“Each individual we meet during the course of our day is at any given moment most likely emerging from a state of depression, is already in a state of depression, or is just about to enter a state of depression. A sensitive teacher always keeps that in mind.” – Eknath Easwaran
Kind of depressing – right? Last night, laying in bed, my wife looked at me and asked if I had faith for the planet. I replied saying “We’re all doomed.” A moment later I laughed a little and said “Nah, I’m just kidding, it’s all good.” Actually neither of those answers were true – I knew while offering them up – though I suppose if you held my arm behind my back and twisted it way up and made me choose I’d lean into the former. The doom thing. And that’s aggravating for me and pretty much pisses me off, as I (literally) fall to my knees every morning and give thanks just for waking up, just to get another day, and right there and then I do not feel myself coming out of a depression or being in a depression and rushing into a new depression because I remember with vibrant resonance something I heard a ditch-digger in Edgewater, Florida say at a 5:30 meeting all the way back to 1987 – “This is the day the Lord hath made, and I will rejoice in it.”
And I made myself get past the “hath” thing and allowed myself to enter the realm of “lucky just to be alive”. And I have remained there – give or take the predictable this’s and that’s – since, and that includes this morning, two mornings after the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and less than two weeks after the passing of Chadwick Boseman, and during the ongoing amazingly, insane degree of evilness going on every morning of every day all over the planet. So it helped today when the following poem showed up uninvited in my email inbox a couple of hours after the falling-on-the-knees behavior:
“I GO DOWN TO THE SHORE” by Mary Oliver — “I go down to the shore in the morning and depending on the hour the waves are rolling in or moving out, and I say, oh, I am miserable, what shall —what should I do? And the sea says in its lovely voice: Excuse me, I have work to do.”
Which is a shift from the depression thing to the grateful, let’s get on with it thing, from we’re all doomed to rejoicing in the day we’re being given and going ahead and getting on with “it”. Meaning I get to choose.
Now – right here – What follows are two long paragraphs I composed for a previous Blog post (July 7), never published, but which I found myself thinking about earlier. Here they are:
‘Raise your hand if you remember the song “867-5309” by the rock group Tommy Tutone. Go ahead, it’s okay, they know, cause for sure it’s a cool song, easy to dance too, great beat, what, an 85%, that feels correct to me, and anyway toward the end of the song after the bridge and final chorus the lead singer asks this: “Jenny, Jenny, who can I turn to?” And it has taken me all these words (not included here) to get to what matter which is who can I turn to. Into my life has sailed Lord Dedith and she is some gathering of powers greater than myself and clearly fueled with passion and compassion and no doubt justice and a smidge of puzzlement and I ask for help and I ask my Muses for help as well, and these are days when we need somebody to lean on, more musical reference there, and we wonder who did write the book of love? and is it closed?, has somebody shut it when we weren’t looking? or are we wide awake to the closing of that book? And here we are, news 24/7 and you got to crawl through the wreckage to find any wonder – (though) think about it, it’s out there, it is built into the fabric of the day, oh those blessings, oh the gift of waking to another dawn, and I was up before the dawn and in the backyard early – which is where I may have given wonder to “867-5309” first today, and I looked up to the blue sky which was scuffed with both thin wispy cloudy material and the fat, fluffy, more of the marshmallow consistency kind. And there was wonder there. I saw the gift of wonder early, there was a sensual (human) experience and you can bet your bottom dollar there was some of that wonder there.
And now it is later, so many hours past the meditating cushion and I am wondering who can I turn too and I guess beyond Lord Dedith and her grace and beyond the Muses too, and always the Great Spirit, but see now I am thinking more in the form of a bi-ped, preferably someone other than a white man in a suit cause I got warned back in the 70’s (by Dr. Douglas Martin) to move away from them, which I have, and now it is all the way 40 years later, nearly 50, and white men in suits continue to fuck it up and they got the power and they got the policing armies which run around all jetted and testeroned-up and like to get their kicks feeling the power of the bully and, Oh Lord, can I have this one wish only please, which is to invite some alien ray or something, some special dust or very intentional virus, and send every single bully on the planet packing, like au revoir, take a hike, see ya, we won’t meet again because your ass has become vaporized and, yeah, I raise my hand and vote yes on that one. (Though) possibly I am simply at work – with all that mesmerizing and day-dreaming about the ending of bullying – on my next science-fiction story plot and find myself back to what the hell can I do about all the wrong things and not rejoicing in the wondrous things, which (those depressions) have their powerful ways of blotting out, especially if you’re not looking (and paying real good attention) at and for all the grace and gifts and, yeah, all the wonder.
Which, those paragraphs, I wrote months ago and as easily could have 10 minutes ago, and I suppose I can only answer the “Who do I turn to?” question for myself. And you as well, if you are someone leaning toward the doom, or better yet, a human still leaning toward the light. Shining your little light where you come upon shadows. Turning, for all I know, to where turning has always made the most sense – to that reflection in the mirror.
“Excuse me – I have work to do.”