Monthly Archives: June 2014

The end

In many ways I am finished with this project.

I have my answer.

This grief does not end.

It spirals endlessly,

in constant motion like the waves on the sea,

infinite like space

enormous like our own spinning galaxy.

We are living in complete environmental collapse.

We are participating in a global ecocide.

And it matters

not a all

if I cry rivers of tears

or wear black every day

if I still continue to participate

in a culture

determined to destroy

our own green and thriving planet.

Ultimately, I wanted to see if I could mourn this grief away.

Wail, roar, and howl it out

so it could uncoil from its constrictor’s position around my heart.

But the truth is, this grief is bone deep.

This sadness is cellular.

It is written in the double helix of our DNA.

Passed from generation to generation

starting on the first day we turned our backs on our mother

and forgot
and lost our way.

There is no moving on from this.

Time does not heal this wound.

Instead, we should wear it.

Proudly on our sleeves and in our hearts.

This grief is what keeps us human.

This sadness is what keeps us alive,
eyes open,

soft and loving
like a child.

If we forget this grief,

push it away, put it to the side,

we turn as monstrous as the rest of them

zombies feeding off the living

only happy

when the living are dead.

So hold the grief, don’t shy away.

When it wells up so strong that your body shivers and your teeth chatter in your head,

let it run through you like a freight train,

lighting you up like the heat of a thousand suns.

This grief does not paralyze.

This grief was made to move.

You.
Me.
Us.

Mountains.

Whole worlds.

And as I write this,

I’m sure of it.

I’m finished with this project.

My apologies to Wil, and Michelle, because I did not discuss this with you first. Please feel free to continue if you want.

I don’t know what will happen next,

but I know I’m ready for the next step.

My heart is more broken than ever

but somehow the breaking helps it heal too.

Monarchs

Honey Bees

Rhinos

Gorillas

Elephants

Frogs

Fish

Trees

Plants

Water

Wil

Zander

Revel

Earth

I am so in love.

My life is for you.

I might continue to wear black. I might not.

I might continue to write. I might not.

It doesn’t really matter either way.

But one thing is for certain.

Despite all the pain and suffering and sadness and grief

in the world right now

we are sill incredibly lucky to be living through this time.

Why?

Because we are the ones who get the chance to fight.

And

it

is

time.

Hold on to what you love and don’t let go.

Thank you for listening,

all these months

to my ramblings.

It has been the greatest gift.

I’m sorry.

Please forgive me.

Thank you

I love you.

Natasha

photo by Shauna Yorty

photo by Shauna Yorty

civilization only loves the living when they’re dead

For them:

One day when the ruins of these cities lay in sparkling shards around our feet

we will tenderly lift the lifeless bodies of those once alive

from their displays in museum basements and on library shelves, from the walls of restaurants, living rooms, and dens,

And we will dig sacred burial sites with ceremonial tools

and sing our apologies into their glassy eyes and frozen hooves.

We will place them tenderly in broken ground

and cover them with cool and ancient soil

where they belong.

We couldn’t love them while they lived

so we killed them or waited with bated breath
for their deaths

made them

frozen and stuffed

the same way we feel inside.

Because civilization only loves the living

when they’re dead.

May the wild ones run free again

someday.

Even in a dim museum hallway

he is beautiful.

Thank you for listening,
Love,
Natasha

photo by wilson alvarez

photo by wilson alvarez

Let’s not forget we are animal

Let’s not forget we are animal.

Strip away all the theories and ideas and rules and inhibitions and civilized tendencies

and we are wild.

Soft bodies wrapped in strong muscles

seeking warmth and giving pleasure

moving, embracing, running, climbing, loving.

Birthing babies.

Water, salt, blood

and bones.

Barefoot wanderers

skin warmed by the sun.

Feral

and

Free.

Thank you for listening,
Love,
Natasha

photo by Wilson Alvarez

photo by Wilson Alvarez

For Wil and wildness

photo by wilson alvarez

photo by wilson alvarez

That first spring it rained everyday and we’d sit on the back porch for hours on end reading, sometimes aloud, sometimes to ourselves. A thousand titles, a million subjects, fiction and non fiction about gardening, about the wild, about animals, about life.

You made the first bow drill from studying pictures in books and even after hours of trying it never yielded a flame. But each day you worked at it, until one day we saw the first tiny ember, precious and jewel-like, glowing and alive.

You surprised me with treasures each day when you picked me up from work. A bird’s nest, a new plant, a beautiful flower, a stone. And once a small green snake carried in a shoebox. Delicate and quick we released it back into the woods where you found it. Watched it slithering on is belly through the underbrush until it seemed to disappear right before our eyes.

I cried a lot, salty tears mixing with the sweet cool rain, shocked at the state of the world and the depth of the lies I’d been told. We spent whole days in the park exploring, discovering, learning, watching, listening. Searching for the truth. Taking back our lives.

And by the end of the summer when we floated on our backs down the lazy and muddy creek

I could whisper the names of the trees stretching tall and shady overhead

maple, sycamore, tulip poplar, beech.

We adopted a kitten that fall and at night he’d sit at the end of the bed and play with our feet. He was big and fast and smart, and he made us laugh all the time

until we opened the back door to call him in one evening

and he did not get up to move.

We scooped up his small soft body all curled up and still

held him

and then buried him under the place where we had grown the broccoli

while I thought my heart would break.

You wore his small, red collar on your wrist for a long time

until the color was faded and the edges were all frayed.

It rained everyday that spring

the year I learned to fall in love.

Thank you for listening,
Love,
Natasha

photo by Wilson Alvarez

photo by Wilson Alvarez

living in the land of compromise

photo by Wilson Alvarez

photo by Wilson Alvarez

Bunches of lemon balm hang from our ceiling beams, grown and then harvested from our backyard.

From the mint family and tasting delightfully of lemons, I’ll use the dried plant mainly for tea, or frozen into ice cube trays for revie, his preferred method of taking herbal remedies. Chomping cold ice with his tiny white teeth.

Soothing and gentle, lemon balm calms frayed nerves and helps a jittery body relax. Something we could all use a bit more of these days.

And tonight we harvested Mugwort, from the field in the highest point of the nearby park. The scent of milkweed and vetch filled the air and we could see the city jutting up out of the distance, all bricks and cement. Angular.

I wore Revie on my back for the first part of the walk and he touched my arms softly with his little hands while we talked about the deer, and the birds. “There’s the Robin Rev. See how she flies? Don’t forget to look for deer, over there in the bushes behind the nettles.” He hummed a little, letting me know he heard.

We looked for snakes on the old road where they like to catch the sun, hoping to warm their cold reptilian blood. And Then Wil met us, fresh from a bike ride, and we stomped in puddles, squishy mud splashing our ankles, and swallowing up our toes.

Mugwort is good for digestion. Bitter, with its fragrant, wild smell. And for dreaming. Protects from nightmares, and some people swear by it for lucid dreams.

We ate mulberries by the handful until we were all purple from the juices. And then we licked cattail pollen from the palms of our hands, goldfinch yellow dust coloring wil’s beard, and revie’s hair.

We threw rocks at an old sign and watched revie delighting in the “pings.” His aim is getting better. Soon we’ll give him his first bow, not more than a branch with a string and a sick as an arrow. For practice.

But we often wonder if he’ll ever be a hunter. He’s so sensitive, cries if the dogs corner a ground hog, wrinkles his little nose if Sisa the cat kills a bird.

The older he gets the more I wish for a village of elders, grandmas and grandpas who could show us the way. ” This is the way you teach him to hunt.” they’d tell us. “this is how you help him become strong, and brave. A leader. A kind man. This is how you help him be himself”

But we are lucky to have his own grandma and grandpa right next door. He kissed them both before bed tonight, opened his little arms in great big hugs before we left out the side door.

There’s so many things I wish could be different.

And there’s so many things I wouldn’t want to change.

We are walking in the in- between

living in the land of compromise.

I’m a wild wolf prowling the countryside

and a domestic dog licking her wounds.

It is beautiful and lonely here

living in the liminal.

I love you,

and I’m so sorry.

I thank you,

and hope you can forgive me.

I wish this was easier for all of us.

Thank you for listening,
Love,
Natasha

photo by Michelle Johnsen

photo by Michelle Johnsen

shoes

Revel needs shoes.

I mean, he does already have shoes, of course. Crocs, blue and green, with pictures of bugs on them, which he loves, and leather moccassin types with soft soles that help him run fast without tripping, even over rocks.

But he’s outgrowing his leather ones, dark blue with the monkey faces on them, and the company that makes them doesn’t offer them in a larger size.

So we could switch to another brand, lovingly crafted by a small company somewhere in the world, or made by machines for mass distribution.

Or I could make them. By hand with leather soles and uppers, harvested from a thrift store leather jacket, or taken from the old doe with the dark eyes at the edge of the field by the forest. Leather soft but strong so his feet can move freely. So he can climb and jump and run and play like a little wild thing, and feel the ground with his nimble little feet.

I could find a pattern or make one up. Add beads and buckles, buttons and laces, or leave them plain.

I need to do it. Need to make my small son a pair of strong and soft leather shoes. Because even I, a person who likes to talk about rewilding, and has learned very many things over all these years, still buys most everything we need, even if its used. Because I’m lazy. Because its habit. Because its there.

Because I’m part of the problem.

So I will do it. I’ll figure out how to make a little pair of shoes.

Because its time to push ourselves farther. To harvest and grow and fix and make and hunt. To sew, and sow, and mend , and saw, and cook. To do more with less. To reject this poison civilization that makes me sicker every day, that poisons the ground under my feet and the very air I breathe.

If I want my son to live in a different kind of world,
then I need to make it for him.

And shoes seem like a simple place to start.

I’m off to look for a pattern. I’ll keep you posted.
Thank you for listening,
Love,
Natasha

photo by Michelle Johnsen

photo by Michelle Johnsen

A year is not enough

I stopped counting the days of this project because, really, who the fuck cares? We have lifetimes of grief ahead of us, enough loss to fill a million lonely years.

This grief does not stop. It does not fade, or go away. It does not rest, or quiet, or lay down like a sweet old dog, tired at the end of the day.

There is no end to this, to the pain of watching the systematic and deliberate destruction of our own living and beautiful planet.

We bear witness to a global ecocide.

The milkweed stands tall in the yard, waiting for the butterflies that may or may not arrive.

The clover stands untouched in the field, the bees few and far between.

We went for a streamside wander with my dad today, who at 70, remembers a boyhood filled with catching fish and frying them for dinner, scooping up frogs and finding snakes. While my own small son’s blue net with the bamboo handle hangs mostly empty, the occasional crayfish or salamander special enough to marvel about.

To be honest, most days writing feels futile. How could I have been naive enough to think that a year of mourning would be enough? To believe that grief could be treated like a project, with an end and a beginning, with some kind of order that makes sense? How could I have hoped that this hollow pain would leave? Why would I even want it to?

A year is not enough. 10 years, a hundred, a million, forever. You could cry an ocean of tears and there would still be more to give.

I feel lost these days. Like something has been stripped from me, but I’m not sure what it is. Like I’m trying to hold onto something that just keeps slipping away.

It’s hot now, and the blazing summer sun soaks into my black clothing, uncomfortable.

But it reminds me.

As if it is even possible to forget.

I stopped counting the days of this project because

we have lifetimes of grief

ahead of us.

Thank you for listening,
Love,
Natasha

photo by Wilson Alvarez

photo by Wilson Alvarez