Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Recipe for Sanity

Winter Solstice 2016

I switch off the NewsHour feeling horrified and confounded. What can I do to help stop this slow-motion cataclysm? Signing a slew of online petitions expressing outrage does not satisfy.

I trudge out to the wetland through an inch of new snow. Little boys let out of school play hide-and-seek with plastic Uzis. (Yes, honestly, and this isn’t Baltimore or Chicago but Corvallis, Oregon.)

Sanity, anyone? I find it at the wetland. A fat thrush lights on the branch of a low tree and shakes some ice off the twigs. A small brown squirrel darts across the path, jumps onto the fence railing and dashes along it, and finally leaps into the brambles where little brown birds are flitting and pecking at seeds. This will go on. The world will go on.

Back home, I dig out the recipe for sanity I once composed and post it prominently on the fridge. Now more than ever, I want to take this to heart:

Remember the landscape of your birth. Love your body and its memory of this place. Know true north and follow the red cord of passion. Listen to tree talk, water words, the voice of raven and hummingbird, and trust these at least as much as human speech. When the trees drop their leaves, let go of all you have outgrown. When the earth lies cold and still, rest. Blossom in season. When they tell you that you must kill for your country, or pay for the killing, talk back. Be faithful to what you love. Celebrate beauty every day.