These days, we travel through a landscape mapped out
of trauma and trouble. There, says the boy as we travel the highway,
is where a semi caught fire. Four fire stations responded.
And there, he says a little while later, is where that accident happened
last Friday. You know, when the woman and her baby were airlifted
to the Medical Center? And over there is where that jeep rolled over.
He would tell me, if he ever read my poetry, that this is all wrong,
that I have made up the accidents (and I have), that he told me
not just how many stations responded, but their numbers
and apparatus as well. This is true. I spin and embroider truth into story
while he lives in a world of facts and numbers, of call signs and
response times, first dues, tankers and tillers, flashing lights and sirens.
He’s been at it for over a year now, I think, listening to scanners,
memorizing the station numbers and apparatus for every accident
within three counties. He checks the maps and nearest intersections,
knows every township and borough we drive through,
and can tell you when the local fire department is going to receive
its new tanker truck and how much they paid. I nod and smile,
accepting his avalanche of data as a point of connection between us,
trying to sort through for something I can remember, can feed back
with more than a glazed nod. Yes, I was listening to your voice,
to the thread of the story you spin from the numbers,
of lives picked from the brink of disaster, cared for by humans
rushing to respond, people plucked from the river (living or
dead), children found by friendly searchers in the woods,
lives in the balance. May I tell the story forward a moment,
and backward? How I see how the tiny child who created a club
to save lost and wounded animals and insects has grown into
a watchful observer of tragedy, who may one day grow
into a responder, one who rushes to the crisis, saying,
It’s okay now, someone is here to help. There are so many ways
to care, like you, with your drive to know that someone will always
coming rushing to the scene when a life is at stake.
This feels like it needs lots of revision work.
While I was writing it, he came downstairs to tell me that the same address occurs in two local townships, and that first responders had just been dispatched to the wrong address of a five-year-old who was choking and not breathing, but that they caught the error on the way and went to the correct home. We so rarely learn the end of these stories. All I can do is pray for these fragile lives in the middle of their crises, and hope that help gets there in time.
2. White horse in a field of buttercups
3. Scent of fox: this morning in the grove, it was so very strong
4. So much life in the magical sycamore tree
5. The caring hearts of these young people
May we walk in Beauty!
“A witch ought never to be frightened in the darkest forest, Granny Weatherwax had once told her, because she should be sure in her soul that the most terrifying thing in the forest was her.” —Terry Pratchett
“Oh, God, make me a hollow reed, from which the pith of self hath been blown so that I may become as a clear channel through which Thy Love may flow to others. I have left behind me impatience and discontent. I will chafe no more at my lot. I commit myself wholly into thy hands, for thou are my Guide in the desert, the Teacher of my ignorance, the Physician of my sickness.” —attributed to Abdu’l-Bahá
“Truth is an agile cat. It has more than nine lives.” —Joy Harjo
A day of Silence
can be a pilgrimage in itself.
A day of Silence
can help you listen
to the Soul play
in marvelous lute and drum.
Is not most talking
a crazed defense of a crumbling fort?
I thought we came her
to surrender in Silence,
to yield to Light and Happiness,
to Dance within
in celebration of Love’s Victory!
“What if we reframed ‘living with uncertainty’ to ‘navigating mystery'”? —Martin Shaw