Kristie Dahlia Home
a tree whose branches are heavy with blossoms
We Are Beloved

Belonging to Spring

Mar 19, 2024

Beloved friends, happy vernal equinox to you!

This morning the dawn was amazing; neon-lit clouds against a lush-bright glowing sherbet horizon. I marveled at it as I picked up the seed feeder and went to hang it outside. Suddenly, in the corner of my eye I caught a hummingbird sitting quite still on the nectar feeder just 3 feet to my left. I wondered a moment and then realized that they, too, were watching the dawn. Hummingbirds, my beloved tells me, can see even ultraviolet light, so we can only imagine the glory of the dawn for them.

The hummingbird stayed as I hung the feeder, walked back across the deck, opened the sliding glass door, and went back inside. From the kitchen again I watched through the window as they linger and sipped at the sugar water I had prepared for them.

On Saturday when I had that nectar feeder down for washing, a hummingbird – likely this same one since they are very territorial – came to the kitchen window, hovered, looked in. I felt sure they were looking for me, at me, looking for the feeder, understanding that I produce the feeder – but in that moment I also doubted. After this morning's experience of trust, I feel sure. I do not have simple language to express what this means to me. I know how to say the opposite: "species loneliness" describes the isolation of humans from other creatures and our resulting ache. This is the other side: to be known and trusted by the wild creatures of the land on which one lives. It is the most humbling and honoring feeling. It fills me with awe and communion.

I have this winter amended my most common benediction, and I'd like that share that with you for spring. Where once I wished, as I was taught, to lay freedom as the highest intention, now it sits side by side with interdependence, connection: belonging.

May we all know both freedom and belonging.

This is what it feels like to be trusted by my very small neighbor on the back deck at dawn: belonging. I wish this for you, beloved friend: may you know both freedom and belonging. We will be exploring this in somatic communion with the spring-ing Earth on Thursday in the weekly Meditation Gathering (8-8:55am Pacific; all are welcome, just drop in) which will be recorded this week in honor of the holy-day of the equinox, the turning of the light. No one but me will be visible in the recording; you are welcome to arrive in pajamas or without camera on. I will share the recording with you next week.

As you peruse the resources here, you may notice that many include thanks. Your suggestions of things for sharing here will be warmly received; it brings me great joy to see the poetry, music, science, books, podcasts, and more which you imagine might be useful to share with our community.



The Lahaina Banyan, beloved by many, was initially feared killed by the Maui fires of last summer. This symbol of life, connection, and renewal is now flush with new spring growth. May they inspire us all. Thanks to Joannah; photo by Mahidi Rehan

Reading Circle
We will pick up tonite with the chapter A Mother's Work. If you'd like that information sooner, you can find it on my website right after each session. It's been a joy to share not only the live reading but to hear from those who are reading along at home on their own, who have gifted the book to share it with loved ones, and the person who mentioned yesterday how much their mama was enjoying it. How good to feel our devotion sprawl! A line from our last circle which rung the bell of my heart is, " become native to this place, if we are to survive here, and our neighbors, too, our work is to learn to speak the grammar of animacy, so that we might truly be at home." She means: to think and speak of all the world as alive, and to know ourselves as at home amongst our neighbors in this living world.

Unexpected Hope
"Dr. Christopher Kerr and the research team at Hospice & Palliative Care Buffalo have spent several years exploring end-of-life experiences (ELEs) and the impacts they have on both the dying and their loved ones. They are using this information to help improve the comfort of the dying experience and the quality of hospice care." They have found that as many as 80% of people experience visions at the end of life that feel distinct from dreaming and which bring peace and comfort. They hope, too, that helping the living to understand this phenomenon will aid us in embracing and being comforted by it rather than viewing it fearfully. A recent NY Times article is bringing new awareness to this work. Dr. Kerr's book on this topic is Death is But a Dream: Finding Hope and Meaning at Life's End. Here is his TEDx talk on Dying as an Illumination. What a blessing it is to learn this. Thanks to Kirsten

Hope Comes From the Place Where the Hurt Comes
Abigail and Shaun Bengson sing their way through living and have a particular gift for singing through pain. I have shared them with you before: their Keeping Going Song was a gift during the pandemic which went viral. More recently I've shared Don't Numb to This, "You're strong enough to feel it all". I'm threading them into our conversation again today with Hope Comes from the Place Where the Hurt Comes, which begins:

hope comes from the place where the hurt comes
the part of you that is not alright
is also the part that loves the light
and the part of you that is suffering is
the part that calls in change

For my winter tithe, I-and-therefore-we contributed to my friend Simon's fundraising effort to support her Arabic teacher and friend Heba in trying to help her family leave Gaza. If you feel moved to join this effort, there is now a GoFundMe where you might do so. Each season I give 5% of my income, usually to a cause which supports the wellbeing of BIPOC. Your suggestions of places to give will be warmly received by me.

Last week I shared some inspiring research about moving, as I often do in hopes of encouraging you along. My own movement practices are many: yoga, of course, and you are ever welcome there; also walking, hiking, caring for the land and my home, running, bicycling; on the boat I loved to paddleboard, and on land I am reunited with my rowing machine, which has been a kind companion through my first PNW winter. Lately I've been enjoying the guided instruction offered by Hydrow. I have never used their machines and cannot speak to those; we invested in a Waterrower many years ago for its beauty and the natural resistance and sound of water. I rowed on Onondaga Lake as a child and the feel and sound of water put me right back on the lake in the misty mornings. Hydrow also offers guided instruction, which you can buy online to use with any machine. I've been using their free offerings on YouTube. Many are filmed outdoors in beautiful natural settings. There are lots of female instructors, and their vibe is friendly and warm.