A quote from Masked And Anonymous, the 2003 movie starring Bob Dylan. I highly recommend watching it. It's especially appropriate for the current state of affairs. Some great lines, including the one above.
What ever is going on and who ever is behind it, it's really successful and effective. You can smell the fear.
I just came back from a trip to the local Whole Foods Market. A few of us there, unmasked. The atmosphere was that of a flock of muffled, bleating sheep frightened by wolves, the fear of hunted animals.
It's for sure a homemade mask crafted no doubt, with love and good intention, from someone's flannel nightgown or table cloth, will keep you safe from harm.
And now, after how many weeks of panic, we are no longer allowed to bring our own bags into the store to self-pack because, as the cashier said, 'it's better to be safe than sorry' as if I'm in danger from my own shopping bags. Shouldn't someone be worried about the danger present from the clothing I'm wearing? Must I shower and go in naked?
And why would we wear our masks while driving our cars alone? Do we need to protect ourselves from ourselves? And why are we afraid to have friends and family in our homes? How long will that go on, because surely the virus won't just disappear. Someone could always be carrying it.
We peek out our windows, hiding behind our curtains, watching the comings and goings of our neighbors so we can turn them in, report their activities, alert the authorities.
Whose life are you worried about? Just your own?
Are you not worried about the lives of the people who are killing themselves because of the abuse of power, loss of income, loss of home, loss of business.
Who should we report to regarding this increase in suicides or the intensified domestic violence, that so often leads to death.
Ask a few more questions. Remove the gag.
"We live in a world of spin and hype, messaging and image, of official lying so routine that it has lost its ability to shock us. Therefore, no longer do the hierarchs of Western society seem able to proclaim, "So shall it be," and thereby speak wonders into existence. The mystical incantations of the Federal Reserve no longer conjure prosperity. The rituals of the medical establishments, despite their hyperbolic elaborations, cannot dispel new-wave diseases like autoimmunity, allergy, Lyme, and cancer. The rites of injection, the pill, the divinatory test, and the procedure have lost their magic potency...we no longer know what we believe or believe what we know. We are entering a space between stories." Charles Eisenstein - Forward to Come Of Age: The Case for Elderhood in a Time of Trouble by Stephen Jenkinson.
There is a pause, a still point, that exists between the in-breath and the out-breath, the space between the notes. Words are breath and stories are words and we know who we are by our stories. And perhaps what needs to change is the meaning we attach to the stories we tell.
Photo by Robson Hatsukami Morgan on Unsplash
Being Fed By The Dead
I often walk in Lone Fir Cemetery in southeast Portland, Oregon. It is always busy with the restless spirits of the dead. Very few of them are tended, the dead I mean, not the graves.
No one I know is buried there. I am a visitor.
The first burial on this piece of land was in 1846. Now there are more than 25,000 graves scattered about under more than 700 specimen trees of 67 different species. Some of the trunks and roots have grown around and swallowed up the headstones. All of the trees are being fed by the bodies of the dead.
Today the cemetery was filled with the living. They gathered in the sunshine on lawn chairs and chatted. They lounged on blankets, reading. They strolled, they jogged, they roller bladed and parents helped their little one learn to balance on their bikes.
I wonder. Did any of them go there today to be fed by their dead or to tend them?
Or did they go there to be with their Gods?
Were all of us being fed unknowingly by the dead through communion with the trees that had consumed them?
Was it home?
Is it home?
“It is a reliable mark of indigenous cultures that their Gods live on the same land that the people do.” Stephen Jenkinson – Die Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul
What is it that makes a place home?
Are we at home when we live with our Gods?
Are we at home when we live with our Gods on the same land?
Is it more than that?
Is it knowing where our people are buried, knowing the ancestral bone yard?
Are we at home when we know the obligation of being bound to the land, to our Gods and to our dead?
The Othila rune is about home.
About ancestral home.
About the place of the ancestral bone yard.
About remembering who we are.
About remembering that our dead feed and sustain us as well as feed and sustain the land?
Is it possible that in light of all this there are many more of us who are homeless than we realize because we are not being fed by our dead?
The Condition Of Today's News
I walked past this utility pole and then stopped and went back to be with it. I thought, yes, this is the condition of the news we are getting today. It's tattered, sun-faded, rain-soaked, partly torn away, pollution-coated, unreadable, wrinkled, misleading and outdated and often the phone number posted no longer works. So who do you call for more information? And once in a while some new piece of paper is tacked or stapled on top of all that has gone before, is yet to come or may never happen and you only get one chance to read it before the weather changes.
title Photo by Amaury Gutierrez on Unsplash