Still I belong to the earth,
the grass greening through spring snow,
the white shoulders of mountains,
the doe bounding and twitching
vast soft ears that hear
what I cannot.
I belong to the early forsythia,
bright with promise.
To the late killing frost.
I belong to the newborn finch,
naked and blind,
the jay who robs the nest,
the helpless parents.
To what will perish;
to what has perished.
I belong to the coyote,
lean with long winter,
the rabbit whose kits are born into peril,
the plump mouse in the chicken coop,
the old hen I love whom death is eyeing.
I belong to the young chick,
who breathes freely the dangerous air,
who can barely contain life,
who wildly flaps feathering wings,
flies for moments,
that disregard fear,
that offer her body
again and again
to the uncertain world.
I do not tremble in permeable skin;
still I belong to the earth.
May we all flap our wings in the face of dangerous times – if I’m to be taken by some predatory virus, let me go flapping as opposed to cowering! (Flapping at least 6 feet away from others, mind you … but happy flaps in appreciation for all I can still experience joyfully.)
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I flap as close as the next person desires, having never personally embraced the conventional response to COVID-19. Mostly I am glad to be with my animals and in Nature, not running from or warring with its aspects that visit all species, yet seem objectionable or terrifying to many of my own kind. Thanks as always for reading and commenting, Jazz!
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Masking and 6-foot-distancing have become a standard social conduct protocol here in Austin TX … I go along so as to not alarm others passing me in the grocery aisle … plus I COULD be carrying the ugly stuff w/o knowing so precaution outward makes sense to me. What a surprise to find I can actually breathe and function masked for an hour plus – what a relief to come home, UNmask, wash my face, and rejoice that most of what I went to the store for was there – now here in my house. No replaying the grocery aisle game again for a couple weeks. Maybe by then, it’ll be less Halloweenish … maybe … many seem intent on keeping these protocols in place indefinitely. We are living in the Twilight Zone.
I understand. I think most folks really are trying to do what they think best for themselves and other people. I can’t help but reflect on 7.7 billion of us, increasing at a net gain of 200,000 a day. A day, with no concerted attempt to rein in population and every effort to prolong human life. Slowly killing the planet and driving other species to extinction. Into this situation comes a relatively palatable virus working along the margins of our bloated herd, disproportionately taking the elderly and/or infirm, accounting for relatively few life years, and the vast majority of those already of degraded quality. Yet we are so unnerved by even this relatively mild and natural pruning that we are harming ourselves psychologically, spiritually, emotionally and financially with measures that presume saving lives is always the most important thing. I wish we could step back and consider the bigger picture from species and planetary perspectives.
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