Monday, August 30, 2021

A World in Need of Shamans


Tonquin Guardian
by Christine Lowther

Slow the clocks. Let the day
dawn slowly, mind struggling
to balance the fast world
coming at me.

Become the Observer,
the mystic said, and I do.
I observe a world that
has lost its centre,
a world in need of shamans.
I grow slower, and more silent,
in response.

During the years
when my children were growing,
each spinning off into danger,
far from my protection,
I learned how to Be a Tree,
strong at my centre to support them,
flexible with my wavy arms,
so we could lean and bend
and sway with the times.

Old age is Deep Time.
The seasons have brought forth
what harvest there is. There is
time to reflect, to walk in
an old growth forest,
commune with the Ancient Ones,
breathe in connection,
breathe out peace.
I am as tired and slow
as an old elephant,
just from Remembering.

Slow the clocks. Let the sun 
set at the shore inch by inch,
as we ponder all we have learned
by the end of the day.

for Brendan at Earthweal where we are considering: Slowness, a state with which I am very familiar.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Finding Home


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
after nightfall,
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.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

It's Just a Random Thought, But Could We Manage No More Pain?

Wepna Loneagle image from Grandmothers Circle the Earth

It is twilight and, from where I sit, the world is peaceful and so beautiful. Yet wildfires rage, consuming towns; people and animals wild and tame are fleeing - the climate refugees of today, no politician cares to know their name - and in Afghanistan, people cling to the underside of planes, with desperation so extreme they'd rather lift off and fall from above than remain - like the falling bodies of 9/11 - better to die leaping than to burn.

Floods, landslides, earthquakes - everywhere is hurting. Yet our politicians are not talking about the fact our world is burning - they are spouting empty words hoping to gain more power, as if the Apocalypse isn't right outside our door. As if we believe their empty promises any more.

Yet, still, Mother Earth continues living in her dying: small furry things are born, gardens blossom (where they are not parched), and children remain hopeful that when they grow up, there will still be old growth trees, and air to breathe. It is amazing how much every living thing just wants to live.

Might we find a way to nurture life, instead of destroying everything for cash?

Night is falling. In a serene sky, out my window, I see a half-moon winking in at me.
I just don't want living things to suffer. I don't want animals to hurt or to flee wildfires, terrified and burning, their screams echoing across the landscape as the people evacuate in their SUV's.

I want we humans to be worthy of the gift of life we have been given, to tend the trees and gardens of the earth with gentle hands. I want us to be beings of life, not death, of care, not greed.
The way of extraction capitalism has brought us to the brink. If we work with Mother Nature to slow the pace of climate collapse and restore the devastation, it just might be possible to save this world, I think.

It is in nature that I find my peace, my solace, my comfort - it strengthens me to bear what I must bear. I am so grateful to Mother Earth. And so sorry she is suffering because of those blinded by greed and money.

Another poem for my prompt at earthweal which considers the world as it might have been - or still might be if we had leaders ready to ACT.

His Eyes

His eyes
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,
haunted, tortured,
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.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

The Earth: An Alternative Narrative

Picture an earthly garden
(the way it was when we were
not so many).
See the sun come up
behind the greenly hills,
hear in the forest deep
the songbirds' happy trills.

Our beyond-human relatives
go softly about their work of Being.
We look across our gardens
with sweet surmise.
Who knew humans
could live so well?
Who knew that we
could ever
be this wise?

The sky is clear;
the future lies so bright
and sweet ahead.
The world is clean again
and we have
- dare we dream it? -
for forever
banished dread.

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!

The Far Mountains


Let me play you a little tune
with my picky picky fingers
as i gaze at you with eyes
full of the past. 

I once took a high, merry heart
up into the far mountains,
laid down with my true love
in a dream that could not last.

I won't tell you how
it ended.
A clue is in my gaze,
that remembers those far mountains
and those golden summer days.

For The Sunday Muse

Friday, August 13, 2021

The To Do List We Didn't Follow

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
everywhere instead.
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.

Monday, August 9, 2021


Fellow traveler,
across the charred landscape 
of our broken dreams,
I bid you safe passage,
(a safe journey, a safe return,)
a door open wide
on arrival to shelter you,
cool water to drink,
and rest.

Apocalyptic skies,
falling embers,
blowing flames,
have overtaken the road
most traveled.
See the burned-out cars
alongside the road.
See the creatures
with burned paws and hooves
limping beside us,
dead-eyed and stricken,
innocent victims of human folly.
Where are we going?
Forward, only forward
into whatever comes next.

I can only offer a blessing
for your travels.
(A safe journey, a safe return.)
May all beings find
a place of safety in which
to weather the storms ahead.
May all beings find
that welcoming door.
(A safe journey, a safe return.)

Sigh. For Brendan's wonderful topic at earthweal: TRUTH IN A WORLD ON FIRE

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Your Gypsy Heart


Your gypsy heart
always needed to be free,
though you gifted
a large part of it
to me.

I loved your wildness,
blessed it every day,
so when it came time
for you to go away,
when everything in you
wanted to stay,
I had to let your spirit
fly away.

They said my grief
was keeping you
tied to me,
slowing your passage 
through the spirit world.
The very hardest part of this,
for me,
was opening the door
of my heart
to allow you
to fly free.

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.

Monday, August 2, 2021

Diminished Glory


Diminished glory, but glory
nevertheless, sun rising behind the hills 
on a deserted and shining shore,
waves doing what waves do and have done
eternally, the long, sandy stretch
between headlands and the Wickaninnish Inn,
from which tourists will soon flood out in droves,
leaving their $750 a night rooms
in their yellow rain gear to oh! and ah!
at this place I love so much.

I get to live here, on the margins,
like the skinny, hungry wolves and bears
that pad the edges of our village
in search of food. The bear has
an injured leg, struck by some too-fast
touring car, and left to hobble
until wildlife intervenes, one more
wild thing, snuffed out by
some rushing human,
oblivious to
the suffering being
he left behind.

But still, the heartlift, daily,
at sky, and sea and trees,
the beauty constant, even as
the village grows ever more cluttered
with condos and tourists and cars. I still
can find a forest trail,
commune with the Standing People,
breathe their deep peace.
I still can walk a wild shore,
my soul beating to the rhythm
of the tides.

One of the lucky ones, I live
immersed in nature's wonder
every day,
clinging tightly as a marsupial
to this place
and its endangered splendor.
Even as I watch the forests fall,
making way
under the human footprint's
heavy stride,
it's here, where I belong,
here where my grateful heart
and soul abide.

for Brendan at earthweal: THE ANTHROPOCENE SUBLIME, where he wants us to write of the diminished glory of the places where we live.