Power Outage

Dear Ones:

I am sorry to vanish for three weeks running.  I know you will understand when you read this week’s post.

Much love to all of you.

Rev. Leisa

 

For a month we have had electricity
only intermittently
which is a problem
when you rely on a well
with an electric pump
for water
and you can’t charge your devices
so you can’t keep up with the outside world
which seems to exist
only at a distant remove.

They have said the reason is to protect us
but if they wanted that
they would have maintained the lines
instead of paying giant bonuses
to the executives.

And even with all the outages
the lines have started fires
not in our neighborhood this time
but in the neighborhoods
of people I love
and it is tinder dry all around us
and any minute now it could all go up
in smoke.

We have our evacuation supplies packed
and the cars pointed out
not that that would help if the tunnel of trees
over our driveway
were on fire.

What is it like?
people ask.

What is it like to live with
the constant threat of fire
magnified by negligence
and not just the threat
but the actuality
when people you love
cannot charge their medical devices
and you can’t breathe
because the smoke
is so thick?

and the power company’s response is
“If you are dependent upon
medical devices that require electricity,
use your own resources
to relocate.”

What resources?
Relocate where, and how?
We are so bewildered.  And angry.

What is it like? people ask.
Fascinated by the disasters of others.

It is like this:
One part of my brain is planning
as if everything will be fine
while another is planning
which photos to take when we evacuate
and where to go
and a third
is exercising constant vigilance.
Between the demands of all three
there is no capacity
to remember details
like where I left my keys so

I have spent hours
searching for  little things
I have lost.

And it is also like this:

I am in the middle of a bad dream
in which the world is coming to an end
because the people in power
refuse to pay attention
to the evidence
right before their noses
The air is thick like molasses
and I can’t get through it
I can’t run
so I try to yell
but my voice won’t come out

You know that kind of dream?  It is like that.
Everything is on fire and I have no power.

It wasn’t always this way,
I try to say.
Yes, there has always been fire
but not on this scale.
It was never this hot
or this dry
for so long.
And the first peoples knew
how to manage fire
and they knew how to manage forests
and they didn’t
run electrical wires
right through tangles of trees
and pay each other bonuses
when the wires
started a conflagration.

I try to say these things
but no one hears
except God

And no one is listening, it seems,
even to God.

 

God’s Porch

If you just lost everything in a fire
If the floods have taken it all away
If the diagnosis is worse
than anything you imagined
If the pain just won’t let up

If you are afraid for the life
of your grown-up child
If you can’t keep a baby growing
If your failing parent is far far away
And you can’t afford to travel

If you spend every day in the car outside
the worksite of your toddler’s father
singing to the baby and praying each moment
that ICE won’t come today

If you are hiding in the hills with no place to go
because the trailers for the workers
burned down

If you can’t go outside
without some jerk shouting comments
about every aspect of your body

If you fear for your life
when you see a police car
If you fear for the life of your son

If you worry every day
about what kind of world
this is for raising your children
If you’re scared of the man
with his hand on the button
If you’re afraid of what’s happening
to your marriage

Come to my house.

Come sit on the porch a while.

Look up at the trees. Listen to the quiet.
Allow peace to enter your heart.
A dragonfly darts to and fro above the yard
and butterflies silently flutter.
Hummingbirds drink from the feeders
and bees work in the clover.

There are wind chimes of metal
and one of bamboo
and they sway
sometimes sounding
in the breeze.

Come sit on the porch,
or lie down if you prefer.
We have many different kinds of chairs.
Breathe in the sweet air.
Gaze up into blue sky.
See the bright colors of the zinnias.

I will bring you something
delicious to drink
and if it is cool I will tuck you in
with a blanket

You can lie back and rest and relax
And just leave it all to me.

My love will wrap around you
and you will know you are safe
and nothing will ever hurt you
again.

Come sit on the porch a while.
Come on up and rest.

I am here waiting
just
for you.

Behold!

Behold!  From before the dawn of time I have been here
waiting
for you…
I gave birth to stars that swirled away
into spiral galaxies
forming and reforming the molecules of me
into new stars
that died and were born again;
I grew larger and larger, and the stars of me
burst and joined again and again
and their partings and joinings made new elements
that danced toward each other,
and caught, and held on,
and my love made them alive.

Behold! This is all alive and dancing here together
in intricate motion:
a luminous blue-green ball whirling in space
filled with starfish and bats
and grains of sand that once were mountains
and belly-laughing babies and rivers and trains
and eagles and cats
and little buildings filled with people who love me.

Behold! From the dust of long-ago stars
I formed your ancestors
who died and returned unto me to be re-formed
into trees and rocks and soil and grass and YOU.

From air and fire and water and earth
I ripen into fruit that drops into your waiting hands.
I feed you and clothe you and shelter you
with my body,
I quench your thirst with my water,
my blood.

Behold! This is my body, grown here for you:
See, my round purple eggplants,
my many colored tomatoes,
my fuzzy rosy peaches, my little perfect grapes,
my juicy melons, my vigorous zucchini,
my beans and grains, my leafy greens,
my alluring herbs and spices.

Behold!  I have set your table with good things!
Now—this is what I want from you:

Learn to share.
Clean up your mess.
Say thank you.

Blessed be.

For All That Is Our Life

Spirit of Life, Source of all Love:

In this place that we dearly love,
this place where there are forests and grasslands
and beautiful wild rivers,
this place where our neighbors are
coyotes and ravens and hawks and deer
as well as human persons,
fire is raging out of control.
So many have lost everything,
including their lives.
It is a hard and terrible time,
and yet it is nearly Thanksgiving.

For what do we give thanks,
if everything we have known and loved is gone,
burned, nothing but ash and rubble?
For what do we give thanks
when the very air we breathe
is full of the remains of others,
and their homes,
and all the life around them?

Let us give thanks that we are alive.

We are alive in this moment
in our own body
here on Earth.

If we made it out of the fire,
we give thanks that we are alive
to mourn and to grieve,
to remember the moments when
we were not sure we would make it,
and then that moment when
we knew we had.
We give thanks that we have this chance
to start over,
to receive kindness from others,
to build a new life
different from the one before.

We give thanks that we are alive.

If we are watching the fire from afar,
we give thanks that our home still stands
and our friends and neighbors are safe
and that we are breathing at all,
even through a mask:

We give thanks for our breath.

We give thanks for the coming rain,
which will fall on our faces,
and mingle with our tears,
and cool and wet the parched ground,
and put out the fires and soothe our fears.

We give thanks for the rain.

We give thanks for You, the force of life
that will rise greening
through the deepest ash
at the slightest touch of rain.
We give thanks for this chance
to ourselves rise from the ashes
as new beings
alive with love.

For all that is our life,
even now,
we give thanks.

Blessed be.

Fever Rising

Spirit of Life, Source of all Love:

Our planet has a fever.
Giant storms bring floods
that inundate whole countries.
Smoke rises from the ruins
of thousands of miles of forests.
Incalculable numbers of beings
suffer much worse things
than death.

How do we bear it?

How do we bear it,
knowing that it will get worse
before it gets better
and it may never get better
at all?

Help us allow ourselves to grieve.
Help us know that our grief
arises from our love
which arises from our interdependence
with all life on Earth.

If we can allow ourselves to grieve–
if we can sob and wail
and pound our pillows–
if we can release the tears
that clog our throats,
we can recover our voices.
We can come back to life.
We can act from our love
on behalf of all life.

Spirit of Life, power of greening:
nothing is stronger than You are,
You rise in the trees,
You swim in the waters,
You fly in the air,
You crawl on the earth.
You move in our hearts as Love:
Love that is stronger than death.

In our hour of need, we pray:
Rise in us and overflow
as the tears that express our love
and clear the way for you to move
as the wisdom we need
to know how to act
and the strength we need
to do it.

Rise in us, O Spirit of Life,
and help us make all things new.

Amen.  Ashe.  All our relations. Blessed be.

Be Not Afraid to Grieve

Spirit of Life, Source of all aid:
now is a time of lamentation.

It seems the whole world is on fire.
The smoke hurts our eyes and our lungs,
making it hard to breathe.

Ash falls on every surface,
the gray and white powder all that remains
of innumerable beings who once were alive.

Help us know that our grief and our pain
are the appropriate response
to what is happening here.

If we are weighed down by misery
and can hardly move our limbs
we are experiencing the normal reaction
to catastrophic loss,
which is what this is.

It is appropriate to feel pain
because we are part
of the body that is burning.
Our body is burning
and it hurts.

The First Peoples in this place
knew how to use fire
for its proper function:
Renewer of Life.
Each year when it began to rain,
the people painted with the fire stick
lightly, gently, lovingly,
and they managed these dry hills and forests
for every kind of being under the sun.

Trees, birds, elk, shrubs, flowers, mushrooms, deer:
all were part of the great interwoven circles of life
and all flourished with the gentle use of fire.

But when the whites came and took away the lands
they didn’t learn how to care for them
and fire went from Renewer of Life
to Destroyer of All Things
and this is the cost of believing
Nature is something outside ourselves
and all beings exist to serve us:
we are burning ourselves alive.

And so we must grieve.
There is no other way through this mess.

We have to let ourselves feel this pain
because it arises from our interbeing
with all that is;
it arises from our love.

Only when we know in our bones
how deeply we inter-are with this world,
and how passionately we love it,
can we change how we act
from now on.

Spirit of Life, Source of all aid:
help us be not afraid to grieve.

Blessed be.

Singing

Spirit of Life,
You who rise greening in our hearts
as well as in the vines of zucchini plants:

Now is a time of great abundance,
when fruits and vegetables of every kind
are piled in great heaps in the markets.

Queen Anne’s Lace blooms in the meadows,
the clear pools of the river beckon,
and the trees are so fragrant
we want to gulp in the delicious air.

Yet fire season has already begun
taking the homes and lives of many beings,
little children are still crying for their parents,
and many we love are sick and in pain.

Help us know that
this is the way of things here,
on this little blue planet
hurtling through the vast starry deeps:
there is always both at once.

Both ravishing beauty and terrible suffering,
both immense joy and agonizing pain,
both glorious celebration and overwhelming grief.

Help us know that whatever we are experiencing
You are with us, whatever we call You—
Love, God, Universe, or no name at all—

for You are the love that binds all wounds
dries all tears
and frees all who are captive
and You are right here in our hearts
singing.

Blessed be.

Artwork: Aditi – Goddess of the Boundless Sky by Peg Green