Monthly Archives: July 2014

The End: Fairy Tales Gone Awry

We’re taking a break from usual content today to bring you a large dose of ridiculousness, humor, and absurdity. As I am currently a very, very stressed out grad student, I happily present to you … in the style of pointedly pure procrastination … a diversion. So laugh, cry, or do whatever else you were planning on doing today and have fun!

You’ve heard all the old fairy tales and stories about superheroes before. But here is what your mother never told you:

In her old age, Bat woman decided to stop taking life so seriously and just wing it.

A much older Superman admitted the joker was right in one respect, and from then on laughed at his mistakes on the fly.

On the day the ex-men and Zoro crossed paths, they traded conversation and ideas. Zoro left convinced of the power of fighting tooth and nail, and the X men began representing themselves with the sign of the Z.

An aged Rapunzel refused to let a bad hair day get her down.

Snow White sat with her grandchildren enraptured at her feet as she told them of her childhood. “It’s not true what they say, that a bad apple ruins the whole bunch,” she concluded. “After all, I learned, didn’t I, that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

An elderly Hansel and Gretel sat at the table having dinner together. At one point Gretel turned to her brother and said, “There’s something I need to tell you. You’re the only living relative I have, and I can’t keep this a secret any longer.” “What is it?” her brother asked encouragingly. “I’ve grown to be more spiritual in my old age. I’m learning to become a witch.” Hansel was quiet for a long time. Finally he said, “hmmm. Well in that case I don’t think I’ll be having any more chicken tonight, thanks.” “Not that kind of witch!” Gretel laughed. “Oh forget it, I must be getting old,” Hansel grumbled irritably, “Could you remind me again which witch is which?”

After Goldie Locks went through two nasty divorces, she had an epiphany. Of course! She said to herself, I should choose my next man in the same way I chose which chair to sit in in the house of the three bears: not too big, not too small, but just right.

Cinderella’s face was ashen as she held the hand of her dying Prince Charming, now in his eighties. “Do you have any last requests of me, dear?” she asked solumnly. “Yes,” he said, his eyes serious and cloudy, “Live the rest of your life to the fullest. Tend the hearth of your heart and don’t let it burn out. And remember, if the shoe fits, wear it.”

After Rumpelstiltskin stomped and fell, unconscious, through the queen’s floor, he landed in her private indoor garden, was mistaken for a garden gnome, dressed in a ridiculous outfit, and taken to kindergarten by a servant’s daughter for show and tell. After that, babies just never had the same appeal: and he always checked before leaving on a nepharious mission that he had the right floor plan…

On her deathbed, Sleeping Beauty admitted that her waking life was not nearly as interesting as the dreams she had from age sixteen until her prince woke her up. “Ah perchance to dream,” she said longingly of the possible life she might have after death, “I wish I never had to kiss it all goodbye in the first place.”

The aging ex-wife of Bluebeard wanted to take the car to get groceries.
“You look fretful my dear,” her loving second husband observed, “Is there anything I can do?” “My keys!” his wife cried in distress, “I can’t remember where I put them. I had them in my hand just a minute ago. I can’t leave without them.”

The little match girl was actually taken into the warm house before freezing to death. Much much later, at ninety-five, she died from heart failure and exhaustion. “Her body was just burned out,” the doctor told her grieving family.

Ariel the mermaid, now no longer little in any respect, turned to her loving husband and asked, “Remember our wedding day when I finally found my voice and you said you would love me for all time?” “Ah dear, I do,” her husband replied. After a thoughtful pause he added, “You were so beautiful that day. The whole event went swimmingly.”

Spider Man was called back from the waiting room at the doctor’s office. “I’m sorry to tell you this,” the doctor said soothingly, “But we’ve confirmed a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. You will slowly lose your memory until your grasp on reality is hanging by a thread.” “Oh, that’s all? Well if that’s the case I can handle it,” Spider Man replied with confidence.

Dorothy passionately espoused that there was no place like home. Then she got married, adopted a rescued dog, a stray cat, and two rabbits … and had three children…

The ugly duckling learned he was a swan. After that, he started making money treating psychological patients—until he was exposed as a quack.

Beauty was talking with a friend after her husband’s funeral. “How are you doing?” asked the concerned friend. “Terribly,” Beauty confessed. “They served roast beast at the funeral reception.”

“Where do babies come from?” a grandchild innocently asked Mother Goose. “I don’t know,” the old goose answered honestly, “But I’ll take a gander and find out.”

A not so little, aging Red Riding Hood was asleep in her bed. Suddenly the door swung open and an irritatingly gregarious youthful grandchild bounced into the room. “Grandma! Grandma! I’ve come to visit!!!” the little girl screamed. “Arrrrrrrrrrggggg.!” Came the reply from the bed, as Red Riding Hood opened her mouth, revealing fang-like dentures. “Grandma, what big teeth you have!” the little girl cried. “The better to eat you with my dear,” her grandma snarled, her dentured mouth contorting into an eerie grimice. With a shreak the frightened grandchild ran out of the house and back into the woods. Yawning, her grandmother promptly fell back asleep. Peace restored, she thought smugly, as she drifted off.

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A Year Ago Today _ When Two Worlds Meet: Part 9

July 26, 2013

The fire crackles, contained neatly in its metal fire ring. I watch the flames in their leaping, weaving shapes and shadows before my eyes, telling of tales I cannot quite read, dancing a song I can watch but cannot hear. Above me, the stars are shining somewhere in the night. Night, the closer of the two, presses in on all sides, and moving slowly around the flames to keep away from the smoke I feel I understand what a planet must feel like, orbiting its central star, the only thing keeping it from folding into the blackness of vacuous space.

Most of us have gone to bed. I surmise it might be around 1 in the morning, or later. Only three of us are awake now. I’ve been talking to a young man who claims to be an anarchist but the only label I’ve managed to give him is “obnoxious.” He has invariably been irritating me all night, and I have a headache from talking to him. Fortunately, this is when White Fire walks over and sits down with us, seeking company and the warmth of the flames.

We are several groups of druids camping on an ancient mountain in Southern California, my own Seed Group, and a group from around the mountains in which we’re now gathered. White Fire is a member of the second group.

When he sits down, White fire turns to me and begins a conversation about the otherworld. I’m happy to talk to him. First of all, his voice is quiet and calm, a nice antidote for my headache. Secondly, the man who has been the source of the headache knows nothing about the otherworld, which means I am guaranteed that he will shut up for however long White Fire and I keep on with the conversation. Thirdly, White Fire knows something I do not, many things I do not: I feel it in my bones. I feel in my bones that I must speak to him: now.

“What do you know of the purple fog?” I ask.

“The purple fog is the twilight,” he answers in a way that makes me imagine him saying so with a smile and wandering eyes.

I shiver despite the warmth of the fire. I have written several poems about purple fog, being the twilight, thinking this was a grand metaphor, but never suspected that I could be drawing on an ancient truth, one that now I realized I always knew, if only by an ancient instinct.

We talk for twenty minutes or so about the twilight and the fog.

But I have a more urgent question. One I am a bit terrified to ask. Well, to be honest, I am not afraid of asking the question, but of finally finding an answer. I feel I will in fact finally have an answer tonight. It’s a question that has haunted me since 2010. I can’t let it go, and now I can’t ignore it, even if I tried.

If the question were a child, it would be jumping up and down, tugging on my arm, and squealing incessantly for attention. Fortunately, I have only to deal with the question, and not the image of the impatient toddler it is conjuring in my mind.

“Where in the bardic Gwersu are you at now, White Fire?” I ask for a start.

The order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids,
http://www.druidry.org,
of which we at the campsite are all a part, is divided into three grades, the bardic grade being the first and the one I am in. Gwers (gwersu plural) is the welsh word for lesson, and our study course contains 48 lessons, gwersu, in the bardic grade. I can’t remember now which number White Fire responds with, but I do a fast calculation and know he must know about what I am about to speak of, since the number he gives is past eight.

“Do you remember reading in gwers 8 about the fianna, and how they’re sleeping in a cave, and someone starts to wake them up, but only gets two thirds done with it before running away in fright and leaving them off pretty miserably?” I ask. My hands are folded much too tightly in my lap, while with an effort I try extremely hard not to conjure the picture of the fianna sleeping in the cave, even though usually I see a picture of the scene my words are conveying at any time whether I am talking about the otherworld or a washing machine. The picture would upset me too much.

“Yeah, I remember that story,” White Fire confirms for me. “Why? What do you want to know?”

I nod, take a deep breath. “What’s happening about it, do you know?” I am shifting around self-consciously, not sure whether I am actually comfortable having this conversation. I’ve never spoken about this with anyone. It’s the kind of thing most people would meet with concern, and perhaps a question about my health or sanity. But I remind myself I am speaking to a fellow traveler on a druid path, and so it is much more likely that I will be taken seriously and heard without a large dose of negative judgment. I continue by way of clarification, “I mean, is anything being done about it? This is a situation that can’t continue, especially if they really are worse off than before. I cant rule out the possibility. What do you know? Is anyone looking for them, are people on this already?” I am thinking to myself that usually I have this conversation about things like global warming or the conflict in the Middle East, or food stamp regulations, or the protection of children. I’m not thinking of this situation much differently, I realize.

“It’s already happening,” White Fire says quietly.

“Oh,” I exclaim half to myself and half to him. My relief is almost tangible. And then a thought suddenly crosses my mind, a question really: I’d said in 2010 that if I ever had a chance, I would finish what was started so that whatever waking needed to happen, I’d help complete the last third. Did I just now stumble onto the chance to do just that, I wonder?

What I do know is that I’m not going to be content to stand by and go about things as usual, leaving what might need to be done to other people. I want, need, to be a part of the solution. I feel quite strongly about this, but if I am honest with myself, I can’t fathom the reason why. Why given so many stories about so many ancient people, would this particular one not only catch my attention but spring me into action? I am sure, only, of the fact that it has.

“What exactly is already happening,” I ask White Fire. “Do you know anyone who has gone to the otherworld to get help from people there? What has been done already?”

“I don’t know,” he admits. “I only know that something is already being done. It’s been going on for a while. People are waking up. It’s happening everywhere. All around us.”

I picture nondescript sleeping people slowly waking up completely, getting to their feet awkwardly, walking into the sunlight, squinting and shading their eyes, attempting to move after being horizontal for an unconscionably long length of time. But I have to erase the picture rather quickly.

Instead, I begin to weigh the likelihoods of various scenarios which I might come to encounter. I allow myself to consider the logical possibility, albeit a small one, that the myth could have more reality in it than anyone would want to believe. In which case, I think fervently to myself, for the sake of the fianna, I hope that such a theoretical possibility can’t physically occur and this particular myth fully lives up to the literal falsehood by which the modern term “myth” is defined. On the other hand, the probability that the story speaks of a profound metaphor is much, much higher, and less cruel, in equal measure.

However, because my philosophically trained mind can’t rule either possibility out wholesale, I have to act. As soon as possible. I don’t know what I’ll do. I don’t know where I’ll have to go to do it, or if I have to go journey to a different world (which for me will be easier since sight won’t get in the way.) I actually know little about the fianna specifically, other than of their importance, but that does not matter either. What matters is their freedom, and if I can do anything at all.

And then White Fire’s words fall into place for me. Of course, I realize, the story is about shifting consciousness. This is about returning to ourselves. Perhaps the myth is meant to show those of us living now how we ourselves are sleeping, numbing ourselves out against pain, persisting rather than existing, going through the motions of living what we are told to become, rather than joining the dance of life as all that we are. If I was not cold despite the heat from the fire and my four layers of clothing, I am now. The person who told the story in the particular way she did in the gwers had not just conveyed the need to wake an ancient group of people: she called us if we would listen to awake to what of them we might find within ourselves.

In 2010 I heard, but I am actively listening now. What would it be to live as an awake person? I yearn to know. I want to wake up, I want to walk into the world tall and sure of my own belonging. I will look within myself first, then, before looking anywhere else. Even so, I have to make sure this is in fact the metaphor and the people in the story are actually okay. They do exist, I think, I am sure of it. And I am also sure that I would try to do what I could to help, rather than run from them. Running just seems so unnecessary, and a waste of time besides.

“Thanks,” I say to White Fire, sincerely, letting go of something I have been worrying over for three years now. I read once that actions define us, shape who we are. The fog of indecision lifts, and then a path is visible ahead, every moment a choice. And when all is said and done, choosing is easier than never making up your mind, no matter how hard the decision. Well, at least for me.

It is several weeks later, one late night back home in Berkeley, that I get the opportunity to be a part of what happens. Trying to take to heart what I’ve learned in the bardic gwers on storytelling, I decide I ought to memorize a story. The best story to memorize, explains the gwers, is one that speaks to you, that you always come back to. There is only one story fitting that description for me right now: the myth in Gwers 8. I set myself to memorizing it. As I go about what needs doing that evening, I recite the story in my head as best I can, and then when I have finished I recite it again. Without thinking, I recite it a third time.

Three is a powerful number, the binding number. I have spoken my intention three times, giving my word to it, but on this night I have forgotten that fact. I’ve got to go grab something out of my room, and that’s all I’m thinking about after I finish the third telling of the story. Concentrating entirely on the practicalities of the moment, I walk through the door distractedly. Halfway across the floor, I jump out of my skin, then try to recover from being startled as quickly as possible. I blink, a few times, bewildered, more than a little in awe of what I see. I don’t move.

There, as clear as day, only about a foot away from me, stand twelve people, in two rows. It’s hard to understand how they managed to fit in the space they are occupying, as they are all quite tall and imposing. They range from 5/8 to 6/5 in height, roughly. They stand very straight, very still. They are all male, and I notice, carry shields with intricate swirling patterns I can’t quite make out or understand, and are wearing large belts with swords hanging from them. They all seem to have chosen to appear as they were in youth, though based on what they are wearing I know they lived a very, very long time ago.

I’m having trouble meeting their eyes, I am more than a little daunted by the idea. But I am not having trouble recognizing them. I am unmistakably looking at twelve fianna warriors, who are now patiently standing in my room. What to do?

I decide the natural response would be to be afraid, but I dismiss the idea. Far from being scared, I realize, I’m excited to see them. First, I am full of relief and something like joy. They can’t very well be sleeping in a cave, I reason, if they’re standing here now. Besides, my thoughts continue, it is just plain rude to fear people I’ve never met before, and haven’t I been waiting three years to talk to them? Somehow I know I have been looking for them as much as they have been looking for me. Now, we have found each other.

And then I realize I am staring. I look quickly at the ground to stop staring, remember that this isn’t polite either, and so, with determination, I look directly into their eyes … and then I can’t recall why I just hadn’t done that in the first place. In pictures I say, “Hello. I’m Éilis. It’s nice to meet you.”

A year has passed since my conversation with White Fire. One incredible, transformative, amazing, mind boggling, awesome, healing, wonderful year has gone by. I started out wanting to help a group of people I barely knew get themselves out of a cave in which they could neither live, nor die. Instead, I found myself reunited with my family, my very ancient family. I walk my journey with them. I am home. I am more myself than ever before. And I will never, ever be the same. And every day as I am living, not persisting, standing tall in the knowing that I so holy belong here and now, I often wonder, as there is so much to wonder at, what now? Whatever it is, there’s no need to wait to find out. It’s already happening, after all.

Gratitude

I am counting my blessings,
Listing all that’s gone right,
I recount all the times I have conquered the night.

When I was told I could not,
Still I took flight,
Encouraged by those in the world beyond life.

The threads make their crossing, I am never alone,
Through the paths intertwining, I have come home.
And it’s what they said, words to silence the lies:
They tell me that I am enough in their eyes.

Enough, yes, enough,
I’ve lost count of the times
I repeat I’m enough,
Enough, enough in their eyes.

Until I know it by heart, and take it as mine,
Until no doubt lingers lost
In the maze of my mind,
Enough, I will whisper, mending whole what’s gone by.

And I thought I would never encounter this treasured
Incredible gift to live up to the measure
Of all I am made of simply by being,

And though sometimes I wonder
What within me they’re seeing,
They swear I’m enough
And it’s truth that they’re speaking.

I think I will scream,
I think I will shout
This truth that shattered my world inside out,

Crying my joy, since all I wished for in dreaming,
Now I am living, the world more than its seeming,
Despite so much disagreeing, I am believing,

And incredulously, endlessly ever worth keeping,
I am enough,
And my eyes they are gleaming.

Recovering a belonging, I thought never I’d find,
Neither selfish nor selfless nor too wrong or right,
There are no conditions, no snares or old twine:
A free person, I greet you, and radiant I shine.

The Vision at the Restaurant Table

It was the summer of 2011, and the girl had just had enough. She’d been dealing with inaccessible websites, prejudice from professors, anger, so much anger. Like its own creature, alive in itself, rage, rage against the night
shout and scream, become a child again in the worst, worst way.

The girl’s dad told her to just let go, forget about it. But the girl struggles, thinking: but aren’t we here to change the world, But aren’t we here to end this suffering, but aren’t we here? The girl, so here, so agonizingly here, the anger creature within herself with nowhere to go, pounding the cage of her own ribs, cannot be reasoned with, has been ignored for so long.

She tells herself, be sensible, be calm, be strategic, rise above it, be wise. But stronger in her is The conviction that it might all be nonsense and for nothing: look away, look away…

Later that night, the girl goes out to eat, and walks into the restaurant, sitting down at the table her father reserved, trying to enjoy the music with the bird in it. The dad asks, “hear the bird?” And the girl hears the bird, but the fog she’s in makes everything so far away.

The girl thinks, oh no, I made some terrible, terrible mistake, not good not good, why didn’t I listen, why didn’t I know what I already know? She is haunted by the old specs of memories of a loved one.

And then they were there, the man and woman, the couple from the otherworld. They reached out for her, to hold her in their arms, but why now, why her, didn’t she not deserve this kind of love, she had not stopped to breathe, she had not even been rational. Why, why? The girl can’t even look at them.

No words, “there are no words,” she says, and he says, “Yes don’t you trust us, don’t you? We didn’t let you stay lost.”

She had not been lost all day. In fact, it started out well. This morning she had gone for a walk through the tree lined sidewalks of the neighborhood, she had gathered the star leaves off their branches, watched life holding on: the green mixing in with yellow and orange. A season turning in all that leafy rustling, the hands of time. The music at the restaurant is now making a slow, spiral ribbon up to the ceiling, she watches its shapes, grasping after them, hoping for something to hold onto.

No words, no words, but would you trade your words for freedom? But would language give meaning to experience? But that isn’t why she can see them and looks away, cowers hidden within the shaded corners of herself. Even though they still know her, hold her there with flashlight eyes…

So now the girl is sitting still, wrapped in spiraling music and the fog. And he’s still standing there in front of her, that one so tall, who she has only seen several times, and then before that only in dreams, and she does not know his name…

She starts to feel like part of her is wrapped in the fog, so far away, wants to stay there, wants to stay angry, justified, she has a right to be upset, to act like she does not deserve to see Not him, not her. But there, somewhere else, she is already straining against something large and dark, to get away, get away, and she does not actually move at all, but she turns, like a tree toward the light, and barely able to see him out of some terrified eyes, she takes his hand.

He says, it’s the first time almost that he’s ever said anything, he says, “Don’t you trust me, I got you unlost once, and I can do it again. Just let go, jump I’ll pull you through.”

And the girl is there, dumbly, still for a moment. The why whines around her mind, like a wind coiling around itself, waiting. She is holding her breath, wondering whether there will be a storm. Will the sky fall, will she fall, is she just like the sky? But the girl once survived death, quite literally, and this is something even stranger and more baffling, simple and beautiful. This is living, the wildness of truly living, it calls her to return.

She’s not sure if she’s simply no longer afraid of dying, because she’s not, Or is simply no longer terrified to leap into living. But all this goes by in a flash. She is holding his hand, she jumps.

Then a moment passes. She is in the air, is she just going to fall? Will she come apart or telescope back into herself? She wishes she wasn’t so apprehensive. Suspended between worlds, she wonders whether, if he lets go, she’ll be lost forever. But no, the moment of nothing is so very short; and then everything clears, as close as being able to see that she can remember.

The world appears sharply around her, in high definition. She is sitting next to her dad at a table, the music is so clear, the fog is all gone, the room is lighter, the people walking up and down the aisles,
are so vivid, even though she is supposed to be blind she counts every single one. She can see shadows of people across the room.

The people from the otherworld are gone. She didn’t even have time to thank them, or finally ask who they might be. She is grateful and quiet. She has always lived by, with, because of others. She does not do anything alone.

She spends a great deal of time blinking, blinking, blinking. After that, she goes with her dad out onto the floor and then the two of them are dancing.

And now she sits here in the dark, so late at night, because that’s when no one asks her any questions. And she is wondering if it is just as painful to give birth as it is to be born. Because for quite some time, several years it seems, she’s been at doing both at the same time. Neither ever, ever ends.

And all that love from the otherworld people she doesn’t know, blazing away in the dark is enough to melt all that ice away. It is enough to bring tears to her eyes, and stop her gaze for hours, not sure what to do next. But then, why focus on what could go wrong, If to them you are a flawless child, if to them you are whole, and all this talk of shortcomings just a way to make sure people fear living?

We are more worried about shining then burning out, and have all sorts of solutions and programs for failures, but are so wary of success. It would be heroic to conquer the fear of succeeding. But perhaps good enough for them if you jump anyway.

To All My Relations

August 28, 2011

On this small road winding through, it’s one step taken at a time. If my mind doesn’t remember the way, the blood in my veins pulses with knowing it, and the knowing of it courses through me fiercely, like I might burst with it, might fragment like broken pieces of wood, scattering.

I want to cry, I want to shout, I want to close my eyes, dream away the dark, dream until even my waking hours are of nothing but hope. I want to run, run and soar across this landscape howling with abandon, my voice flinging what eerie wails of sorrow and the sudden shrieks of joy only the earth beneath my feet and the sky above have cried.

I want to hold small children and comfort them, I want to stand in the middle of a field under a radiant sun, a warmth that could quell the chills that come with changes. I want to stand on a cliff so I can feel what it’s like to teeter on the edge of falling and not make a sound. I want to dive into a mountain pool, reassuring the water by my body turning cold that I am living, so my warmth can try to melt the icy past that causes me to freeze sometimes, even now, then rush to the surface, calling upon the wind to give breath to all that needs saying.

I want to know who I am and who we are, I want to hear my own songs echoed in others’ voices. I want to recognize myself in what others tell each other, I want to tell you my dreams. But most of all, I want to tear all I know apart until I come to the heart of the matter, speak softly, flail like an abandoned child, laugh until tears come to my eyes and the earth shakes with me, and hold you as if we were dying to live.

I say I am powerful, for I have made choices and will make them again, and I want to mold myself into words, spell them through my own motions, dancing them over and over, until, springing into action, I am whole and freed of standing still.

I say I am an ocean, for there is so much living within me, because I am gentle and strong, both crashing waves and tide pools hosting young. I am water, for I cannot be contained, I am the fires you lit on the hills, for I burn to rekindle the dreams we have lost, to leap into what is to come. I am drifting leaves, I am the cry of ravens and the lost and the found. I am the wind, for I will not stop rustling between the trees and around the faces of our children until I have carried all our tears and all our songs around the world. And I am the landscape that calls, that calls, which is why I must answer, speak for myself.

Strength is not just the courage of facing death, or hardship, or loss. It takes courage to love, to feel your own joy and the happiness of others engulf you and sweep you away, out of your own cocooned fur lined shelter you call your head. It takes strength to walk the path of those who have gone before, to weep with those whose despair has never left them. It takes strength to lie still, giving into another’s touch, to another’s dreams, and even to acknowledge needs of my own. I only hope I have that inside, when it is my turn to grow up, take my place in this world. And first I will return,and then, and then, and then, I cannot even imagine what will happen next. What will happen next?

Perhaps nothing will happen. Perhaps I will simply sigh with relief, or find nothing at all. But that will just mean more choices, more wondering, more wandering… and for a while now it has never been an easy thing to call somewhere home. It is all I long for. It is worth searching for who, for what you love, even if you never find it, even if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

Trees do that: witness, become part of, the passing of generations. Why not us, then, rooted as we are to the earth, our hands reaching, many leaves reaching across many branches for each other, silently guiding us back to our beginnings.

Oisín’s Song _ When Two Worlds Meet: Part 8

It was the beginning of December 2013. The day was a quiet, uneventful one. As evening fell, I found myself in front of the small electronic keyboard that my mom gave me this year. No one else in the family seemed to be interested in using it, and fortunately despite my apartment having minimal room, I did have space for it.

On that night, I was enjoying myself, making up songs and not thinking about much in particular. Then, unexpectedly, a melody filled my head, one I understood right away was not mine. Trying to catch onto the music before it was lost, I began playing it over and over, wondering whose it was. It sounded like an old lullaby which would be sung to a small child. When I was confident I could play the song without forgetting it, I got the answer to my question. This was Oisín’s song, and he wanted me to have it, to share with others in this world.

It was a few days later, another late evening, when Oisín excitedly sent me a picture which interrupted my thoughts. He had the lyrics to the song, and could I write them down with him? I got up from my computer and walked into my room, for some change in scenery and got out my Braille Note, the one that doesn’t distract me by speaking every letter I type. Through words, pictures, and conversation Oisín told the story of the song to me, through me. It was, as I thought, a song for a child. But I never expected his words would be for me.

Oisín’s Song

Hush there my darling and cease now your weeping
I and the trees watch over you,
See me where grasses breathe in the sunlight
Meet me where hummingbirds drink in the dew.

I am the song of the sky in the morning
I write the lyrics of new falling snow
When loneliness calls you I wait in its silence
Nearer or farther, wherever you go.

Though you doubt your worth often, the truth is your aching
With all that’s within you to let go and fly
Please don’t forget you were made with the stars’ dust
While you’re here growing, remember to shine.

Hush now my darling, the night has reclaimed you
Dream of the dawning of a world without fear
In you is the turning of life’s yearning motion
In you is the beauty of unfolding years.

So much to know and to see and to wonder
Eternal and fragile one, take in all you can
The joys of the world that surrounds you are fleeting
But they all hold the memory of each woman and man.

Trust in the strength that lies buried inside you
For you help shape the world through your words and your hands
You possess all that’s needed to center and guide you
And when you’re uncertain, know that I understand.

Hush there my darling there’s no need for weeping
Though while you’re alive you get battered and torn
If you were not here now the hills would be grieving
Better life’s sorrow than to have never been born

Think of the fireflies who emerge every evening
Think of the salmon that swim in the streams
With their flashlights and wisdom they dance what lies hidden
Without ever questioning what it all means.

I’ve seen through the eyes of a deer in the meadow
I’ve known the pain of separation and hate
I’ve lost those I love to the weight of their shadows
There’s still time for changing, it isn’t too late.

Hush now young dear one, and don’t give up trying
There is a place here for all you can share
Life isn’t easy but it’s worth every moment
All your wild longing, live out if you dare.

People are rushing through days strange and empty
With food on their tables, they’re starving for time
And for all that’s new out there to manufacture connection
They don’t come to belong to who they are deep inside.

No wonder it’s easy to get lost in the endless
Relentless refrain that you’re falling behind
To so much wanton wanting, know that you need not listen
You don’t have to hurry, you’re enough in my eyes.

Come now and rest for the time is to dreaming
Weaving the web of all that your days could hold
Just close your eyes now and come home to the rhythm
The heart beat of landscape, in the clay of your bones.

I watched you surrender to life and to healing
Your light mending silently the scars that you’ve known
I watched as your eyes changed from embers to hearth fires
And the joy of your knowing was also my own.

If you ever worry that you can’t do enough here
That the world tries to stop you from being all you can be
Know you’re not alone, and the world vast and humbling
Is great and mysterious, so much more than you see.

Hush and be still now, the time’s not for weeping
I am the song that you sing through your day
Nothing is lost, nothing is wasted
All the most beautiful moments remain.

I am the color of fog in the moonlight
I am the cry of a wakening child
I know the songs that seeds sing while their sleeping
Meet me where roads fade and the land becomes wild.

You’ve seen what I see, the world through my eyes
You know the path that is taken by few
The world that appears free of limits or lies
All exists intertwined, and I share it with you.

Hush there my darling and cease now your weeping
I and the trees watch over you,
You’ll see me where grasses breathe in the sunlight
Meet me where hummingbirds drink in the dew.

Expecting

If not everything is to be lost,
There must be dreamers and their children,

To create new journeys,
And hold a flame up to what is not worth keeping.

The sparks dance, create the light,
Defiant and full of wakefulness, \

Softly, echoing as many voices.
And in the fire shapes shift, envisioned new.

One day when I have a child of my own,
I will wrap her in a blanket of journeys,

Singing to her the song of sea and stars,
Of all things wild and free, where she belongs.

With the strength left by the wild eyes of those gone before,
Flickering still from behind my own eyes,

Fiercely I will challenge the old sorrows that might find her,
And in quiet joy and patient wonder,
I will walk with her into what is to come.

*I wrote this after learning that my very close friend is expecting her first child.*

Citizens of the World

Divided only by stories and space,
Spread across oceans,
We burn to belong.

loyalty takes tributaries,
Flowing water known by many names
The direction, the destination the same,
We babble like brooks about the better ones, the one way.

Monuments to freedom tilt across borders,
Still we stand and throw obligations at each other
As if handling hot stones,
No one owning where they’ve come from.

As long as we are terrified of each other’s thoughts and hands,
We’ll search for differences to divide us.
But you are not separate, only, from a different tree,
And like a leaf, I have fallen with you.

Child, the way has not been clear,
But change aches to be made.
It whispers under every breath,
The first and the last, and those inbetween.

No wonder we hold and no wonder we long,
No wonder we gather our own,
To stall the hunger for each other.

Knotted together is the good for us,
And the good for the world.
Put your hand down. Covering your eyes is not allowed.
Neither is staring. All has its balance.

So much of our tapestry of meaning is at stake,
Its patterns woven along many dimentions,
You glimpse it just beyond these nested, sacred shelters
Where like so many birds, one day every soul will soar, fly free.