Finding my Way in the Dark

It’s the dark of the moon, sunlight is waning, and my mood is dark. For four years now I’ve not ventured into politics in this blog—I figure we all get plenty of that elsewhere—but it’s been a hard week and I’m struggling. I can only imagine how the many women who have been raped or assaulted are feeling. Yet even without that experience myself, my rage has been triggered, based on a lifetime of being ignored, discounted, and unheard as a woman. Decades (and lifetimes) of this, even as a privileged white woman amongst educated and privileged men. A few days ago I felt encouraged, as new information and support for women was continuously spilling forth in the news. Secrets revealing the misogynist culture at Yale. Dr. Ford’s courage, and her story validated by stories from women all over the country. Unprecedented letters written by the American Bar Association and hundreds of law professors. Yet on Friday and Saturday we learned it made no difference. (Apparently the majority of the Judiciary Committee were so intent on getting what they wanted that they couldn’t hear, or wouldn’t listen to, all those voices crying “no.” Kind of like a man intent on rape who is unable or unwilling to hear “no”?) How to channel my rage and sense of helplessness? I spent two days writing a fiery poem about it all. That helped, a little. On several days, including today, I tried to swim it off in an extra-vigorous workout. Helped some. But now I’m cranky all over again reading an article in the Sunday Star Tribune (from the Washington Post)...

Pele’s Cauldron

Today I’ve been thinking about Kilauea, the volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii that’s been reshaping the island’s terrain continuously since 1983. I’m not sure why. Perhaps because I was there around this time last year… Perhaps because thinking about something red hot feels good after a long cold white winter… Perhaps the approaching spring equinox brings the volcano to mind, since they are both about transformation and new beginnings, and not always pretty, at least at first… Perhaps  I need to be reminded that the blaze of Creation is a deeper, more powerful fire than the smoky flame of anger and conflict we contend with constantly these days… Perhaps I simply miss Pele. Here is a poem I wrote in 2010, after seeing the glowing caldera of Kilauea—the realm of the goddess Pele–at night for the first time.   Halema’uma’u   She is there, stirring fire in Her enormous cauldron, simmering stew, plume of sulfurous breath rising, glowing, blood red in the black night, a primordial witch’s kettle visible for miles.   “Stare—admire me—be afraid of me if you must. You think me wild and dangerous. I am and I have been so since the beginning of time. But—kinswoman—so are you. You, too, kindled by subterranean shifts fanned by passion and instinct fire up your cauldron simmer what is needed and when it is time, burn away the obsolete to forge the new. Fire to flesh to fire to flesh . . .   You know this. Live it.”   Have you seen Halema’uma’u caldera? At night? What are you forging in your cauldron of creation? (Photo...

Being Watched

There’s somebody new at our house and she keeps staring at me. I recently fell for a fluffy creature with a big personality that I saw in a catalog. I loved that she was so unusual that I wasn’t sure what she was. I loved that her pink and gray feathers gave her a look both elegant and disheveled. I loved that she seemed insistent on being totally her odd self. She didn’t seem like a child’s toy. And she made me laugh so I decided to buy her. Now that she’s here, though, she makes me uneasy. She is delightfully eccentric, both classy and rumpled at the same time. Her “feathers” are actually fluffy polyester, delicate and soft; they remind me of the downy fur of cats I’ve known. Her gray feet (and nose and neck) are velvety, delicious to stroke. She has a no-nonsense presence that I appreciate, uncompromisingly herself. Yet while her colors and odd fluffy shape seem to connect her with a playful, faery-like realm, the energy she exudes is a bit intimidating. She stares at me in the unswerving way my cats did when they wanted something from me. Eying me in heavy expectation. When I ask Ora (my name for her) what she wants to tell me she stares. I listen, then ask again if she has a message for me. She just gazes ever more piercingly. Sigh. (I know I could simply turn her back to me, but that also makes me uneasy; it seems disrespectful to her forceful personality. And since I believe agitation in our outer lives is often due to agitation...

Fabric, Evolution and Raspberries

I relish poets that turn things upside down and sideways, make me laugh, and reveal truth all at the same time. Ellie Schoenfeld from Duluth MN is one of those poets. In addition to her other poetry I recommend checking out her Barbie poems, which are, like the piece below, wry social commentary. I’ve been eager to share this prose poem here ever since it first delighted me. I love the droll images it evokes and the way it lures us into the sensuous. And how can I resist a poem in which God wears an aqua tutu and raspberries are the hero? I love raspberries, my Manna from Heaven. I’d love to hear what you think.   Interview with God In the dream I am a journalist who has landed an interview with God and God is a wrinkly old man wearing an aqua tutu. He can tell that I am a little surprised by His appearance, says He picked the god as a human male thing to match my upbringing, and the tutu (which I don’t remember hearing anything about while
growing up) well, He confesses that it has always surprised Him that
humans, who have free will and can wear anything they like, don’t all just gravitate to ballet clothes. Those lushly colored, diaphanous fabrics which lend themselves to
twirling – an activity God suggests we spend more time in –are one of the better things we have ever come up with. We discuss fabric for a while and then I ask Him if humans are really the most evolved of the species. He has a hearty belly laugh,...

Dirt on the Fourth of July

I recently had an odd dream. In the dream I enter a woman’s public rest room. There I find a woman bent over her baby at a changing table. With calm determination she is trying to clean up piles and smears of pudding-like poop. The baby seems contented, and there is poop everywhere. Without a second thought I pitch in to help since she obviously could use more hands to get this done. With a nod and a brief smile, we work seamlessly together. When our mission is accomplished I go on my way, pleased to be of help and happy to be deflected from my previous plans (whatever they were). Can you believe I dreamt this twice within three nights? (Different mother and baby in each dream but the dream was the same.) Because it was a recurring dream I spent some time with it in meditation, pondering and writing. The colors of the dream were brown and green, like things growing in the earth. I was struck with the image of women’s capable hands, calmly working together in the dirt/poop. While I decided the dream had personal things to tell me, I also sensed a broader meaning. The dream seemed to be suggesting: Women know that life, death and transformation are interwoven and cyclical; The world is a mess right now, needs lots of “cleaning up” to better support Life, and women know what needs to be done and how to work together on it with joy and ease; Messes are normal in life—essential in this material world—so we needn’t react or resist them, merely get busy to...