whales and water; entire cities made of glass

Day 104

photo by Michelle Johnsen

photo by Michelle Johnsen

Oh God, this project.

In so many ways, it’s so different than I first imagined it.

But then again, what did I know? You can’t plan for how the future unfolds, how grief pours out in the oddest ways, at the strangest moments.

How it mends your heart with a gentle stitch,

but breaks it just the same.

How the ones you mourn for stay imprinted on your heart.

How the sadness makes you softer, breaks down the walls,

connects you.

But makes you angrier too,

quicker to snap, to swear,

to scream.

104 days of wearing black,

of mourning,

of letting myself feel the sadness

of living in collapse.

And still, so much loss,

once a day, twice a day, 10 times a day, 100,

I am confronted with horrible things,

terrible news,






But I’m not drowning in it.

Not sinking, pulled down to the depths,

like I was afraid would happen.



I’m sailing on the calm, still waters,

of oceans filled with tears.

Floating on dark, swollen storm clouds,

filled with life bringing rain.

Because in death, there is life.

In loss, there is re-birth.

Grief is a cleansing,

sharp and clinical,

warm and earthy,

downy like leaves,

soft, mycelial,

like the feathers of the bluebird’s wing.

What a relief!

To no longer have to pretend everything is fine.

Everything is really shitty!

Our civilization is collapsing!

Play it on repeat.

The sooner we understand it,

the sooner we can accept it.

And the sooner we accept it,

the sooner we can,

do something about it,

focus our attention,

and help it fall,

with a great heaving,


and the brilliant shattering,

of entire cities,

made of glass.

The flopping fins of captive Orca whales,

and the damned, dammed and dried Colorado River,

you are unrelated and yet the same.

Both on my mind tonight.

Both slaves,

held, in chains,



for our pleasure.

For entertainment,

and to fill the bathtubs in desert cities that shouldn’t even exist.

We are working to free you,

but it is not clear how best to do this.

My thoughts are with you,

wild whales,

and wild water.

I love you,

I’m sorry,

please forgive me,

thank you.

Thank you for listening,




photo by Michelle Johnsen







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