Yesterday, I was hanging half off of a trail, holding a cup of Daiya yogurt in my teeth, controlling the movement of a shrub rather ineffectively with my thighs because of a teetering backpack with my phone in my hands, trying desperately to get a good picture for you people when a white-haired couple scared the bejeezus out of me. They thought there must be some cool wildlife, so they didn’t make a noise and approached from behind. So yeah, I’m feeling much better. The absurdity of that moment is exactly why I prefer to live like a boomerang video of a clumsy penguin falling face-first. Life is ridiculous.
First order of business: Thank you to everyone who has kept me in your thoughts and prayers as I have jousted my mystery plague of 2017. I’ve joked that this experience has shown me that adulthood is a long string of checking in on people’s health, asking what bullshit has befallen them recently. You can be at the same market at the same time, and young people are asked, “What are you up to?” while the adults exchange sentences like, “Did you hear about Deb? She was attacked at a dog park!” There’s a lot of suffering in the world. And it’s often random and hurtful to really good people. The shift that comes with age, bringing those things to a more central focus is intense. And since life is full of repetitive tasks like eating, defecating, and falling in love, we might as well do them in that interesting place we’ve always wanted to live. Go now before a pigeon bites you and you lose your sense of smell!
Joking aside, to my loved ones wherever you’re defecating: I promise to laugh with you about health until it’s not funny. And during those times, I promise to stick around and listen.
There are so many warrior people walking around with heavy burdens, needing to still function and finance their existence. They are champions. They are unwell and terrified. For what it’s worth, here’s a little love letter to all of you: You are so strong! Whether you’re re-calibrating to a new normal, mourning the loss of an ability you held dear, or moving through bullshit with extraordinary resilience, you are a boss. In fact, the boss of all bosses.
Now, if anyone knows how to contact Mary Oliver, I think we’d have a pretty epic conversation over tea. This is not a drill. If you introduce us, I’ll be eternally grateful. Maybe we could talk about the ism’s I’m ruminating on—linguistic imperialism, voluntourism, conscious consumerism…
Here come the poems.
World peace is no radical idea
it is attainable as soon as women are commanders in chief
when masculinity is no longer the go-to weapon
dropping atom bombs
strong-handing our way to a perceived position of dominance
As sea levels rise
the captains of our world ship need balance to keep us afloat
I don’t care if it’s “how things have always been done”
maybe instead of standing when I put on a dress
you can take a seat as I start this meeting
or do both
because balance is equal parts
and peace takes balanced steps
It's very difficult to photograph a bud
as it Springs
Full of kinetic energy, life that is shifting too quickly to be captured
Like a younger sister heading off to college
Pulsing with energy, a little nova ready to radiate in all directions
Or like a young girl in a park
mirroring her father's hands with a lacrosse stick, bellowing in frustration
Unable to see that her movements are almost as deft and she's only as tall as his belly button
She's going to dazzle the world
I wonder if this is how a peregrine falcon feels the instant before her young one leaps from a skyscraper
Ready to glide to excellence or splat
She probably doesn't think about it
It's just how it is
We're creatures cursed with the question why why why
Diseased with the need to create
Today, I soft-shoed through the forest, listening to the bubbling creek
But then I stopped and was shocked by the rest of the orchestration
It's really dang hard to stop
Slow down, fine. Sure.
I don't have the aptitude of a woodpecker, vibrating into productivity
Yet for anyone who doesn't want to die
But would rather die than live like that
With that illness or that cancer or that memory
Of course we'd want to climb a wall of nested trees
Fill a home with genetic copies
Spring forward and out of focus
Like our earth hurtling in its orbit