In the Eternity of Your Absence

 

In the eternity of your absence,

I encounter layers of myself.

My divinity, my demon.

My dreams, my desires.

My goddess, my god.

My nature, my essence.

My suffering, my pleasure.

My past, my present, my future.

I encounter the borders and boundaries of me and everything.

 

In the eternity of your absence,

I learn the contentment of solitude,

and where the edges blur into loneliness.

I hear and see with newfound clarity.

I feel the burning pulse of my longing.

 

In the eternity of your absence,

I learn that my body

hungers for your body,

while my soul seeks you who sees and feels beyond–

the you who knows your power,

your root of creation,

your divinity and your demon.

 

In the eternity of your absence,

I admit, it is high time to take off the masks,

to remove the uniforms,

to break the chains of patriarchy.

This undoing of gender is revealing,

we are multi-dimensional star-beings

housed within sensate earth bodies.

 

In the eternity of your absence,

I know my root of creation–

how it illuminates destiny’s path–

how desire and intuition intersect.

I learn to distinguish the depths,

of my power,

and the purpose of attraction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lest We Forget, a poem for autumn

Early autumn days of waning amber sun,

eyes drawn to the weaving dance of contrasts–

light and shadow dancing through the trees,

shadow and light in a lover’s eyes.

Light and shadow.

Life and death.

Shadow and light.

 

The raw beauty of the world calls us to awaken with every new day,

lest we fall asleep,

lest we forget.

 

Summer’s flowers transformed,

hanging full and ripe.

These silent offerings,

willing to satiate hunger,

await the pluck of tender fingers.

A most primal, humble act of love.

An exchange accessible to those paying attention,

to those willing to act,

to those willing to fulfill the need to be seen,

to be known,

to be complete in purpose.

 

The raw beauty of the world calls us to awaken with every new day,

lest we fall asleep,

lest we forget.

 

Mid-autumn days of misty gray skies,

of flaming yellow, orange and red,

brown decay and evergreen endurance.

Harvests now gathered,

shelves lined with abundance,

and yet, questions linger–

like open, outstretched hands,

half-drawn circles,

tables set for company–

Will you enter into the natural exchange of love for love?

Will you dine in honor and gratitude?

Will you step into the circle offering your conscious, humble self?

Will you remember your purpose and do what you came here to do?

We Fall Apart to Become

The empty shell shimmers against the dry, rustling grass of August.

I crouch low to the earth.

I gather her brittle, translucent skin, gently.

This skin of days passed.

I admire the patterns of her scales,

the texture visible, tangible,

color now faded.

I hold her cast-away sheath in the palm of my hand.

I think how I am like her.

I am part snake.

I too have outgrown my skin.

I too have shed the old, many times–

for survival,

for cleansing,

for growth,

for truth.

The shedding is agony.

The shedding is ecstasy.

It is a death and a rebirth.

I hold her old skin–

this temporary art of moments lived,

this disintegrating map of who she was.

I watch it flutter into pieces and scatter in the wind, returning.

 

 

A Love Letter

Oh Love, I have been searching for traces of you for centuries.

I have been digging for your bones.

I have been singing your name.

I have been peering, plunging, into the depths.

I have been listening for messages carried on the wind, in dreams.

 

I followed the trail of your scent

caught in the heat of summer–

drawn by an instinctual desire,

lured by magnetic force,

pulled by eternal threads of destiny.

 

You and I, we are ancient history.

We are future possibility.

Our time could be now.

We could mirror and magnify the light within.

We could come into enlivened alignment.

 

We have water and laughter in our souls, for healing.

We have fire and passion in our hearts, for loving.

We are divine. We are stardust.

We are animal. We are human.

Our words stir the four winds.

Our hands tend the earth.

We are more than can be seen–

earthly and cosmic elements embodied.

One day, we will walk the threaded path home to each other.

We will shake the earth with the amplified rhythms of our dance.

 

You and I, we are ancient history.

We are future possibility.

This could be our time.

A time to mirror and magnify the light within.

A time to come into enlivened alignment.

A Beseeching Call

Death knows no season, or rather, it knows all seasons. For those of us living where there are four seasons, and for those of us connected to the rhythms of nature, autumn is a season of dying. We witness the death of spawned out salmon, of annual plants. We see deciduous and perennial plants shedding their outer layers in order to draw resources inwards, for the survival of winter. In the plant world, this season of death is a brilliant display of color and a dramatic dropping of biomass. What sheds and dies serves both as a protective layer for soil and root systems, and also as nourishment for the new life to come when the growth cycle begins anew in late winter and early spring. I pray that I may find nourishment in my losses. I pray that all of my little deaths, and one day my physical death, may be so colorful, may nourish the cycle of life.

For many cultures, autumn has been, and still is, a time to honor and connect with our beloved dead. A time to tend the heart of our grief, both collective and individual. Death has many faces. It shows up in loss, in absence–of lovers, marriages, friends, mothers, fathers, jobs, dreams, livelihood, homes, safety, sense of self, access to clean air and water, unrequited love, miscarriage, and on and on. I have come to know that the cultural loss, the perversion, and/or the rejection of ceremonial and meaningful ways to honor and grieve the many faces of death has contributed to the existence of a deep well of unprocessed grief, some of which has grown toxic. Anyone who has tapped into this well knows it is full of pain, though it is not to be feared. It is not unchangeable, and it is also full of wisdom. Our grief can be medicine. Every time we take the time and space to lovingly tend our losses, our deaths, our grief–both small and large–here in this earthly life, we relieve the grief of our ancestors. We unburden our children and our children’s children. We heal ourselves. We cleanse and clarify the waters of our collective well waters. May you take time this season to open your heart to your grief, to tend to it as you would tend an overgrown garden–with patience, with love, with care, with imagination, and with the help of trusted and knowledgeable support. May your resilient heart weather the breaking. May you allow anger and fear to exit through the cracks created by the breakage. May you listen for the messages that come calling to you through the journey. May you welcome the tears and the laughter, equally. May you invite love, healing, and courage to settle into your tender heart.

Mother’s Death

DoeB&W

1

The week my mother’s body began rapidly declining towards death, a doe and her fawn were frequenting my parents’ land. I saw them several times on restorative walks that I took to feel the comfort of the elements. The doe and her fawn would stop and look at me for a moment that felt eternal, then bound away to a safe distance before turning to look back again, as deer do. I was comforted by their presence. My mother’s face became emaciated and her eyes seemed to grow larger. I always admired her green eyes. I find myself now wishing I had spent more time gazing into those green eyes. Her gaze was a present, sometimes piercing one. In her last days, it had a startled quality, a doe-like look. Her gaze seemed to simultaneously see into me and beyond me. She saw visitors invisible to me and acknowledged them with the wave of her hand or the blink of her eyes. There was a luminescence emanating from her shrinking human form. Her soul and spirit and body were in conflict, torn in different directions. She did not want to leave this beloved human body and life, not just yet.

2

My grief is a richly colored, deeply textured landscape, with mountains that cast tall shadows, that feature treacherous and breathtaking cliffs. With dense forests that extend over rolling hills and through valleys. With winding rivers, salty seas, dark damp caves, sunlit meadows of flowers, muddy bogs and pits of quicksand. I wander through all of it daily, willingly. I don’t want the edges softened for me. I don’t want it made better. I want to experience all of it. I am hungry for the journey. My pain brings insight. I am curious about the depths of my soul. I hold deep gratitude for the love that helps carry me through, that prevents me from getting mired down, from getting too lost for too long. I have been an escort to the threshold and back of both birth and death. I am transformed with new understandings, new appreciations, new awe for the multi-dimensional nature of life and death.

I feel a strong sense of urgency. If I might not be here in this body tomorrow, what am I doing waiting on anything? But then, there are things in life that require my patience and nurturing to grow. How do I know the difference? When to act, when to wait? This liminal space is testing my trust. It is asking me to hold on and to let go at the same time. It is teaching me about the subtleties of separation and loneliness, of solitude and companionship–these may be profound realities of this physical human existence and also tricks of the human mind, for I have felt utterly alone in the midst of company, and yet, I also know that even when I am alone, I am never truly alone.

3

Spreading her ashes,

in my garden,

along wildlife refuge bluff,

under western red cedar,

into softly burbling creek,

I came upon bone fragments.

 

Bone and ash of the body,

bone and ash of her body,

bone and ash of your body, Mother.

bone and ash of your body, Mother

your body that formed my body.

Bone of my bone,

flesh of my flesh,

blood of my blood.

Bone and body that no longer belong, to you,

no longer attached to soul and spirit.

now ash,

now returning.

 

I once asked,

Where do we begin and end?

We are a continuous, circular flow

of beginnings and endings–

with no beginning and never ending.

I wonder now,

How do soul and spirit unhook from the body beloved?

 

A Writer & Her Muse

A Writer & Her Muse

 

You brought me here today,

beneath the flaming autumn leaves of maple trees.

You said, “The time is now.

Tell me everything.”

 

About your first encounter with death–

dead kittens on a wooded path,

mouths agape, bodies lifeless and stiff.

 

Tell me how you doubted the stories strangers told.

How you loved to wander–

a young child in the woods with her father,

searching for signs of deer and fallen antlers.

 

How you were raised by atheists

in a town of Christian zealots, who said Jesus died for your sins–

an inherited debt you did not understand.

 

Tell me how you found god

while making love

in the backseat of a Volvo.

 

How the color blue conjures memories

of Moroccan portals,

of Aziz’s blue eyes.

 

How the sun’s warmth on the nape of your neck

reminds you of lying topless on a Basque beach–

your breasts felt natural, honored–for the first time.

 

Tell me how you have imagined dying.

How it felt like sighing,

like holding hands with your ancestors.

How it sounded like a strong wind through the fir trees.

 

Tell me this is a beginning.

Tell me more. . .