The answer is giant cookie monsters

gray and black galaxy wallpaper
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(This is not meant to be taken seriously. But then again, who knows?)

As we all know, the earth revolves around the sun. The sun and our solar system revolve around the Milky Way galaxy, and each complete turn around the galaxy takes about 200,000 years, which is quite a long time. What we commonly acknowledge as our own human history is around 5,000 years, beginning with the start of writing at maybe around 3,000 BCE.

We have no idea what awaits us on the long journey around the Milky Way, and no idea what may have happened on previous revolutions. It’s a bit like early explorers sailing around the globe – where would they encounter choppy seas, where would there be huge waves – or giant squids waiting to attack – or a hot baking sun, unrelenting?  No one knew.

We kind of imagine that stars are stars, and that’s pretty much what’s out there in outer space – just stars, clusters of stars, nebulous clouds, crowded spots and less crowded spots, but really, we haven’t a clue.

Apparently, our sun is currently about halfway out along the spiral arms and seems to be in a less traveled space in between one spiral arm above and one below. So, round and round we go. We move forward as part of the spiral arms of stars that circle around the galaxy.

What if there is a patch where there are unforeseen hazards?  Maybe there are some ultra weird vibrations from a strange kind of star – or a whole bunch of strange stars?  Maybe extra gamma rays or quarks or super strange neutrinos or something that speeds things up or slows things down or, like a ship at sea, is suddenly really, really bumpy, or extra windy (with solar wind), or filled with unpredictable magnetism? Or something that shakes everything up or that spins things round and round? Then what? 

Or what if it’s something that creates effects, but that can’t be seen at all? Like big giant goblins with fiery breath?  Or invisible monster spiders waiting to trap us in spidery webs?  Or wispy, ghosty things that glow in the night? Well, you say, these things don’t exist. Really? Can you prove that they don’t exist?

What if we travel through a really hazardous, uncomfortable patch that lasts a couple of thousand years? What then?

Things have gotten quite uncomfortable lately:  floods and mega-droughts, natural cataclysms (this isn’t, in any way, to deny human-caused climate change, but sometimes there can be more than one cause for an effect). As for how humans are doing, part of our American population might be described as violent and delusional – another part as feeling victimized and a tiny bit self-righteous. (No one will agree with this, because we each see our own viewpoint as the correct one.)

In the meantime, much of the U.S. workforce has either gone on strike or gone AWOL.  It has vanished. No one quite knows where or how, but one can see the consequences – shortages, unexpected and inconvenient. There are not enough people to move merchandise that is bought – so it sits, piled up, unable to get where it is going, unable to reach customers.

Meanwhile, rates of mental ill health are soaring – depression, violent crime, murder.

And then, of course, there’s the pandemic – such an odd virus.

It is almost as if great hordes of giant demon cookie monsters have been lying awake, clustered by the starry roadside, waiting to pounce upon us unsuspecting earthlings just as we sail innocently by, on our 200,000 year-long wheel around the galaxy – casting our health and our civilization into disarray.

I think giant cookie monsters lying in wait is as good an explanation as any. What do you think?

Arunachala

In the state of Tamil Nadu, in the south of India, stands a mountain covered in rocks, called Arunachala. It is four and a quarter hours southwest of Madras (Chennai), in the Eastern Ghats. A very sacred mountain, Arunachala is considered to be Lord Shiva Himself, not just his abode, but the God Himself.

The great Saint Ramana Maharshi, during a visionary experience at the age of 16, went to live there. He never left and spent his life at Arunachala, visited over time by many thousands of devotees. He was very fond of animals. Today, as well as his own grave, there are the graves of several of his favorite animals; including a cow named Lakshmi and a raven that he had rescued.

© Sharon St Joan, 2021

Photo: Sakthiprasanna

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

To discover more about India, visit http://forestvoicesofindia.com   

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A Tree

green tree below white sky
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Trees are aware of the rain – a gentle rain, filling the air with moisture – rain like silver footsteps tiptoeing on the leaves of the cottonwood tree. But that is rather poetic. “Poetic”, however, does not mean “untrue”. On the contrary, poetry and myth are the truest truths –  far more true than mere physical reality  (which only describes a small part of what is – and so is woefully incomplete).

The truth of the tree is extreme sensitivity to and awareness of the sound of the rumbling distant thunder, of the fragrance of the wet flower petals – of the gentle happiness of the forest in the falling raindrops. Truth is the tree’s awareness. A poem.

© Sharon St Joan, 2021

An ancient view

scenic view of mountain
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To ancient peoples, the world of nature was not made up of inanimate beings – or of beings less than ourselves.

Everything was alive and had a spirit and a presence.

The mountains were gods, the rivers goddesses.

The lakes, the oceans, the trees, the deserts, the forests – everything was living and conscious.  Also, all the beings of the sky were alive – the sun, the planets, the moon, all the stars.

Life was present in every aspect of the universe. The sacred rocks were living entities.

All the animals – the fish, the whales, the bears, the lions, foxes, deer, all the birds, also the ants, the bees, the butterflies and all the insects.

We can see this perception still in the older (and wiser) belief systems of the world: Hinduism, Buddhism, Shinto, Taoism, in the world views of Native Americans.

Because ancient peoples saw and understood the spiritual essence of all of nature, there was reverence and respect for nature. Human beings took only what they needed for survival – and nothing more.  They were respectful and not greedy. They listened to the voices and to the laws of nature. They were aware of the sacred beings of life. Because of this awareness, they did not destroy the planet earth.

Today, though we consider ourselves, in the modern world, to be much wiser, we are in fact, very ignorant. We see nature through blind eyes, not recognizing the living essence, the majesty, and the awareness of nature and the earth herself.

It is through this blindness and stupidity, that we destroy nature – through greed and oblivion.

No amount of calculating carbon footprints in a futile effort to save ourselves is going to work.

We must focus, not on ourselves, but on the ineffable beauty and life of nature herself.

To put it simply, we must go back to worshipping nature – to feeling a sense of reverence for the earth.  We belong to the earth. It is only by returning to that sense of the sacred that we will be able to save the earth – and perhaps ourselves as well.

© Sharon St Joan, 2021

Evening

clouds during sunset
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Did you think to thank the evening?

I am the evening,

I have a soul, old and real,

A being – an essence from another age –

The flowering sage,

Spilling gold,

The half-moon watching,

The glimmering petals of time

That bloom

Between the echoes

Of lost places,

The ravens recounting

Tales untold

Of yesteryear,

The wheel

Running on and on,

While the tadpole curls up into sleep.

Did you thank the One

Who made the evening?

Or did you assume that all came together

Just entirely by chance?

A lovely accident

With no intent?

Nothing to see,

An idle dance?

Yet the evening is a petal

On the deepening rose of time

By the haunting cliff, steep,

Blown in the owl-awakened wind,

Gently, as the clouds

Fold up into stars

And the clear sky sings

Her song with crowds

Of hummingbirds that chime,

Recalling the embers

Of lilting Septembers

From far, far away,

Traces of rain remembered,

The wall of China

Winds around the rolling hills,

From lands long ago

In the swirling snow.

© Sharon St Joan, 2021

Written September 14, 2021

Red cliffs

grand canyon during golden hour
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Within the red cliffs

Walk the feet of Shiva

Through the eternities of endless eons

In the sacred smoke of the kiva

Snow-

Flakes falling

Within the perceptive

Eyes

Of the pygmy owl,

Reflecting skies

Where green dragons

Sail over the seas and all the caves

Long gone,

Waves

Washing up along the coast

Where still,

Knives

Gleam

Of thieves

Hiding in the dark,

Ninja lives,

Deceptive

Whiffs –

A spark

Of whispered words,

Clever,

Sly eyes smile.

There is the space

Where

The rainbows

Rest

A while

Before the startling storms that howl

Before the white-throated swift’s nest

High up in the rock

Gathers up the errant wings – lost almost.

All the hills become

Encircled in weaves

Of patterns within the mist

Of gray stone.

Within the rain ahead

Flocks

Of night

Rain, loud,

Bold,

That never cease,

Unerring

In their treks of flight,

Within the black armies of the castled kingdoms,

War drums

Of the cloud.

All is here now,

The bow

Of the lone,

Ghost

Ship cuts across the furrow,

And all falls

Suddenly quiet.

Torrents cease.

Winds let go.

All returns

To within the peace

Of cliffs deep red

As the autumn

Moon

In the forgotten dimensions

Of forever. Soon

Will the wild paws

Of the forest

Lions,

Tiptoe

Again, with grace

In the clear singing of the dawn

With the moon-

Enchanting meadows

Gone,

Now turned to gold,

Held in the entrancing feathers of the sun,

While rags of clouds stream

Onward to the dance.

September 10, 2021

© Sharon St Joan, 2021

Where now is the mist-ringed bell

green trees on mountain
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Where now is the mist-ringed bell

That tolls over the wandering wave

Of the gray

River?

The moon a sliver

In the sky?

Who can tell?

Where now the branches of the nagalingam tree that sway

And brush along the cool earthen banks,

Home of shy,

Determined snails,

Before the dawn of being,

Long before the chaos

Of disrepair

Grumbled through the dark hall

Of the subterranean cave.

Where now is the brave, ascending song

Of the gold-eyed buffalo burr,

Who clung to the canyon wall,

In the fierce, railing wind,

Her petals beaming in the sun,

The one

Proclaiming victory for the day,

Where now the call

Of the giant whales

Who dive beneath

The cliff rising from

The moving waters of infinity

In the indigo

Deeps

Of joy – whales who play

With their children, ocean games

In the seaweed-flowing mystery

Of their sparkling blue sea –

Where now the curious

Goat who leaps

Among the white patches of winter snow

Along the steep

Hill of the cedarbreak?

Where now the songs

From the ranks

Of all the charming, twisted juniper trees,

Their bark that curls around like smoke,

Whose wisdom

Belongs

To the light,

The moonrise,

And the night,

Who spoke

In the ever-whistling wind,

But then were felled by a cold-axed blow

Of barbarity and lies.

All their songs are fled away

To the far, far mountains of freedom

Where they echo,

Echo,

Gone

To the long

Hills,

Where God always sings

In the wandering dawn,

Waiting for the tumult and the chaos

To have ceased

On the ending day

When flames

That have hissed high

At long last fade,

Scattered away

On the winds,

Lost in the trills

Of birdsong

And the swarm

Of the bumblebee.

Then, in a world that has glided out of the gray mist,

The heart of the wild geese

Will sound once again,

Free,

As the flight

Of the numinous

Rose-winged beauty

Of the dragonflies

Along the lilting, frog-enchanted lake,

Humming.

Hear now the wings,

The presence

Of all the beings,

Released –

Watched over by the bright,

Night-shimmering form

Of Hamsa, the swan who flies

Over the green forest

Of yore,

Reawakened by her

All-knowing essence,

Beginning anew,

In a magic country,

The land of evermore,

Eternal, true

And ever-now,

In the mystical hour of the gray dawn.

© Sharon St Joan, 2021

Odd, isn’t it?

brown helicopter flying above green field during daytime
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Odd –

How somehow

You never really minded

Accepting the accolades

Of those who trusted you —

Your young soldiers

Who gave their lives

To fight in your unending battles —

And the women and girls who placed

Their hope and trust in you —

And the brave and loyal

Friends who gave

So many years and

Sacrifices on your behalf —

Odd —

How you could never really recall

Any of their names.

But you gave them a form

To fill out,

With reassurances

And oh, so many empty words,

How very, very kind of you.

How thoughtful,

As you chose

With every conscious intention

Not to know,

Not to remember,

Not to help,

Not to be in any hurry at all,

Musn’t rush,

As their lives

Slipped away

Down the vacant,

Gaping hole in your memory –

Down to the flames

Of their destruction

By your abandonment

And your treachery.

Not your fault, of course.

Who could have known?

***

© Sharon St Joan, August 15, 2021