Monthly Archives: September 2013

The Water Part II

Day 8 of The year

This subject is so big, and the repurcussions of our treatment of the water is so frightening, that I’m all writer’s- blocked up about it. But I’m just going to get started and see where we go. The first step is always the most difficult, right?

Scientists say the human body is somewhere between 60% and 90% water. The earth is also 60% to 90% water. The human body contains all of the 100 or so minerals that the ocean also contains.

Amniotic fluid, blood and tears all contain similar levels of salt and minerals.

Once, in a museum, I saw the skeleton of a whale. Hidden inside the spot where it’s flipper would have been, was a perfect, five-fingered human-like hand.

When I was very pregnant with Revel, and we went swimming in the ocean, a pod  of half a dozen dolphins or so swam up and all around us, close enough to see the details of their skin, their fins, and their beautiful faces. Not to be weird, but I’m pretty sure Revel and the dolphins needed to see each other, a secret communication between creatures from the watery worlds.

I saw my son flow from my own body on a wave of salty, mineral rich amniotic fluid. And that experience made me understand how the earth felt long, long ago, as her babies slid from the ocean onto dry land.

And now, to see that same small son delight in water, to hear him cry to us to turn on the faucet that releases it,

makes me speechless with the grand design of it all.

And it makes me wonder how I can possibly describe to him,

how and why we created a world,

where we hide the water in pipes,

and put a price tag on it.

But I just think that the only answer I can give him

is my salty tears.

Thank you for listening,

Love,

Natasha

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The Water

Day 7 of The Year

mourning: the water

solidarity: with the ones fighting for the water

rebellion: playing streamside with my babies, teaching them and letting them teach me that water is alive

The Water

thank you for this gorgeous photo michelle

thank you for this gorgeous photo michelle

Waters,

I am sorry

Please forgive me

I love you

Thank you

-Ho’oponopono prayer

repeat again, and again, and again. I am.

That is all for now.

Love,

Natasha

 

 

The last rays of a dying sun

Day 6 of The Year

moving from the invisible ones to the watery ones…more to come

The Last Rays of a Dying Sun

So like I said in my first post, one of the main reasons I started this project was for personal clarity- as an activist, as a mother, as a woman, as a human on planet earth at this time.

And to honor the ones we’ve lost- all the sweet beauties that have slipped or are slipping away.

But now I see this is something else entirely. This is not about me. this is not about Wil, or Michelle, or you, or anyone. This is about the spaces in between.

This is about those connections between us, from the highest snow capped mountains, to the top of my beautiful baby’s curly hair, to the smallest pebble being tumbled to sand.  It’s about the way we are all kin to one another, and if some are suffering, we are all suffering.

So now I know what this is. This is not a journal, or a personal practice,  or even a letter to a  friend.

This is more like the final mayday from a shipwrecked sailor, or the crackling, static- filled radio broadcast from a doomed planet, or the last rays from a dying sun.

This is a chance to find one another.

So please, please, please send your writing, your poems, your artwork, your songs, your videos, your photos and anything else you’d like to share inspired by mourning, solidarity, and rebellion to our new e-mail, mourningsolidarityrebellion@gmail.com. include a short bio, and your name if you’d like it to appear. What we can’t fit on this blog, we’ll put on the Year of Black Clothing Facebook Page (soon to come).

Share this blog, tell your neighbors, show your friends. Connect with strangers on the subway, on the bus, in line, and on the streets. Because that is where the culture of rebellion will grow.

In the spaces in between.

Thank you for listening,

That is all for now,

Natasha

And now a beautiful guest post from my amazing friend Yank. Yank is a badass mama of the most beautiful twin daughters you’ve ever seen and she takes photos of this breathtaking world that will make you cry. Thank you for sharing your story Yank. The photo is hers as well.

PAST – PRESENT – FUTURE

by Yank

yank

Many times in the past, I sat and my mind raced with thoughts of past, present and future. Thinking of what we humans have become and the damage that we have done, the reality of it all broke my heart into a million pieces…it still breaks my heart, but there was a period where every second of every day I had non-stop thoughts of the past, “WHY DID IT HAVE TO HAPPEN THE WAY THAT IT HAPPENED?” …industry and agriculture ate my wild HUMAN life, ate at my spirit, ate at my heart, ate up my emotions…I only felt anger and a helplessness…

It was the small things that kept my heart afloat, those moments when a Swallowtail would suddenly float by, or a Blister beetle busily moved across my path, or a thunderstorm rolled in… When I wasn’t outdoors, my heart-break felt even stronger. I sat indoors and would find myself wishing that the past would have happened differently. I wished that my present was me sitting on a flat surfaced boulder, prepping my foragings – pounding acorns into flour; I wished my future was full of community, healthy rivers and streams, hunting stories, fires, women, babies, the nomadic way of life. I wished that my future was the same future all past humans had before civ came along. But there was no changing the past and the nomadic way of life that I dreamed of was nearly impossible to have, knowing that, I would then find myself wishing for category 5 strength hurricane-like storms, sinkholes, floods, strong earthquakes, better yet, an eruption of a super volcano. I basically wished for doom, the end of humankind. My sadness for what we have done made me angry and so I wished for total destruction. That was me in the not so distant past. I woke every day with the question, “has civ collapsed yet?”, the answer always the same, the depression grew stronger. I was becoming obsessed with the collapse…

That was the past…

Present me has had no time to think or dwell. I am a mother now, my main focus for the past, nearly 2 years, has been my daughters – growing them, birthing them, raising them. I still feel a very strong hatred for civilization, my hatred for it will never dissipate – the sooner it falls, the better. But like I said, I haven’t had much time to think…until recently, until this project, it has opened my mind back up, it has me thinking… I have been reevaluating what it is that I want for the future, I can still mourn, but wanting total destruction of the human race is no longer a want. My daughters have given me my heart back. They make me want human life to thrive after the collapse. They have made me change my view about humans. They have reminded me that we are animals, we have a place on this Earth just as all other animals do, just as plants do, just as fungi do, just as the clouds do… WE HAVE A PLACE HERE, but we have fallen out of balance, and sadly, we have brought Mother Nature down with us. I have always known that all things are connected – what happens in one part of the world, impacts the rest of the world, impacts the stars, the moon, the sun…

I feel my purpose in life now is to remind people of those connections, to help restore balance. The first thing I can do is change my way of thinking, is to teach my girls how to live the true way. It’s to guide them and to let them guide me…especially let them guide me, a child is truly human, the wildness in them is so pure…

And through the sadness and mourning, I remain optimistic, cause as ugly as the world has become, there is still a ton of beauty and in the end, the beauty will grab hold and will swallow the ugly beast and balance will be restored. I believe humans will continue on, but in balance, not only out of necessity, but out of want. It starts with us, and we pass it onto the future – our children, and it continues down the line. We must disconnect from this way of life and reconnect with reality. We must dig deep and remember what it’s like to be human, find our purpose, find our balance… We can’t change the past, but we can change the future. There is no reason to forgive or to forget the past, but we must move forward, and mourning is that first step to recovery.

So I mourn the past, I mourn today, I mourn tomorrow, I mourn the loss of orchids, I mourn the loss of cougars, I mourn the loss of the human-animal. And with the rest of those who mourn and fight, I mourn with them, I stand with them…their fight is my fight, cause we are all connected, we are all related.

In the past I have mourned a ton, presently I mourn, but from a much lighter place, for a less destructive tomorrow…

Make Good on the Promise

Day 5 of The Year

Mourning: still on the invisible ones

solidarity: with the ones becoming visible

rebellion: forcing myself to adjust to this project

I knew this would be hard, but I didn’t know it would be this hard. It’s HARD feeling these things. It’s HARD remembering the ones we’ve lost. It’s HARD figuring out how to hold the joy of playing with my baby alongside the devastating grief of  all the babies, of all the species, we’re losing each day on this planet . It’s even hard wearing black every day. I feel like a shadow. A shadow of myself.

I’m so lucky to not be alone in this. There are so many joining now. Our extended family household is abuzz with ideas, and quotes, and bits of writing, fluttering around with coffee, diapers, and the busy tinkling of daily life. Friends stop by and offer support, and more ideas, and their love.

But still, I feel a slipping. A shifting, sliding sideways feeling, like the moment between dreaming and waking. A homesickness for something I can’t name.

Grief can freeze you solid, steal your breath, stop each moment. It is at the same time endless and instant. It can drain your energy, exhaust you, steal your life.

Aikido, an ancient martial art, sometimes referred to as “the Way of harmonious spirit.” teaches its students to defend themselves not by pure, unadulterated force, but by “blending with the motion of the attacker and redirecting the force of the attack rather than opposing it head-on.”

And that’s exactly what we’re hoping to do with this grief. We want to feel the feelings and then re-direct them into solidarity, rebellion, and ACTION.

We want to confront the culture of destruction and use it’s OWN energy to fight against it, not deplete our own.

And in this way, we become stronger, NOT weaker.

What we’ve discovered so far is that you can’t feel the weight of the sadness all day every day. It would mean complete suffocation. But what we can do is when it hits, when the sadness, and the loneliness, and the fear come rushing in during moments of quiet, in the car, or brushing your teeth, or cooking dinner, let the feelings in, shed your tears, say a prayer, and then promise yourselfand the world, that you will do whatever it takes to stop the madness swirling all around us.

And then you go figure out how to make good on that promise.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for listening,

That is all for now,

Natasha

And now, a beautiful guest post from our The Year’s photographer, Michelle J. We’re so lucky to hear your story.

You Belong Here

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Once, I found a baby bird who fell from our roof in early spring. “He was too young to fly,” the adults told me, unfazed. I cried all day over that tiny, beautiful body with it’s newborn, featherless wings and translucent skin. I didn’t believe in “too young to fly”. I brought him to my fort in the woods and placed him in an old nest high off the ground. I didn’t even consider burying him because I knew a bird would never be at rest underground. I mourned the loss of that little life with my full, thumping heart. No one taught me that.

  • As a child, I breezed through the space between branches like the wind does, swinging and safe; I lived with flowers in my pockets, with berry-stained hands, with feet of moss. At night I sang with the crickets and learned to see by the light of the fireflies. I blew wisps of dandelion that flew away until they were specks. I lived flush with the creek rocks, chasing sunlight through the water; I knew I had two mothers- my beautiful life-giver and my beautiful Earth. These things were not taught to me either– these cannot be taught. These are within me, these are me, deeply and most truly. Gently whispering:

    You belong here, you belong here.

    But I knew not to drink that water. That, I had to be taught. Long before me, there was water here safe for drinking. How can you miss something you’ve never had? But I ached for it nonetheless. My heart aches still.

    Mourning was taught to me as a private event. I never saw my parents cry. I never saw my teachers, the sisters, cry. So, when I felt the pain of a grove of trees cut down, a trampled flower bed, or a drying puddle of trash where a stream had once run, it became more and more inappropriate to express that dark sadness or even begin to understand or work through it. When I saw wild lions behind bars, massive gorillas in a run the size of my recess yard, when I saw the blank stares on their faces, I didn’t understand that kind of grief. So I looked away. I regret and feel embarrassment for that. I pushed the earth’s pain beneath my heart where it crested and broke silently, like a tidal wave behind my eyes, barely held back. I tremble to think how hard that was for me, and at once how easy.

    Humans celebrate life together. We dance and sing together. We give birth, embark on adventures, learn and share discoveries together. And so must we begin to mourn together. We must finally be allowed to feel that sadness with each other. There are plants, animals, habitats, and thriving ecosystems that have been permanently lost to this world. I want to feel that lump in my throat when I pass a graveyard of tree stumps and not push it back down. When I see fiery methane flares above the tree line and chemical-filled ponds at natural gas drilling well pads, I can no longer cringe and look away. I want to acknowledge my anguish for the coal-laden mines of mountains whose tops have been blown apart to fuel our homes and cars. We, like the earth, can heal, but we can never bring those vanished things back. May their stories be told. May we remember that each day we come closer to another extinction of our precious earth’s life and land.

    So this year and from now on, I will pass through the stages of earth grief again and again. I can stop doing what is easy and less awkward for others, and begin to grieve in a true way, with the members of my community, my family, with Natasha and Wilson and everyone who joins us. I will ask the earth to forgive me, and listen for the answer in the beating heart of this planet:

    You still belong here. You still belong here.

    DSCN8856

    Green Valleys

    by Dawn Thompson

    When we dumped the black money into your blood Mother did you howl?

    Millions of gallons of neglect pooling your body poison in the veins of your weeping, flooding you, filling you with our error

    And still you hold us

    And still you feed us

    And still you mother our tantrums as we try and clean an ocean with a hand rag

    When we dirty your air with our industrious doing sending dark smoke signals of fear and long hours towards the sun that loves you towards the stars that delight you filling your lungs with the weight of us

    And still you hold us

    And still you feed us

    And still offer green life from your breast to breathe us

    When we kill one another our blood staining the mountain of your face o

    our weapons blowing holes in the hills of you so that you cry in sorrowed streams

    And still you hold us

    And still you feed us

    And still you patiently wait for us

    To make our way back to green valleys.

It’s Big Things, It’s Small Things, It’s Everything.

Day 4 of The Year.  

Mourning: still mourning the invisible ones

solidarity: with all the invisible ones working to become visible

rebellion: becoming visible myself through this project

It’s Big Things, It’s Small Things, It’s Everything.

I had coffee with my mom this morning. She told me she woke up crying thinking about mourning and sadness.

Her husband walked in, saw her crying, and said, “why are you crying?” which is a perfectly normal response in our culture when you find someone with tears running down their face.

But she said she instantly thought “ why aren’t you crying?”

And that’s exactly it!!! WHY AREN’T YOU CRYING?

I’m the type of person who’s always stomping around asking my husband rhetorical questions I expect an answer to (bless his heart). Why do you think the dinosaurs went extinct? What is your favorite memory? Why do you think people behave the way they do?

One day, watching a documentary about Germany during the holocaust, I remember saying,“ Oh my god, how could people have known what was happening and just continued about their business?”

The documentary showed people playing at the beach, shopping in stores, throwing parties, and attending sports games AT THE SAME TIME real live human beings, babies, whole families, were being murdered in death camps IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY.

I mean, really feel that for a moment. The terror of having your baby ripped from your breast and murdered. That pain is so big, so terrifying, that you can barely think about it, it makes you sick, and sweaty, and shaky. And yet, there they were, the people in the documentary about Germany, going about their business, making roast beef for dinner or whatever.

Wil, being the wise man and historian he is said, “well most of the Germans didn’t even know what was happening in their own country, or, since it didn’t directly effect them, they just didn’t pay much attention.

And that made my blood run cold.

Because, Oh My God, we are living through a GLOBAL GENOCIDE of people, indigenous cultures, entire ecosystems, animal, plant, and tree species etc. and most people are seemingly GOING ABOUT THEIR BUSINESS, playing at the beach, throwing parties, shopping, and going to work, just like many of the Germans during WWII.

So then the question is, if you are not aware of what’s happening, or simply don’t think it personally effects you so you choose to live your life like nothing is happening, are you innocent? Do you get a free pass? Are you off the hook? Sorry, I didn’t know millions of people and animals were being murdered every day, oopsie, I was too busy planning that party.

If you choose to ignore a GLOBAL GENOCIDE of millions of humans, species, and ecosystems, are you innocent?

At one time, I would have said yes. Yes, if you don’t know about all this, you’re innocent.

But now I think that’s bullshit, a cop-out. Information is SO EASY to get. It flows around us like the very air we breathe. And if you don’t have access to information, which I know some don’t, you must be able to FEEL. Everyone must be able to feel the suffering, I’m sure of it.

So then to ignore what’s happening on our planet right now, to ignore the suffering all around us, is a crime, as sure as any other.

And what is the proper behavior for people when they are living in a collapsing world, when they are living through a GLOBAL GENOCIDE?

I’m not sure. There is no one answer, no book of etiquette to teach us the Proper P’s and Q’s during full environmental, social, spiritual, and economic collapse.

But we can be sure of some things.

The water is poisoned, the air is toxic, the soil is contaminated. Many people are suffering. The land and animals are suffering. Corporations run our government and the world. They are not alive. They do not protect the interests of things that are alive.

Am I saying we need to stop our lives, stop enjoying life? No of course not, because without, love, and happiness, and connection, and enjoyment, what would even be the point of saving this thing?

All I’m saying is,

To flip this script, to change this world, it will not take one idea, one person, one action, or one type of rebellion.

To stop this Global Genocide and build a new world, it will take a revolution.

A revolution made up of

small things, big things,

and everything.

All I’m saying is,

Refuse to act like nothing is happening.

For God’s sake, for the world’s sake, for yourself, your children, and our communities,

do something,

take action,

stand up.

Please do fucking something.

I’m here on my knees,

begging you.

Why aren’t you crying?

That is all for now,

Love,

Natasha

The problem with wind

The Year: Day 3Image

I’m sweaty palms scared to really start this project.

Because,

1. I’m afraid I’ll be swallowed up by the sad feelings I’m letting myself feel.

and

2. It’s incredibly terrifying putting my innermost thoughts out where everyone can see them.

But after talking with Wil today, I realized that’s exactly what this is about. That I need to embrace the fear, and let it fuel me instead of cripple me.

See, this culture we’re a part of likes to make things invisible. Poof, abracadabra, you’re disappeared. Keep anything real, and visceral, and too beautiful, or too ugly, outta sight.

According to our culture, scary feelings should be invisible. So should innermost thoughts (especially when they’re about rebellion). Poor people should be invisible, and so should homeless people. Women, and people with beautiful brown skin should be invisible.

Wild animals should be invisible. Bloody, wild, birth should be invisible. Death should most definitely be invisible (real death that is, death in video games, or on TV and movies is fine.) Grief should DEFINITELY be invisible.

Our culture tells us that real breasts with milk in them should be invisible, especially if babies are sucking on them. But fake boobs are fine. People who love someone of the same gender should be invisible, and people who don’t fit into a gender stereotype should FOR SURE be  invisible. Victims of violence should also be invisible.

And we could go on, and on.

I, for one, am sick to death of being invisible. And, I’m sick to death of anything that is true, and real, and alive being made invisible.

But this reminds me of the problem with wind.

The problem with wind is that it too, is invisible. You can’t actually see it, or know its there until something else is moved by it;  trees, flowers, your hair, milkweed seeds. Then suddenly it’s right there in front of you, visible, has been there all along, doing it’s work, living it’s life, playing it’s part in this grand, and wonderful scheme.

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And now I’ve realized,  like the milkweed seeds,  I’m moved by something invisible, by the the ones our culture of oppression tells us don’t exist, don’t matter, are not worth anything.

So today, I mourn for the invisible ones we’ve lost, that have slipped away without so much as a nod. Native people, entire indigenous cultures, animals, especially predators, women. Entire ecosystems. Victims of rape, and violence, and torture, and war. People, animals, and things who are not leaders or participants in this culture of death and destruction, but have been swept away in the flood.

But just like the milkweed seeds showing us the wind, if all the invisible ones on this planet stand together, something magic can happen. A trick of the light, a turn of the hand, a slight of the wrist and,

voila!

We can become visible.

And think, if just a few milkweed fluffs, moved by wind, can wear down mountains and shape landscapes, tear off roofs and level cities,  scour the world clean, so it can grow again, fresh and new,

Imagine what we can do, the invisible ones, made visible.

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But first we must be moved.

Be moved.

Become visible.

Thanks to Michelle for the beautiful pics. in this post. And for the walk that inspired it.

That is all for now,

Love,

Natasha

This is for Martha

A post from Wilson:

This is for Martha

How do you mourn something you’ve never seen, never met, never heard? How do you yearn for its return when you cant remember it ever being? These questions rush to the front of my rational brain as my heart trudges through the noise and mourns a piece of itself, because isn’t everything that breathes or grows or rushes across boulders roaring ancient messages alive, aren’t we all connected, the invisible strings that tethers me to this earth tethers what will come and what has passed as well.

Aldo Leopold in 1947, said of the extinct Passenger Pigeon “Men still live who, in their youth, remember pigeons. Trees still live who, in their youth, were shaken by a living wind. But a decade hence only the oldest oaks will remember, and at long last only the hills will know.”

I remember. I remember. I remember. My heart remembers. My cells remember. My wildlands I call home remember and sing in mourning for its lost brothers and sisters.

If I close my eyes tight and picture deeply I can see them flying over me, billions strong and I remember Aldo Leopolds description of them as a “biological storm”. What riches we have lost for such diluted gains. What infinite heartache does the forest feel for its loss and what shame should we feel for being the harbingers of the ultimate death, not only to a bird but to the forest they fed, to the animals they nourished, to the natives that saw them as kin.

Two hundred, as in two hundred species a day suffer this same fate from the same hands. Look at your hands can you see the blood. Can you feel the pain, or do you take pills for what you feel?

I feel it all, the loss, the guilt, the heart breaking sadness and I am choosing to stand there with it, in mourning for our collective losses, in solidarity with the people fighting externally against this runaway machine and internally against domestication, and I stand in rebellion against this culture of oppression I was born into, this blood that I was baptised in, and this culture that tells me this is the only way to live.

I mourn for Martha, the last of her kind, who passed out of this world in a zoo on September 1st, 1914 at 1:00 pm.

Martha,_a_Passenger_Pigeon