Last week, Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord. This poem is not about that.
That's how sick we all are of this bullshit nonsense. You're sick of it, too, I know. You're sick of the internet outrage machine. You're sick of controversy and condemnation. You reshare links to things you hate just to tell people you hate them, and somewhere inside, you hate yourself for doing it, because you know it's useless. You're sick of the noise and the fury, signifying nothing. You're sick of a society that asks you to hold onto everything so tightly, with so much certainty and righteous indignation, that your fingers are curled into fists and you can't remember the last time you gently traced the scars on another person's skin as if they were something beautiful.
The Pagan gods are not exactly known for their forgiving natures. Yet as divine powers of regeneration and return, they offer a forgiveness all their own. Not the forgiveness of escape and abdication, nor the forgiveness of a benevolent Almighty on whose behalf we can act with unchallenged dominion. Rather, theirs is the forgiveness of restored responsibility, the response-ability that we possess as natural beings and citizens of the earth. After all, what do we seek when we seek forgiveness, but the chance to start again?
As Christmas approaches once again, I find myself wondering, wandering in a liminal space. Asking myself how to teach children that realizing their own inner Santa Claus is infinitely more challenging than believing in some unlikely literal jolly-old-elf, and infinitely more rewarding. Asking myself where I belong, where we all belong, and how we belong to each other. Asking myself how I can tell the stories of my ancestors, pagan and Christian alike, to the children of my partner. What can I say that will be meaningful and relevant for them, that will share with them the "spirit of the season" that I have come to know and love and value? What will I say when they come singing, a penny for my thoughts?
Do you ever find yourself awake just before dawn, lying in the dark, your mind gnawing on some old, persistent anxiety? This morning I was worrying about money. Not surprising — a lot of us worry about money these days. I was worrying about money because of an email yesterday from the Ew about a timeshare that she and Jeff had bought years ago when they were married.
In a moment of sad synchronicity, only a few hours after I posted this I found out that Mary Oliver is seriously ill. Writers and poets are sharing their stories about how her work has influenced them, and sending their blessings and prayers. I know many Druids and Pagans are also familiar with her work and have been touched by her vision and love of nature. Please take a few moments today to express your love and gratitude for an amazing woman, and consider sharing your story with her by sending her an open letter. In honor of our first Valentine's Day as husband and wife, I wanted to share the poem that Jeff and I had read at our wedding, "The Ponds," by Mary Oliver.
"What would happen if the government collapsed?" My oldest stepdaughter asked after I'd spent fifteen minutes explaining exactly what a bond was and why I was filling out paperwork to report which ones had been lost so that the government knew how much money they owed me. Her siblings all sat quietly, listening intently to the more-grown-up-than-usual conversation, and her voice carried a weight of anxiety in the silence. "This is going to be one of those Princess Bride moments," I told her. "I'm going to let you know that the giant screeching eels don't eat you. I'm telling you now because you look nervous."
The flattery bears down on us, leveled like a weapon in the shaking hands of frightened and starving corporate titans groveling like great beasts before us, desperate and drooling, to convince us that their teeth are brittle and useless and anyway not smiling makes them cool, and meanwhile, we scrape along the earth as things keep getting worse...
In my latest post over on No Unsacred Place, I follow up on John's recent coverage of the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline with a video from the Tar Sands Action protests in Washington D.C. this past weekend, where activists, environmentalists and ordinary citizens gathered to demonstrate their opposition to the proposed pipeline. Naomi Klein speaks on the manipulative corporate ad campaign to rebrand the Tar Sands as "Ethical oil": "I’m from Canada, and let me tell you something. We don’t have ‘ethical oil’ in Canada. We have Tar Sands oil, which is like regular oil, but a whole lot dirtier. It ravages the earth as it is extracted. Ravaging bodies, ravaging the land as you just heard from our brothers and sisters from the Indigenous Environmental Network. And it ravages the earth at the point of combustion. ..."
Strange, that all of a sudden I remember the poem — the smell of the book it was in, like a palmed cigarette stub sweaty and stale with old smoke, and how worn it was, and loose in its faded jacket — and I don't recall the poem itself. Just that it was about a girl — I imagine her with oily hair in waves rich with grief that you could dip your fingers in — and perhaps a convenience store, closed for the night with security fluorescents churning in their cluttered hollows, or a living room in an old apartment with the shades drawn, or at least some other dark, crowded place where the noise and hands are hard and constant, tearing the throat out of dirty evening sunlight.