My friend Ricky (his daughter and mine are in the same homeschool ballet class) pressed three books into my hands last Wednesday, all by poet/essayist Gary Snyder. “These two are for you to borrow, and the third you can have,” he said. “This one, it’s out of print—please promise it will get back to me.” I solemnly promised. He had been listening to the hows and wherefores of the upcoming journey, the words I struggled to attach to why the hell am I doing this. He had no benefit of tracing my verbal meanderings on this blog, or on Facebook, or the description on my Kickstarter page; he hardly ever uses a computer, he said. I realized he was giving me the great gift of non-electronically-mediated connection, right then; it pushed me to converse, to meet his eyes, and he got it. I don’t know what I said. I only know I wanted to give the longing, the necessity, a voice.
I know he got it because I’ve been reading Gary Snyder’s words, in particular his volume of poetry, Turtle Island, and it sweeps me up into the path of my own unlearning.
Unlearning the name of America, caressing the continent that is Turtle Island.
Unlearning the internalized anaesthesia of this post-traumatic way of life.
Unlearning what I thought was language, with its lexicons and serifs, and instead listening humbly, awestruck, to birds.
Unlearning displacement, not-belonging, diaspora, dissociation from my very fibers; feeling my body in space-time, in motion, hungry, sated, inhabiting Places, inextricably threaded in every landscape.
17 days until Lily and I leave home, going towards home, and home, and home.
A poem-blessing for you, loves, by Gary Snyder, written around the time I was born.
FOR THE CHILDREN
The rising hills, the slopes,
lie before us.
the steep climb
of everything, going up,
up, as we all
In the next century
or the one beyond that,
are valleys, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.
To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:
learn the flowers