I wake each day to stories of loss, of deceit and of a rabble that’s far too late to the party, clamoring for their piece of the pie.
The masters are long gone. The people fight for crumbs, plotting only to line up sooner, not abandon their master’s house.
I wake to heartbreaking stories of loss. Of people in floods and fires, huddled, hungry, stunned, waiting for rescue.
We are all stranded on rooftops, stunned, not knowing where to turn. If we have a boat, which way do we row?
You wake to these too.
We all help where we can as the deluge gathers force in the clouds and seas.
We weep for the effects of hatred without knowing who to hate for their hate or where their hearts have gone into hiding.
Each day I put on my boots for the long climb up to the poisoned spring which eventually cascades into the suffering we can see and try to feel.
Who or what is poisoning us?
Who or what is multiplying beyond our control?
Who or what has made a bargain with the devil?
Power now, purgatory later.
Who or what has placed their hearts on the altar of the wrong gods?
Power now, purgatory later.
For half a lifetime I’ve walked this narrow trail up the long mountain of consequences seeking the poisoned spring. For half a lifetime I’ve come down to tell my people what I’ve seen.
I say: Wake up. Don’t give them the right to run your life. Take back your power in the one place you have it every moment. Shut your wallets to their trinkets. Shut your mouths to their food. Talk to one another about your bright ideas and terrible sorrows until courage and clarity grow. See. See. See. Take back your power. Refuse. Make your own merry, your own money, your own food.
Still the floods rise. Still the people are poisoned.
I’m tired but walking this trail every day is what I know to do.
Finally, I lay down in dry pastures beside these poisoned waters, helpless to stop their flow.
If I could, with mouth open wide, drink every drop of the poison so my people would live, I would do it, but I can’t.
My heart opens wide to this sorrow, to being so small and the poison so big.
Does everyone feel so helpless? Do the corporate bosses accountable to shareholders feel helpless? Do the shareholders for whom income is food is family is safety feel helpless? Do the workers, do the families, do the officials, do the bureaucrats, do the people at food banks, do the mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers feel helpless? Do the photographers and journalists and non-profits feel helpless? Do the preachers and prophets feel helpless inside as they exhort their people to rise up? Do the activists and revolutionaries and warriors fear the battle is lost even as they offer themselves to the fight?
What is the evil afoot in our land?
The thought comes. Can we heal the spring, not just warn the people or bandage their wounds?
We call to the forests we’ve cut down. We call to the grasslands we’ve plowed. We call to the aquifers we’ve tapped. We call to the minerals we’ve mined. We call to the fungi for whom poison is food. We call to all the forces that metabolize poison and restore it to health. Tell us what to do?
Dig a swale. Plant families of plants that feed one another – plant them where they will thrive, plant them everywhere. Encourage the fungi. Slow down the water, let it sink and sink. Let the trees and grasses and bushes and healing plants send down and down and down their roots into the waters of life. Let the roots host the soil makers. Let the people plant and dig and tend and plant and live simply as the landscapes heal. Let the land heal the people. Let the people plant the trees and grasses. Let the animals graze and fertilize. Let the forests grow. Let the people steward the forests so they flourish. Let the people tend the land that heals the people.
Let the people gather to fight the forces of evil. Let the people resist and protest and run for office and win and make new laws. Let the people work only enough in the beast to buy what they need from the system that poisons us and turn that money into time, into healing, into protests, into plants. Let us be free as a people as creatures of our mother. Let us love the frightened people who cling to the poisoned waters. Let us love the leaders and overthrow them. Let us ask the plants and trees and waters how to do our part to tend and keep the garden. Let us plant and protest and resist and run for office and write and speak and agitate and heal and go into the streets to dance and to protest and to fight and to win.
Let us love our helplessness. Let us love the deep waters the grasses and will bring up through their roots to make the rain for our plants and our trees and our food and our rivers.
I walk this trail every day because of who and what I love. My hamlet on an island. The waters that grow our trees and crops. My friends and their children. The gift of life, of consciousness, of being part of the weave of history and future. Let my grief water love. Let my helplessness water humility. Let humility purify my motives. Let me be moved again and again to walk the trail and plant the grasses and trees and plants. Let us pray for our species, that we might fall into love for the long haul and heal what is broken and make every act and prayer and let us praise the Lord…
And pass the ammunition – because we are going to win this fight for our lives.