Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Potholes or Portals

 


A wise indigenous woman looked out of her screen at me and told me there is either a pothole or a portal before us. If we choose portal, and go through,  carrying our lightmaker tools with us, we can begin to heal and rebuild what has been lost. We can walk into the unknown without fear or resistance, feel better within ourselves, and bring forth all our inner resources to put good things out into the world. I hear this wisdom. It is hard to hold onto it when we are surrounded by so much corrupt power, divisive rhetoric, gaslighting, and the president of our nearest neighbour who is himself a hoax. But still, I have always been a dreamer, which is why our present situation drags me down. Somewhere a few hopeful lines drifted through my head this morning and I thought I would share them with you.

Poetry falters
in this dark night
that's lasting
far too long.

Yet it's especially in
this dismal plight
that the heart most needs
its song.


We need our songs, our drums, our dances and our dreams. Go well, fellow dreamers.

I am off through the mountains this morning to the farm, where I will have some much-needed Animal Therapy. We will go over some potholes for sure, as the rains have come. But that mountain route is also a portal - magical with its mist and clouds playing on the mountainsides, roaring rivers, waterfalls pouring down the cliffs. This planet is so beautiful. My heart will sing its beauty all the way through the mountain pass, and will emerge transformed by the glory of wild nature.


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Two Strong Women

 A confluence of two events smote my heart this week. Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death, after hanging on so valiantly, and the hypocritical rush of republicans to appoint one of their right wing judges in her place mere DAYS before the election, when they would not allow Barak Obama to appoint one ten MONTHS before election, shows the two sets of rules that apply in the US now, for reds and blues, with reds calling the shots, with corruption so blatant they dont even try to hide it.

Then I watched a film about Helen Reddy's life, and her songs took me back, with tears, to the rise of the women's movement in the 70's, and my own rise of consciousness along with it. Her songs launched me out of an oppressive and impossible marriage and into a life of my own, at last, though it took me some years to find my sea-legs.

I was in tears at film clips, in the film, of the women's movement. Oh, the dreams we had, the power we felt in women rising. The contrast between those days and now, when the repubs are doing all they can to roll us back fifty years to a time more comfortable for old white men, is just horrifying. It is like watching democracy, the Constitution, any hope of social justice, dying a painful death under the knee of the patriarchy. Again.

And the Equal Rights Amendment has STILL not been passed.

All I can do is hope that enough women, African-Americans, Latinos, refugees, marginalized people and young people will VOTE - somehow finding their way to do so through the maze of voter suppression and outright vote tampering.

I have read a great deal, over the decades, about the Third Reich, and a lot of this is feeling very familiar. Vote the emperor out. Let's return to government by the people for the people, with people who swear to serve their constituents, not themselves. It has never been more important. I scoff now at ever having thought George Bush was a bad president. trump has taken that to a whole other level. Unbelievable that it is happening in the home of the brave and the land of the free. It wont be free and brave for long if he gets back in.

A Flock of Magpies



It feels like murder, some days. Most days,
as we watch our youthful dreams 
of changing the world turn into
our worst nightmare.
Their magpie grins and their dead eyes,
ghoul-like, grin from the tv screen;
they are drunk on corrupt power,
on how much they get away with.
They need not be furtive; they are blatant.
Apparently there is no governmental body
any more who can stop them.

I believed, all these years,
in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
I believed North American rights and freedoms
were guaranteed; they could never be toppled.
I believed we all felt the same.
See how quickly fascism takes hold.
See how many rush to drink the Kool-Aid,
enraptured.

A flock of magpies, chattering,
create distraction upon distraction,
while behind the scenes,
they gut all of our protections
and services.

Magpies recognize themselves
in the mirror, but this lot doesn't.
I doubt they could look in the mirror
without wondering what they have become.

A murder of magpies, they call it.
What is being murdered is the Constitution
and who will save it? Integrity
has left the building. The other side of the aisle
is flapping their wings in distress.
But are they strong enough
to topple an empire, so suddenly erected
on domestic soil?

America breaks my heart some days. Most days.
I don't break down in public, (so far),
but my heart carries such an ache.
I worry what is yet to come,
each month worse than the one before,
each outrage more wicked,
until complete silence envelops me,
and I withdraw, resigned.
There is no one to save us, only ourselves,
marching to the voting booth,
voting as if our lives depend on it.
Because, quite literally, they do.


Inspired by "Magpies Recognize Themselves in the Mirror" by Kelli Russell Agodon, for Wild Writing with Laurie Wagner

We Will Be the Change

 


"A nation is not defeated until the hearts
of its women are on the ground."
A Cheyenne saying

Aho, Wise Grandmother says,
it is time for women
to raise our voices:
in song, in council, in power, in truth,
to speak for social and
environmental justice
for all the living.


Huff, puff, says the big bad prez,
we are going back 50 years
to the Good Old Days,
and women may not speak.
We are not, in fact,
entirely convinced you are people.

Aho, you are foolish.
We have dealt with men like you before,
and better.
We have grandchildren,
and we need to leave them
a world that is alive.
You will find us a formidable force,
for we are half the earth;
we hold up half the sky.
In strength, we bear
your sons and daughters.
Our life's purpose is
to keep them safe.
Our hearts are strong,
and no where near to
being on the ground.

You can drive us
away from the river
and the forest we are protecting.
You can lock us up.
More of us will follow,
for water is life,
and trees are our breath.
We do not respect
your ways of death.


Your addiction to oil
is polluting sacred waters.
Your addiction to money
is melting the polar icecaps
and burning the western coastline.
Your willful ignorance
is imperiling the planet.
We refuse. We resist.
Our wolfish hearts rise up.
We march for
our grandchildren's grandchildren,
and for yours.

We are the womyn of Life,  
of Breath, of Memory, of Tomorrow.
In sisterhood, in motherhood,
in our time as wise crones,
we sing the Earth Mother's song.
Our hearts are weary
but our minds are wise.

We speak for the voiceless,
for the refugees,
for the wild, for the animals,
for the air, the soil,
the ocean, the rivers, the lakes
and for all creatures.
This gives us strength.
We will not be moved,
or silenced, or overcome,
and our hearts are
no where near to
being on the ground.


for the prompt at earthweal. Brendan asks us where we turn for mentors in these times. I turn to my Inner Wild Woman, alive in every woman, especially fierce in wise crones.  

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Grace

 


for Ruth Bader Ginsburg

She held on as long as she could,
trying to preserve justice
from corrupt power
that does not love its country.

This time, the knee
is solidly on the neck
of democracy,
which is gasping
for release.

I see her, as she was here:
small as a winged bird,
but mighty -
strong in grace, with an integrity
that could not be swayed.

Now I see her, straightening,
tall as an Aztec  warrior,
ascending, rising,
radiant, shining,
a being of light
in the spirit world.

She showed us what true power
looks like.
The corrupt ones
will never know
such grace.


As expected, the repubs are rushing to appoint one of theirs to the Supreme Court vacancy with mere days left before the election. When Barak Obama had ten months left in his Presidency, they would not allow him to appoint one in an election year. Their hypocracy is staggering - and blatant. They care only for power, money, and  themselves. I so admire Ms. Ginsburg for her impeccable integrity, and her long service.


Saturday, September 19, 2020

The Recipe Has Always Included Sorrow


Image: Brooke Shaden


To live in this world you must develop
a rubber-soled (souled?) heart.
It leads you forward into the fire,
seeking love to fulfil you,
till you lose all reason,
then lose love itself,
and learn the lesson:
we are the architects of our souls.

To live in this world,
you must learn,  many times,
that all that you hold most dear
will be lost, no matter how tightly
you grasp it. In fact, the more tightly
you hold on, the more certainly
the day will come when it is
wrenched from you, or simply
turns its back and walks away.
So you learn to surrender,
learn to just be with what is, Now,
be ready, when the time comes,
to be grateful for the gift,
to open your curled fingers
and let what you most loved in the world
fly away.

This lesson will be repeated until
you learn to keep your touch light
on the dear ones around you,
to recognize at the going in
that there will be a coming out,
which is probably why the old
are so gentle and nostalgic,
so close to trembling tears,
and why our eyes are so wise
and knowing and sad.

(What has saved me is:
I kept my heart evergreen,
remembering that each cell, particle,
tree, rock, each being in the world,
is connected to every other,
and to me.)

To live in this world, you must develop
a high hopeful heart, a merry laugh,
(and, as you age, a cackle).
You must always keep in mind,
(your Inner Wise Woman riding
on your left shoulder and
whispering in your ear,)
that the recipe for love, my friends,
has always included sorrow.





Friday, September 18, 2020

Ten Years Gone

 

This collage was created for me by  Steve,
The Unknown Gnome,
now sadly no longer with us.


I feel it coming, this poem
I will birth
on the ten year anniversary
of your passing from this earth.
So close to tears, I realize, of course, it is you.
Just how much, how long, I'd miss you,
back then I never knew.

Like a burrowing owl,
you have lodged in my heart,
a prickle-burr that hurts,
from which I do not want to part.
You live there, night and day,
in a corner labeled Grief.
From the missing and the being-gone
there is no relief.

Ghost voices whispering on the wind,
and wolf howls in my dreams,
you look right into my sad heart;
your wolf-eyes gleam.

The barn owl says to light the lamp
on the windowsill for you.
But how will you find me in this place
that was never home to you?

I'm homeless in the universe,
alone, without you
and I fear you're out there somewhere,
feeling homeless too.
Lead me back, wolf-spirit,
to the land we loved together.
I will walk there again
as we did in any weather.

When I can hear the rhythm of
the turning of the tides,
my spirit may still find a home
once more, where peace abides.
Maybe your ghost shadow
will accompany the hours
as I walk forever beaches that,
for a time, were ours.

*** *** ***

I went to bed and slept, and then they came:
four beautiful, white, snowy wolves
who already knew my name.
The first came close -
oh, the beauty of her face!
pushed a friendly nose towards me,
as I stood still, accepting,
but respectful of her space.
We were at the beach, the wolves and I.
A visitation from the spirit-world
of the not-alive,
and from deep within my spirit,
which needs both wolves and ocean waves
to thrive,
because it has never been enough
simply to survive.

The barn owl called sleepily
in the early light to wake me.
Four white wolves live within me now,
never to forsake me.

And you?
big, black, laughing, hilarious
creature of the dawn?
You're in my heart
forever now.
You are never
fully gone.



Hard to believe it has been almost ten years and I still miss him so much. I accept this is a permanent condition. We were soulmates. When I wrote this the first time, I was living at my sister's where Pup never visited. I wondered how his spirit would find me. It is not the anniversary of his death today, but I felt the need to share it with the fine folk at Earthweal. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

BIG PICTURE / SMALL PICTURE

 


Big picture:
wildfires, climate crisis, floods,
melting ice, tornadoes, hurricanes,
extinctions, covid pandemic, social injustice,
and leaders in whom it is impossible
to place one's trust.
Big picture breeds: sadness, pain,
outrage, and the understanding
that we either change or die.

Small picture:
the beauty of the natural world,
all around me; my heart lifting
at everything my eyes fall upon -
forest, hills, beach and sandy shore:
life in my soul's home,
such a blessing.
I have my modest shelter,
I have food, I have peace.
I have gratitude for the many gifts
given and received.
Especially the gift of being alive
- alive! -
this day, on Planet Earth.


Trying to write a poem that doesn't have the word apocalypse in it, for a change. Smiles.

So Many Ways to Say Goodbye

 

Smoke from wildfires covering Clayoquot Sound
Christine Lowther photo

There are so many ways to say goodbye,
to the dreams of youth, to the hope
which fades, gradually, over decades
of waiting for humans to understand
we need to do more than bemoan
the climate crisis: we need to act.

There are so many ways to say goodbye:
to burning forests, to suffering wildlife,
to houses, and whole towns of houses,
turned to ash and rubble,
to life as we knew it before covid,
when we took ordinary days
for granted, as if there would  
always be more.

Today I only know how to
put out morning seed for the birds,
stir creamer into my coffee,
scroll with my TV remote
trying to find what good news I can.

I don't know how to prepare my goodbyes,
when life has become a long list of farewells:
to loved ones, to a beloved wolf,
to small homes I cherished, then lost,
to all the landscapes I have passed through,
forever changed by seven decades
of expanding populations with our
voracious wants and needs.

I skirt the sad edges of
preparing to say goodbye to hope,
that quality that has led me sunnily through my life,
now we are running out of time for 
meaningful change to happen,
hope: that quality that is so hard to hold onto,
now, yet impossible to live without.

This chapter is all about surrender,
holding close with open hands
all that I must let go.
Memory is joy and grief intertwined,
gifts given and received,
the tallying up, the gratitude,
the worry and the pain
of a planet in crisis,
that we did not leave better
than we found it.

There are so many ways to say goodbye.


Inspired by "Transitions" by Tammi J. Truax, frm Wild Writing with Laurie Wagner. The italicized lines are hers.


Monday, September 14, 2020

Under Rage-Red Skies, This is Still Turtle Island

 

facebook image
no copyright infringement intended

Underneath the raging wildfires,
the rage-red skies of this apocalyptic moment,
under the lashing and battering of hurricanes,
under the floods, the overflowing riverbanks,
the melting tundra, under the assault of Big Industry
ravaging the earth for profit,
this is still Turtle Island,
her mother’s heart beating
for her many children.

Mother Earth still faithfully parades her seasons,
one after another, following the ancient rhythms
and cycles, even though we have forgotten how
to attune ourselves to her beat.

Generously she grows what she can on depleted,
flyaway soil, stoically she tries to hold
too much carbon, when we fell the forests
which are her lungs. When she can no longer
hold it, the skies dim, the temperatures rise,
the melting, the floods, the Armageddon fires
prophesied in ancient times
begin.

From the spirit world, our ancestors watch
with sorrowing eyes as the wild ones
flee flames high as mountains.
From the spirit world come laments
on a windigo wind at the plundering
of forest and prairie and river wild,
for oil, for greed, for the economy.
But there are no jobs on a dead planet,
no food on parched earth,
no fresh water, when the oil runs into
the last of our lakes and rivers.

I can hear the wild ones’ cries
as they seek safety they cannot find.
They know it is the Two-Leggeds
who have made this world
what it is. It is only the Two-Leggeds
who can save us.
This frightens them (and me)
more than anything.


 for my prompt at earthweal: Considering the Beyond-Human Realm

The Bee-yond-Human Realm

 

facebook image
no copyright infringement intended

Small bee,
I hear you singing
your busy-nature song.
I wonder what the words are,
as you work the whole day long.

Do you sing praises to your queen,
or memories of the flower,
whose nectar so delighted you
in the early morning hours?

They say when your beekeeper dies, 
someone tells you,
and you grieve.
"He is gone", they say,
and shroud your hive
in black, till you believe.

Such  a small, diligent worker
on whose slight wings our future rests.
Seven billion souls you feed;
may your flight path
be blessed.


Bees are threatened by habitat loss (too much land cleared and over-worked for cultivation), use of pesticides, climate change and something called colony collapse disorder. Thirty to sixty percent of bees are dying world-wide; one-quarter of the species in North America face extinction. 

What we can do:
leave our yards natural, plant clover and wildflowers
and other bee-loving plants, especially borage;
let dandelions thrive
use no chemicals
leave out fresh water in a low bowl with rocks for them to perch on

for my prompt at earthweal: Considering the Beyond-Human Realm. Other beings have the same right to existence as we do; we have forgotten that, through our years of entitled dominance.

sources: 

https://blog.lawneq.com/bees-are-threatened-and-they-need-our-help/

https://whydobees.wordpress.com/2019/02/02/the-key-of-b/

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Small Fox of the Apocalypse


I was born in hope
in the middle of the apocalypse.
I was gifted a feather,
that I might keep my eyes on the sky,
and my dreams evergreen.

But my mother is worried;
we smell smoke. We fear
the roaring flames are
coming near.

My mother has told me
our fate depends on the Two-Leggeds.
She also said it is the Two-Leggeds
who have made Mother Earth so ill.

I hold my Talking Feather. I ask to speak
at the Council of All Beings.
Owl and Wolf and Bear fall quiet.
They nod their heads at me.

"Can we trust that the Two-Leggeds
who have caused so much death
are the same ones who will save us all?"

This is the question of small foxes
in the apocalypse. This time of terror
teaches even baby foxes
how to grieve.


Sigh. For Carrie at The Sunday Muse


With all of the human cost of the wildfires, in death and loss, my thoughts are with the wild ones, trying to outrun the flames. And with the fur companions that humans left behind, waiting for their return, who perished in the flames. Leaving an animal behind is something I will never understand.


Saturday, September 12, 2020

Life In the Apocalypse


Ray Chavez / The Mercury News / Getty Images 

The sky is blood-red orange,
alien and terrifying, as if
we have landed on Mars.
North of the raging inferno,
in southern B.C., we breathe in smoke,
watch in disbelief as
the entire West Coast of the United States
is swallowed by the voracious flames.
The coffee cools in my cup,
my heart holds a vast silence
as I watch the planet I love burning up.
This is how a heart goes numb
in order to withstand the apocalypse.

The orange man moves his lips,
saying nothing, with the compassion
of a vampire; it's Democrat states burning.
This is where politics has arrived:
it is an ugly place to be, governmental denial
of the climate crisis
as the whole world burns.

But, in the burning counties,
there are citizens helping citizens.
There are men running into the flames to fight them,
as everyone else runs away.
This is heroism in the apocalypse.

I have trouble finding the words;
the devastation is too vast.
Armageddon has come, as we knew it would.
Perhaps we hoped we'd slip away in time,
but here it is, in our faces:
the great Earth Mother is dying.
We have waited too long.
Oregon is preparing for
a "mass fatality incident".
We cannot imagine how large
the death toll will be.
Plus all the hidden deaths, never recorded,
of millions of creatures, large and small, 
lost in a world of fire, becoming ash.
My mind can't grasp the enormity; I drink my coffee,
as the end of the world is recorded,
in living (dying?) colour, on my tv screen.
This is survival in the apocalypse.

The news shows a photo of 13-year-old Wyatt Toftie,
who died in flames in a car with his dog in his lap.
And now the tears come, for this
is the face of the apocalypse; this is its grief:
a small terrified boy and his dog
dying the most horrible death one can imagine.
This is heartbreak in the apocalypse.

The story doesn't end here.
We will be watching these flames a while,
counting the toll, in human death,
in burned-out towns, as the wild ones
flee in terror - or are caught by the flames -
and the domestic animals left behind
by their humans, waiting for their return,
are consumed by the endless hunger
of this fiery holocaust.
(Leaving an animal behind is something
I will never understand.)

This is where we are now.
Perhaps we have crossed the point
of no return.
But the story doesn't end here.
All of this is being recorded.
This is life in the crosshairs
of the apocalypse.

for earthweal's open link. Sigh.

After "Surviving the Apocalypse" by Nina Evans, and Wild Writing with Laurie Wagner

Friday, September 11, 2020

WILDFIRE

 


Apocalyptic
Armageddon on the brink
Wild ones flee the flames


I know the human suffering is great. The news reported half a million people displaced by the fires at present, and dozens of people are unaccounted for, so many climate refugees now homeless.

But humans have resources, and the ability to climb into vehicles and outrun the flames. My heart aches for the wild ones, those fleeing in terror, and those dying horribly in the flames (including many domestic animals left behind, something I will never understand.)  I hope when those who survive wander into towns, that they will not be shot, that people put buckets of water out for them. Two months of fire season left. Meanwhile, Australia's fire season lies ahead. It feels like we just recovered from the trauma of its last fire season.

It seems the apocalypse is here. Armageddon. At least on the western seaboard. Governments talk about how they "can't afford" a Green New Deal. In truth, we can't afford not to have one. The cost of cleaning up after these crises is far higher than the cost of preventing them, that should have  begun forty years ago. 

Talent, Oregon



Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Life in the Apocalypse

 


The jays chatter on my balcony,
squawking over seed, as if this life will go on forever,
and the seed will always be there.
This is hope in the apocalypse.

I walk into the forest: coolness, peace,
sunlight slanting through the branches,
everything green, green, green:
leafy breath and human sigh.
This is survival in the apocalypse.

At the CoOp, all our eyes meet above our masks;
we nod; our eyes smile. We do not speak,
our words too muffled. But there is not one person
without a mask. This is solidarity, this is a community
caring for each other,  in the apocalypse.

The sandy beach stretches ahead
as it always has; the waves surge to and fro,
they ebb and flow, in their eternal dance.
This is my moment out of time,
my walking meditation, like Thay in Plum Village:
with this step, I breathe in,
with this step, I breathe out.
This is trust and refusal of fear
in the apocalypse.

Inspired by the amazing poem "Surviving the Apocalypse", written by 15 year old Nina Evans, a prompt for Wild Writing by Laurie Wagner


Monday, September 7, 2020

WHERE JOY RESIDES


vancouversun.com 

Joy
comes with the news that Tahlequah,
the mother orca who carried
her dead calf on her nose
for seventeen days, in grief,
two years ago,
has safely delivered her new calf,
who is "healthy and precocious."

Joy is her mother's heart
that, this time, against all odds,
her baby lives.


In 2018, Tahlequah's unbearable grief was felt all over the world. She broke my heart and some of you walked with me during that time. So it is with great joy that I share this news. Mother and calf are swimming happily in the waters off the San Juan Islands. I hope sea traffic gives them a wide berth - and a chance for this baby to thrive. 

Some good news, to counter all the rest. for Brendan's challenge at earthweal: Joy

My Lion

 


In the Serengeti of my heart,
in a high and craggy tree,
my lion sits, in splendrous pride,
waiting just for me.

His gaze is far.
He has lived there in my dreams
his whole life long.
But a  dream-lion  is patient;
he loves the beauty of my song.

"Lion, lion, lion,"
I sing, as the twilight
fades away,
and my lion smiles,
for now he waits
forever, less one day.


for Carrie, at the Muse

Sunday, September 6, 2020

AFTER THE 10,000TH SHOOTING

 


After the 10,000th shooting,
we started saying "the latest shooting",
knowing there would be more.
In 2019, America passed 10,000,
with a total of 15,208.

In 2020, so far, the gun violence archive
lists 28,856. And counting.*
How is this even possible?

I become afraid to turn on the news,
yet can't resist. I need to know
what I can't bear to know:
that even after Sandy Hook, even after
all those little kids were shot,
the NRA  and the repub right
was so strong, no laws got passed.

So here we are: in disbelief,
alternately numb and outraged,
watching with tears on our faces,
or turning away, because we cannot bear
this place we have come to.

From Canada, I feel like I am watching
a country imploding.

The story doesn't end here.
All people of good hearts and conscience
are still here, ready to cast our votes
for social justice and a kinder world.

The dark hearts make a lot of noise.
But they don't make sense.
History rolls over us like a tide.
Next year the news may report
new leaders weaving poultices
over all our open wounds,
administering hope to those of us
hanging on, on the edge of despair. 
Next year we may all be singing
a relieved and more unified song.

If not, will Europe arrive
to liberate us from the fascists,
as America did on its shores  in 1944?
Stay tuned.
All of this is being recorded.


*according to the gun violence archive

Inspired by "After the 10,000th Shooting" by Tony Hoagland, and Wild Writing with Laurie Wagner. These times make every thinking person political. 

Friday, September 4, 2020

WHAT DOES A WILD WOMAN DO?

 


What does a Wild Woman do
when the news continues to astound,
when the very last old growth forests
on her Island - and in her village -
are being cut down,
when covid numbers are starting to climb
after six months of compliance
because people are "getting tired"?
(Oh. Boo-hoo.)

She sighs.
She pours a second glass of wine,
because one doesn't do it any more.
(Careful! She knows that is a very 
slippery slope. Don't worry.
Never more than two.
It's her mantra.)

She turns off the news.
She would like to write a poem
that inspires hope, lifts hearts.
But she is so freaking tired.

Forgive her. She is old.
She has lived several ages.
This one is Too Hard.
(The other ages didn't have trump.)

But she has always
Lived In Hope,
so that flame is still
stubbornly flickering.

What we have is today:
brilliant September sunshine,
(her favourite!),
with blue jays and sunflowers,
hope and grief all mixed together,
because this is where we're at.

One is grateful:
for another generation of
forest defenders following
in her footsteps
at the blockades,
for blue skies, and a sweet September sun,
for dogs with wagging tails
and smiling eyes.
For still being alive, on Planet Earth,
with its clouds, and soft sea breezes,
its sandy beaches stretching to Forever.
For the gift of 74 years
upon this most beautiful
- this struggling-to-survive-
planet.

What does a Wild Woman do?
She prays, she hopes, she dreams,
- she may cry a little -
she writes poems, and,
having done all she can realistically do,
goes off to bed and prays for a
Revolution of Human Consciousness
on the morrow.

for earthweal's open link. Sigh.


Wednesday, September 2, 2020

LETTER TO A YOUNG TREE DEFENDER

 

I was you, once, in the Summer of '93,
tom-toms thrumming softly around the campfire
in the pre-dawn darkness.
We gathered on the road before the big rigs
rolled in, with their blinding lights,
intimidating, loggers' angry eyes
staring down at us, as we stood fast

- no paseron! -

The man read the injunction;
some of us moved to the side;
some sat in place, arms linked,
determined. Police hauled them off
by their arms and legs, as we cried,
applauded, called out our solidarity,
hearts bursting with passion,
standing for the trees, for the future,
for Mother Earth, her old growth disappearing
into capitalism's voracious maw:

cut 'em fast, while we still can -
eliminating their jobs along with
the old growth, raw logs
shipped out of country:
no sustainability, no value added industry.

We are apparently a suicidal species
and we do not learn.

We fought all summer.
900 arrests, some incarcerations,
but what worked was blocking that road
long enough that they gave up
and went somewhere else.
Clayoquot Sound saved (for then,
though we are losing forests
to over-development now in the same town
that fought so hard to save them.)

It is thirty years later. You gather
in the pre-dawn light at Fairy Creek,
some of the last of the old-growth
left on the Island.

Just a few years left of logging jobs,
yet they plan to cut it all.

No jobs on a dead planet.
Worth More Standing,
as the climate heats and spins
into crisis.
cut 'em fast while we still can.

I will tell you what I remember:
the intimidation, the fear, 
government in the pockets of corporations,
determined, against the will of the people
to keep the cash flow running
as the big old ancient ones vanish
from the earth forever
while the planet turns and burns.

It appears we are a suicidal species
and we don't learn.

I remember mostly my heart bursting,
during the most passionate hours and days
and weeks of my life,
standing for the trees, the trees!

Young defenders, I see you gather
on the road, and I remember. Hope stirs
as one more generation steps up
to speak truth to power,
to say "this is madness, disappearing
the lungs of the planet."

Stand strong. The trees thank you.
They know you are there. They feel the fear
of the chainsaws and grappleyarders parked
so ominously close. They quiver down to their roots.
But when they hear you gentle folk
singing and talking around the fire,
they hope, as I do, that you can save them,
the beautiful tree beings of Fairy Creek.
They will take you on a journey
through the most fulfilling hours
of your life.

Stand strong!


Fairy Creek is in the south-west area of Vancouver Island, near Port Renfrew. On the Island, there is very little old growth left. Fairy Creek has one of the last intact watersheds. So far, as the tree defenders stand on the road each morning, the trucks have turned around and left. The government is weirdly silent - plotting their tactics. Soon the blockade will be on the only road going in. We can expect aggression, then, and likely court injunctions and arrests will begin. I hope more and more people come, as they did in '93 - first a handful came, back then,  then a trickle, then hundreds, then thousands. Famous people came, Bobby Kennedy Jr., Starhawk, and others. Midnight Oil gave a concert in the trees. 900 were arrested and charged, some incarcerated. It is unbelievable it is thirty years later and people are still fighting to save old growth, the last of it, precious, necessary, vanishing, shipped off to be turned into toilet paper.

Really, I can hardly believe the wilful ignorance involved. One young warrior said, "Cutting these trees is a crime against humanity." It is. But the greater crime is against Mother Earth herself.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Time to Change Everything

Fairy Creek blockade
comoxvalleyrecord.com

"Change will be forced upon the logging industry soon enough, why not make the necessary changes now, and save the last of the irreplaceable wonder that is old-growth? "
Mandy Vaughn, Black Creek

Where I am, the salmon are disappearing.
Hungry wolves and bears and whales
face an uncertain winter.

Wildfires burn in the valleys,
and people stand at the blockades,
trying to save Fairy Creek,
one of the last old growth forests
on the Island - giant ancient beings,
the last of their kind, waiting
to be fed into capitalism's
voracious maw.

Human discord is everywhere.
"There is no peace
without social justice,"
the wise man said.
And social injustice is
everywhere.
We can't save the planet
and ourselves at the same time.
It is too much; we retreat
inside ourselves in defeat,
just when we most need
to unite.

We have "evolved" ourselves
right to the lip of the abyss.
It is a time to weep.
It is a time to sing.
It is  time to cast our votes,
time to change
Everything.


For Brendan at earthweal, who asks for evolutionary songs. Mine is a dismal dirge, but it's all I've got this morning. 

Saturday, August 29, 2020

SUNFLOWER II

 


While sunflowers
turn their faces to the sun
on sunny days,
they turn their faces
to each other, for support
when skies are grey.

Perhaps that's why we gather
in the streets,
when times are stark,
to feel our connection
against powerful forces
that feel so wrong and dark.

My spirit is heavy,
so I go forth
into the sun,
turn my face,
this golden day,
to each and everyone.

Our life and each other
is all we have,
when all is
said and done,
like sunflowers
turning hopefully
and forever
toward the sun.


for The Muse

SUNFLOWER

 


Her round baby face was my sunshine
when she was two.
She shone golden as the sun
as up she grew.

But then came her years of tears,
of betrayed heart and betrayed trust,
as she sought love
the way true seekers
always must.

We both love sunflowers
for their brightness
and their shine,
and how they dare 
to dream the heavens
as they climb.

There is no happy ending,
just our lives,
flowing through
the ups and downs
that oh so slowly
make us wise.

But her voice has laughter in it,
these days, when I call,
for she found the love
she had been seeking,
learned to trust it, after all,
slowly opening her heart
the way a sunflower
gently lets
each
golden petal
fall.


Friday, August 28, 2020

The Train of Social Justice


facebook image - no copyright infringement intended

"I hear that train a'comin',
a'comin' down the tracks...."

I hear all the people wanting to get on board,
hear their passionate words at gatherings,
at the Lincoln Memorial, during newscasts.
I hear the man who wonders if civil war 
will come again to the United States,
never so blatantly and impossibly divided.

How are we hurting and discouraged millions
ever going to get that social justice train
on the tracks and traveling towards
Martin's dream? We are long overdue.
This train is 50 years late,
its passengers never more imperilled,
never more out-shouted by 
the extreme radical right.
Ugliness has never been so unmasked;
we see now, clearly,
and cannot look away.

I can hear the whistle
faintly blowing,
from many miles away.
I have my bags packed
to hop aboard, when it
finally comes my way.


It isn't enough any more to simply know, and write poems of protest. Time to write to elected officials everywhere, to march, to vote, to speak out. If that dream is ever going to be, it is going to take all of us. Had the Dems backed Bernie, I would have a lot more hope. Joe Biden is a decent man, but his voice is too quiet for what we are facing. The same old political formula will not work any longer. We needed Bernie's vision to find our way out of this mess. I hope he keeps fighting, though he must be so tired. My faint hopes hang on November's vote, fully expecting the rampant and blatant corruption to impact the vote. If we lose, we will lose big. Including our democracy.



LA LOBA II

 



La Loba,
in your dark cave,
under the full moon,
sing.
Sing as you gather the bones 
of my brothers, my sisters.

Sing as you lay them down
on the ground.
Place them end to end,
tenderly, carefully,
piece by piece, 
until they are whole.
Then breathe life into them 
and watch them leap up,
joyous-eyed, tails arc-ing,
teeth snapping and smiling,
around the fire.

Sing,
as they take my heart with them
and run away,
beautiful, laughing and free,
into the welcoming
midnight forest.
La Loba, sing!

written in 2013 and re-posted here for Earthweal's open link.  I picture La Loba as a wild wolf woman, able to breathe life back into wolfish bones.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

"There should be nothing here I don't remember...."

 

364 Christleton Avenue

"There should be nothing here I don't remember."
In my mind, it is always there: my place of safety,
of deep peace and familiar, reliable routine,
the hours noted by the metal clock
on the kitchen windowsill, the cottage so quiet,
its tick-tock could be heard
in every room.

When I was small, Grandma watched me
while my parents worked. After we moved away,
I spent my summers there.

My grandma moved so peacefully
through her mornings.
I woke to the slap of the hose
hitting the wall of the cottage
as she watered everything down
against the coming heat,
lowering the canvas awnings
like sleepy eyelids
over the front windows.

When I wandered outside, I'd sink
into the hammock under the weeping willow -
the willow tree of remembrance,
under which I read and dreamed away
the summer mornings of my youth,
as Grandma cleaned her kitchen,
started things cooking for lunch,
perhaps making fruit preserves:
stewed rhubarb that we'd eat with toast.
My bathing suit, draped over the clothesline,
was still damp from my last swim, 
when I pulled it back on for the next.

Sometimes, Grandma hosted canasta games
in the afternoon,
the ladies arriving in hats and white gloves,
card tables set up in the small living room,
tea in fancy cups and saucers, dainty sandwiches,
the ladies, all from the prairies, remembering
Saskatoon berries - no western berry
ever measured up, in memory, to the berries
of their young womanhood.
They called each other by their formal names
 - "Mrs. Marr, Miss Hicks", - and my grandpa
was referred to as "Mr. Marr", always.
It was said he never saw
my grandma's naked body
out of her flannel nightgown.
What horror for this modest,
turn-of-the-last-century woman to find herself,
at the end of her life, a body in a bed,
Depends being changed by strangers,
no modesty, no privacy left,
each change a violation.
She withdrew deep within herself,
waiting for the release of death.

"There should be nothing here I don't remember,"
and so, each time I go back to Kelowna,
I make that trip down Christleton Avenue,
to make sure the bedrock of my childhood
is still there. It is covered with stucco now,  
but the small houses along that street remain,
have not been knocked down and replaced
by giant houses. Yet.


The street still bears the reassuring imprint
of familiarity, the repository of my childhood
and young girlhood memories,
the place I return to in memory again and again.
Whenever I think of childhood, it is to this small cottage
that I come, the slap of water
against the side of the house
that woke me every morning, all the years
I spent my summers there,
smell of lake-scent and roses,  sweet pea and pinks.
I can almost see, in earlier years,  that four year old
still hanging on the front gate, 
under the arched rose trellis,
waiting for her parents to arrive
in the falling twilight to take her home.
And remember the nights
they did not come.

Inspired by "Looking for the Gulf Motel" by Richard Blanco, and Wild Writing by Laurie Wagner


Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Remembrance

 


There should be nothing here I don’t remember.

The ferry between Westbank and Kelowna
that, when I was little, I thought would have wings,
which made my father smile,
should still be plying the waters
between Westbank and
and Kelowna’s shores.
The ferry is long gone, but the shore
is still lined with the weeping willow
and tear-streaked dreams of my youth.
My mother was so beautiful then,
with her long blonde curls, and huge blue eyes,
like a movie star, but fraught,
at what alcohol did to my parents’ love affair.

There should be nothing here I don’t remember.

Our house looked out across the lake
at the Big Blue Hills. My first dog, Dinky,
a black lab, followed me everywhere
and two turkey gobblers walked with me,
one on each side, as we paced,
up and down the driveway.
Wings outspread, they hissed, chasing 
my mom back inside
when she came out to check on me.

The town was small then,
surrounded by miles of apple orchards,
white blossoms in springtime, the air sweet
with their blooming. Now, going back,
some of the houses we lived in are gone,
and all of the orchards, street after street
of condominiums mushrooming up
where once life was sweet
under the apple trees of summer
and the hot August moon.

I had so many dreams then
of how life would be, when pain
would have ended
and happiness would be mine,
finally, to live.

They did not come true.
But ones better than I ever
could have dreamed
arrived in their stead,
taking me on the most wonderful
and unexpected journey.

Life took me far;
there were so many losses,
pain and tears I held inside
all those years when I had to be strong
for those four who depended on me.
I had so many helpers and guides,
to show me the way, along a path
of awakening, bright as sunrise
over the mountains, I gasping
at the wonder of it.

Now, in old age, tears come more easily
than they ever have – every tender scene,
every lost love in movies and books,
every sad story on the evening news,
and I am awash at the joy and the ache of it.

Tears – for the beauty of the journey,
for the glory and wonder of it, tears
for the pain of all that has been lost.

And yet -
as the poet said, so reassuringly -
“All that is lost
is not lost.”

 

Inspired by “Looking for the Gulf Motel” by Richard Blanco. The italicized lines are his.

 


Monday, August 24, 2020

RAINBOW WARRIORS

On the Road in Clayoquot Sound
Summer of '93

Sally Sunshine, R.I.P.
 

The soul would have no rainbows
if the eyes had no tears.
     - Native American proverb

BLOCKADE. I remember:
dancing on the road, heart full to bursting,
as the big trucks rolled in,
the summer of '93.
Tears, as the forest defenders were carried off
by arms and legs, first a few,
then a few hundred,
then a thousand.

We saved some trees, here,
back then, in Clayoquot Sound.
But the clearcutting continued
on the Island. 
Only a little left, and not protected.
This week my grandson,
a Rainbow Warrior, is going to the blockade
at Fairy Creek, where logging roads
are slicing into one of the last
pristine watersheds, the last of the old growth
on Vancouver Island.
The last of the lungs
on our planet, should anybody care.

This week, the big machinery
turned around and left.
But they are tricky,
so a second blockade
is set up on the back road.

Pain: at the endless putting of profit
before planet, even as the Arctic
hits 100 degrees, melting beneath
the huskies' feet, so they are trotting
through water, instead of on ice.

"Money rules," the fat cats grin,
as if that's all that matters.

"Money rules, but the spirit
liberates," replied my friend,
back in the day. It was my bumper sticker
for years. Along with
"Money is a drug.
Heal the spirit."

Joy: that as my generation of eco-warriors
lies, gasping, exhausted after 40 years of fighting,
the young ones are stepping up,
with pure hearts, and hope, and energy
to save their vanishing world.

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
My grandson was five when
I was on the road.
Now he's twenty-five,
and picking up my faltering torch.
I watch these rainbow warriors with pride,
and with guilt, that our generation didn't leave 
them a safer world.

My eyes have tears and rainbows,
my heart holds equal measure
of joy and pain.


Adjacent to Fairy Creek
Ancient Forest Alliance photo
Those few trees left? That's so they can say they're
"not clearcutting."

It is early days at Fairy Creek, but it is building. More people will come to the blockades, as they did in the summer of '93. Fairy Creek is ancient old growth on the way to Port Renfrew, south Vancouver Island. It is close to the mystical Avatar Grove - the huge trunks are amazing. To pulp this stuff for toilet paper is ludicrous; a crime. It is insane to truck this stuff out of the province and send it to other countries as raw logs. But the trucks keep rolling in. The warriors stand firm. Here we go again. But now the stakes are higher. There is not much left to save on this heating planet. Take a look at the beauties these young people are trying to save.

(for earthweal.com: Storms and Rainbows)

My friend, Warren Rudd, a well-known Tofino videographer, worked on this video. He is up at Fairy Creek right now. Check out the beauty that is in peril.


Saturday, August 22, 2020

SKYBIRD'S SONG

 


Traveler falters
on the path.

She is wounded.
Her wolf companion
has left her side,
and her hand
is empty
when it moves
to touch his head.

It is a blow,
a hole torn
in the
fabric
of her living.

But, soon,
she hears
a skybird's song.
It mends and weaves
the sore place
in her heart, bids her
resume her journey,
encourages her
from low branches
till she
gets up
and walks again.

She follows
that bird
the whole
day long.


An old one, written after Pup died........I am very fond of birds, Sky Messengers. Shared with earthweal's open link.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

On the Edge of the Mystery

 

Tashi Paddle School photo
tofinopaddle.com

For time beyond time,
ten thousand years,
this has been the territory
of the Nuu-chah-nulth,
"people all along the mountains
and the sea."
They lived in huge longhouses in Opitsaht,
a sheltered spot across the bay.
When the settlers came, some of the First Peoples
moved up into the mountains.
When they came down, years later,
they found they were the only ones
who survived the smallpox
the settlers brought.

This is still Tla-o-qui-aht ha-houlthee.
We settlers perch here, aware
of our privilege, grateful that
these wise people are as patient as they are
at how slowly we mumalthni become aware
of our place in the scheme of things.

We are living on the edge
of the mystery, where all things
are connected, a dimension
vaster than our limited comprehension
can grasp. Our intuition
tells us there is a bigger story
than the one we are living.

Our thoughts fly into the ether
where poetry lives, where dreams gather,
dropping down on us in starlight
to light our path.

Now another virus stalks us;
the People close their village gates.

It may be time to go up
into the far mountains,
time for the medicine man
to pray to the living land and water,
time to sing his healing song.
Time for us to grow quiet,
and listen to the wisdom
of the First People,
and what they have to say.

Monday, August 17, 2020

ALIVE, ON PLANET EARTH

                                        




Beautiful photos by Nancy Powis, R.I.P.

When the Westerly blows,
and waves crash rapturously
upon the shore,
when treetops poke their spires
up through the fog and mist
along the slopes of Wah'nah'juss,
my heart exults in wonder.

When the eagle's piercing cry
echoes across the harbour,
and the heron picky-toes
along the rocky shore
seeking her breakfast,
when dogs with loopy grins
go lolloping in and out
of the waves at Chestermans,
and surfers stand to ride, and fall,
and rise again,

When the morning sun rises
over Lemmens Inlet,
geese flying above in a wavering V,
as the sandpipers whirl and swoop as one
along the water's edge,
and ravens croak their gobble-cry,

When sunset paints the sky
with colours too fantastic to describe
as the big old fiery orb sinks down
below the horizon at day's end,

When just being alive and breathing
in this forever power-place
seems wealth beyond compare,
and I most richly blessed,
thankfulness expands my heart
to bursting, again and again,
so dearly do I cherish the beauty,
the sheer interconnected wonder
of Clayoquot Sound.

How grateful I am
to have walked this earth walk
along its beloved shores,
the song of the waves
forever advancing and retreating
in my heart;
how dearly I feel the blessing,
rich with all life's worth,
just to have another day,
like this,
alive, on planet earth.

for my prompt at earthweal: to describe the landscape that most calls to our hearts. Some of you have likely read this before. I didn't think I could describe this place any better, so have posted this earlier poem. 

Tofino is beautiful. In 1989, it was a quiet fishing village with a few early whale-watching companies. When we blockaded to save the old growth in 1993, the world saw how beautiful it is on the news and started coming. Now we are over-run with tourism and  housing is scarce and unaffordable - except for the building i am lucky enough to live in. A lot of young working people are living in tents, cars and vans. It has been this way for 30 years. Everything has turned into tourist rentals and b and b's. Money, money.

Logging of old growth continues on Vancouver Island. There is hardly any left. A favourite forest near me is slated to fall for a massive housing project this autumn. It hurts. We tried hard to save it. Now we are demanding a tree protection bylaw to save what's left.

Some of my friends are blockading right now at Fairy Creek, a mystical forest on a West Coast watershed. Capitalism only knows how to gobble. It is suicidal, but blinded by greed.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

My Heart Can Ask No More

 

gotofino.com photo

My heart travels your ley lines
like a raven on the wing.
Your songlines called to me
in the dreamtime
till they brought me to your shore,
my heart full to overflowing
with the ocean's mighty roar.

Your waves roll in forever,
sandy beaches all before,
smell of sea salt, kelp and seaweed,
and my heart can ask no more

than to walk my remaining years
along the beauty of your shore.

OLD TREE

 

Old Tree,
tell me your story.
You have seen a thousand years
of seasons come and go,
witnessed the wilderness
turn into towns,
watched sadly as the wild ones
- those who have survived -
retreated more deeply into the forest,
growing ever more afraid
as the Two-Leggeds
steadily advanced
with their chainsaws
and their heavy tread.
You have wept as your sisters
turned into houses for humans
instead of birds
and small furred creatures.

Tell me about the time
when you were young,
when wolf pups huddled
among your roots,
and bears scratched their backs
on your rough bark,
those days
when all the wild creatures
spoke to one another
in the same language:
moose and bear and deer.
Tell me about a time
when life was securely lived,
when the word "wild" meant "home",
when safety and the seasons
were all you knew.

Tell me your ancient tale, Old Tree,
and it will be
a fairytale
to me.


for  Shay at The Sunday Muse


WINDIGO

 


Through the mist, I see a shaman,
on a fencepost, point the way;
into the forest I go, listening,
for all it has to say.

Wolf Spirit, Windigo, you sorrow
at the extinction of your clan,
the destruction of your habitat
by the tribe of man.

Once we lived and spoke together.
once upon a time we knew
that everything was connected.
You were me, and I was you.

The animals are speaking.
if only we could hear
their cries of distress and hunger,
so heartbreaking, so near.

The forest is deep and dark
and there be spirits here.
When we listen to the creatures,
their message is so clear.

Their peril and ours is connected,
they most want us to know.
Owl, Oracle, Guardian,
protect me as I go.


a poem from 2019 for the open link at earthweal


Monday, August 10, 2020

Protectors

 

Tall turkey gobblers,

bigger than me,

one on each side,

my protectors,

walked me up and down

the rocky path.

When my mother came out

to check on me,

they chased her back inside,

flapping wings spread wide.

They knew that I was small

and in need of protection.


Somewhere there is a photo of me, maybe fifteen months old, being walked by my turkey gobbler friends. 

BEDROCK

 


Summer morning.

I'm sitting on my sister's porch:

horses grazing in the grassy field,

sweet dog lying at my feet.

The air smells like 

all the summer mornings 

of my life: when I and the world

were young, and I walked the hills

breathing in the scent of sage

and Ponderosa pine.

Forever, now, the summer morning smell

takes me back: sweet pea and weeping willow,

lake-scent and whisperings

engraved on my heart.


Since childhood, this has been

the bedrock of my life:

blue-sky mornings, breathing trees,

fur creatures wild and tame

with their love-seeking eyes.

Whatever the "civilised" world is doing,

it is the world of forest and sea breezes, 

world of the wild ones,

that anchors me

and keeps my heart at home.


For Sarah at earthweal who asks us to write about our connection with nature. Mine has always been with me. As a toddler, I walked our small farm, a turkey gobbler protector bigger than me, walking on either side. When I was old enough to ride a bike, i biked out into the country, left the bike, and wandered the hills, singing. Once a herd of cows followed me, perhaps thinking I was leading them home to the barn, and supper. I have been a Blue Sky Woman all my life.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Forever

 


You carry the world we have lost
in your antlers, gazing at us
as if to wonder how we ever
treated it so lightly.

Your forest is shrinking;
this brings you into the edges
of roads and towns
where you're not safe.
Your babies wobble fearfully
on concrete paths.

We once thought
that Forever
would forever
last.


for The Sunday Muse



Friday, August 7, 2020

CURRICULUM VITAE OF A STRUGGLING WORLD

The night trump was elected,
I went to bed disheartened,
knowing a nightmare lay ahead. 
(Even so, I never dreamed how bad.)

The divisive rhetoric is constant;
it has changed us.

My voice at first resisted, outraged.
Over time, I grew weary and discouraged.
(That is the strategy; it works.
Keep the uproar coming; no one
can muster the moments of clarity
needed to resist.)

The climate crisis is still happening;
we have just been too distracted
to pay attention.

My poems have all become poems of grief:

Tahlequah, Mother Orca,
swimming a thousand miles
with her dead calf on her nose,
expressing our collective heartbreak;

children in cages at the southern border
(still in cages. Is anybody helping?)

The wildfires in Australia, burning up
all the koalas and kangaroos.

George Floyd.

Chantel Moore.

Takaya.

The corona virus.

The people rising up in protest;
the goons in camoflauge beating
them back, yet still they
bravely march.

The forests of California, burning.

This morning Russia is talking about
nuclear responses to perceived threats.
Really, it couldnt get much worse than that,
and they are Going There in their minds.
Will we wake one morning in the rubble?

The earth has the energy of life, 
of interdependence of all species.
It moves through its seasons struggling
against the opposing forces of human
destructiveness, misplaced power and greed.

We need everything to change.
We need leaders to lead, and care.
Mother Nature needs to get some help.

Mother Wind, sing through our
broken human hearts
a song of illumination
and transformation. 

May the ways this past four years
have changed us, change us back
into beings of light and hope once more.


Wild Writing inspired by "Curriculum Vitae" by Lisel Mueller


Thursday, August 6, 2020

August in Tofino


It is August in Tofino, and the tourists are in a frenzy. The whole town is slightly crazed, as too many people and cars overrun our tiny village. One hears the locals lamenting; one gets messages from former Tofitians saying they miss how Tofino was. I miss how it was too and am so glad I was here during those years, when we stood on the road for the trees - the largest incidence of civil disobedience (at that time) in Canadian history. The event that let the world know how beautiful it is here and began the stampede that has made it hard to live here for everyone except for the very rich.
However, I have always been a glass-half-full kind of person, and everything I love about Tofino is still here: the sweet little village, with its familiar funky buildings; the way fog and clouds play along the slopes of Wah'nah'juss; the pink sky at dawn when the world looks brand new; sunsets at the beach, and those white forever waves rolling in like white-maned horses.

I love the conscious, awakened village folk, too, so aware of the privilege it is to live in this environment, on the Ha-hoolthii of the Tl-o-qui-aht people, in this beautiful Sound, full of some of the last old-growth on the planet, home to wolves and bears and cougar, to the aboriginal guardians of the land - and to us.

The tourists come here for a season, pay thousands of dollars to spend a few days here. A motel room can cost four or five hundred dollars a night here, more for the upscale ones. Yikes. This makes finding housing and hanging on here difficult for we low-income folk. Rents are equivalent to most of our monthly incomes. We cling on like marsupials to a wavering branch.

But how rich in spirit we are, hearts expanding at the beauty we are surrounded by, immersed in, in love with. My eyes bless every beloved, familiar shape. My prayer is a constant one of gratitude: Thank You. Thank You. Thank You for this beauty, and for bringing me home a second time.