Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Waiting for light

3:54 a.m. Yellow sleeping T-shirt, bare legs, cold air drifting in from the open balcony door off the living room. At three hours to sunrise, I’m wake and there is no hope of anymore sleep this morning. The monitor hums it’s steady noise, the keys clack as I hit them.

And this is the morning, so far:

Lucas is keeping silence this week at Jumper’s Hole to mark the 1,000th execution in the USA since the death penalty was reinstated in 1977.

From dreaming to waking I carry the thought that I need to set up a separate blog for Lamar Johnson, (formerly referred to as “L” at Life on Earth). Lamar is wrongly convicted of murder and serving a sentence of life without chance of parole. He has given me permission to post. Yesterday was his 32nd birthday and today it is exactly 11 years and one day since he was arraigned. It’s a long time to fight alone.

I open my email and find that Marko and Rocket Chick’s friend, Lee, has been murdered.

Such a desperate, overwhelming weariness pervades the world these days that my personal choice has been to avoid adding to it on this blog as much as possible. And the choice of most people, I think, is to read happier material. But I'm in a serious mood today.

Aside from manmade and natural disaster, the daily dose of corruption, inhumanity and vicious insanity that comes folded up on newsprint to my workplace each morning, there isn’t a day I can’t look around my immediate vicinity and pretend not to see where we are heading.

Deer and coyotes are roaming into my own neighborhood, ranging into the dangerous territory of humans to find food. Huge chunks of forest and habitat are being torn away to build homes most people can’t afford. People sleeping in doorways are getting younger and older and their numbers are increasing. My friend, the Scorpio, who has seen this coming a long time, is bailing as fast as he can, working with the kids in the high school system – fist fights have become knifings and brutal beatings and drive-by shootings. No one trusts our politicians anymore. Global warming sends us hurricanes, “weather bombs,” blizzards. Emergency measures urges us to keep six day’s worth of provisions on hand at all times. And we are the lucky ones – safely above sea level.

There’s the less dramatic but equally soul-diminishing struggle going on in individual lives. The grind of people working for minimum wage and living below the poverty line. The stress of those working in middle-income jobs who are working harder all the time for less. The world keeps speeding up and none of us can run fast enough to keep up. There is no place left to stand, to catch our balance. "The center will not hold."

I try to find something good each day. Some little jewel of a moment when I connect with someone or see a little miracle. At my lowest points, I try to find humor in bad days. That’s mostly what I write here.

But today I wake up and think about how this age of man is passing, and a new one has already begun. Technically, we are all grown up. Spiritually, we are spoiled adolescents who haven’t learned that the world doesn’t just revolve around us. We want what we want – and now. It’s time for us to grow up.

It is real in the consciousness of many people that violence, injustice, intolerance, indifference and carelessness with the earth we live on is a death sentence we are imposing on ourselves. These are the people seeding the next age.

For many it’s business as usual – and business old-style is going to get very, very bad.

Most of us fall somewhere in the middle - struggling to be aware, not to fall back into the sleep of learned patterns.

To Marko and Rocket Chick, who are angry and grief-stricken, I offer my heartfelt sympathy for the loss of a friend. For Lamar who has unjustly served 4016 days in prison and all of his twenties for a crime he didn’t commit; for all the men, women and children who have been murdered by the state; for all of us who, in our silence or in clinging to anger or in believing the world’s problems come from somewhere other than from us, collectively, these words:

Oftentimes have I heard you speak of one who commits a wrong as though he were not one of you, but a stranger unto you and an intruder upon your world.

But I say that even as the holy and the righteous cannot rise beyond the highest which is in each one of you,

So the wicked and the weak cannot fall lower than the lowest which is in you also.

And as a single leaf turns not yellow but with the silent knowledge of the whole tree,

So the wrong-doer cannot do wrong without the hidden will of you all.

Like a procession you walk together towards your god-self.

You are the way and the wayfarers.

And when one of you falls down he falls for those behind him, a caution against the stumbling stone.

Ay, and he falls for those ahead of him, who though faster and surer of foot, yet removed not the stumbling stone.

-Kahlil Gibran The Prophet


Koru's Daughter said...

Long before we were born, the ripe earth fruit dropped from the tree. It now lies rotting around its seeds. When the time is right... long after we are dead... those seeds will sprout and the rotten fruit corpose will provide nutrition. One of these seeds is Maitreya, the future Buddha. He will appear in 2.3 million years.

On the other hand, the Korean Zen Buddhists could be wrong.

Teri said...

Thanks for writing this. So true, all of it. This whole conversation never hit me so hard as it has the last five months, thinking about how life will be for our Tessa.

I am touched so deeply by this excerpt from The Prophet. I must get a copy and add it to my list of required reading!


LJ said...

KD, thank you. My belief that we are at the end of one age and the beginning of another stems from many religions and other sources as well. You'd mentioned this Zen belief the other night and I'm glad you wrote it here.
Teri...Isn't it odd, the blogs I've linked to? Three mothers of young babies. A handful of sometimes funny, sometimes distressed writers - all tender-hearted cynics - all questioning people. But the mothers? I thought about you three when I wrote this. The writers who are mothers - you, Mella, Yidchick each in your own way, are hope. The babies are hope. As they have always been. Your Tessa, Mella's boss and YC's little O are the future and as all of them have such splendid mothers, perhaps the future is brighter than it sometimes seems.

marko said...

Thanks L.

More than anything else I feel discouraged, if only momentarily. Lee was probably a Boddhisattva, far I can tell anyway.

As a Good Little White Non-Internally-Conditioned Buddhist, I feel it's my job (so to speak) to sympathize with the guy who did this. I also think that his immediate disembowelment would not be out of sync with the dharma. Ultimately, the justice system will make a horrible mess of everything and all will be unchanged.

It seems things grow worse all the time, but really, I feel (not think, forget that) that we're as we've always been. No more nor no less savage and frightened. 'Wheel keeps a turnin', and we're not down yet... The Great Magnet is ambivalent at best, and we are to each other demons and -well not angels- maybe non-demons?

Mella said...

It's all so sadly true, and yet I remain hopeful - and I think you're right - the hope is in our arms, literally; in our children.

I saw a disturbing interview on a news show last week. It was the leader of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement - the goal of the movement is to, well, see humanity die out because of the harm that we are causing the biosphere. The journalist asked him, So, you believe that maggots are more important than babies? and his response was as solid yes - in the sense that maggots are better for the biosphere than babies.

This is rapidly turning into a random tangent (or an entire other post) - but after watching that interview, I had to go and hold my son - and wonder what sort of world he'll be holding his children in (assuming that he doesn't join this new movement...)And I had the same reaction after reading this post - I needed to hug a little ray of hope.

LJ said...

I have no doubt, none, that there is reason to hope. Just wanted that to be my last word on it.

Lucas said...

You know, when you get right down to it, lj, waiting for light is not that much different that wondering (at certain times) how one can keep from singing. Thanks for your posts this week. It's been a hard week for me for a variety of reasons.

The woman in red? No one in particular--but you already knew that, right?

LJ said...

Lucas. I'm sorry the week has been hard.
I liked that..."not much different than one can keep from singing." Yeah. The wheel turning.

This last post generated a lot of feedback...some by email. And there I was figuring it was so serious, possibly gloomy, it would drive comments of in droves. Go figure.

Marko and I have had a conversation about hope...the nature of it...whether it's a form of denial etc. I'm thinking I might do an entry on that.

The woman in red? I don't happen to believe in fiction. I think the writer is always, at the very least, pulling some real feeling out of his or her mind...incorporating personal symbols etc. So I ask.

Glad to see you back.


g said...

Where is the world heading? Where has it been? Is there an end to suffering?

And we dance on our feet, or fly through the air like puffs of gossamer.