This world is so beautiful,
with moments of heart-stopping wonder,
when we catch our breath in awe,
at the myriad of small miracles
unfolding before us every day.
This world can seem so dark,
with the ignorant, entitled and ugly forces
that seem to be trying
to tip the balance of light into darkness
across the planet.
Sometimes, it feels like
they are winning.
Let's always remember
the moments of collateral beauty,
when we realize our
Let's cling to our belief
that - no matter what -
this beauty is the way
it was always meant to be.
Inspired by watching the film "Collateral Beauty" with Will Smith this afternoon. What is that quote? "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."
In Stanley Park, jewel of the city of Vancouver,
acres of forest trails are the delight
of the West End - home to coyotes,
who kept out of sight for years,
till we became too many
and their habitat too small,
till they grew hungry
and emerged from their dens
to be fed by humans.
This was not a kindness.
Some bites on the ankles
of people along the seawall
when they didn't produce food
other walkers had given,
and now they will be "humanely
euthanized" for the crime
of existing near the margins
we have etched into
the forest that once was theirs.
On the news today, the "cull" (killing)
has begun - not humanely -
as they are caught in leg-hold traps,
suffering till they are "liberated"
from their pain by the "humane" shot.
I could cry like a coyote
for the shortcomings
for the loss of the wild ones' home,
for the destroyer species we are,
for our lack of understanding
of how to live with our wild neighbours.
I cry with the coyotes
who will be "culled" (killed) for the crime
of existing on land that has become
dangerous for every non-human being
and will one day be as unsafe
for those of us who believe ourselves
immune to the inhumanity
on the planet.
for earthweal - hard to find a positive note of hope these days. Innocent coyotes, whose habitat has been diminished and encroached - fed by humans, when they are hungry and lacking natural food sources - dying, because we are so many, and we have the power.
Today the police and industry goons used heavy equipment to CRUSH the cars of three protestors at Fairy Creek, one belonging to a media rep. Three CARS. How are they allowed to behave like this? Injuring protestors (daily!), crushing property - and no consequences at all. (I worry especially as my friend is a media rep and he is up there right now.)
I cry - like a coyote, like a wild wolf, like a conscious human who cant believe what we are doing to this planet, so unconscious that what we do to the coyote will eventually, karmically, inevitably, happen to us.
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 during the apocalypse.
Somewhere wildfires are burning;
animals fleeing in wild distress.
Those fighting the flames
can hear their screams.
I walk into the forest: coolness, peace,
sunlight slanting through the branches,
everything green, green, green:
leafy breath and human sigh.
This is relief and comfort
during the apocalypse.
The anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers
are protesting outside the hospital.
they block an ambulance from
delivering its patient.
They spit at a nurse going to work
(to save the unvaccinated
dying of covid inside.)
This is entitlement and disrespect
- to the max -
during the apocalypse.
At the CoOp, we catch each other's glance
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, during the apocalypse.
It feels like a large segment of the population
is experiencing a psychotic break, convinced
by fake news that reality is fake
and fake news is real.
"Communist news!" they jeer
at the free press. My mind boggles
at the depth of the rabbit hole
we have fallen into.
If the Mad Hatter pours me some tea,
it will be no stranger than what
is on my tv screen.
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 calmness,
with this step, I breathe out peace.
"I kiss the earth with my foot."
This is survival. This is
trust in the Big Picture, and in
Mother Earth's ability to survive.
This is me, trying to survive, myself,
to stay steady, to withstand. This is me,
holding onto hope,
dreaming in green
during 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. Sharing with earthweal's open link.
for Brendan at Earthweal where we are considering: Slowness, a state with which I am very familiar.
As a teen, walking to school,
feeling homeless, no where
in the world that I belonged,
white picket fences
and milk bottles on doorsteps
made me cry.
I was a lonely soul
in search of home.
As a young woman,
lonely in my marriage,
I walked the streets
looking in windows.
I remember a woman
sitting on a couch reading,
in soft lamplight's glow,
looking up, smiling,
as a young man brought her
a cup of tea.
I was in wonderment
at that sort of caring.
As a young mom,
i wore the wheels off
several baby carriages,
pushing my children
through miles and miles
of summer afternoons,
looking in yards,
looking in windows,
seeing other lives
- ordinary lives -
living the life I dreamed of
that never was mine.
Because all I wanted
was a partner, my soul's journey
was to live my life alone, to make
a family with my children, and,
when my children had grown,
with dogs, and with friends,
and to have life be enough.
I found Home at the shore,
where I found peace and joy
I had struggled so hard to win,
letting the susurration of the breakers
wash through me, through my ears,
my brain, my being,
until I was as calm as the lull
between waves, as strong and silent
as the smooth stones scattered
along the shore, as patient as
the sand dollar, that spins home
from the sand and grit around it,
and carries it within.
looking up at me, age three,
huge, round, dark blue,
innocent. When I told him
he would have a baby sister
and we would teach her
how to walk and talk,
"and how to be happy" he said,
his kindness making me
catch my breath in awe
at the largeness
of his soul.
His eyes, always laughing,
as a child, so joyous,
dancing with his baby sister,
hugging her close; later,
as a teen, so protective,
holding her hand on the street
as bullies taunted him.
"Dont worry. Just keep walking,"
he said. Keeping her safe.
His eyes, at seventeen,
in the psych ward
as his world collapsed:
still, the same round eyes,
still, the same wry smile.
His eyes, through his illness,
as his dreams all dimmed,
and his life grew lonely
as the walls closed in.
His eyes, Monday morning,
through the tablet screen:
trapped and helpless
on his hospital bed
as life throws another hurdle
in his path, that has already
been so hard.
If I could switch places
with him, I would,
but I can only look into
those same blue eyes
with all my mother's heart -
those eyes still the colour
of all my morning skies.
On Monday my son, age 50, suffered a serious stroke, affecting his speech and the left side of his body.
Well, one can dream. It may too late to return the world to a pristine state. But it is not too late to SLOW the devastation, if leaders would lead and the populace would follow - and if every word a politician speaks were not so hollow. At this point, i think the people need to lead, with our billions of voices, to force leaders to do the job of governing.
for my prompt at earthweal: The World That Might Have Been. Man, I need to find some more uplifting themes!
For The Sunday Muse
In my beautiful dream, back then,
when scientists spoke, world leaders
and populations listened.
They began the carefully legislated transition
to clean energy, reduced emissions,
sustainable logging, preservation of
all remaining old growth on the planet.
Use of bamboo and hemp was encouraged
Instead of wood to build earth-friendly homes.
25 trees were planted
for every second growth tree they cut.
Pesticides and poisons were banned.
Laws were passed to ensure
industrial "farm" animals
were treated humanely. Small family farms
were subsidized, instead of corporations.
People shopped locally; many grew their own food.
The entire global population reduced
their meat consumption,
greatly reducing emissions.
Industry was required to pay taxes proportionate
to their profit margins. No more fricking
fracking. To gain access to resources,
corporations were required to restore
all the damaged ecosystems they had harmed.
Teams were put together
to clean all water systems.
Oil pipelines were dismantled.
Clean water systems were developed
Laws were passed to reduce plastic
production and its use;
Inventors found new ways
to re-use plastic and rubber
for roads and infrastructure.
Grants were given for electric cars;
public transit was improved and
was available everywhere.
In time, Mother Earth drew an easy breath
and began to heal. She and humankind
worked together, because we knew
we were a part of nature, not its master.
Skies cleared; temperatures lowered;
the whole wide wonderful world turned green.
The non-human realm began to flourish once again.
All the dying stopped.
Mother Earth tries so hard to heal,
given half a chance.
This dream, this beautiful dream
makes nature spirits dance.
My prompt at earthweal on Monday contemplates The World That Might Have Been had early warnings been heeded. Sigh. This is my first take. Saving another to link on Monday. Today i can smell smoke from the wildfires. The sky is yellow grey. The To Do list is more urgent than ever.
I don't know that I ever have actually let Pup go. I couldn't. But thought I'd float the theory in this poem for The Sunday Muse.
for Sarah at earthweal, where we are contemplating LAMMAS, the harvesting of grain and making it into bread. We have not tended Mother Earth's garden well, and are harvesting some painful consequences. Out of this, I do still hope humanity will rise to what is required of us.
"The opposite of extraction capitalism
is deep reciprocity."
- Leanne Betasamosake Simpson,
from As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom
Through Radical Resistance
Once, in the long ago,
the deer disappeared from the north
where the people had been
taking them wastefully, without respect.
The deer refused to participate
in this inequity any longer.
They went elsewhere
and the people grew hungry,
and then awakened.
Today I can see in indigenous eyes
that they too are intentionally withdrawing
and resisting the settler/colonial system
that has been trying to disappear them
for three hundred years.
They oberve us with blank eyes
that turn us into white ghosts.
Their opaque expression says,
"I have removed myself
from your system
of oppression, which extracts
without giving back."
I watch with respect and admiration
their strength and power rising,
hear their true words.
Like the deer,
they are removing themselves
from the greed-crazed mamalthni,
to follow their own path
on the earth they have tended
for ten thousand years -
the earth it took we settlers
only three hundred
In fact, it feels like Mother Earth herself is removing herself from us in the only way she can, with storms and wildfires and floods. Rampant capitalism set in place the destructive path that got us here, yet it will not ease its grasp upon the coffers of the world. They will cut down what trees are left after the wildfires until there will not be a bit of cooling or oxygen left on what will then be an uninhabitable planet. It is unfathomable to me, how crazy this greed is. It is a voracious, all-consuming madness. But now the bill is coming due and who will suffer most are the marginalized and our non-human relatives. Whales are already swimming farther out to sea in search of food, in waves that are too warm. The screams of animals in the wildfires haunt my dreams. We created of a bountiful garden a hell on earth, yet believe we are the only thinking creatures. I withdraw further into silence, watching the madness unfold.
It is too terrible to think about, the hell we have created on earth for the beyond-human realm. And yet, as a poet friend said to me today, if we turn away, who will be left to fight for them?
When I come back, I'll be like
the herd of buffalo arriving
at Standing Rock, the natural world
rising up to stand with the water protecters
who are trying to save the river.
Water is life! the warriors said, praying
under a hail of rubber bullets.
They stood in the water in winter
and were not cold, because the river
was with them, against the militarized police
and the black snake that would bring death
to their people.
When I come back, I will be like
the white Spirit Bear, swimming from
island to island in search of food.
Already, I am growing too weak to swim.
What will still be here, when I come back?
I will come back like the unsettled spirits
at Ninstints in Haida Gwaii. When you step
on shore even now, you can hear
the keening and wailing of those
in the Spirit World, the First People
who died in distress from smallpox
brought by the colonial invaders,
only the first of their burnt offerings.
When I come back, I will rise
from a small unmarked grave,
where, long ago, another child
was made to bury me,
under the heartless gaze
of the black robes.
When I come back, may no child
ever have to live under a gaze that cold.
Now I watch the skinny black bear
wandering, hungry, across the village green;
the thin grey wolf, loping along the shore
in search of the salmon that are no more.
I see dead whales on the beach,
stomachs full of plastic and styrofoam.
Raven and Heron and Eagle -
all of their eyes are looking at me
from the tops of trees: asking
what have you done to the world
once so abundant?
When I come back, if I am human,
I will wear a cloak of shame and guilt.
If I am of the beyond-human realm,
I will be wary, hoping the Two-Leggeds
have either learned how to live with the earth
or have disappeared in the floods and fires,
the pandemics and calamities of our times.
When I come back, will the world
have stopped burning? Or will it
be ash and stagnant water, from which,
eons from now, a small green sprout
may one day hopefully appear?