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Lions Roar : March 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2009 71 we choose to love, we begin to move against domination, against oppression. The moment we choose to love, we begin to move to- ward the freedom to act in ways that liberate ourselves and others. That action is the testimony of love as the practice of freedom.” When the contemporary feminist movement was most pas- sionate, it endeavored to create a space for women and men to know true love in all our relations—not just in romantic bond- ings. It was so exciting. Now it’s mostly a power thing. For some of us, equality in the work world has merely intensified the struggles over power in private life. discussions of love remain taboo. It is easier to talk about sadomasochism in everyday life, embracing top and bottom, than to speak of love. It’s no wonder that on the wall over my kitchen sink are snap- shots of graffiti that proclaim: “The search for love continues even in the face of great odds.” Ultimately, it is only as we reclaim and celebrate the place of love in our lives that we can know and transcend the limits of unequal power. Opening our hearts to love, we return to that place of shared yearning and fulfillment where union and reunion are always possible. — MAY, 1996 Our Imperfect Paradise by Gretel Ehrlich JULY 7. As if anything could move or would, given the impetus...a deadday,awarday,orisitonlya dead eye looking at day? Sky singed gray goes dark. Then lightning dangles down, driving into the mountain like a bayonet, its handle on fire. Rain starts, stops. A wide hunk of rainbow severed from its arch rises behind the glacial erratic that marks my dog’s grave—a spectral post to which a passing piece of ice was once tied. As if anything could move even if it wanted to, not knowing it was dead, unable to lift a leg, gouge a bark from the throat, or cause an eyelid to lift the way the storm cloud does just now, peel- ing back, revealing snow and azure. It’s time to meditate but I don’t. Instead, I look: three ground squirrels stand upright on a pile of boulders, holding their tiny hands together, bringing them to their mouths, then down again, tipping their heads forward, bowing almost, in thunder, in threading rain. “The imperfect is our paradise,” the poet Wallace Stevens said. An evening walk over the forested glacial moraine to look down at a celadon lake—itself a kind of ancient Chinese vessel, sloshing, spilling, breaking open, pouring itself into another shattered vase. The pink day ends in flame. The tree trunk stirs black into chattering leaves that do not know what they are saying. The leaves are heart-shaped. They twirl on their stems and green needles rasp softly above the long meadow where ice once trav- eled, gouging, spilling, scouring, and heaving boulders from its white shoulders as it slid. Now there is no ice and what’s left of the wind is directionless, too shy to carry a storm. Radio on, teakettle whistling, war news from Iraq while a ra- ven flies northeast, cocking his shoulder each time he caws, let- ting himself fall a little as if he’d been hit, then righting himself, mocking our human confusion and penchant for war as a hard wind drives daylight away. Night. A sheet of charcoal clouds stretches into white lace: confusion letting in light. Jupiter hangs tough in the eastern sky. Idle thoughts: imagine if during a lifetime, the moon was full only once—fifty years to get full, fifty years to wane. This morning the London subway was bombed and three rob- ins fledged. They hatched out in a nest above my door. No human commotion bothered them. One by one they dropped down at my feet, froze in place, stumbled, and flew. The bombs were not dropped from planes but brought quietly onto a bus and three trains. Those who survived were soot-covered and badly burned. “They looked like night,” someone said. At dawn frost slid from the roof of my cabin. There was a clatter, then sudden rain. Silky phacelia stood purple and straight, pussy toes bowed their heads. Sun shot up above high mountains. A pine-covered moraine roared with green wind. Two sandhill cranes walked the ridge calling, calling. The last hanging cornice gave way to heat. Meltwater in the four gorges had already gone white. By the time Tom and I marry in August, snow will be on the way. —NOVeMBeR, 2005 Daughter Time by Rick Bass AFTeR FIFTeeN YeARS of listening and watching and hiking around and hunting this valley—fifteen youthful years, no less— we’re starting to learn some things. We’ll never know enough, nor even a fraction of what we’d like to, but we know where the wild strawberries are sweetest, in the tiny little lanes and clearings no larger than a house, where little patches of soft, filtered, damp light fall down from the midst of the old-growth larch forests, little clearings where the snowshoe hares come out of those old forests (despite the protestations of timber company biologists who say the rabbits—and their primary predators, lynx—don’t live back there) to nibble on those new sweet berries in July. Late in July, we like to try to get into some of those patches just before the legions of rabbits do, and pick a little basket of berries. The girls have a tiny doll’s basket (the berries are no larger than the nub of a pencil eraser, but contain more concentrated sweet- ness than an entire bushel of the mega-irradiated, supermarket jumbo-giants), and because I’m color-blind, I can’t find the tiny strawberries and have to rely on the girls to do the harvest. They’re delighted by my weakness, and by their sharp-eyed PHOTOBYJOSePHSeNUNNGeTUK