breathe with the earth

Breath comes slow and easy as light begins to filter through, gently breaking up the night. Breathing yet with the earth, calm pervades, questions long released to dreams, and now forgotten. The breath comes as sure of purpose as the reaching rays of light, the unclaspable growth of all the tender, green things, the insistent push of the river.

The breath comes so sure of purpose until the myriad of little startles begin and proliferate, the alerts and notifications, the chirping of the self-holding devices somehow always there. The breath catches, its pace changes, as the chirps and tinkling bells and snippets of music begin to fill the day. Ever ready to make life easier, the beeps and vibrations assume the helm, tracking and steering breathlessly.

Breathing into the palm of the hand, eyes fail to scan the treetops, the skidding clouds, the sun pushing brightly through the blossoming catalpa, the other eyes that would speak if they could, life relentlessly unfolding and whispering away on the stream.

Without fail, night comes and pulls toward sleep. The breath falters back toward that slow rhythm, synced once again, breathing with the earth, sure of purpose as the sun reaches above the horizon.

###

dreamless

I walk out to the middle of the field. Like a little kid, I plop down into the cool grass and sprawl out on my back. I just lie there, looking up at the sky. 

It’s one of those super-blue days, and there’s these lines of happy clouds coming across, ensemble, like a choreographed dance troupe. I lazily watch the travel of the clouds, blown along by an insistent wind.

The longer I lie there, the more I feel and hear the wind. It whips wisps of my hair across my face. I can hear the crinkle of the occasional tumbling leaf, remnant of winter, blowing past. 

I glance sideways through the grass and notice the dandelions. I feel kind of sneaky looking through the blades of grass, as if I’m somehow hidden.

But, no, there I am, grown adult, lolling in the grass, just watching the clouds, you know.

I close my eyes for awhile and roll my head back and forth, noticing the strange rainbow I see pass underneath my eyelids. Then I put my palms over my eyes, and I see the most psychedelic blue.

I open my eyes again, and just lie there, sinking down into the grass as my muscles slowly loosen. 

I am in the clouds, dreamless.

How many years has it been since I let myself do this simple, amazing thing?

###

end of the road

End of the road —
so make your own
whatever it takes.

Or, better yet,
take no road at all,
abandon them altogether.

But travel still,
soundless, breaking nothing
including yourself for once.

Each leaf and twig
undisturbed
as you make your way.

Beyond the end of the road
feel the hush,
all that is unseen and so alive.

All the breathing ones
breathe with you.

The trees and grasses
give blessing.

In this world where you don’t belong,
you belong.

###

lullaby

The early morning rain sings softly to me. Like a lullaby, it calls me back toward dreamtime, pulling me there with its whispery voice. 

The rain suggests a pause, a delay to the usual commencement of ‘getting things done.’ It reminds me to let go. It reminds me some things are beyond my control, so just let go. 

It is a knowing letting go, an almost rueful letting go that must suddenly remember and admit, after all, what matters. 

The susurrus of the rain cradles me in a hallowed space with all the gentle attentions of a doting parent. I am soothed by this quiet listen to the earth, sky, and air that are my home, suffused with the glow of love and trust found there.

if we truly care about health

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If we are so full of fear about health that we can be easily compelled to wear masks of dubious efficacy and to submit to severe restrictions of our freedoms — how is it then, that we fail to take the truly meaningful steps toward health?

If we truly care about health, we would change how we eat.

We would walk away from animal agriculture. We would say no to animal foods laced with antibiotics and unhealthy fats. We would not tolerate a system of slaughterhouses staffed with suffering, at-risk workers surrounded by suffering, doomed animals. We would walk away from dairy and processed foods, and head straight for the fruits and vegetables.

But, hey, we have masks.

If we truly care about health, we would seek fresh air and sunlight.

We would be outside every day, soaking up the vitamin D and oxygen, and moving our bodies. We would connect with nature instead of staring at screens as we huddle in our homes.

If we truly care about health, we would demand a healthy environment.

We would recognize that pollutants both on our earth and in the air we breathe are factors in the conditions that predispose a person to succumb to illness. We would recognize the terrible contributions of animal agriculture and other industry to the degradation of our environment and its impacts on health. We would refuse to support the practices, corporations, and government leadership that kill the planet upon which we depend. We would demand new leadership, and find new ways. We would stop walking around our yards spraying weed killers, too. Got your mask?

If we truly care about health, we would question our medical system.

We would insist that health care be readily available to all, not just to some. We would take the profit motive out of health care. We would insist that health care for all issues not be delayed or neglected while providers are busy flattening the curve or idled or laid off. We would look at the implications of the many drugs and treatments our system prescribes in both the current crisis and beyond. We would seek multiple perspectives from a diverse group of medical professionals. We would recognize that a system that promotes extended lockdowns by fiat across society is turning a blind eye to a host of serious health problems. We would denounce blatant propaganda and censorship attempts to thwart access to full information. We would question the mad rush to a vaccine, with all the risks and unknowns that entails, being prioritized over actually working to improve health.

If we truly care about health, we would insist on supportive community and government.

We would be intelligently going about the business of life, which involves other people. We would admit that forsaking actual community for virtual ones – or often, none at all – does not support health, but, in fact, compromises it. Going without employment, social commitments and relationships impacts our very ability to live at all, cutting off both economic means and derivation of purpose and satisfaction. We would demand a responsible, independent media. We would reject any form of censorship. We would not pick sides and vilify the others, rather we would join together to solve our problems – with new leadership that actually works for the people. We would reject any form of surveillance knowing that no thinking adult human being watched and tracked thrives under such treatment. We would insist on education that supports critical thinking. We would recognize that health does not derive in extreme authoritarian overreach that subverts the very foundations of a free society.

If we truly care about our health, there are so many things we could and should actively be doing — not just for the current moment but for the future. This business of corporate control of health, food, media, and government systems; extensive authoritarian lockdowns; economic devastation and instability; censorship; surveillance; pervasive fear, distrust, division, anonymity — this is not it.

If we care so much about health, our own and our neighbors’ and our loved ones’, we need to let go of our cowering fear. We need to own our responsibility in this — and that means far more than wearing a mask.

earth and me

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I keep a wary eye on the darkening clouds as I head out for my run. I know it can’t be too long before the weather unleashes, but, damn, I need to run. So, off I go.

At first, it’s just a few drops of spattered rain. Big deal. Maybe the whole thing will just skirt past. I’ve got my phone in a baggie.

I keep going until all of a sudden the wind whips up, and there’s a rush of rain, a clap of thunder. I duck into the high school baseball team dugout as the weather moves through, just a few minutes. We’re right on the edge of it.

When I step out of the dugout, and onto the asphalt trail, I notice the bright green sprig that’s fallen there. The wind whips it, but it remains in place. It looks so fresh and so beautiful, so alive against the asphalt.

I pick up my pace because I can see the clouds amassing, not thinning. They are angrily piling up and darkening, and I head homeward, disappointed that I won’t get more miles in.

I’m not all that far from home when the skies break loose, exploding with a sudden violence.  Wind, rain, lightening. I dash toward a school building. There’s an awning reaching out from the entrance doors. I head there and find just a little shelter. The wind is driving rain everywhere.

I feel so exposed, so defenseless as nature lets go. All I can do is stand and watch as lightening strikes and thunder claps, over and over.  The wind pushes the rain into unexpected places. There is nothing to do but watch, and be amazed.

It’s bigger than me. And yet, I feel connected right through my feet as the thunder rolls. I am soaked with the rains. I am awed and humbled, scared and honored.

When the fury subsides, I trot home, thankful, taking nothing for granted.