Sustainability and Feminist Spirituality

Sustainability is about honoring our basic interdependence with the natural world, remembering to be present and grounded in our bodies and the earth beneath our feet. Feminist theology and/or feminist spirituality begins with our bodies, birthing and touching and breathing, being with each other. Being in community. I am happy to be a part of the Green Writers Press community and share this sensibility with Dede and all of you who speak out for the integrity of life on earth.

This was my response to Dede Cummings, my publisher at Green Writers Press, who is at the Women’s Convention in Detroit and asked for comments from her women authors. Green Writers Press’s mission is to “help foster a sustainable environment” and “to spread a message of hope and renewal through the words and images we publish.”

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At The Vermont Bookshop in Middlebury last night for a reading from Wild Mountain with old college pals Nancy Means Wright and Ann Young

 

October in Vermont, and my garden is pulsing with life. The bees and butterflies come to this aster in the sunny afternoon, and I stand and watch and feel the energy of flowers, insects, sunshine, all moving together in a vibrant symphony.

 

Buying Books

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Books I’ve bought recently. The top ones written by my writer friends! 

I’ve been buying more books lately. I love to read a real book so much more than an electronic version, although I have a library of e-books on my computer as well. I read them when it’s too late to go to the library or I don’t want to wait the two days until my order comes. Reading a book before bed is the most entrenched ritual of my day. But for me, nothing can substitute for holding a physical book in my hand, turning the pages, and placing my bookmark in it when I’m ready for bed.

The other reason I’m buying more books is that, since I became a published author myself, I’ve realized that book sales is the only way an author gets paid for her work.  Like music and visual art, books are produced by people who spend months and years working on and perfecting them. So if you feel hesitant about spending money on a book, think of it this way: you are supporting the arts. With each book you buy, you are an arts patron.

Emerging from the chrysalis

We were privileged to be present for the monarch butterflies’ entry into the wider world! Our friend Alec nurtured them through the process of spinning their chrysalises, and yesterday they emerged. It took a couple of hours after this video, but then they opened their wings and flew away. Off to Mexico!

 

 

The Role of Place in Fiction

 

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Wild Mountain begins with a spring ice jam in the river that smashes into the covered bridge. Then throughout the story spring slowly emerges in this Vermont mountain town and in the lives of its people. My readers have said that they like the sense of place, the presence of nature and the environment, in my novels. So I’m excited to join in a panel at the Burlington Book Festival on the role of place in fiction and poetry. If you’re in or near Burlington on September 16th, come join us for an interesting discussion.

to pre-order the book:  Wild Mountain

 

America’s Stonehenge

 

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On a wet and cloudy May afternoon I turned into the sandy driveway and parking lot, stepped out of the car and looked around. Tall pines and deciduous trees surrounded me, and small boulders marked a path that wound up the hill toward a dark cabin, barely visible through the trees. Was I in the right place? This looked like a campground entrance. Was this “America’s Stonehenge,” where you could see standing stones and stone circles that dated back to a prehistoric age?

In my novel Wild Mountain, Gus, the mountain hermit, discovers an ancient stone circle, a secret spot where spiritual and astronomical energies converge, and now I was excited to see for myself what I had written into my story. But while part of me was filled with awe and anticipation, another part was skeptical. What if this place was just a tourist trap?

And sure enough, when I made my way up the path and entered the cabin, I was greeted by displays of “America’s Stonehenge” mugs, key rings, refrigerator magnets, postcards, and a video. Narrated in the style of Orson Welles predicting a Martian invasion, the video gave less information than I had already got on the internet.

I stepped out the back door onto another hilly path. Here were rocks and boulders galore, and as I ascended the continuing hill, I could see a series of stone structures – half-walls, great slabs of rock, and little caves on an open ledge. When I went closer, I saw that the caves formed rooms or chambers.

Now I was beginning to sense a little of the awe – maybe this really was some very ancient place – marred only by all the signs, arrows, and numbers posted on each artifact.

Around the bend and walking onto the ledge, I could peek into the stone chambers. Here was the “Oracle Chamber,” and here the “sacrificial chamber,” both with their mysterious functions.

The pathway extended up to a plateau and a pyramid-shaped stone marking the opening into a field. Through the center of the field, with its dome of bright sky and border of tall trees, a mowed section allowed a view to the distant horizon. I read in the guide map that I was on the “ astronomical trail.”fullsizeoutput_18a3

This long and winding trail passed stones that marked the equinoxes, the winter solstice sunset, the sunrise at summer solstice, true north, and so on.

Alignment. Eons ago human beings had here denoted the changing of seasons, the transforming of night to day and day to night in the same way these changes happen today. This was a place where the timeless rhythm of earth and sky and our place within that rhythm were marked by an alignment of stones. I was beginning to feel an alignment within myself, a clearing in my brain and an opening of spirit, that merging of human and nature that to me is nothing short of divine. Maybe my character Gus was onto something.

There are stones marking astronomical events throughout New England. “America’s Stonehenge” is in Salem, Massachusetts America’s Stonehenge