Thursday, September 29, 2011

Coexisting With . . . Crows.

I just read an amazing book called "Crow Planet" by Lyanda Lynn Haupt. Your first reaction is probably - crows? Yuk! Those disgusting birds picking at bloody roadkill?

Well, of course they are just finding their daily bread like the rest of us. Personally I am always enchanted with birds. They are my favorite of God's creatures (along with dogs) and I think they are all beautiful (even the Canadian geese that traverse and befoul our yards and neighborhoods). Haupt convinces us of the intelligence and ingenuity of the ever-present crows. She tells of how they have learned to drop a nut from a tree onto a road and wait for a car to run it over and crack it before swooping down to retrieve it. She tells of how playful the crows are, taking a stick into the air, dropping it and then catching it on the way down.

What this book really did for me is remind me to slow down and observe what is around me. I love seeing the wildlife around me, but do I really observe what they are doing?

I want to co-create a nation of watchers, of naturalists-in-progress, none of us perfect, all sharing in the effort of watching, knowing, understanding, protecting, and living well alongside the wild life with whom we share our cities, our neighborhoods, our households, our yards, our ecosystems, our earth. All of us in cafes, pulling out our laptops and beside them our binoculars, just in case we want to see how that crow outside the window is doing with his bit of garbage, how his feet work to hold down the paper bag while his nimble bill extracts the french fries. Just in case we want to see, above the crows, the swooping swallows that only days ago arrived all the way from Mexico, violet feathers shimmering. From the swallows we can turn to the person at the table across the way and say, "Did you ever see a more beautiful color of blue?"

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Coexisting in Scripture

My favorite book of the bible has always been Romans because I think it gives reasonable and common sense guidelines on how to live in this world. You must adapt some things to the century we're living in, of course. When the following scripture was read in church a couple weeks ago it struck me as very timely. With a presidential election coming at us all too quickly I notice how many candidates use their Christianity as a part of their platform - then turn around and slander, belittle and berate their opponents. In some ways my indignant posts are judging them I suppose, but I have not chosen to put myself on the world stage proclaiming my sanctity either. I can't seem to hear anyone who only has insulting comments to make on others. I wish there would be a debate when candidates were only allowed to speak for themselves and not the other people standing there.

Accept him whose faith is weak without passing judgement on disputable matters. One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
Romans 14:1-4

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.

Romans 14:13

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.
Romans 14:19

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

In Honor of Lou Suarez

I am posting a beautiful poem by Lou Suarez, my poetry mentor and friend.

At Last

by Lou Suarez

We rise to work, then rest to rise
again, the cancer in your breast
familiar now as this scarred
nightstand beside our bed,
still stunning as the mountain
trails we hiked just last autumn.

Remember how, at one vantage,
dangling your feet over the edge,
you fractured shale stones and
flung the debris into a gust of wind
overhead. Our ears felt numb,
so silent was the violet dusk,

so tender our soft tissue then.
Today under the eaves a wren
sang. We listened, dissolving like
some new alloy, pliant and light,
heat and stress tolerant, tempered
by the cool song just before winter.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Sacred Turning

In our dream of an unencumbered world
we lose the perfection and
what was never ours to keep.

The miles and years, pieces of purity,
when everything was summer-colored,
in the recalcitrant beauty of innocence.

The days we missed, the unopened book,
the gold dust lying in our open hands,
wishing for a static moment

to evolve out of the purple darkness
to the peach-pink of dawn,
an opus yet to be born.

We wait for our days of decision
to reverse, bringing light to our shadows
and the trembling truth behind eyes, ribs.

Neglecting out gifts and all we will never do,
we learn what not to hope for
as the urgency dies in the scarcity of time.

Life is a Judas kiss, a lamentable state,
and yet, in a sacred turning we may find
God was speaking to us all of the time.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

September 11th

it snowed paper
it rained blood and tears
it ushered in a united pain
then we heard screaming
and our songs
and an altered skyline
we saw flags
we inhaled dust and fear
we touched a future
veiled in smoke and war
we loved our freedom and comfort
we saw it collapse before
our eyes

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Labor Day and Unions

History is a great teacher. Now everyone knows that the labor movement did not diminish the strength of the nation, but enlarged it by raising the living standards of millions. Labor miraculously created a market for industry and lifted a whole nation to undreamed of levels of production. Those who attack labor unions forget these simple truths, but history remembers them.
Martin Luther King Jr.

With all their faults, trade unions have done more for humanity than any other organization of men that ever existed. They have done more for decency, for honesty, for education, for the betterment of the race, for developing the character of man than any other association of men.

Clarence Darrow

Our labor unions are not narrow self-seeking groups. They have raised wages, shortened hours and provided supplemental benefits. Through collective bargaining and grievance procedures they have brought justice and democracy to the shop floor.
John F. Kennedy