It is not enough to weep for our lost landscapes; we have to put our hands in the earth to make ourselves whole again. Even a wounded world is feeding us. Even a wounded world holds us, giving us moments of wonder and joy. I choose joy over despair. Not because I have my head in the sand, but because joy is what the earth gives me daily and I must return the gift.
∆ Robin Wall Kimmerer, from Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants (Milkweed Editions, 2020)
”Aren’t you excited that our lives are just beginning?” You ask. ”Like, we have another 60 years and so much is going to happen.”
I turn to you with slight disbelief in my eyes. Do we have 60 years? I guess we might. ”Yes. Yes, I am”, I respond. I feel that you take my disbelief as confusement, like I didn’t understand what you said. I clarify; ”I’m mostly excited, yeah.”
I meet you
You turn 29
A midsummer, a dandellion crown
I meet you
You turn 45
Fat snowflakes under a city light, you take me to the next ten years
Our father was standing somewhere far away in the periphery, his gaze pinned at me as sharp as he was standing near. I stared back at him and thought about ghosts, I wasn’t sure if they were real.
The horizon blended blues and greens together with a hue of light grey, the air smelled like gasoline and pollen.
”I did it!!!! Come and see I did it” my brother yelled from around the corner of our house. I let my eyes rest from the horizon and ran to him. I could see what he meant already when I got to the fence of the backyard. He had swinged the swing around the pole eight times, he told me. It was all curled up and the bench of the swing was tied up in the air, so that perhaps only a mouse could fit to sit on it.
You know, when I start telling you something by saying, ‘I was thinking about what you said about …,’ it always gives me pleasure to say that, to let you know that I was brooding on your words. And I think the pleasure is … well, I know how much I love it when you say ‘I was thinking about what you said about …’ It’s somehow as though the part of you that’s in me will be able to nourish the part of me that’s in you, or-something-I don’t know how to put it. But that there’s some circuit of reciprocity between these holding relations: your ability to hold me inside you, and mine to hold you inside me.
∆ Eve Sedgwick, A Dialogue on Love
To be responsive to the vulnerability of living beings and living systems is to become exposed to responsibility, and to the possibility of intense suffering as well as to the possibilities of serenity, joy and belonging... The seduction of comfort, if such there be, lies squarely here in a desire to avoid suffering. As self and place are interwoven for most of us, self-protection would require insulation from other living beings and from place itself. Self-protection would thus promote the fragmentations of modernity and while insulating us, would also leave us stranded in a hapless nowhere.￼
"These Hands, If Not Gods" by
Haven’t they moved like rivers—
like Glory, like light—
over the seven days of your body?
And wasn’t that good?
Them at your hips—
isn’t this what God felt when he pressed together
the first Beloved: Everything.
Fever. Vapor. Atman. Pulsus. Finally,
a sin worth hurting for. Finally, a sweet, a
You are mine.
It is hard not to have faith in this:
from the blue-brown clay of night
these two potters crushed and smoothed you
into being—grind, then curve—built your form up—
atlas of bone, fields of muscle,
one breast a fig tree, the other a nightingale,
both Morning and Evening.
O, the beautiful making they do—
of trigger and carve, suffering and stars—
Aren’t they, too, the dark carpenters
of your small church? Have they not burned
on the altar of your belly, eaten the bread
of your thighs, broke you to wine, to ichor,
to nectareous feast?
Haven’t they riveted your wrists, haven’t they
had you at your knees?
And when these hands touched your throat,
showed you how to take the apple and the rib,
how to slip a thumb into your mouth and taste it all,
didn’t you sing out their ninety-nine names—
Zahir, Aleph, Hands-time-seven,
Sphinx, Leonids, locomotura,
Rubidium, August, and September—
And when you cried out, O, Prometheans,
didn’t they bring fire?
These hands, if not gods, then why
when you have come to me, and I have returned you
to that from which you came—bright mud, mineral-salt—
why then do you whisper O, my Hecatonchire. My Centimani.
My hundred-handed one?