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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Possum Goes on Retreat

Rumination after a return from the woods. 

The possum has been at a retreat in the woods, in company with a lot of other creatures, bears, snakes, turtles, birds of every hue, wolves, rabbits, frogs, monkeys, mice, dogs, as well as some highly verbal cockroaches, dread-locked dragons, and reclusive cats, all meeting, greeting, contemplating, and studying the ways of balance and peaceful co-existence. It was very hot and very sweaty because it was July, and the animals slept in tents, walking some distance to reach showers or potty. That is, when they weren't dancing, singing, creating art, forming friendships, or meditating.

One of the finest sights is only on view during middle of the night rambles to the necessary: the Milky Way, our local galaxy, now nearly invisible to the more domesticated animals who live in the vast sprawl of cities. At the same time, grandmother moon grew fat, her face glowing through the tall straight trees, the oak, tulip poplar, beech, swamp maple, as well as the trees that grow with a hula-hoop twist, like sassafras, or flowering shrubs like mountain laurel and witch hazel.  All the creatures did a lot of walking through the woods and down along the creek, which was now singing a very soft tune as it ran over  the red and gray earth bones because it hasn’t been raining much.

What goes down must come up again, and this is true, not only for rain, but for all of us, especially if we wanted get back up again, away from the Hemlock Hole where we had been swimming, to our tents, or to the open pavilion where delicious meals are served, or to visit the forest cathedral. Worship took place in the open air. You don't need to go inside a building to hear the sacred words-or to sing hymns to Creator. If you wonder at that, remember the sermon on the mount--and if that's not your creed, recall the great Black Elk, who simply said: "The holy land is everywhere." 

Cell phones do not work in this place, although occasionally, standing on the hill by the contemplative labyrinth—stones laid into the ground, wildflowers—you could get a signal. Some creatures, suffering from electronic withdrawal, could sometimes be seen standing up there, arms extended, waving little glowing rectangles at the heavens, like devotees of some new sect, praying for even the smallest sign from the brutal cacophony which lay on the other side of the ancient blue mountains.

The possum returned home after a week of study, peace, mutual respect, and concord to a world convulsed with shootings and military coups, as well as the usual work-a-day torture, sexual slavery, famine, drought, injustice, greed, and cruelty. A few mass murders in the name of God were tossed in for good measure. Sound bite solutions to complex problems were trumpeted by the servants of Mammon--and by many accepted--easy-way-out notions which, when examined for longer than a minute, shouldn’t convince a flatworm, much less any self-respecting creature who (in vain) calls itself homo sapiens.
Humble Possum was shell-shocked. She had left the Holy Isle and re-entered the electric mad house. 

~Juliet Waldron

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