Don’t try to put out a fire
By throwing on more fire!
Don’t wash a wound with blood.
No matter how fast you run,
Your shadow more than keeps up.
Sometimes, it’s in front!
Only, full overhead sun
Diminishes your shadow.
But that shadow has been serving you!
What hurts you, blesses you.
Darkness is your candle.
Your boundaries are your quest.
I can explain this, but it would break
the glass cover on your heart,
and there’s no fixing that.
You must have shadow and the light source both.
Listen and lay your head under the tree of awe.
When from that tree, feathers and wings sprout
On you, be quieter than a dove.
Don’t open your mouth for even a cooooooooo.
When a frog slips into the water, the snake
cannot get it. Then the frog climbs back out,
and croaks, and the snake moves toward him again.
Even if the frog learned to hiss, still the snake
Would hear through the hiss the information
He needed, the frog voice underneath.
But if the frog could be completely silent,
Then the snake could go back to sleeping,
And the frog could reach the barley.
The soul lives there in the silent breath.
And that grain of barley is such that,
When you put it in the ground,
Are these enough words, or shall I squeeze more juice from this?
Who am I, my friend? –Rumi
When I was young, my sister and I would go hiking behind the house. My grandmother gave my sister a necklace, and she buried it-gave it to God. We didn’t go to church, but she had such a strong need to relate to a higher power. And when I think of that house I grew up in, I see it from above, a bird’s eye view, and it’s always in summer. Green and lots of light. And I remember how when it rained at night, I could hear the sun come up on the leaves in the morning. A cascading rippling sound as they came alive. How I would climb up on the roof and look out and see how beautiful everything was.
We would hike those hills, and on two occasions, we hiked up to the highest point, even though, it contained many tall weeds up to our chests. We worried about all of the possible snakes in the grass but continued on, and when we got to the top… It was unreal. I wanted to jump off and go into nothing. But I couldn’t. But I wanted to-I felt unloved and wanted to go back, but I didn’t. And this impulse, I have felt it many times in my life. And at the top, you could see our house and all of the houses, and how everything that seemed like it stood alone and was hidden in these hollows, was clear on top of the mountain, everything was all part of one painting. Not hidden at all. You see it, you experience it, and it’s there. No hiding it. All of the years of covering it up, of layering it, so I didn’t have to look at it, so I could avoid the pain-and when I shut my eyes I also came blind to joy. Maybe I can turn it all into something beautiful. And I really believe the time is now.
I had two reoccurring dreams as a child. The first one is the most powerful I suppose. It deals with tiger lilies, and I like the name even more than the beauty of the flower. A lily is so feminine sounding and fragile, and a tiger is ferocious. And in our bedroom, there were two ferocious pictures. One hanging in front of each of our twin beds. A lion and a tiger. The tigers and tiger lilies. A flower that grows wild and that you can uproot and plant anywhere. The reoccurring dream came from a memory. At the bottom of the long and winding hill, my mother parked the car. I must have been around three. I watched Sesame Street and the Electric Company, so when she said she had to get some lilies, I thought frogs and lily pads. She must have said stay in the car. In my dream, the same happened, but I got out and walked across the road to the creek and peeked through the brush. I saw my mom leading other women, their skirts were pulled up in the water, and they gathered bloody lily pads and put them in the bags made from their held up skirts. She was a witch. She was evil. They would be stronger but wouldn’t be loved. And maybe it was the time. Men wanted to destroy us because we no longer could allow them to destroy us. The 80s came and more women’s rights. Period blood and the pill. The revolution. A new world entering even isolated places like where I was from. Lots of garbage came and diapers floating in the trees. We are raped. We are flogged. We are humiliated and stuck like the diapers in the tree. It feels sexual, and we’re reminded we’re trash. I am young when I imagine this. I am young when I feel this, and I’m frightened.
The other dream is me and two versions of my mother. I am on a landing and two of my mothers stand on either side of me on opposing staircases. One is angry and the other is sweet. Then the angry one acts sweet and the sweet one is angry with urgency. They tell me to choose one to come to, and they come closer and closer to me on the stairs. I have to choose to remain safe but don’t know, and I am sure I will choose the wrong one. I am stressed, and then I wake up.