardinal today, while I was out walking at the park, a pompous mark of red in the drab and leafless branches along the path. He let me get pretty close, and I thought about if he were a rare bird, how excited I would be to spot him.

 

I’d try to get a picture and post it on my Facebook page, maybe post on some birding pages too. But cardinals are so common. We like to see them but we’re not impressed. Nobody grabs their binoculars and says, “I’m going out to look for cardinals!”

What else don’t we notice? What grace do we miss in the everyday? “What good can come out of Nazareth?” asked Nathaniel. It was just a dusty little backwater town. I sometimes think that the story of Jesus was more about his ordinariness than some grand sacrificial act.

 

Somehow humans got the idea that we were separated in exile from God, Paradise personified, and we had to get back right somehow.  The Jesus story was to show us that no, we were all still friends. We’re integral to the creation, woven in, Divine and human alike; plain folk eating and going to weddings, talking and healing, and dying and resurrecting.

The belief in that exile goes back a long, long way, before Jesus, before the first Bible writers. Maybe the very earliest religions were not born out of fear, but out of the first stirring of wonder and reverence at the beauty of nature humans saw all around them.

 

But then we lost it somewhere, forgot how we fit in, and began to try to change it all, humanlike; our busy hands and brains unable to leave well enough alone.

I tried to look at that cardinal as if seeing one for the first time. He looked back at me and then flew off, not impressed.

 

Humans are so common.

Inner Stellar

Galaxies are found even in small spaces.

How small are you?

Small enough to hold a world within?

They say there is a black hole at the center 

Of each one. 

What is yours?

Hawk, Incarnate

People paint because words fail. 

Why do we want to own what we see? 

Isn't it enough to just look? 

We need to join with it, talk to it, add our own self to it. 

Is it only humans?

Do hawks' hearts leap at the           soaring?

And is there a Hawk Incarnate, that they yearn to understand?

Foreign Phoebes

I have a pair of what I think are phoebes nesting under the back door eaves. Every time we come and go, the female flies off and then sits on the fencepost looking upset. They've been there longer than it seems to me it should take to hatch a clutch of babies, so I wonder if they haven't been able to be successful.

 

They aren't where they should be. Phoebes like to nest in open woodlands, although they will sometimes live on human structures. This isn't their natural habitat, but will they still manage to thrive? Can they learn to cope with the strangeness of human activity, and raise a family here?

It can be difficult to be in spaces that aren't yours. We all want to hang with our own kind, but if we do, can we ever become more? How will we deal with what might be foreign to us, accept a world that isn't always done our way? How do we stretch our mouths around words that don't fit, or names we have to practice to say well?

Sometimes a new language is still our native tongue, but we have to figure out how to use it in ways that are better and more healing. Sometimes learning new ways to do things makes us awkward, but it also shows us how other people have had to be awkward, and we find ourselves understanding, and being able to see through other-centered eyes. I wish for you all the opportunity to do this. I hope you never miss a chance. You will feel uncomfortable. That's good. It means you're doing it right.

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