The owl’s breath moves in my lungs…her strange voice cloaks my throat. A feather lands before me on my path. I feel her near even in daylight.
Things are changing…I sense it everywhere. Do you feel it? What is your way through this time?
Lately I feel myself as a kind of Cassandra; a pariah in a world trying to avoid itself. I can barely speak in any other conversation with this one of our inflamed and dying world beating so strongly in my chest. My resistance invites my suffering. I am reminded of the spiritual teaching that it is in the efforting to be somewhere other than where we are, that we most suffer. Trying to get away from suffering is the biggest cause of suffering.
I have been trying to get away from my own inclination towards depth and darkness that has me dwell here more than is healthy perhaps. There is dirt under my fingernails from trying to claw my way out of this underworld. I ache. I don’t recognize myself. “Things look at me doubly and I must look back and let them happen”, as poet Adrienne Rich points to.
Dissonance rings in me…I cannot find my old tools, or they have rusted and dropped out of sight and into disrepair.
My own heart beat startles me in its magnitude. I catch my breath thinking it is someone walking towards me in the darkness. My eyes are entrained on the loss. In the entrainment, more loss arrives on the threshold. Each time my mind thinks it understands and knows what I should move towards and how I can be of service, the ax comes down and severance is the only note in the evensong.
Today I finally sat down and read all 33 pages of Catherine Ingram’s paper entitled, "Facing Extinction." I didn’t want to, but I did. Interspersed in the continued shock of more and more evidence of just how bad our situation is, came also a kind of easing of my mind for the simple calm of having company in this unending excruciating conundrum we find ourselves caught in. If you dare, you can join me in reading it here.
Rilke, the poet of dark depth reminds me, “Now you must go out into your heart as onto a vast plain. Now the immense loneliness begins.” Oddly, this too soothes me. To know others have tread on similarly shrouded paths offers something. It is not hope, but it is company....perhaps solace.
We need each other now. This is not a time to isolate, though so much of me is prone to that. Please know your voice is welcome here next to mine, as is your heart. Perhaps we cannot stop the insanity, but we can be together in the witnessing and grief. We can learn to breathe and calm ourselves and others, and we can remember the practice of noticing that we can choose where to put our attention and gather, like a fist full of wildflowers, the moments of sweetness that are still so vibrantly here.
Today I am trying to remember this.
The coyote that I found dead on the trail this winter still lays a bit off trail where I placed her three months back…barely altered by predator and time. I marvel at the slow process of dismemberment happening to her. Nothing seems to be happening for weeks, even months and then, ever so slowly, a fluffing and sloughing off of the downy under fur…that which was closest to its body offering insulation and warmth from the cold. Its form is undone as the fur explodes as a halo around it. Her sharp ear still makes an arrow against the sky and the feather I left has slipped into the downy cloud of her obscuration.
In my dream, the ground is literally dissolving beneath my feet. I know that I will not make it through this flood of mud that is becoming a waterfall before me. I turn and reach out for help.