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