Countdown to COP 26 Glasgow from Hildegards point of view by Colleen Keating

Hildegard speaks out today reminding us to care for our planet,
with her words,
her music,
her knowledge of healing plants,
her writings on the cosmos,
her understanding of the interdependence of all of creation,
her instruction of not demanding over yields from the earth
and how the earth is our mother.

Hildegard writes,
“The earth is at the same time mother, She is mother of all that is natural, mother of all that is human. She is mother of all, for contained in her are the seeds of all.”
~ Hildegard of Bingen

Her words are even more important in the 21st century, 842 years after her last breaths, Hildegard’s voice is crying out for humanity now .

This year is our watch . We are the witness.

Our silence is our complicity

The 19th century Danish philosopher and theologian , Søren Kierkegaard, offers an allegory for our dilemma now at this time of red code for our planet.

 

“A fire broke out backstage in a theatre. The clown came out to warn the public; they thought it was a joke and applauded. He repeated it; the acclaim was even greater. I think that’s just how the world will come to an end: to general applause from wits who believe it’s a joke.”

 

However today it is more traumatic for on that stage we have a chorus of pearl- dressed women and dark-suited men serious, educated, sometimes religious who sing from the side that is all a hoax lulling the audience even sabotaging anyone who gets up for action while behind the curtain their self serving pork barrelling hurriedly goes on. Also leaders who reassure anyone in lullabies of reassurance we the masses of humanity will be kept safe and they speak for us, make decisions for us. and we will be safe.

How we treat mother earth is a reliable measure of how we treat ourselves.

The way we treat our people mirrors the way we treat the earth

How we treat the vulnerable, women, the aged, indigenous peoples children, handicapped mirrors how we treat the earth.

Ask, how many women have died as a result of Domestic Violence this year?

Ask, how many Australian Indigenous people have died in custody this year?

Ask, how many children have been abused this year?        

This year is our watch . We are the witness.

Our silence is our complicity .

counting dead women

i rose towards dawn
to sit by the big picture window

the sky black as raven wings
lay still and silent
like a dark night of the soul

i was desperately seeking
some colour some hope
upon the dark edge of the world
where sea and sky meet

my mind kept scribbling
names of women dead women
words of violence can’t be erased

as the darkness of the first news
counting dead women
crowds my mind
blankets my heart
even as the breath of dawn
spreads its radiance

Colleen Keating 2014

Published in A Call to Listen by Colleen Keating

List of my Lockdown Walks during July, August, September, October, November

 

 

      List of Lockdown walks on  my blog

                  during the months

July, August, Septemeber, October, November

 
1.  Getting to  know local inhabitants
 2. North Beach/Lake 
 3. Crackneck  Lookout to Shelley Beach
 4.A track less worn
 5. Full moon beach walk
 6. Colours of early spring
 7. Bedazzled by patterns of nature
 8. Enjoying the birds
 9. Saltwater Creek Boardwalk
10. Undercliff rock platform
11. Sensory Gardens on Tuggerah Lake
12. Spring today
13. out to the trig station and back
14. Full of surprises
15. Finding beauty and pathos
16. Finding inner solitude in days of uncertainty 
17.Loosing our Marbles
18. Rock-hopping and tide-pooling
19. A bird pilgrimage.

Lockdown walk No 18: Rock-hopping and tide-pooling by Colleen Keating

Rock-hopping
can be done  through creeks and  brooks, in shallow rivers, and as with  my story today along rock platforms. It is not just stepping and hopping and jumping from rock to rock.
It is about finding your way, choosing rocks to step to, checking if each rock is stable enough for your weight, secure footing and finding balance. It means not overstepping but rather  like the heron checking the ground is secure before taking the next step, making your way through gaps, clambering up and down by choosing stair like features.
It is about reading the way, watching the tide ( easier at low tide as you have more selection of ways to travel,)  taking your time finding a rock to stand securly on  and gaze about,and  for mefinding  a flat rock to sit on with a  curly rock that fits my back. I always watch for and remember those places for  as a poets rocks are for sitting on with notepad and pen and if you have some water and fruit one can sit for hours well depending on the tide for the  ocean gives you time but returns to claim its own.

It includes feeling the texture of rocks that you use to hoist, heave and  hold,  along the way, to stop and wonder at the patterns and geological story that turns like a history book page by page.

 

Tide pooling

is about exploring tidal pools. A marine habitat for marine life providing a home for many hardy organisms such as starfish, crabs and anemone. with shells and rocks glistering with the action of water and sunlight.

Tide Pool Tips
1. The best time to visit tide pools is at low tide.
2. Bring a bag with you to pick up any plastic, paper, glass, or metal trash on the beach.
3. Find footholds on bare rocks, which are less slippery than those colonized with algae and other sensitive sea life.
4. If you peek under a rock, put it back where and as you found it. Leave the animals and plants alone.
5. Do not collect intertidal species. It is illegal to do so in many areas.

Safety Tips

Respect Marine life and be careful not to touch sea urchins,
blue bottles, octopus or any other creature you are unsure of.
Research the tides for the day don’t get caught out on the incoming swell
Rock pools are slippery be careful
Wear protective water booties
Stay far from the rockpool edge where waves can unexpectedly lap

 

Watch for the clouds and your reflectionin the mirored pools and sometimes the moon

and be prepared to meet herons,  cormorants, pelicans gulls  and rock fishermen along the way.

Rock Pools note

Formed in depressions along the shoreline of rocky coasts, tide pools are filled with seawater that gets trapped as the tide recedes. While these small basins at the ocean’s edge typically range from mere inches to a few feet deep and a few feet across, they are packed with sturdy sea life such as snails, barnacles, mussels, anemones, urchins, sea stars, crustaceans, seaweed, and small fish.
As ocean water retreats outside the tide pool during low tide, the resident marine life must endure hours exposed to the sun, low oxygen, increasing water temperature, and predators such as wading birds that specialize in dining in these shallow pools. At high tide, the pool’s plants and animals are bathed in fresh seawater, but must endure the pounding of crashing waves and foraging fish with temporary access to the shoreline.
To survive in this rugged environment, tide pool inhabitants often cling very tightly to any rock to which they can adhere. Barnacles, for example, produce a fast-curing cement that lets them stay put. This natural substance is among the most powerful glues known to exist. In fact, researchers are trying to figure out if and how it can be harvested or reproduced for commercial use.
The space in a tide pool may be limited, but the food there is plentiful. Every wave at every high tide delivers fresh nutrients and microscopic organisms, such as plankton, to support and replenish the pool’s intricate food chain. Washed in by the waves, these organisms nourish the smallest animals, which, in turn, sustain the larger ones.

 

lesson learnt

first rule when questing for the poetic
on a tidal line of an ocean rock ledge
watch for the rogue wave

it is not recommended to lie on the barnacled edge
of a scalloped moon-shaped rock pool
as you wait on its mystery and watch
your reflection in azure sky
with clustered clouds
like empty thought bubbles
around you fill with deep secrets

the second rule is to keep your wits
do not get lost in an inner realm
as you can in a Beethoven symphony

it is not recommended to become immersed
in tapestry of colours shimmered by the sea

in the light among the stones
drum-shaped chitons
clustered iridescent stars and speckled shells
a venetian-red anemone flirting
like a solitary flute
black spiky urchins and the wait for the shy crab
to scuttle out from the king neptune necklace

it is all too hypnotic

the lesson learnt –
expect the unexpected

From Fire on Water by Colleen Keating  2016

 

 

The Climb Back Poems for Ted by Pip Griffin

Congratulations to my friend Pip Griffin. Her new poetry collection  The Climb Back  Poems for Ted is up on the Ginninderra  Press web site.   A worthy read  . . . .’these passionate poems open out and touch us with a consoling grief’
and as I wrote,
 ‘For those of us who know life is a gift and are called to the hard work of hope, The Climb Back is invaluable.’
Highly recommended
There is a fierce tenderness in these poems of happy remembrance and devastating sorrow. With so much love expressed so beautifully in the first half of the book, we instinctively fear what is to come, as if all that light cast shadows across our path. Though the death of a loved partner – also a poet – is deeply personal, these passionate poems open out and touch us with a consoling grief.’ – Paul Kane
‘”Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass, stains the white radiance of eternity.” Percy Bysshe Shelley. From the first poem that speaks of the ‘delicate prints of oystercatchers’ to the comfort of a ragged dressing gown, the protective love of the kahu-feather cloak and the ‘butcher-bird that perches very close’, Pip, as a poet and wordsmith transports us into an experience that shines multicoloured with the beauty of a stained-glass window. Each poem is a facet that adds to the mosaic, each poem a gentle play of light, illuminating page by page. For those of us who know life is a gift and are called to the hard work of hope, The Climb Back is invaluable.’ – Colleen Keating
‘Poignant, sensual, spiritual, sorrowful, and funny, Pip Griffin’s latest poetry collection The Climb Back encompasses a life richly lived. What is not to admire about a poet who can write lines as diverse as ‘the shags open their sodden wings like flashers’ raincoats’ and ‘cherry trees in blossom line the streets like flower girls at a wedding’. This book is a hymn to New Zealand, Pip’s homeland, and a celebration of its landscape, wildlife and the Maori language. But even above this, it is a memorial to Ted, her friend, lover and fellow poet. If he were still here, I’d be clinking my glass with his, to celebrate her achievement.’ – Mark Mahemoff
978 1 76109 191 9, 92pp

Versions

Paperback

9781761091919
$22.50

https://www.ginninderrapress.com.au/store.php?product/page/2356/Pip+Griffin+/+The+Climb+Back

Hildegard of Bingen on the pedestal all week on the ABC Classic with Martin Buzacott

What a tribute to Hildegard of Bingen  being chosen  by Martin Buzacott for the pedestal all this week dedicated to mental health.  Listen to ABC  Classic at 10 am  each day this week to lift your spirits.
Her story,  Hildegard of Bingen: A poetic journey by Colleen Keating is available from Ginninderra Press 
and has been acclaimed ‘ a masterpiece’

As the host Martin Buzacott says :

A week of Hildegard’s music for

Health and healing

Comfort and consolation

Mystic marvel

Musical adventurer

Hildegard of Bingen

delivering eternal hope.

for us in this week 11th to 15th October 2021  . . .also the week we come out of lockdown with all its possibilities and uncertainties.

 

The story of Hildegard of Bingen as told by Colleen Keating .

Become immersed in her environment, feel her joys and suffering, loves, passions, betrayals and loss. Live with Hildegard, a medieval mystic and prophet  through her more them 80 years and be renewed with hope. It has taken a thousand years for her to be acclaimed. 

What a treat and how wonderful in Mental Health Week Hildegard is being acknowledged for her music, her poetry,  thoughts of health  and healing and caring for her Abbeys conscious of well being and all this in the 11th-12th century.

 

Lockdown walk No. 16: Finding inner solitude in days of uncertainity

 

dappled light
filters through swamp oaks ~
a cathedral  moment
as a tiding of magpies  
fills it with song

 

 

 

Finding inner solitude today in these final days of lockdown after 112 days of retreat from the world.

June 23rd we knew Lockdown was in inevitable and so we stopped at our small apartment in the coastal town The Entrance, which gave us the feeling of being on a retreat rather than being at home, rather than a holiday, because we could not travel further than 5km. Now it has been 16 weeks of  searching for inner solitude. My tanka above was not  the one chosen for the Eucalypt 31 but it speaks of our days here.It sums up the days of walks  the birds our only companions and the ‘being’  rather then the ‘doing’as the frameworks of meeting with family, friends, writing groups, art gallery, concerts, gatherings for launches and celebrations even funerals, fell away.

What are we left with we older ones who are not homeschooling. holding down  jobs, working from home and keeping spirits of children high.? 

Then I found the perfection of the sonnet by Longfellow speaks brilliantly of my sentiment. 
Emily Dickinson grapples with the same in her brilliant way.

Like Dickinson, Longfellow finds that the one-to-one confrontation occurs best in nature:

And now for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

My Cathedral

Like two cathedral towers these stately pines
Uplift their fretted summits tipped with cones;
The arch beneath them is not built with stones,
Not Art but Nature traced these lovely lines,
And carved this graceful arabesque of vines;
No organ but the wind here sighs and moans,
No sepulchre conceals a martyr’s bones.
No marble bishop on his tomb reclines.
Enter! the pavement, carpeted with leaves,
Gives back a softened echo to thy tread!
Listen! the choir is singing; all the birds,
In leafy galleries beneath the eaves,
Are singing! listen, ere the sound be fled,
And learn there may be worship without words.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, (1807–82), American poet
– is known for ‘The Wreck of the Hesperus’ and ‘The Village Blacksmith’ (both 1841) and The Song of Hiawatha (1855).

And now my  brilliant  friend  Emily Dickinson

Some keep the Sabbath going to Church —  324 or 326

by Emily Dickinson

Some keep the Sabbath going to Church —

I keep it, staying at Home —
With a Bobolink for a Chorister —
And an Orchard, for a Dome —
Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice —
I just wear my Wings —
And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,
Our little Sexton — sings.
God preaches, a noted Clergyman —
And the sermon is never long,
So instead of getting to Heaven, at last —
I’m going, all along.

 

In the above photo
my cathedral is not of stately pines
but of vibrant grass trees and banksia
old river gums, iron barks and acacias
ancients rocks carved from wind and sea
and whispers of spirit under every footprint I take
and when I listen the choir in my cathedral
is full of the healing and comforting sounds of home

Colleen Keating

 

 

 

Lockdown Walk No 14, Full of surprises by Colleen Keating

A Walk full of surprises

Surprise No. 1   A phenomenon

 

The sign list wild flowers
as ground cover
along our dune walk
planted to hold the earth
from a hungry ocean
eating away the beach
threatening buildings
built too close to the edge.

From the headland the ocean
spreads innocently today
like a dark silk quilt
slightly ruffled with silver lines
by a gentle breeze.

Along our track
we marvel at the array of gazanias
yellow to orange to deep tangerine
as if an artist had come with her brush
painting petals with dots and lines
extra patterns for variety.

Pig face, pink to purple
bursts brightly, its showy array
taking our attention and with
bees and butterflies we delight
in its sunny face.

The blue fan dune flower
goes unnoticed . . .

till we notice it.

We sight our first.
Thinking this was a lone plant
and we were lucky.
Down on my knees
I make a fuss
admiring its delicate blue fanned petals.

Then a phenomenon occurrs.

We start to see it dotted amongst
the ground cover of gazanias and pig face
everywhere.

How excited to find this phenomenon
has a name
Frequency illusion *

which states
once a thing or idea or word finds your attention
your mind tends to see if often.

* Frequency Illusion first noted as Baader Meinhof Phenomenon
It’s the difference between something actually happening a lot and
something you’re starting to detect a lot. When your awareness
of something increases  leads you to believe it’s actually happening more, even if that’s not the case..

Surprise No 2      The coming and the going

(after The Snake,  D.H. Lawrence)

 

A heron came to my walking track
on an early spring day
and I on a hike to enjoy the heathy dune and beach
on a dry balmy-scented path lined with bushy banksia trees

I came along the track
and must wait
must stand and wait for there it was
on the path
before me.

It had dropped down
on slender stilted legs spyed kikuyu grass
at the edge and remaining stealthy-still
fully focused on the unseeable in the grass
and with pickax precision struck
lifted its neck tall
gobbled back its prey
its long slender throat lumpy in its impulsion.

Silently.

Someone was before me on my walking-track
and I, like a second comer, waiting.

It stretched its neck after eating as herons do
and looked my way as herons do
and tucked away a leg
pondering on one leg
mused a moment
and refocused fully engrossed
being like a taichi master of mindfulness
on this spring day in mid September
during my hour of exercise
out from a pandemic lockdown.

This is where I differ from DH Lawrence
the voice of my education had no sense
to do it harm. Of course I had no fear
like one might with a yellow snake.

i liked being close to it and wanted it to stay
just for awhile to admire
its silvery blue-grey down
its fine white lined face.

This was my chance encounter
and like Lawrence’s next thought
it delighted me.
I too have to confess how I like it
How glad I was it had dropped down onto
my sandy path
like a guest, come in quiet, to feed in the grass
to depart peaceful, pacified and thankless
into the blue clean air.

Was it perversity that i longed to talk to it?
Was it humility to feel so honoured?
I felt so honoured. . .
that we should meet here on this path on this day.

It fed enough
lifted its head dreamily
as if sniffing the scent of the lake once again
stretched its whole body into full height
and looked around like a god or goddess
unseeing into the air. My still statue did not deter
as it slowly, very slowly drew its body in,
legs like the wheels of a plane tucked under
wings with the lightness of an angel
lifted into the air
becoming a white air brush of the sky.

And I was thankful for my education
in being aware that this creature
is one with all of nature
and we are part of the whole
to be in reverence before it
and to be astonished.

I regret it had gone as if in exile
for i feel I am the one in exile
in demanding  this my track
my habitat
my world before its rights
and so foolish to think it my heron.
For it seemed like a king or queen
and in a world of enlightenment
crowned sacred
i shared a moment with one of the angels of life
and i have reason to be gratefull:
for the presence of grace.

Surprise No 3      Out of the blue

from the lookout
on the sand dune
sea and sky all blue

the tawny winged Kestrel
hovers into the wind
as if a show for us
its perfect audiance
and as if curious
flies over us
and i too afraid to look up
for fear of being pooped on

it circles around us
as if a grand performance
then stock-still on the air
focused below
it pins its wings
as if pegged back
drops down
swiftly with harpoon speed
into the foliage, feeds and returns
to play on the wing.

 

Tanka

dune walk 
clumps of gazanias
colour my day 
with all the moods
of the rainbow

 

 

Countdown to Hildegard’s Anniversary 17th September by Colleen Keating

Countdown : Hildegard’s Anniversary 17th September. She still speaks to us today . Her encouraging words to us to care for our planet, her sacred music, her knowledge of healing plants, love of the cosmos,

is all there for us in the 21st century . . . 842 years after she passed.

We celebrate you Hildegard.

Hildegard writes,
“The earth is at the same time mother, She is mother of all that is natural, mother of all that is human. She is mother of all, for contained in her are the seeds of all. The earth of human kind contains all moistness, all verdancy, all germinating power. It is in so many ways fruitful. All creation comes from it. “
~ Hildegard of Bingen
My photo “Veriditas” was taken of the moist undergrowth in the Wyrrabalong National Park on Darkinjung country Central Coast.
Veriditas – ‘the greening power of the divine’ – or ‘the healing power of green.’ Hildegard believed in the unifying power of the divine as reflected through growth. The “greening” in nature serves as a symbol of spiritual and physical health and reflection the divine in nature

Lockdown Walk No 13 Out to the trig station and back

Out to the Trig station and back  

the coddled clouds 
were part of a gentle day
their feather touch
calming
even the horizon misty 
a moist lightness on the sea air

the path soft and established 
with sandstone built sides 
the only reason we have hesitated 
before
is the steep gradients of ups and downs
today it seemed right to tackle 

I expected wildflowers at their best
a past memory was a gathering
of flannel flowers 

we met a back-burn
dry acrid smell
black ashen ground 

the air tasted acerbic
it harshened my breath 
agony of  past summer fires
miniture here 
reminded me of loss   
of absence  

yes nature survives fire 
yes banksia uses heat to propagate
yes it can prevent wild-fire destruction

but here I stood before empiness
my mind spinning

will the flannel flowers return?
will the flying duck orchids 
break this hard dry barren place?

all I can say
I grasped for answers
only when I got past this area
did they come
in colours and patterns
resilience and belief in renewal

 

Lockdown Walk No. 11 featuring the Sensory Gardens on Tuggerah Lake

A joint project of Wyong Shire Council and Lions Club The Entrance, located at Terilbah Reserve, The Entrance North. The gardens are filled with native trees and plants, a viewing platform overlooking the beautiful Tuggerah Lakes pathways, bridges, restful seats and all weather shelters.

 

A special feature of the garden of course is the sensory aspect. One is able to feel, touch and smell the many aromas and textures of the Australia Bush.   The colours of the Banksias , grevilleas and the three types of wattles  I discovered

 

Our picnics are very relaxing

And some of the birds that came up closer enough for us to observe each other

Spoonbills, heron, cormorant , pelican, egrets, ducks, honey eaters.