by Ruby Sara
Friends. The world spins on and seems to do so faster than I can keep up with it…a side effect of too much time on the internet, maybe, where information rushes by and kerfuffles rise and fall with astonishing speed. After all, the birds don’t seem any more rushed than usual, busy carrying out their lives according to the Mama’s seamless rhythms. Still, March appeared before I knew what was happening, and I find myself as ever caught suddenly in its wet and breathless rocking between laughter and despair.
See, Tuesday morning was one of those exquisite ones, where even before my daily sacramental cup o’ joe I felt my heart stretch and lift itself up up over the rooftops. It was the sun the sun the sun. The sun had come out of its hiding place and was flooding every asphalt crack and snowmelt corner with its shining. I turned my face to it at every opportunity, to feel that ineffable radiant assurance on my eyelids and knew that the Kore, even now, is racing up the roots of trees and plotting plum flowers and crabapple blossoms. I was drunk with it, the good news of spring unfolding. The next morning, however, I was met with cold rain pooled under eaves and in train stations – gray skies and gloves. The story of March – sun one day and rain the next…and only a fool would assume we’ve seen the last of the snow. Winter fights to keep its grip even as it slips, and Spring comes in, yes it does, though I admit, I want it to move faster. Spring comes so slowly to these northern streets, and so March always seems to me a troubled month – impatient and exhausted one day, full of joy the next. Which leads me to wonder if sometimes I’m not just living a March life, as we all probably are – emotional embodied creatures all moving and whirling and leaping and sighing and making room for one another…dancing, praying, yelling, crying, working.
Of course, this temperamental despairing is not all seasonal sturm and drang. Upheaval, controversy, movement, and conversation just seem to be on the global menu, from the pagani to politics. In the Pagan community, there is of course the ongoing conversation regarding gender, transgender and exclusionary ritual space that has been rocking the pagan blogosphere (for the curious, I think the subject of gender-exclusive space is sticky and complicated, but I think the question of whether transwomen are women is perfectly clear: they are, and I, like others, find the remarks made by Z Budapest and some others to be ignorant, offensive, and outrageous. However, I also think the conversation itself has been enormously important, and I look forward to the continuing conversation in regards to gender in general amongst the pagani), and the embarrassing pagan spotlight-mongering related to the most recent celebrity meltdown. And on the national front, there’s the ongoing situation in Wisconsin and the recent despicable move by Republicans to strip unions of their collective bargaining rights, the continuing existence of Guantanamo, the attacks on Planned Parenthood and a woman’s right to choose, the targeting of Muslims by the government…the list goes on. And I have been just as glued to the world’s unfolding as many others – and I have been full of opinions, yes, but I admit…reluctant to blog about them. And there are a few reasons for that. First, there have been so many others in the blogosphere that have weighed in, in such succinct and fruitful ways, on so many of these topics that I find I haven’t much to add…and I am a proponent in sometimes sitting back and just listening, especially when there is so much to take in. Other reasons involve personal commitments that have had me hard at work in other areas. But also, friends, some of it has to do with a feeling of being purely emotionally whelmed and overwhelmed by the world.
I get overwhelmed easily. It’s not something I love about myself. Others are energized and galvanized by what feels like an ever increasing mountain of work and talk and work and injustice and more work, and I often wish I were one of them. I feel inadequate – meeping in my little corner of the world, writing love poems to the Mama and baking bread. I know, intellectually and physically and spiritually, that poetry is important, yes. That bread is sacred and important. That theology and religion, and dialogue in community is important. I just get overwhelmed. So I’ve been avoiding writing in this space because when I start to think about everything I’ve been reading lately, it all comes in on me at once, like some great seething wave full of sharks, and so I choose instead to work out my rawness in bread dough and liturgical writing.
I lose the good news. I feel like I lose the good news an awful lot. I start to wonder of Rob Breszny is wrong. I know, I know, I know he’s not. I know that the world *is* beautiful, I know it. I feel it. But fuck, y’all…sometimes the bad news just seems nevereffingending.
I wish I could hold on to myself more – be more collected. But I don’t and I’m not. So I have to keep reminding myself. The Mama has to keep reminding me. That there is solace and meaning in ritual and in prayer, that there is peace in grass and rain, yes, even in snow and ice. That there is music and it is good. That there are people fighting truly good fights and believing good things and doing good works. And that there is solace in the Word. And the word is poetry.
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you min.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean, blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination.
Calls out to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
I made it my goal this week to memorize this poem. It is arguably my favorite poem of all time (and the competition is fierce). And I have begun to recite it out loud on a daily basis. It is my prayer this spring of upheaval and movement. It forgives and challenges, all in the same breath. And that is what I’m trying to do with myself…pretty much every day. Forgive. Challenge.
We are so beautiful, y’all. We are so amazing. And we are so awful. But I truly believe, really, that we can find our place in the family of things. The Mama turns and the spring comes running. Rain one day, sun the next.
This is my prayer.
Grok Earth, friends. Pray without ceasing.