I’m Mad as Hell!

“I’m mad as hell,” shouts the famous line
from Paddy Chayefsky’s famous film, “Network.”
In the film the follow up line states,
“and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

I go through my moods, as do we all.
I try not to be captured by them,
or identified with them,
but instead to notice, accept,
and understand them.

Today, upon visiting Panther Meadows,
the most sacred site upon the sacred mountain, Shasta;
a place of Native People’s rituals for millennia;
a garden of alpine streams and wildflowers;
straight from a mountain-lover’s Eden;
for the first time in my life I stood in shock
before an arid mountainside and the barest trickle
of one small remaining stream.

I am a scientist and I know the difference
between periodic drought
and a catastrophic climate crisis.
I stood in sorrow mixed with despair,
then a touch of futility,
then anger.

My rage at humankind must pale
before the feelings of the Native Peoples
who had these lovely lands despoiled,
desecrated, and stolen from them.
Nonetheless, it is my rage,
my own to understand.

The intensity of this morning has passed
but the truth of what I feel remains.
I’m mad as hell and …
Here I don’t know what to do.
The hero of the film could cry
“I’m not going to take it any more!”
But what am I to shout as I shake my fist
in what seems a helpless wrath?

What are my options before the juggernaut
of a lost and impervious culture?
I return to myself and befriend my feelings.
I do not talk myself out of them
in the name of being nice and good.
Neither do I let them define my life.

I have some hope.
It is a hope that lies with ancient and shamanic peoples,
whose wisdom infiltrates small pockets of people,
scattered here and there around the world,
and causes them to dream a different dream,
beat a different drum, and sing a different song.
This ancient and authentic dream will not save
the world I know, for that world there is no hope.
But it may weave its melody through the ruins
in compassion and a call for resurrection.
For only in a Phoenix-like arising from the ashes
will a transformed humanity emerge.
This is a hope I hold within my deepest Soul.
I will not live to see it in this life,
but perhaps someday, somehow,
in the never-ending Story …?
In the meantime, it is hard, so hard
to have to watch the conflagration.

Dissolve

I sometimes look for things to do
to fill my day and justify
my being here at all.
This is just the age-old task
of holding a “self” in place.
It is a futile and illusory quest.
This search for a solid self
is a useless waste of time.

Wouldn’t it be nice to stop the effort?
Not that I want to die, but I’d like to stop
trying to find, hold, seek, discover, and exist.
It would be nice to relax my grip a bit;
to dissolve rather than solidify.

Don’t be concerned, I am far from suicidal.
Quite the opposite, I want more from life,
and that involves a dissolution.
Only flowing things can be alive.
Only changing things exist.
Purpose is an ever-morphing thing,
and meaning can’t be grasped.

I’m going to let the boundaries dissolve
as if I’d feasted on a magic mushroom.
Why make solid that which has to flow?
Why scrutinize each moment?
These moments pass far to quickly for such futile work.
I’m going to let this moment be,
and go on to the next,
and ride the river all the way.
The ocean’s waiting.
Welcome home.
Rest a bit.
Then back into the clouds to rain
and be the river once again,
and flow and flow,
and ever always flow.

Sigh

Some mornings are Edenic
with birdsong, cool breezes, and a lovely sliver
of the moon rising above Black Butte.
We sit outside and sip our morning coffee
and watch the swallows dip and dart.

Other mornings have a sinister air,
with wildfire smoke surfing on heat waves,
bringing vistas that hint at apocalyptic times.
We stay inside and check the fire updates,
and make sure our “bug out” kit is packed.

I try to watch the mornings come and go
without attaching meaning to the vista.
But I must confess that watching Siskiyou County
change in seven decades from a land of glaciered mountains,
rushing streams, and crystal lakes,
into a region best described as “high desert,”
brings tears, and makes our climate crisis clear

Nothing I can do about it, though.
I, like all the rest, must live the times I’m given;
and I do, with gratitude for what is gained
and what is lost in the Great Dance.
I’ll nurture land and tend to what is mine to do,
and perhaps one day, a millennia hence,
someone will wake near where I am today
and build a morning fire with wood
from trees I can’t imagine, and see the moon
rise in the dawning sky, and sing a song of gratitude
for all that came together to allow
his own special morning to arise.