It is a new year 2012, the second day. I just learned of the death yesterday of a dear member of this Crosslands’ community, Frieda, who was over 102. She grew up in Germany and worked in a garment factory to earn money. I often gave her hand massage on Mondays in the Health Care Unit here at Crosslands. Last Monday, Dec. 26th was the last time I did this. I will miss her but I am glad she has passed on. There will be a special celebration of her life. Today I gave Bob Zearfoss a hand massage and we had a special sharing. He is around 98 and has had a long ministry in the Baptist Church. I went to the library here and got out one of his books to read: “Call To Reflection.” In Meeting for Worship (Quaker) yesterday a selection was read from one of his books: “With Wonder in Your Soul.” While Bob is still living with us, I want to read some of his writings. I often meet him sitting in his electric chair by a window looking out on the patio garden at the Center, sun pouring down on him.  What a gift it is to live here and come to know amazing people! I want to enter here some of my own words from “The Path I have Chosen,” put together in early 2000. Then I want to write about my life since then, now 11 years ago. I began this writing in the Introduction:  Why am I writing a reflection on my life: The Path I have Chosen? People may decide to write about themselves because they want to tell their story.  What is the purpose of such a sharing?  What value is such a writing?  The bottom line is that I want my children and grandchildren to know who this woman is.  That is all that matters really.  They may then know more about their own lives having been influenced by mine.  Perhaps others will want to read and write their own reflections to share. So who then is this woman, now with white hair?  Our lives last only a short time on Earth.  We are born into a family and a way of life.  At this beginning each of us does not appear to have a choice. (Some think that we do choose our family of origin.)  As we grow into our years, we do have choices to make and there are results.  None of us can write down all that we are since we do not yet know all that we are or will become. Words cannot tell the deepest feelings anyway.  Yet peoples’ stories down through the ages help others to know history through their eyes.  I want to tell my story to add to the many who have walked this Earth in hopes of making a difference for the Earth and its people. We are living in a unique transition time on this planet humans have named Earth.  A new millennium, a human concept, is about to break forth, a time to evaluate and make choices that can affect the future of all of life.  The human species has evolved to a place where we have become more conscious of our apparent  uniqueness among the orders of families.  We are the ones who look backward and try to understand the meaning of life.  We are the ones who look out into the great vastness around this planet Earth and see ourselves living on this tiny planet amid an incredible expanse holding other star and galaxy entities.  Seeing the Earth from space has helped humans visualize this tiny planet as never before imagined in history. We also look forward and see our own death ahead.  Our living takes place in between and we ponder what our unique life is really about as well as the life of everything else.  We are the ones who have built communities to control or try to control the very life on Earth of which we are a part.  Each of us has an awareness of being alone, unique, with no other like us.  Thus I put down here on paper (now computerized) my story which has been influenced by many others, human and other-than-human. (How I have influenced others’ stories is for them to write.) There is a special song that my friend Joyce Johnson Rouse (Earth Mama) sings called “We Are One.”  The chorus goes: “We all live on the same earth   We fish and swim in the same oceans  We breathe the same air and gaze at the very same moon.  We feel the warmth of the same sun. WE ARE ONE.”  (Rouse House Music, Used by permission. All rights reserved.)                                     My life’s experiences opened me up to this deep reality: that of the oneness of all of life.  The symbol of the Celtic knot comes to mind; an amazing interconnected pattern of lines that have no end.  If there is a theme through my life, I think it is my work of understanding that connection between the human and the rest of creation.

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A Reflective Poem on The Jack-in-the-Pulpit

You grow on the woods trail

here at Crosslands,  three leaves

on the top  of one long stem

produced by a corm.

 

Beneath this stem

is a pulpit called a spathe

colored yellow with purple

or brown strips.

This contains a spadix and is the Jack

with hood over you.

You sit there as in a pulpit.

 

You are covered with tiny unisex flowers

that attract flies to pollinate.

It takes several years to replicate.

 

Native peoples used you after careful preparation

to treat sore eyes, snakebites, induce sterility.

Not properly prepared could be poisonous.

 

I wonder what your message is as you stand in your pulpit.

I see you in nature  and think

of what we do in our human world

from a pulpit  to spread our messages.

New Life for New Year, written January 2011

(I wrote this a year ago as I was visiting my daughter, Andrea Mungo in NYC. It’s a good way to start sharing my life on this newly created blog, set up by my son, Peter Clark.)

I lie in this inner room

as Mungo guest, Mom and grandmom

day after Christmas

Christ is born

yesterday morn.

Some how this year

deeper meaning is here

in my heart

new life is near.

New Life means energy

to live in new ways

to see with new eyes

how to live in these days.

Relationships can deepen

money more wisely spent

appreciation for  living

on this planet to us lent.

Yes, the Earth to us is given

for the life spans we are living

to honor God in Heaven.

Heaven is all around us

like bread that’s full of leaven.

Jesus’ life can be that leaven

opening doors to a new heaven.

The Word made flesh among us

unbelievable that story is.

Faith we choose and live in glory.

That faith means new life of energy.

letting go the old lethargy.

The Jesus born in lowly stable

grew into a man so able.

Spoke God’s teachings

changed some lives

told of love and sacrifice.

Let himself be hung on cross

and died a death of sacrifice.

Then new life came in those days

released his followers to live new ways

through forgiveness, empowerment and hope.

All began in the stable that night

a babe that brought new light.

by Jean Barker, January 2011

First post from Turtle Jean! Hello world…. I will be writing my musings, stories, histories, and poems. Much more to come….

love,

Turtle Jean