Our children

They have their own thoughts, they have their own thoughts

Hardly an original thought, but I am starting to understand how much “our” (=all) children need nature.  Even the grownup children.  In my mind, this thought, which is so simple, connects to this song.

Lyrics by Khalil Gibran, Music by Ysaye M. Barnwell

Your children are not your children
They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself
They come through you but they are not from you and though they are with you
They belong not to you
You can give them your love but not your thoughts
They have their own thoughts
You can house their bodies but not their souls
For their souls dwell in a place of tomorrow
Which you cannot visit not even in your dreams
You can strive to be like them
But you cannot make them just like you
Strive to be like them
But you cannot make them just like you

It is impossible to overstate how bittersweet it is to watch a child grow up.  The process is so slow that it becomes invisible, and then one day, the infant is walking, the toddler is speaking, the child is telling stories.  She runs and stumbles and gets up and isn’t scared and she climbs to the top of the blue jungle gym.  When she stands there, realizing where she is, she says, “Mama, help me,” and while I calmly coach her to find a place to put her feet, I am not breathing, I am “please don’t fall!”ing, and I am trying to know with my own body that she is balanced and strong and wise and that even if she falls, this is the work she needs to do on this day, at this moment.  It is exactly right.

(I can house her body but not her soul…For her soul dwells in a place of tomorrow which I cannot visit not even in my dreams, and this fact is what is so beautiful and this fact is what breaks my entire heart.)

She finds her feet, she climbs down, she smiles with exhilaration and now she has done her work of this day and I have not done it for her, I have resisted even trying, and this means that she knows she can do it herself.  She can do it herself.

And you know what?  I do not want the children to be just like us.  Please no!  I want them to find a better way to live here on this earth.  Meanwhile, let’s help them learn by stepping aside and letting them put their bare feet on the earth, letting them feel the mud and water and prickly grass, and letting them pay attention and do all those beauteous things that surround us every day, those things we forget have such significance in the constant rush of rush rush rush.

More trees dying for nothing (waste of a Waste Management, or get Uncle Junior in here!)

I usually love living in the “sticks,” but the other day, Waste Management left a message telling me they no longer provide curbside recycling at my home.  They said they would be picking up the red bin within five business days and could I please leave it by the curb.

There’s no place for them to take and dump the recycling anymore, apparently.  Yeah, in 2010.  It’s got my blood pressure up!  Especially after spending many minutes today on hold because I wanted to find out WHY, and being subjected to their creepy propaganda recordings (in a smooth, perhaps even comforting female voice) about all the great things Waste Management does for the environment.  I wish I had had a tape recorder.  The recording said that if I was looking for something to do while I was on hold, I should go to a website called “Think Green From Home.”  (I can THINK about recycling, apparently, but can’t actually DO it.)  One line was something like, “Recycling has always been a noble idea, but do you know how many trees blah blah blah Waste Management saved last year? Blah blah blah, So take a deep breath and RECYCLE!”  It actually said that.  You can’t make this stuff up.  Reminded me of that ridiculous dismissal so many years ago, you know, back when we could have actually halted the hell we’re headed into with our current environmental situation, Dick Cheney talking about how sure, it could be considered “virtuous” to conserve fuel, but Americans need to drive their cars.  (Caveat: I have a sedan, and yes, I drive it.)

When I was waiting on hold to find out why the bleep they don’t provide curbside recycling in my area anymore.  The phone rep. said, “This is the first I’m hearing about it…”

To quote Miss Clavel, “Something is not right!”  I want to call Uncle Joon.  I’m sure he or Tony or one of the boys could do something, no?  Does anyone have Junior’s phone number?

The river of lost words

Trying to recreate words lost in the recent death of my hard drive (and overly old backup files).  Writers beware: back up your data.  (Or risk having to recreate.  I think the following might be better than what I had, but there was too much angst in the process of loss.)

Years before, opportunity had stolen most of the trees.  Bend, snap, cut went the rhythm of thieves.  Wood mill.  Trees sometimes fall naturally into water, storms come and leave their messes behind, but these logs were felled too fast, unnatural, and shipped down the river, money to be made.  They’d grow back, some said, but forgot to plant seedlings, no thought beyond the next greed-meal.  Just along the river, a few bushes remained in the thin trickle of lush.