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Arrival

February 27, 2016

IMG_0989

6:45am – arrive at JFK airport wearing borrowed snow boots one size too big and 10 degrees too warm. Overshot the footwear, I guess. Maybe I’ll be grateful for them later, if I get to tramp around in real snow sometime this month.

Waiting my turn to pull luggage like fat root vegetables out of the overhead compartment. Bulky, heavy, heavy, then — quick-quick! don’t piss off the people behind you! — wrestle myself into the giant tortoise shell of a travel backpack and shimmy up the skinny airplane aisle. Already overheating. Long black chrysalis of a down coat and multiple scarves. Hauling my allotted “handbag” item stuffed with multiple other bags, all bulging with books, laptop, and non-liquid gifts for generous hosts.

Sounds like I’m complaining, but I’m one of the luckiest people on Earth right about now. A whole entire month of travel, meditation, visiting friends, and building community in NYC and Philadelphia.

Meanwhile, this weekend, in the Town I just left, something historic is happening. The mothers of Sandra Bland, Oscar Grant, Alan Blueford, Dale Grahm, Tamir Rice, Mike Brown, Sean Bell, and Eric Garner are gathering around Lake Merritt, converging from all over the country.

I’m trying not to think about that now. My hope is to zoom out for a month, to exist on a different, broader, slower plane, and shed some of the organizing mentality — do, do, do; keep up with the news — that seeps into my bones in Oakland. It’s easy to let go in some ways. New York’s gunpowder density reminds me of my insignificance. And with insignificance comes freedom.

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

MARY OLIVER
Wild Geese

It’s a pleasant time for me, personally. More than pleasant: an open, bright time. But there’s also a half-haunting, somewhere in the background, of despair and overwhelm.

Because meanwhile, smog-choked consumers in Beijing import clean air from Canada to breathe.

Meanwhile, wild geese might alight and die in oil pits.

wild geese die in oil pit

Meanwhile, dozens of Black mothers, gathering in bereavement and resistance, never asked for this place in the genocidal family of things.

I won’t be saying much here — just keeping track of some thoughts. A month of reading, sitting, stretching, focus, slowness. And some daily photo practice, too.

If you’re reading this, I hope you’re well, feeling loved and brave.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. newlifeoakland permalink
    March 1, 2016 7:34 am

    thank you dear one. blessed travels to the east, to friends, to self. love you <3

  2. newlifeoakland permalink
    March 1, 2016 7:34 am

    ^ richard!

  3. March 1, 2016 10:39 am

    awww! i was like, New Life Oakland? is there a nonprofit professing love to me now? :)

    thank you dear fren! i so look forward to talking w you on the other side! giving nyc a kiss for you.

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