Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Christian Right is Neither...

On Saturday morning I discovered that Satan had selected me. It was a surprise, not because I shouldn't be in Hell, but because Satan so easily saw right through this Wizened Wizard cloak and into my black heart.

It's always been my belief that this life is all there is - or, rather, that when we die, we go back where we were before our moment of birth. (Remember what it was like? Yeah, me too.) Of course Satan's post has me re-thinking my assumption.

There have always been people willing to spend lots of time and energy selling the concept of heavenly life everlasting. Pat Robertson is probably talking with God at this very moment, and he and Billy Graham and Jim Bakker and countless others (whose names escape me because I am in the habit of changing the channel) are eagerly awaiting the happy day when they'll trade in their earthly existence for a spot playing first harp on a cloud overlooking the rest of us poor suckers living "down here" on mortal earth. When I think of eternally rubbing elbows with this current fundamentalist, conservative, self-righteous lot, "heaven" and the time-honored concept of "hell" seem to have swapped definitions. The refrigerator magnet I received from my son for Christmas says it all:

There are fine people of all religious stripes, but they don't see things in the recently popular black and white absolutist shades. Many folks do pattern their lives after the teachings of Jesus or Buddha or Brahman or Allah, and many find comfort in religion, and that's fine. I just don't, and not because I have some strong Satanic leaning, but because I'm an agnostic: I believe that God is unknowable. As Iris DeMent sings:

Everybody's wonderin' what and where they all came from.
Everybody's worryin' 'bout where they're gonna go when the whole thing's done.
But no one knows for certain and so it's all the same to me.
I think I'll just let the mystery be.

My "born again" acquaintances look at me with feigned sadness: I will not be joining them in their hereafter. And you know what? I don't want to. Hell no.

Friday, January 05, 2007

I took the Book Quiz...

Thanks to an interesting friend,
Pepper, for sharing this fun little exercise. Check out the "Book Quiz" below to find your literary identity. How did they know I talk about talking rabbits... (see Scream)?

You're Watership Down!

by Richard Adams

Though many think of you as a bit young, even childish, you're actually incredibly deep and complex. You show people the need to rethink their assumptions, and confront them on everything from how they think to where they build their houses. You might be one of the greatest people of all time. You'd be recognized as such if you weren't always talking about talking rabbits. (Wow - those are some pretty kind words...)

Take the Book Quiz.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Sister Moon at Sunrise

Shaman and I seem to be walking the same path lately. This morning my photo and her words collided quite unexpectedly, perhaps because it was still dark.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Blessing the Beasts and the Children

Only a few gentle souls know all of the work that is done in the enchanted forest. Oh, of course, there is the popular mythology about our faeries and gnomes and wizards, but there is more... so much more...

The faeries are generally tiny, winged and good-hearted, but their very size limits their actual usefulness in the day-to-day work of the woods. Gnomes – my true partners in productivity and mischief - are usually an average of 15 centimeters tall (appearing much taller with their caps on), having somewhat pigeon toed feet which gives them an extra edge on speed and agility through the wood and grass. Luckily, our northern climate discourages trolls, as they find the undersides of bridges quite miserably cold much of the year. A wizard - as you must certainly know by now - is a person with magical, or at least exceptional, abilities. And, oh, yes, the dwarves tend to keep to themselves and the elves are most often too stoned to be of any consequence.

“Where is she going with all of this?” you are probably asking yourself (if you’re still reading). The answer is... down the winding, narrow path, across the brook and through the glen to the magical valley... the place where unborn children - babes whose genesis is in secret promises, stardust and faint hopes - are nurtured until suitable parents can be found for them...

The female gnomes are so absolutely suited to the care of these tiny creatures: their love of animals naturally transfers to the blue and pink bootied tiny humans. In our forest nursery, Elizabeth Gnome was chosen for this great and important task many, many years ago, just after she and Sigmund became grandparents for the 437th time.

I remember the day not so long ago when she knocked on my door, her eyes sparkling with the special delight I have come to recognize: she had found the perfect parents for one of our waiting cocooned babes.

“These two people have waited many years and gathered much wisdom. They give love and kindness to each other, yet they have more love and kindness than each other needs. They are a man and a woman of ways perhaps somewhat set by time, but they will adapt and yield their ways to accommodate our wee babe, and he will be blessed and raised up well. I have considered how it will be for this child to look so like his father, and I deem it a challenge that will someday become a source of pride. With your blessings, Wizard, I will entrust one of our wee boy babes to this deserving couple.”

And with that, Elizabeth seemed to melt back into the forest. I knew she would go down the winding, narrow path, across the brook and through the glen to the magical valley... the place where unborn children are nurtured until suitable parents can be found for them... and she would deliver
this carefully swaddled one to the unsuspecting couple.

I sighed and smiled, knowing as only a wizened wizard can know, that a man and a woman were about to embark on the ride of their lives.

Guest Wizard

Shaman pays me daily visits, speaking in haiku or senryu. Her poems are always good, often absolutely wonderful. Here is one I especially like:

Not my business after all

A maple tree
dressed plainly
in winter’s grey
is suddenly bejeweled
in tiny
black polka-dots
of birds.

They settle
on the tree’s slender
highest branches.

The birds
noisily take flight
when coyotes yip
their joy
in chase
from the woods,
not far from us.

It is not common
to hear
their yips in daytime.
They yip and yip,
and I wish them
no success.

I follow the path
with its
thin blanket
of virgin snow
for the coyotes’ tracks.
And for a moment,
I carry a childish,
secret hope
to come upon the scene
of nasty-vicious-beasts
a helpless rabbit.
And then,
I will be
the hero.

But, then who will feed
the poor
hungry coyotes?

Written by Becky December 31, 2006
This poem is © copyright protected and may not be reproduced without permission.

Waiting and Watching

A mourning dove perches outside my window.

On my walk, a red squirrel climbs to a safe height but stifles his usual chatter. For some reason, the forest is especially quiet on this first day of the year.

I wonder how many other creatures - silent and unnoticed - observe me as I walk through their living room. Are they, like me, taking stock of where they've been and what the future holds?

Monday, January 01, 2007


My husband and I used to have a sort of superstition: the even numbered years were not as kind to us as the odd ones. We were married in 1973, our move to The North Country took place in January of 1975 (following a hellaceous family court battle with my ex-husband in 1974), and it was the beginning of a much better life for our little family. Our son was born in 1977 (I had been diagnosed "sterile" during the preceeding even-numbered year). Memories are hazy now, and I've forgotten the exact dates of the ups and the downs, but suffice it to say that there were reasons for us to speak "jokingly" about our little superstition.

Others have held similar opinion: “The god delights in an odd number,” wrote Virgil, and Pliny the Elder then wondered, “Why is it that we entertain the belief that for every purpose odd numbers are the most effectual?” Shakespeare even weighed in: “There is divinity in odd numbers, either in nativity, chance, or death,” and a fellow named Samuel Lover [1797-1868] wrote this:

‘That’s eight times today that you’ve kissed me before.’
‘Then here goes another,’ says he, ‘to make sure,
For there’s luck in odd numbers,’ says Rory O’More

For us, years passed, and with their passing went our distinction between even and odd. Life was life, giving us blessings and occasional trials, and Life seemed to have lost track of year numbers. I wouldn't have thought about our old superstition except for the fact that last year was '06 (bless its even-ness...) the year of giardia lambia, a close-to-deadly fall down my cellar stairs, a 43 spider-bite-night, and the reoccurrence of my daughter's seizures (after a 36-year hiatus) - all within a three-month period in the last half of the year. There were some good times and good things too, but this cluster of negative events has me looking forward to 2007 for its odd promise.

And so I say, bring on 2007 - and may the odds be good for each of you and your families.

Happy New Year!