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Posted By Opening the Heart

I love that I am an animal. I know my instincts for survival and thriving are no greater or less than those of another species, excepting paramecium or amoeba with whom I am not well acquainted. When I go to a concert, I am less focused on being in a fancy music hall, with polished wooden floors, marble statues and high decor. My true self is stalking the "sweet-spot" of my own species, thinking "look how undefended we can be together, standing in wild proximity to one another and blending our voices on purpose, to send an arrow of auditory energy straight to the places that ache to be touched." I am thinking that music does that - goes in without permission. Enters us without knocking, or knowing the password, or paying the price of admission at the door.
 
I adore being a primate. Love using my hands and feet to get into and out of trouble.  How we pout and groom each other like it is normal, because it is.  Pushing the hair off someone's forehead, smoothing a brow that looses a worry line. And when we bother with clothes, tucking in a stray tag or picking off lint.
 
My first week in Japan I was scrubbing my body in the women's collective bathing area, when a Japanese "Obaachan," (a grandmotherly type) pulled her stool behind me, and after bowing, and disarming me with her gold-toothed smile, began scrubbing my back with long, determined swipes from my neck to my tail, which would have been wagging if it hadn't been stolen by evolution. I felt my spine melt like butter on an August picnic table, felt homesick for the beloveds who saw me off at Logan Airport, and also woven beneath words into my new cultural home. After the scrubbing came basin after basin of hot water, to rinse off the jet lag, the preconceived notions of what my life was about to become, and my unnecessary modesty. I slept like a baby that night on my futon for one, wrapped like a burrito, the smell of grass woven tatami inviting me deeper into dreaming.
 
Black bear mate in New England in the middle of June. They rub their scent on trees, bite the bark of red oak and black birch. They play sensual hide and seek in hopes of tumbling into intimacy. Moose will strip the bark off a flexible low branch to satisfy an itch on their velvety ears, near to where the antlers attach. What about us?
 
We are complicated and simple. We hold on with long, capable arms to those we love. Gather in wet, gorgeous clumps when we lose someone. Make sounds for pleasure and sounds for pain. Make angels in the snow and wrap twinkle lights around balsam trees. Roll down hills in the autumn and wear bits of straw and seeds on our hoodie sweatshirts and in our hair. Make love and wage war.  We wilt or thrive depending on the nature and quality of the touch offered or withheld.
 
We are simple animals living in complicated times. Our world spinning, climate changing, temperature rising. Tidal waves and earthquakes and fear of too few resources. We orbit around, referenced by our own raw material, our unique essential matter. We mean something, all by ourselves and to each other. We feel so deeply, that a poem is born in the time it takes for the light to turn green at a common intersection.
 
Donna Macomber
 
I leave you with evidence of our capacity to love, and with this poem by Pablo Neruda: When I die, I want your hands on my eyes: I want the light and wheat of your beloved hands to pass their freshness over me once more: I want to feel the softness that changed my destiny. I want you to live while I wait for you, asleep.

 

Join Donna and the OTH Team at the OTH Workshop March 19 - 21 at Kripalu Institute for Yoga and Health


 
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