Staying 

On my way to sit a few days ago, I was on the stretch of 700 East where it curves around and intersects with 900 East.

It’s a wide road there–like 8 lanes I think–with a lot going on, stoplights, and turn lanes, cars barreling and others merging, and another stoplight up ahead synced up with the 9th East one, so that if the first light’s green, you don’t even have to think about stopping. You can just sit your ass in your lane and just “f*ck it” on through.

And it was late evening, but even through my speed and the curves, I could see something up ahead moving across the road from right to left, and it took me only just a sec to realize it wasn’t just one something: it was three “somethings”, a mama duck and her two babies, crossing this road, with cars easily going 55 to 60, mama in front and babies in back, in the hot dusk and barely visible, moving across the road at a pace suggesting they were well aware of the danger.

And relatively fresh in my mind was another sit I’d done at a complex with lots of ponds, when I’d seen this mama duck and her six or seven ducklings toddling around, and as I surveyed the scene of so many ducklings in my car, I had pulled up slowly and maybe because I’m a weirdo, rolled down my window to offer her my respect as one parent to another (’cause this shit’s hard, yo) and window rolled down, as her babies scurried close by, I was telling her what a good mom she was and enjoying the moment, before looking down and noticing that nearly right under my window was the completely flattened remains of a baby duck that’d been crushed by a car.   The guts were relatively fresh, and it was literally so flat that while carefully driving up–with the remains smack in the middle of the road–I hadn’t even seen it.

So of course on that dusk-night, my mind went to “oh my god; they’re going to die,” because flattened ducks happen and sometimes happy endings appear so unlikely that it seems best not to hope.

I looked to my left at the big black SUV next to me–preparing to quickly look away from the carnage lest the driver not see the mama–but he saw them and slowed, and between the two of us, the little family got to the middle of the road where they then rushed into the lanes of the oncoming traffic and out of my view but, as I turned south onto 9th East, I just happened to look in my drivers side mirror at exactly the right time and saw that somehow the little duck family had also managed to safely cross the 4 lanes going the other direction and were now together and moving towards the brown grass of the far side of the road.  Out of immediate and imminent danger, hearts certainly racing, and marching forward, blessedly having edged out death so as to be graced with another day to live.

And, naturally, I was so relieved.

About a mile down the road as I relived the scene with a calmer mind, a powerful thought came through, so powerful I had to write it down and share it with my girls later.

Because on that road–in a duck scene I’ve seen maybe dozens of times before–mama duck and her babies crossing in extreme danger, the road roaring with cars, feet propelling them desperately forward through what seemed like certain death, I couldn’t get over something that I’d always before taken for granted.

For locked in my limited box of “human”, where I’m sealed into an experience and magnetically tied upon the earth, I’d never before acknowledged what an improbable act of self-sacrifice it is that, in the midst of extreme danger and peril, the mother duck doesn’t just save herself and fly away.

And in opening my eyes wider, I let in an entire world.  For, in a life of psychological minefields, holding to hope seems foolish until you finally see the ever-present happy endings that you never even noticed.

And Life’s not just about flattened baby ducks.

Life’s also about mama ducks who don’t fly away.

IMG_7475(1)
Another “happy ending”, built in the front yard of a home in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S. Our own actions is what creates the world, and “staying” also means embodying a caring for the world, even when the recipient will forever remain anonymous.

Messy lives and miracles on my birthday

When my mom turned 40, she had an epic meltdown in the upstairs bathroom of our geodesic dome house on Hazel Dell Road, crying and rocking herself in the bathtub while relaying how disappointed she was in her life, and the myriad things she thought she’d have accomplished by that age that she didn’t. We were having a party later that day that people would be driving from all over Northern California to attend so I remember feeling like it was important to bandaid this situation so she could get out of the bathtub, don some clothes, maybe some makeup and come down to her own party. There just seemed little sense in adding THAT disappointment to the mix, and it really felt like her meltdown/“existential crises” was just a little too much to handle from the cold water of an upstairs bathroom on party day.

I don’t do epic meltdowns. I don’t do “I’m aging oh my god what the fuck?!” birthday bathtub celebrations.

But sometimes I do have crappy moments.

Yesterday was a day when I felt discouraged at its end. I’m a sunny person but sometimes events are such that you come home after yet another long-ass day and your house is a mess and you’re too done to spend quality time with your ecstatic-to-see-you dog and your goal of starting your Etsy store by your birthday is moot and the fridge is only filled with food long-since salmonella-free and literally you just want to do your laundry for your birthday, and—fuck it all to hell—you start to believe that you’re a failure. That it won’t ever get any better. That you’ll always be the shitty-looking-house-always-working-never-spending-time-with-your-kids-no-time-for-shopping-or-laundry middle-aged lady prone to donating her precious time to unknowing pet sitting clients because of the vortex of personality where such acts must never be spoken of or touted even in the slightest.

I was moody, and my disappointment that Livy hadn’t tidied up was palpable. And she felt bad, and was apologizing, which made me feel both better and worse, for while I want her to contribute to our team, Livy is a quintessential, artistic slob who is forgetful and not bothered by mess. She’s also an epileptic with anxiety and depression who is the sweetest, wisest, and most compliant child you could ever know. She would have cleaned up had I asked but I didn’t ask; she also would have done it half-assed because she doesn’t think in details and you can’t teach your child how to do stuff when you’re never home.

About ten minutes after arriving home, I had sullenly adjourned to my room, when Livy bravely poked her head in and asked me if I felt good enough to read something.

It’s about God, she said, and I really think you’ll like it. Then she sent me the attached story (link below); and it hit me to where I was in tears while reading it, for its own beauty but also for the efforts of the child who had offered it to me, so delicately knowing how to soothe the tender spots inside me.

Afterwards, she and I sat and talked about so many things, things she’s felt guilty about (a particular instance where she may have inadvertently hurt someone’s feelings), my own derailed relationship with my mom, how complicated loving someone can be, how complicated loving yourself can be, and I told her about a little girl I’d seen in a princess dress about an hour earlier, at the burger place I’d gotten us dinner at; the girl was like Livy–fair skin, dark curly hair, attentively looking to her dad for how to evaluate what to think and how to feel–and upon seeing her, I somehow flashed on something atypical for accolade-averse me, which was “I did a good job with my kids.” I loved them so hard, and wasn’t always their friend, and taught them how to think bigger than their own selves, and suffered with them the complex and incredibly-painful journey of learning how to love the world while also loving themselves. Teaching them, even as I was learning it, that the world is so paradoxical that sometimes the greatest act of love you can offer someone is withholding your loving non-judgment when they’re being an asshole, and that it’s actually okay to let someone be in pain so long as you believe they’ll come out the other side of it more loving towards their fellow humans.

And we snuggled and hugged, and I told her what a miracle it is that we even exist (that, at the Universe’s inception, matter hadn’t followed known laws of physics to become annihilated by anti-matter), and I thought of how strange it is that the small stuff can so easily impede our ability to appreciate and be grateful for what we have and who we are.

For certainly Livy and Julia are something to celebrate. Certainly I am something to celebrate. Certainly we all are. And working too hard and existing in mess is small when our entire world is like a miracle, when matter itself exists beyond all probability, and when we’ve been gifted with the opportunity to learn how to live in harmony as a collective soul, growing and merging in obvious youth within a Universe itself expanding amid a potentially-infinite number of parallel universes.

We are nothing and everything; we are moment, and infinity, we are the struggle and the victory, the paradox, The End, and we are the miracle, birthing ourselves anew with each hardship–fingertip in water glass–immersed in darkness with a soul that still carries on in its search for Light.

 

90436http://m.funsubstance.com/fun/90436/read-this-or-at-least-skim-it/

 

 

Climate change deniers: pulling your head out of your butt will also improve the oxygen getting to your brain

 

In May, Isle de Jean Charles (Louisiana) residents became the first American climate change “refugees”, resettled in advance of a crisis event with the help of 48 million American tax dollars. Today, due to flooding (an event NOAA predicted years ago would worsen in LA due to climate change), 20,000 Louisiana residents have been rescued from their homes, 10,000 are in shelters, 6 people are dead, cars are left on roadways and buried under water, homes and businesses are destroyed, and taxpayer-funded Federal emergency aid has been granted (an estimate of cost not yet available but is estimated to EXCEED the $1.5 billion for the floods Louisiana had this March).

If you want to believe that climate change research isn’t “proven” (in quotes because, in science, NOTHING is really ever “proven”; research either supports or does not support certain hypotheses) or that it isn’t human-caused, that’s fine. Please don’t. But you cannot deny that human behavior–emissions from vehicles, focusing on traditional energy sources and fuels–certainly isn’t helping, and we don’t need a definitive cause stamp on environmental calamity to see that it’s happening, and that if there’s something that we can do NOW to prevent further damage, that we should be doing it.

Because don’t delude yourself: One way or another, you WILL be paying for it.

And by swallowing the “total bullshit” pill being pushed by climate-change-denying political figures and talking heads, you’re saving yourself nothing except the opportunity to make the businesses and corporations causing the majority of problem pitch in to pay and be responsible for the damage they’ve caused.

 

http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/global-warming/climate-deniers/koch-industries

http://www.nola.com/weather/index.ssf/2016/08/louisiana_flooding_whats_happe.html