mirage of freedom

If you are one who writes, or speaks, or thinks, or yet has the ability to feel your compassion, the continued imprisonment and torture of Julian Assange should send shivers down your spine. 

Assange’s ongoing persecution should trouble everyone who thinks freedom of the press, freedom of information, and free speech actually matter. Assange is in the vanguard of those protecting these precious rights. These are things that have been disappearing before our eyes, with terrifying implications, and yet we remain docile and somnambulant. 

That journalists do not rise up as a body against this injustice speaks volumes about the extent to which these freedoms are already lost. That they demur makes another reason to support indie journalists doing the actual work even as various platforms ban them, carrying water for this curtailment of freedoms.

It is long overdue that the US drop the charges against Assange, and the UK halts his extradition. This man, an Australian citizen, should be freed to go home to his family, and thanked and honored for his brave work.

Then, who knows, we might turn our attention to the actual crimes, and hold our government leaders to account for once. But, oh, I forgot, “nothing will fundamentally change,” will it? 

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wise one

My eyes open to the soft darkness, instantly aware of the now familiar unease. Closing my eyes again, willing myself back toward rest, I feel the fatigue of this anxiety we are all lugging around. We labor together to haul the uncertainties, the fears stoked to fever pitch and still amply fueled by so much in the gaping absence of trust.

In the quiet, troubled dark, I feel the velvet brush of the cat’s paw on my forehead, so soft and gentle. I can hear his deep, radiant purr. He speaks to me with some other kind of knowing. 

I can find my way back to joy. My heart beats not for my place on this chart, my statistical or economic value, my pool of data. No, my heart beats for the unquantifiable. The ecstatic mysteries of life and love are wholly mine, ours. It is there where all possibility remains. I turn my eyes in that direction.

Slowly, I am lulled back to restful slumber, feeling the cat’s soothing undercurrent of purr close against me.

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nest

downy feathers weave themselves into the nest
holding ever closer 
the needy hatchlings
tended with devotion 
their unquestioned cries answered again and again
until the day comes
when the dream bears fruit

the heart beats dreams into existence

the hatchling loves herself enough
to noisily demand sustenance
and knows love inevitably speaks to that demand
she aspires, bolder every day, without doubt,
to her wholeness

but what of unanswered cries?
what of the lone and tired shadow
gathering food in a barren terrain?
wandering in a dreamless pause
searching with the hatchling’s faith
when dreams refuse to come
the heart pleads

knowing dreams are born in love

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fugitive

he walks out of the darkness, hands in the air, to be met with either a spray of bullets or handcuffs. does one mean life and the other doesn’t? imprisonment began long before the moment of guilt. when the gavel comes down, that cell door slams, or voltage snuffs the breath, then hands are washed but stains persist. mankind asks what kind of man but neglects to query kindness. the fugitive, the walking amalgam, just like other animals, born and constructed, shaped along the months and years of his life, carrying the weight of generations and the stamp of his place and times, finally becomes just a reviled memory, but still and always forgotten, another flawed discard on the manufacturing floor.

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nature

the trees call out to me
grasses sing their siren call
birds warble their invitation
butterflies whisper theirs
the river murmurs its low, insistent plea
the spanning sky holds out its arms to me
as all the growing things hail entreaty
i hear the many voices of the chorus 
and cannot help but run to them
instinct pulls me toward the mothering font
i am hers and she is mine.

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So grateful to Eugi’s Causerie for this beautiful prompt!

collared cows

Collar-free, so far

Lately I stumbled across some information about a company that makes collars for animals in agricultural operations. The solar-powered collars are used to manage the animals wearing them: everything from creating virtual fences to tracking the animal’s location and providing health information right down to when it’s coming into heat. The collars are also used to drive the animals to different locations, using auditory and sensory cues.

While all this seems to be right there on the leading edge of technology in animal agriculture, I find this application distressing. Animal agriculture is distressing to begin with, but amping the whole thing up in such simultaneously intimate and impersonal ways has very disturbing implications in my mind. Where, ultimately, does this lead?

“What we do to the animals, we do to ourselves,” writes Will Tuttle, in his book, The World Peace Diet. He describes the “boomerang effect” – the notion that “as we sow, so shall we reap.”

Tuttle carefully details numerous ways in which this plays out, demonstrating the connections between our oppressive, exploitative practices with animals and related human issues like obesity, rape culture, disease, drug use, stress, confinement, lack of privacy, and so much more. I was astonished at the parallels when I first read the book years ago, but easily saw the truth in it.

And now here we are in 2021, in our pandemic-altered world, where we have had a taste firsthand of just how easy it is for humans to be labeled, branded, herded, confined, medicated, and tracked like collared cows. The only difference is that we just voluntarily carry our devices – and pay for them – instead of wearing them around our necks. 

While technology and medicine can do awesome things, everyone should be deeply concerned about the capacity to overtly or covertly exercise impersonal control over individuals and populations in very personal ways (whether bovine or human), who it is that would presume to exercise such a capacity, and why.

I mean, just look at what happens to cows.

Despite or because of the immensely powerful scientific tools we are now capable of wielding, it is imperative we find our way forward with compassion and connection.

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truthful

Truth seems an ever more elusive thing on the lips of the ones that rule and sway, so scant now that every word becomes just another exhausting mirage. But step into the garden, and sit with any simple bloom. Let its beauty unfold and speak to you. Without a syllable, nature brings the truth.

as yourself

A photo showing a portion of a stained glass window.

churches dot the corners of all
cities and towns, big and small,
spires reach up to the heavenly gates
even as community disintegrates,
saying love your neighbor as yourself.

the skies are scattered with satellites
tracking life in bits and bytes
up to Mars and beyond we go
so much knowledge, we think we know,
best love your neighbor as yourself.

better armed than all the foes
donate dollars to fix the woes
technology will save the planet
the discordant voice, go ahead, just ban it,
but love your neighbor as yourself.

for all we learn and all we see
life remains a mystery
there could be a reason though
for hearts that somehow feel and know
to love your neighbor as yourself.

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growing things

Photo courtesy of Eugi’s Causerie

The trail takes a long, slow curve and I emerge onto a gentle slope, a vast sun-washed meadow of grasses and spindly flowers — all undulating with the breeze. My feet meet the earth with each step. Under that tender blue sky, I am but another growing thing, beautiful and free.

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Thank you, Eugi’s Causerie, for another delightful prompt and photo. This week’s prompt, “meadows.”