I felt the presence of something numinous in the garden as I opened the door and stepped out.
There was a rustle in the brush of something just disappearing on the periphery.
And then I saw the deer, a female, quiet, unafraid.
She slowly walked out of the garden and behind the house.
There was a rustle in the foliage right under my feet where I had noticed only dead leaves, golden and brown and still damp from the night's rain.
A rabbit in its Fall coat, blending with the foliage, skittered off.
And then I saw her, not too far away and not too near, so wondrous on her four paws and her tawny fur –-
a lioness right there in my garden!
But I saw right away that one of her eyes was bloodied and bruised.
And standing right next to her was a small boy, unknown to me, repeatedly hitting her in the eye with a club.
I became suddenly anxious, my mood shifted.
And I worried that the lioness would tire of her own patience and turn on the child and attack him.
But the lioness refused to use her power against the child.
And I stood in awe trying to decide what to do.
What would you do?
Hey everybody, I don't really know if this has any place in this Ecological Imaginings class, but maybe if we can imagine the preservation of women to be a form of ecology, not unlike the preservation of all plant life, animal life.
I just wanted to call everyone's attention to this excellent documentary currently being shown on PBS on Mon & Tues nights at 9:00 PM. I imagine you guys have lots of time to watch films, yeah! But this is an amazing series.
"Half the Sky" about gender based violence.
Here's the link to the first & second segment:
It has rained and the garden is very wet. There are no crows. The only sound is a damp thickness of cricket sound, thick as an invisible soup through which my ears have to wade. As I become accustomed and tuned in to them, I hear they are not just an undifferentiated "them", but a symphonic multitude, a chorus of legions of crickets under blade and under leaf, under bush, and under tree. I will search and perhaps find none. I have searched before. Their communication ( I believe that we can make that assumption) has a comforting effect on my nervous system. Theirs is a soft blanketing sound, an unobtrusive blend with the soft swish of leaves in a soundless breeze. We hear the air’s effects. The effect of its movement on surrounding things. Everything is connected. Everything has an affect on something, or someone else.
I have heard myself claim to myself that if a garden sound is not beautiful, in the sense to which I have become accustomed by small song birds, then I would prefer it to be unobtrusive. That is to say banished.
Do I prefer unobtrusive people? Unobtrusive plants?
So Anne, and everybody, don't you think something we read or someone reads to us can really change the way we feel, potentially change the way we live our lives, and thus have some impact on a collective consciousness?
I think it is possible that this old Shakespeare sonnet may have changed someone's life just a little bit this evening.
Loving an elderly parent, and learning how to, being willing to love intensely even though it means we may have to then, soon, let go. One of life's most difficult tasks. Sometimes a work of art can articulate a different way of seeing that can offer an insight into something one has previously experienced as impossible.
In this Shakespeare sonnet, the beauty of the sunset's afterglow, is even especially intensely beautiful in the face of imminent dark. Then read that final couplet that suggests a way to be that is not so evident, nor easy to cultivate.
I believe that poetry can change the way we see the world, and the way we relate to and are in it.
Shakespeare Sonnet #73
That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see'st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west;
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the deathbed whereon it must expire,
Hanks of dark clouds. One glowing eye. The full moon. Spits of rock. Braided ribbons froth over the break water. Storm weeps on the land. Falling, stamping its foot on the beach. Footprint of the sky. Crash and thunder of waves, rising and swinging, seeking the soft underbreath of the waiting world.
We will never be the same. The seals give birth. Tails lift. Red bulging, writhing. Balloon of wriggling bloody seal birth. Seal pup hungers its way out, biting its placenta. Cannibalistic. Sea gulls squawk. Greedy midwives peck and pull the afterbirth in sharp beaks. Tear it to bite-sized pieces. Invocation to the ancient Gods, this shrine of becoming.
Based on this new piece in the Womvichorate Mode: (indebted to, departing from Snyder & some rheomode perhaps).
(verb) To womvichorate: (roots) woman, women, womb, belly, (vide),see, speak chorus, core, coeur, heart, orate.
speaking as I, woman.
vide/ seeing, eye-centering
wom/ body-centering, woman, women, womb
chor/ invoking communal speech
chorate/ speaking together, centering in the body
womvi/ woman/women sight, woman/women seeing
Who Is The Intruder In This Garden?
Musical Ecology: Sonic Preference or Prejudice?
There is a chortle out the early morning window that draws me outside. Any creature laughing, or even approaching a giggle or a chortle, has my ear. The robin with its eager uneven step, deliberate always, allows us to think it has a jovial disposition because of its call, its cocky head, its ruddy-breasted hope.
Against an ostinato of crickets, their thick insistence blanketing the morning, one crow sounds as angry as the robin is jovial, that is to say probably not at all. Still its raucous dark persistence from that branch grates on my attuned ear. My ear is well-tuned to a well-tempered scale not a crow’s ill-tempered screech of simplistic percussive rhythms.
The tuning system of the well-tempered scale, like all tuning systems, is a system that is arbitrarily devised based on the choices of a particular culture. What sounds harmonious to my ear, the particular pattern of whole steps and half steps, the chromatic increments that sound pleasing are what I have been taught to find pleasing. “You have to be carefully taught.” (Of course that song from “South Pacific” is about being taught racism.)
”COUNTRY has two different meanings in modern English: broadly a native land and the rural or agricultural parts of it. The word is historically very curious, since it derives from the adjective contrata (L. contra – against, in the phrase contrata terra meaning land lying opposite over against or facing. Its earliest separate meaning was a tract of land spread out before an observer. (Old English landscipe was a region or tract of land; the word was later passed into English through cuntrée and contrée. It had the sense of native land and of distinctly rural areas.
The widespread use of country as opposed to city began with increasing urbanization.
In its general use, for native land, country has more positive associations than either nation or state. Country habitually includes the people who live in it, while nation is more abstract and state carries a sense of the structure of power. Country can substitute for people in political contexts. There is also
A specialized metropolitan use, in which all areas outside the city are‘country. ‘ “
Raymond Williams, Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society,
COUNTRY . Middle English contre, e, cuntrée. Late Latin contrata. That which lies opposite or fronting the view, the landscape spread out before one. Old Provencal equivalent encontrada, that encountered or met with.
I have chosen a place I love under one enormous weeping beech tree in Swarthmore, PA to foreground.
The background photo is in the open air Forest Temple in the middle of the sacred Monkey Forest, Ubud, Bali, 1979. There I was invited by the high priest, Pedanda Gde Manuaba to assist in the sanding of the ears of the sacred Rangda mask. (Its wood was of a particular tree in that forest.)