This is a cool tool. Put yourself on the north pole, or at, say, 74.8 degrees N latitude.

Is this nature study?

I’ve rediscovered Tim Morton’s books on ecology, among them Ecology without Nature and The Ecological Thought, where he introduces the concept of dark ecology as a means of expressing the “irony, ugliness, and horror” of ecology. Yes, that’s what we need, or what I need: to ditch the neutral theoretical ground on which to articulate ecological claims. Instead, all beings are always already implicated within the ecological, necessitating an acknowledgement of coexistential difference for coping with ecological catastrophe that, according to Morton, “has already occurred.”

With a friend I’m also working on a series of events and a documentary film about dying, death and burial. How can it be that death is a rumor? And I also suspect it is about endurance as well. “The Sovereignty and the Goodness of God, Together with the Faithfulness of His Promises Displayed,” by Liz Waldner:

“Time” is a word. “Love” is a word.
Between them are words and between them

an entrance. I pray to be
entranced, starting right now again I do.

I am old enough to understand
being willing
to go on is a great gift.

(I realize I am soon becoming the Queen of Grief, but you can always read the “Molting Chicken” entry after this one and restore some balance.)

Last Sunday Amie played in her Orchestra concert. This concert featured four Rivers Youth Orchestras, from Preparatory (that Amie is in) to Symphony. It’s absolutely riveting to follow the progress from beginners to as-good-as professional orchestra. The Symphony played Elgar’s Nimrod (Enigma Variation IX). This piece always brings tears to my eyes and they played it superbly, with great restraint and sensitivity.  It’s for the same reason that I prefer this version to, say, Solti conducting.

Nimrod is a tragic landscape: a gentle rise, dramatic summit, then the plunge off the map. As a story, it is sweetness, triumph and then, as for all music, all stories: silence, oblivion. All in under four minutes. It’s like the whole life of a person I would love to meet, beginning to end. You think, when it ends so quickly: wait… what?! It’s unfinished, unfinished. And it’s a species on a planet, taking billions of years to grow into its own, exploding in a matter of a century, then slipping away, quite suddenly, like a question. What happened? Where did they go? Those questions cannot be answered, but one thing is for sure: they will not be back. That’s what this piece is to me: a great goodbye.

The Thirteenth Moon

Even if you have lost heart
She puts a tide in you
Even if you have lost heart
You will be moved
You will be all lined up
The soil has tides
Bedrock has tides
The horizon heaves
She will drag even you

“That turns out to be a place where it’s just it and me.
When I wrote that, it occurred to me that that is how – in solitude –  many seek their god(s) and that that is how I used to experience spiritually during rich introspective times in my life, before all this came down, before Transition.  Why had I lost sight of that? This is why: I forgot it in my sudden rush to act, which soon turned into a full-blown desire to save the world, which meant, of course, coming out of my solitude.
It turns out that what I thought I had to do (save the world) is not my role. These last few months, I have been letting go of the wish to save the world. Being the committed activist that I still am, and still a seeker of joy-even-though-I-have-considered-all-the-facts, and still a believer in my power to change things, there can be only one thing that could make me give that up:  I let go of the hope that the world is, at all, savable.
As I write this, I am amazed at how easy it is to say that. It wasn’t easy coming to accept it.
Here, ask yourself: what is it that you most cherish, that you most want and might even have? Ask yourself: why won’t I give it up?  Because you made it or worked for it? Because you deserve it and it makes you happy, maybe even makes you you? Consider any of those reasons, and any others. Then ask yourself:
So what?
Do you dare to test
the endurance of your hope
To take it to that far place
where still it refuses to leave
or maybe not.
Where, regardless,
it turns out to be
not what you wanted,
but what you need.
This poem is evolving as I try to explain my growing insight into what hope is and what my role is in this world. I started it here.
    Do you dare to test
    the endurance of your hope
    To take it to that far place
    where still it refuses to leave
    or maybe not.
    Where, regardless,
    it turns out to be
    not what you wanted,
    but what you need.

There has been a major change in my thinking/feeling about our culture, our future, and my role. An upheaval big enough for me to burn some bridges (to set fire to them, at least), to shed some tears. Well. Good things are happening too as a result of it, I hasten to add. Clarity is one of them. I hope I can write about it soon. But in the meantime, here’s part of another poem I am working on.

Do you dare to test

the endurance of your hope?

To take it to that far place

where still it refuses to leave

or maybe not.

My friend Janine, fellow Transition worker and fellow blogger, has written a gripping poem. It haunts till the end. This is the beginning:

                                          I dreamt a sword fight broke out in the cornfield
                                          I was dodging poison arrows in the brassica
                                          tripping over minefields in the brussel sprouts which
                                          when stripped of their leaves
                                          look like tiny holiday trees lined up
                                          like an enchanted forest
                                          but then what enchantment doesn’t conceal
                                          the poison apple
                                          or the rings of power?


Visit her post to read the rest. You will not be sorry!

Change of plans! This poem will not be our friend’s birthday poem after all.

So it is going out to someone else, with the following ink and water color painting by Pinka Das, from Kolkata, India.

The inkling

Some things just must be said

Some things just say themselves

If only for a mouth

I just need to sit here and watch the fire

And know it

That it works and has worked for all time

That it is showing itself

And I would be an oracle for it

Is that what we are

The ones who can say it poetically

And once we have said it

Are we done here?

Now I can’t stop blogging! I just wanted share this, from Jim Harrison’s North American Image Cycle:

The boy stood in the burning house. Set it up

that way, and with all windows open. I don’t want

a roof. I want to fill all those spaces where we

never allow words to occur.

That’s what I feel like. The house is burning. I want to fearlessly invite and feed and explore that fear.