not people

As I was picking blackberries this morning, I was startled by a little snake.  She was suspended in the blackberry thicket, maybe finding the air more pleasant than the wet ground, maybe hunting the frogs that inhabit the ditch below the berries.  For just a moment, I was an Eve – thinking about fruit, but temporarily captivated by the beauty of this creature, her slender muscularity, the elegance of the racing stripes down her back.  I reached out to touch her smooth scales and she slipped away.  The fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil has long been among us.

snake

this isn’t her, but a beauty nonetheless.

*

Outside our bathroom window there is log where the skinks and lizards sit to catch some morning light.  A young one, with a bright blue tale, creeps out to bask for a moment.  The moment is brief because an older skink, twice the size of its kin, emerges and chases away the freshie.

*

kids 2After the excitement of the birth of our first goat kids here, we were astonished to find that the mama goats want nothing to do with each other’s kids.  If anything, they appear disdainful of them.  Given the chance, they butt them or nip the little one’s tails if they come too close.  We have even witnessed the does go out of their way to jostle the other’s kid while it was nursing.

What kind of survival tactic is this, we wonder?  Surely the herd would thrive if they were kind to one another’s offspring?

It’s disappointing.

It’s also a little bit terribly poignant.

*

elder flowerThe national and international news reel of the past couple weeks has been brutal.  I feel bruised at the soul every time I turn on the radio.  This is a reminder – the concept of humanity as a unity – the concept that we are all HUMAN and more alike than not – is a relatively new concept.  And it is fragile.

I’ve never had a problem with thinking of humans as animals.  We are animals with extraordinary brains, however, and it’s obvious that we have intellectual and spiritual potential beyond many (I won’t say all) of the creatures with which we share the world.  Surely we need not be bound by the same blind territorial instincts as our relatives.  I can only hope and pray that enough of us, striving against our lower instincts, can hold a peace.

Fear and Greed, and the Anger and Violence that abet their motives, are our enemies,           not people.

 

to make peace

sunsetIt is next to impossible in the middle of the night,

when the sound of my family’s sweet sleeping

fills my heart,

to make peace with

the senseless violence,

the greed, and random tragedy of the world.

These specters haunt my warm bed

and torment my sleepy thoughts into a frenzy.

I cannot protect those most dear to me.

I cannot rest.

 

With the rising sun, I remember. It is

far better to tackle the world’s unrest

with the rhythm of swinging hips,

the movement of muscle,

the pounding of feet on leaf mould, sand, grass,

lightly now, go over this hill, and down the other side.

My fingers, cracking a bulb of garlic,

handling soil, hay, children, sharing life with life.

 

The living world restores my senses.

Birth, growth, decline, and decay entwine

under my shoes, around my fingers, above my head.

The movement of life is evident

in the falling leaves, the mist on my face,

the bird flight and squirrel chatter,

the cool shadow and the warm fire.water sun

(In the dark, on the pavement, on the highway,

I lose my place.

Flailing, I cling to what I love.

Mortality and loss are immanent threats.)

 

Our only protection, the best security,

is that life loves itself.

Pushing the seed into the soil,

I find my place within the continuum.

 

Thankful,

to be reminded, again and again,

the world will not be healed

only by using our heads,

but with the motion of our limbs

and the beating of our hearts.

Whatever peace we can make

in this life

will be made

by the mind that moves

in our whole bodies.zinnia