From "Creed," by Dom Helder Cámara

I want to believe that the whole world

Is my home, the field I sow,

And that all reap what all have sown.

I will not believe that I can combat oppression out there

If I tolerate injustice here.

I want to believe that what is right

Is the same here and there

And that I will not be free

While even one human being is excluded.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Painter: A Wwoofer's Reflection

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing
there is a field. I will meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.


The following is my reflection after spending two weeks wwoofing at this farm in Southern Oregon. Wish I had a better quality camera, but cameras, in the end, don't capture much. Neither will these words. Nevertheless...
Your lover’s unbroken glow, wrapped in a wool blanket by a fire. A sisterhood of sweating trees interrupted with marble temples. A cliff, red and vast and angry, convinced of its girth and immortality, even as it dies into a blue and vaster and dancing sea.

Take a moment to recall those times you really sunk into the vibrant pulse of what surrounded you and remembered there may be such a thing as God.

Did you wish everyone, regardless of the boxes of our births, could share in the privileged surrender of that recollection?

There is a hill in Southern Oregon, six miles from the misnamed Pacific as the crow flies, where I sat at sunset to connect to you and to everyone, and recall what I knew before I was born.
Follow the Rogue River to Kimball Hill Road and weave higher until words fail and you realize you are wonderfully, horribly alone, and always have been.

Before you there is a painting made of real life. The pines and firs cling to the Earth’s scalp and to each other. Are they afraid of you, or are you the guest of honor at their fest noz? The horizon exhales a white wall—it can breathe like us, no, but they’re only clouds—that leaves only the river’s mirage unblanketed. A steel bridge at the delta gives way to hundred-ton rock arches that giants left behind, but from this hill, from your moment above and truly aware of them, they are smaller than you will ever be.

Apart from the occasional busy fly, whose self-importance reminds you of the you who scurries through the days; the only sound is far-away wind, carressing each pine needle like an orphan found. Hundreds shiver for and whistle in love. There is more than enough to go around and still reach embraceable you.

At the end of all things, this is the most perfect sound. It is the alpha-omega whisper of everyone’s Mother, leaning in to your soul through your ears, which have turned purple from screaming that everything is just too bright. This tree wind is her liquid soul expressed and she does not need to stop for breath. She is breath. Its resonance with your remembered soul massages the questions out of your pores with gentle fire. 

Shhhhhhhjust listen. Listen to nothing. At the heart of it you and I are together, Beloved.”
I sat on God’s hill and wanted to hear that purr forever, a purr accompanying the painting around me, the moment chosen for me.

Some day all I think I know will end. When it does, I want to see it sung before me like a painting. Everything that mattered and didn’t will unroll before me like the Rogue River Valley. If I have labored to love and live like a creator, the tears that have carved red hollows into my skin and bones will evaporate into blue blurs, pines, firs, giant’s stones, which in turn collapse just as gladly into the hint of an immortal horizon. And I will no longer be a gasping, grasping pine needle, a self-important fly. I will be a painter on a hill with gold in her veins.

And all I will feel the impulse to turn my head slightly and realize you are silently beside  me, and we are awake together as never before.

And all we will hear as we melt is shhhhhhh…….

Monday, May 6, 2013

Things You Give Up

Greetings from an organic farm overlooking the Rogue River in Curry County, Oregon. I am happy to be here, and to have my heart with me. I can honestly say my heart and mind are with me in the present. I wouldn't rather be anywhere else right now, and worries, fears, guilt is minimized. What a gift.
(I'll put up a picture ASAP...can't use plug-ins at this library computer)

What do you give up to live a loving life, a life in harmony with the rest of the world?
Are you a travel-holic who decides to forgo the airplane and take a bus?
Are you a mother who gives all of her time to her children?
Are you a father who listens when he wants most to talk?
Are you a partner who sacrifices her dreams and freedom to be with the one who loves her, who needs her?

How are these things loving?

In this post-Nica life of mine, I have discovered the necessity to explore a life without the following things, however much or little the cost of that sacrifice. I invite you to reflect on them with me.

A porcelain toilet that uses water to flush
Keeping up with birthdays
Health insurance and retirement benefits
Living in an accessible, plush place
Using a car daily
Staying dry
Consistent internet access
Food in bags, boxes, plastic
Keeping clean
Bananas in Oregon in January

I suppose the real question, though, is not what I give up, it's what I gain. Why does it matter, to live a life that questions the "need" for these things?
I can't yet name that.
I can, however, name the following.

1. I will never be satisfied with the estadounidense status quo. I will forever question what and who is beneath comfort, security, and privilege. I will not give them up, not completely. But I will always wonder.
2. It feels so right, to wake up in a solar-powered house, dig up weeds and plant radishes that we will pull from the Earth and consume two weeks from now, and finally, tired and smiling, watch the sun go down over the Pacific.

Thank you for the things you give up, for the ways you love.