I write in a helplessly
and necessary attempt,
to cross that void
b e t w ee n
and what I am able
to reach out a hand
to our common needy
A photo manipulation from some shots I took in the Senora Desert.
Terry Tempest Williams is an amazing writer – her work is non-fiction and it’s all inspired, interesting reading.
Here is a great quote from her book “Desert Quartet”…
“No compass can orient me here, only a pledge to love and walk the terrifying distances before me. What I fear and desire most in this world is passion I fear it because it promises to be spontaneous, out of my control, unnamed, beyond my reasonable self. I desire it because passion has color, like the landscape before me. It is not pale. It is not neutral. It reveals the backside of the heart.”
And that is one of my resolutions for 2008, to have more passion. And no doubt more resolutions will probably spill out, from dark places – drawn into the light, in these idle days as I wait to go back to teaching/working again. In the interim I am enjoying the time to reflect on a year that passes and on my goals for the new one that begins.
Williams continues in Desert Quartet…
“Through the weathering of our spirit, the erosion of our soul, we are vulnerable. Isn’t that what passion is – bodies broken open through change? We are acted upon. We invite and accept life of another to take root inside. The succession of the canyons is like our own. A maidenhair fern hangs from the sliprock; water drips, drips, drips, until I catch it in my mouth. Drink deeply, the desert sighs.”
To being broken open – and I receive you and drink deeply. To a passionate 2008.
The introduction from “Insecure At Last” by Eve Ensler. Progressive thinking for our security obsessed world – great book, highly recommend it.
Introduction from: Insecure at Last
I am worried about this word, this notion – security. I see this word, hear this word, feel this word everywhere. Security check. Security Watch. Security clearance. Why has all this focus on security made me feel so much more insecure? What does anyone mean when they speak of security? Why are we suddenly a nation and a people who strive for security above all else?
In fact, security is essentially elusive, impossible. We all die. We all get sick. We all get old. People leave us. People surprise us. People change us. Nothing is secure. And this is the good news. But only if you are not seeking security as the point of your life.
When security is paramount you can’t travel very far or venture too far outside a certain circle. You can’t allow too many conflicting ideas into your mind at one time, as they might confuse you or challenge you. You can’t open yourself to new experiences, new people, and new ways of doing things. They might take you off course.
You can’t not know who you are; it’s more secure to cling to hard-matter identity. So you become a Christian or a Muslim or a Jew, you are an Indian, or an Egyptian or an Italian or an American. You are heterosexual or homosexual or you never have sex or at least that’s what you say when you identify yourself. You become a part of US, and in order to be secure, you must defend against THEM. You cling to your land because it is your secure place, and you must fight anyone who encroaches on it.
You become your nation, you become your religion. You become whatever it is that will freeze you, numb you, and protect you from change or doubt. But all this does is shut down your mind. In reality, you are not a drop safer. A meteor could still fall from the sky, a tsunami could rise up next to your beach house, someone could fly a plane through your building.
All this striving for security has in fact made you much more insecure. Because now you have to watch out all the time. There are people not like you, people you now call enemies. You have places you cannot go, thoughts you cannot think, worlds you can no longer inhabit. So you spend your days fighting things off, defending your territory, and becoming more entrenched in your narrow thinking. Your days become devoted to protecting yourself. This becomes your mission. This is all you do. You collect canned goods or bottles of water. You find ways to get as much money as you can, and food and oil, in spite of how much you have to take from other people or the methods you have to devise in order to take it. You submit to security systems to check your pockets and IDs and bags. Every object becomes a potential weapon. One week it’s tweezers, the next week it’s rubber bands.
Of course you can no longer feel what another person feels because that might shatter your heart, contradict your stereotype, destroy the whole structure. Ideas get shorter-they become sound bites. They are evildoers and saviors. Criminals and victims. There are those who, if they are not with us, are against us.
It gets easier to hurt people because you do not feel what’s inside them. It gets easier to lock them up, force them to be naked, humiliate them, occupy them, invade them, kill them – because they do not exist. They are merely obstacles to your security.
How did we, as Americans, come to be completely obsessed with our individual security and comfort above all else? What do we think we mean when we talk about security, and what do we really mean? Whose security are we talking about? Is it possible to live surrendering to the reality of insecurity, embracing it, allowing it to open us and transform us and be our teacher? What would we need in order to stop panicking, clinging, consuming, and start opening, giving- becoming more ourselves the less secure we realize we actually are? How has the so-called war on terrorism give rise to this mad national obsession for homeland security, which has actually made us much more insecure at home and in the world?
I am passionate about books – and so happened upon “Our World” today while in the bookstore. Needless to say a book about my favorite poet and her life had to come home with me. I have just finished spending part of the afternoon curled up in the easy chair reading it while enjoying a cup of green tea.
“Our World” is about Molly Malone Cook & Mary Oliver – who shared a partnership of over 40 years. Molly took the photographs in the book and the text is supplied my Mary. It’s a lovely book – if I had a significant other it would be a beautiful gift.
As I don’t at the moment – the book became a gift to myself.
Here is a gift for you, it’s one of my favorite excerpts from “Our World” which describes the lives of the two remarkable women, and artists, who built a rich partnership together. May we each be so very blessed.
It has frequently been remarked, about my own writings, that I emphasize the notion of attention. This began simply enough: to see that the way the flicker flies is greatly different from the way the swallow plays in the golden air of summer. It was my pleasure to notice such things, it was a good first step. But later, watching M. when she was taking photographs, and watching her in the darkroom, and no less watching the intensity and openness with which she dealt with friends, and strangers too, taught me what real attention is about. Attention without feeling, I began to learn, is only a report. An openness-an empathy-was necessary if the attention was to matter. Such openness and empathy M. had in abundance, and gave away freely. All the years I knew her she had this gift, which is also sometimes a burden, with our life friends, with me, and with the faces and even the objects that found their way into her pictures. I was in my late twenties and early thirties, and well filled with a sense of my own thoughts, my own presence. I was eager to address the world of words-to address the world with words. Then M. instilled in me this deeper level of looking and working, of seeing through the heavenly visibles to the heavenly invisibles. I think of this always looking at her photographs, the images of vitality, hopefulness, endurance, kindness, vulnerability. Her world certainly wasn’t daisies or birds or trees, as mine was; we each had our separate natures; yet our ideas, our influences upon each other, became a rich and abiding confluence.
Go read something beautiful and if you are especially blessed this afternoon read to someone beautiful.
Caution potential stalkers of middle-aged, penniless lesbian bloggers…YES that is my dog and he is rather possessive of me. If you get past him, I have two other shepherds. However if you are a really attractive, wealthy stalker -just come armed with a plastic bag, shake it…the dogs will scatter. Dust busters are equally, if not more affective. If you’re not attractive, still living with your ex, or have an entire closet limited to only sensible shoes (or any birkenstocks) the dogs bite.
It’s snowing in Michigan again — beautiful outside and falling fast. I enjoyed a leisurely day of sleeping in, then I went to the gym (my goal is to lose 10-15 pounds). Did 45 minutes of cardio and a core/leg routine. Then I did more cardio as there was a really cute young lesbian running around the track – so of course I needed to stalk her (oops I also needed to go around the track). I was almost keeping up with her, great for a middle aged woman but I was WALKING and she was running. I wanted to tease her “hey you run like a straight girl” but I refrained, she does need a running lesson. Cute though, cute. At least she was exercising – unlike gay men, lesbians don’t seem to do a lot of exercising. No ladies golf is not a sport, nor is billiards, nor is bowling…those are activities. Watching the WNBA is not a sport either – shouting, throwing back another budweiser is not the same as a bicep curl.
“Where did all the tomboys go…long time passing” (move over Melissa – I’m going to start songwriting. Sure it’s derivative but it’s a start).
Nuf said -indulgent, indulgent nonsense. Then I came home and made a quiche, had some rosemary foccachia bread and a cup of tea.
Despite being the snarky windbag that I am — friends have invited me to the MSU/Boston game. I have already had to confess to not knowing what kind of game that is. YES I am looking for my dyke card and I promise to turn it in immediately.
BUT I can do 300 sit ups and 10 real push ups (none of the on the knees girly business) even whilst clapping in between each one.
Sorry I am a horrid mixture of hideously self absorbed, vain and insecure.
So given all of those pushups, and bench pressing 85 lbs. I think I get to keep the dyke card or maybe I just get a gay card (As it is revealed I’m a homosexual trapped in a woman’s body).
The other day when I walked into the post office, a gay man that works there was very excited to see me. “Hello”! “Hello” I said…his face dropped about four stories when he realized I was not a gay man.
C. must have given me a great haircut…I was worried it was too dyke-y but turns out it’s just “too gay”.
You can go to Rachelle Lee Smith’s Website to see the whole thing.
I’ll see you in the return line. Of course the Walmartization of America has profound consequences for the world and for humanity.
This is a FANTASTIC video that anyone can understand – from child to adult. A great project. Go watch…