Touch could properly be regarded as a form of nutrition.
We mistakenly think that touch occurs on the periphery of our self, a skin thing. But truthfully each surface stimulus travels far into the most hidden interior landscapes of our self, traversing long nerve cells right through the buried spinal core to enter and gather in the deep folds of our brain. It’s not by accident that our skin and brain each are generated from a single ectodermic substance, cascading outwards and inwards as we grow in the womb, because right at the very root and origin of us, we are built to connect the inner and outer worlds.
The necessity of nurturing touch is very clear when we are at our youngest. Without it, young children wither and even die, though they are provided with food and medicine.
Slightly older children typically find ways to build a huge, varied…
Her eyes searched the mist over-looking the chasm. Sometimes the heart is blind to fear, and hers beat only to the destination. Rocks piled like stone sentinels watched, beckoning her footsteps. “Welcome home,” they whispered. Below three rings shivered in wait.
The pulse grew stronger, urgent, the closer she got to edge. “Come to us,” they whispered. She didn’t care that she might never return. Lost to her was the voice of logic as she hurried onward. The green earth held strange holes that could swallow her whole in one misstep, but she hadn’t thought about the possibility of falling. No, she figured instead that she would finally learn to fly. Again.
She knew she had been here before in some time long lost to the memories held in books. She could see the stars collapsing the veil. She knew her feet walked their pathway to a home that promised so much more than the one she cared little, at this moment, if she left.
At one time, when the fires burned with the dance, the veil did not exist. There had been no separation from what she now sought to what was always there. That is why she nearly wept when the voices of reasons called through the mist. “The time is not right. We must turn back.”
To what, she wondered? More of the same. Yearning for the place just beyond. Now she had only the dreams. The hush of night to part the veil so she could walk the path home before she woke again to frustration.
No, she thought, I will not rest until you call me back.
“Heilyn’s mother, for instance, is no Titania. By human standards she can be cruel and heartless and her morals non-existent. You may not judge by the accepted code of our world. Faery is not immoral, but amoral in our terms. A leopard is beautiful and dangerous; it kills and devours its prey with dreadful ferocity and mates where it will. It is not evil, it follows the dictates of its own nature and instinct, yet in a human such behaviour would be condemned. So it is with the Otherworld. An ogre will rip you to shreds but it is not personal. Just a method of food preparation.”
Merlin gave them a few moments to digest this comment, their revulsion causing the glimmer of a smile.
“The next question is where are these other worlds, to which the answer is ‘right here’,” he continued. “They permeate our world in the same…
I was scared to go, and I didn’t have the faintest idea how to be a protester. As my patient husband can attest, I’ve certainly ranted and raved at home about issues. But the most radical political act I’ve committed up until this week was to vote. Except for maybe when I adopted a Black son and a Black daughter in the early 2000’s. Up until now, that’s been my statement to the world. If you want to know what I think about racism, diversity, and the meaning of love, look at a photo of my family.
But last week pushed me over the edge. As my husband says: when people ask how our kids are doing, he replies that it’s the same conversation we’ve been having at our dinner table for years. It’s just a new name. Same story, different person – this time it’s George Floyd.
I try to avoid political posts in this blog, but I cannot remain silent. Our country and our democracy are under attack from the highest level of government–the President.
Today, Donald Trump used tear gas and military force to dispel peaceful protestors in Washington, DC, so he could have a photo-op holding a Bible. Please remember that the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America guarantees the right of citizens to protest peacefully.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
He then held up the Bible in front of a church to justify his actions, and that is the highest level of hypocrisy. All Americans who love this…
My heart hurts. There are tears forming ponds in my lower eye lids. The air feels heavy despite the lack of moisture in the sky. Since the pandemic made its way to NH, I have found myself turning to the garden for peace and comfort. Digging through spring dirt warming with life brings me home inside a world that feels electrifyingly out of control. Most days. Some days everything seems to make sense as the Wheel of Life turns in its continuous cycle of renewal.
In March, I planted seeds on my windowsill. I marveled at the impeding miracle of life as I pressed future broccoli, summer squash, tomatoes, and peppers into tiny mounds of potting soil, then covered them in a plastic roof to mimic a greenhouse inside my home. What a marvel it was to witness those first green shoots pushing past darkness to drink in the light from the window! Life is a continuous wonder. So much potential held inside a speck tinier than sand.
I find myself wondering, too often these days, why there is a turning back to darkness after the touch of light. We don’t see it in the same form in plants, as we do in ourselves, but even nature holds a mirror for us. In my tiny pots, one seed will flourish, while another struggles for space beside it. Outside, in the woods beside my home, burning bushes and bittersweet vines do their best to dominate native species. The vines of bittersweet slowly wrapping the trunks of trees, like snakes, to suffocate the lungs of our forests.
I can’t stop thinking of George Floyd, and how he is just one of the few in too many to want to count, of lives choked into stillness by those that wish to dominate. My heart hurts. Tears collect once again to ensure the ponds of my eyes do not grow arid. It’s the first of June, and the stretch of land that divides the road from the tiny forest in front of my home showcases the efforts of my labor of these last few weeks. On Saturday, I dug out the last clumps of weedy grass and spread mulch over my newly extended garden, nestling new plants into a protective quilt of tree fibers. Death nurturing life. The cycle playing out around me. Yesterday the last of the zinnias and calendula seedlings I grew in my outdoor greenhouse found extended space beside the road. Soon enough they will mature into glorious blooms the colors of autumn.
Some days I can immerse myself so deeply into the land I think of nothing but the joy it brings. I could not do this as I finished my new garden this past weekend. It was my beautiful, privileged, white-enough daughter who spurred me to watch the video.
“Why,” she implored me, “Why did this happen?”
Nearly ten excruciating minutes filmed of a life ended for no reason than dominance.
“His life doesn’t matter because he his black,” I am paraphrasing one of the bystanders.
For eight minutes and 46 seconds white knees press the privilege of birth inside a suit of power, pressing, pressing down on life until it is extinguished. You can feel the lust through the screen as the trail of urine trickles closer to the edge that separates you from what you are witnessing. There is a nervous man, who is at least of partial Asian ancestry, in the foreground, posturing at control. You can read his nerves loosely veiled behind his exposed skin while he grabs at weapons designed to control. Staring, witless, at the imploring crowd of bystanders. He too is drugged by a darkness. Afraid of the power of the white man choking the life out of a black man. He knows it could have been him. In a different moment of time. At least this is what I see.
I don’t want to see a video like this again, but it is more likely I will than I won’t. It’s difficult to reconcile that five years ago a half black/ half white man held the position of POTUS beside his equally educated, equally brilliant, black wife. Impeccable morals exhibited every day for eight years, held to an impossible standard because of skin color. It’s difficult to comprehend how much we, as Americans, have resisted giving up the chokehold of enslavement.
Inside the oval office, a white man now lords over his throne. Every fiber of morality that makes us human, broken. By him, unchecked, as the world watches. Excused by his minions and followers, cowered either into admission, or fueled by their own darkness and fear. Somehow the standards are not the same if you are a white man who feeds on power and shouts hatred in the language of ignorance.
When I think too much, I find myself spiraling inside the chaos that is our reality. I am baffled by the love of a weapon designed to kill, over the love of life. I am baffled by the hatred of skin pigmentation and sexuality that are perceived as other, and somehow lesser to the point of the desire to extinguish life. I am baffled that this is the world we live in. Still.
And, so, I find myself turning to what makes sense. The sometimes quiet and sometimes raucously loud symphony of nature, untamed and yet harmonious, outside the doors of my home. I shut the screen of my laptop and open the front door to escape into it. I am pulled into the refuge of birdsong and the silent beauty of the unfolding petal. I am renewed by the hope held inside Mother Earth and her ability to yield to the cycle of rebirth over and over again. I am forever her humble student, trying to find patience and acceptance, as we humans battle our individual and collective darkness.
But it is not enough. To escape is to allow. As helpless as I may feel as a privileged, white, middle-class woman living in country that is being ruled by a bigot; a misogynistic, power-mongering white man, I have a moral obligation to thread light through the darkness. I have moral obligation not just to bear witness to all that is morally corrupt in our nation, but to bring it to the light of awareness in whatever way I can. We all do.
What can we do? We can write letters. We can sign petitions. We can make phone calls. We can find local causes that support justice, and support them. We can vow to do whatever we can to elect moral leaders. And we can also do the inner work. We can dig inside our own darkness and examine our fears and their hold upon us. We can go outside and reconnect with the living land. And we can love instead of hate. The broken web of our humanity depends on it in order to heal. We must try and keep trying to thread the pieces whole, because if we don’t there will be more and more videos showing us the horrors of our brokenness.
We need words and acts of wisdom, ethics and compassion, from our leaders now more than ever. Since this is utterly lacking, take heart from the words of a truly gifted leader that could never be more relevant than today.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
“Letter from Birmingham Jail,” April 16, 1963
“Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.”
“I Have a Dream”, Washington, D.C., August 28, 1963
My heart breaks for George Floyd, his family, and our country. Are we not better people than this?
Over the wineglasses, it seemed like a good idea. Not that anyone would believe the half of what we would have to recount. Far from exaggerating our adventures and jumping on the bandwagon of sensationalism, we would probably have to tone them down a little. Not everyone believes in magic.
There was no lightning strike called down by some evil villain, no waving of wands or chanting of barbarous names… but magic was what we found in the living land, its ancient and sacred places… and in the birds that appeared to be guiding us on a quest we barely realised we were beginning. It was a journey that would see us questioning the meaning of beheaded saints painted on the walls of a medieval church and the arcane stories hidden in plain sight. It would lead us along the dragon lines, teaching us to…
The giant had been there a long time. As long, they say, as the serpents themselves. His body nestled into the cliff face hidden except for his stone face. Brows furrowed with concentration and lined with age warned even the bold to keep their distance. Not many were brave enough to mess with a giant, even one who looked like he hadn’t moved in ages.
Most failed to notice what he guarded, or wrongly assumed he was guarding them from falling of the precipice. Fools! If they fell it was no fault for him to own. Let them do what they will. Humans were often such careless creatures, believing their bodies would somehow defy death. Yet they had long forgotten how to fly.
The serpents watched, unnoticed. Their twinned noses pushed into the wind while their bodies pulsed Earth’s veins. Few witnessed the power of their alchemy, because they had learned to fear lightning. But what a gift it was to watch! Fire called from the clouds as it sought the womb of water. To witness creation from their mouths…what a pity, the guardian often thought, that their minds had gone numb.
It was a strange morning, but that is not too unusual. There was a deal with the garden fairies before sleep and then a dream of a curious beetle before waking. The dream so vivid and Alice and Wonderland-like I knew it could not be ignored. I told myself, as I made breakfast, that if Sue posted a photo that somehow related to the dream, it would be another sign I needed to write its story. The room was indeed painted red and so was the beetle…
Once upon a time, there was a girl named Lenora who lived inside a house with many rooms. Lenora was very spoiled. In her bedroom, Lenora had not one bed, but two, both doubled in size. One for her and one for whomever she chose to be her best friend, which changed often for Lenora was fickle.
Lenora’s bedroom was very large, and its walls were covered in wood like a cabin. It made Lenora feel cozy and secure. Attached to her bedroom, was Lenora’s own private bathroom so that she need not walk far to wash her beautiful hair and paint her nails and eyelids her favorite color of the day.
Inside Lenora’s room there was a staircase, but Lenora had long ago grown tired of climbing it to explore the magical room of her loft. Instead, she gave it over to her younger sister, Sarabell. Sarabell loved the Lenora’s loft where she spent many happy hours playing with all of its wondrous treasures in the companionship of her magical friends. Most of the time, Lenora didn’t even know she was there.
Lenora, you see, was too busy with growing up. She loved telling her maids what to cook her for lunch and what clothes to set out for her days. She loved pretending that she was a grand lady that everyone must obey. No demand was ever too large for Lenora. If she wanted something, she must have it.
One late summer morning, Lenora awoke in her big fluffy bed feeling horrible. Her body didn’t feel ill, but Lenora’s mind was filled with grumpy thoughts. To make it worse, Lenora couldn’t figure out why she was so unhappy. She searched back through her memories and found nothing that could have brought on her sudden gloom, so Lenora rolled herself out of bed and shouted at her maids to leave her be.
Lenora went into her bathroom, and pushed around her lovely powders and brushes, but their lifeless forms on her counter just annoyed her.
“I’ll go for a walk!” Lenora declared as she bounded out of her room.
Still in her nightgown, with feet bare like the day she was born, Lenora walked down the many stairs of her house and out the back door and into the woods.
Lenora walked and walked. As she walked, Lenora didn’t think about where she was going, or notice that her tender feet were stumbling over rocks and tree roots, stubbing her pink toes and chipping the purple polish off her manicured nails. Deeper and deeper into the forest walked Lenora as morning turned to afternoon and dusk began to take over the light of day.
Lenora stopped. She shook her head clear of thoughts. She looked around her, searching for the source of the voice that had ceased her footsteps. Her breath caught in her throat until it gasped for release. Surrounding her was a scene more beautiful than any painting that hung inside of her room. But there was something wrong with the painting, something horribly wrong. It was as though someone had taken a knife and stabbed the very center of it. At least that’s what it felt like to Lenora, who stood holding her hands against her heart as she began to sob.
At her feet, stretching like a bridge across the forest, was the trunk of a tree. Its width held the secrets of its long life, cut to a sudden end by the blade of a saw. Lenora could see, far far down the tree’s length, the full spread of its green leaves newly woven into the forest’s tapestry. Her feet stood at its base above roots that spread deep into the ground where Lenora’s eyes could not see.
Upon its stump was a beetle as red as blood. It was the size of perhaps two quarters, stacked side by side, not small, and longer than it was wide. The back of the beetle glistened in the sunlight, and as Lenora peered at its magnificence she saw that its armor-like back was not simply red, but inside the red were all colors, shimmering in the sun’s light. Never before had Lenora seen a creature more beautiful. And, as looked at it, the beetle seemed to stare back at her.
“You have lost your home, haven’t you,” Lenora sighed as her tears darkened the rings of the stump upon which it rested. “I will make you a new home.”
Once again, Lenora looked around her. She began to study the ground in a way she had never studied her books for school. She surveyed the trees that still stood and the one now fallen. Nearby, she noticed the brown husk of a seed pod, broken open into halves. Beside it, a seedling had rooted into the soil, its etiolated leaflets just beginning to open into a pale green.
Lenora took the beetle into her hands and cradled it in her palms as a mother would a newborn child. The heat of life spread its river through her veins and once again Lenora’s breath caught momentarily inside of her throat.
She didn’t know how she knew the way back, but as Lenora walked, cradling the red beetle in the open husk of the seedpod in one hand, and the tenderly released seedling in the other, Lenore began to find her way home. When she arrived at the door to her house, Lenora smiled at the maid that opened it, brushing aside her puzzled look as she made her way up the stairs and into her room.
“How long have I been gone?” Lenora exclaimed as she peered through the doorway into a room vastly different from the one she had left. The wooden walls suntanned yellow were now a deep crimson. She stepped inside and felt her feet sink into moss instead of carpet. Her double beds still stood, side-by-side, waiting for slumbering occupants, but their covers had faded into the tones of earth.
“It’s perfect, isn’t it?” Lenora sighed with joy as she lowered the beetle inside of its brown boat onto the moss. Digging into the pliable floor, Lenora planted the seedling beside the beetle and sat down beside it.
“I’ll never leave you,” Lenora whispered to the beetle as it turned on its back and crossed two of its legs over its abdomen and two behind its head. Beside it, the seedling grew and grew and Lenora closed her eyes in contentment.