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.

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action and inaction

The “end of slavery” is certainly worthy of commemoration, celebration, and introspective examination.

In the designation of Juneteenth as a federal holiday, it’s possible that we’ll become a little better educated on this moment of United States history and contemplate its significance then and now as well.

Nevertheless, it boggles the mind that our legislators can be this transparently hypocritical. They managed to pull themselves together to actually accomplish something for once, and that something turns out to be nothing more than official lip service. This activity on the part of our legislators is simply virtue signaling writ large, the status quo. From some perspectives, it is even a pitiful co-opting of a long-standing African-American observance.

No, our illustrious “representatives” in Washington did not manage to accomplish anything else that might actually affect, say, matters of social or economic justice, equality, or freedom. You know, things that might actually impact peoples’ lives for the better. They did, however, give themselves a day off in the process.

Hopefully, though, the new federal holiday will fuel more discussion, and who knows, maybe even action around those urgent issues. Anything’s possible, right?

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bananas

I knew it was not going to be my best race. Diane really wanted to do this 5K with a buddy though, and how could I say no? I laced up and tried to get my head in the game. 

Just like that, we were off. After the initial rush of the start, Diane pointed out a runner ahead of us, and we silently agreed to overtake them. Once that was done, she picked another one.

Before I knew it, we could see the finish line ahead at the top of a rise. We knew what we had to do. Diane and I had a longstanding pact that we must pick up our pace for any hill. We grimly glanced at each other, then laid on the coal.

Breathless, we sailed across the finish line. Panting and sweating, we gratefully grabbed the bottles of water held out to us. As we walked off the race, we each snagged a banana, too.

Finally, we tumbled down onto the cool grass in the shade of a big tree. We looked at each other with goofy smiles. 

Diane held her banana up in the air.

“To your best personal time ever!” she proclaimed.

I held my banana up, too. “And to yours!” 

We clinked our bananas together in happy celebration.

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Many thanks to Eugi’s Causerie for another great prompt!

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.