Ink toner and Maple Leaf
I just burned my tongue on the peppermint tea i’ve prepared, whispering “fuck” and feeling the pull to add another coin to the self pity jar.
I am alive.
My lungs feel tight, my throat slightly sore from exposure to chemical agents I have endured this week while working at an industrial printing operation in the heart of one of the historic districts here in this calloused and surprising city. The work is factory work, akin or identical to the work of so many humans around the world. The cultural, historical, and creative depth hangs in the air like the smell of ink toner and burnt coffee, consumed by my fellow workmates like the fuel that feeds the machines, electric instead of diesel now.
We humans do incredible things to survive harsh and dehumanizing conditions.
One does enter into sort of trance, a flow state if you will, after hour upon hour of repetitive work goes on, the clanking, beeping, scratching, and clunking of machines providing an almost musical chorus if one is inclined to connect rhythm and weave music out of the grinding mayhem.
I’m not complaining. I entered this work in full power and prayer and have the blessing to step away after my projects are through. I think about young girls in Cambodia or Laos working sixteen hour shifts with barely a bathroom break, sitting amongst fumes that make my parttime place of work seem like a clear mountain vista. I frequently ponder what true freedom and liberation for humanity would look and feel like.
But of course, I know it.
For I am an infinite soul, a river of loving awareness being expressed through the biological and ecological prism which is my sacred body, this corporeal existence, experiencing together this breathtaking adventure of Earth life.
And then there’s global capitalism and commodified everything and the land removal acts of the late Middle Ages.
I feel tears welling up within my beautiful eyes as I write. A good sign.
It is not my place to offer theoretical answers to the problems and conditions we find ourselves in, for those answers and words lay waiting, existing in abundance in many places, like Reishi mushrooms in old growth forests during September, as the Big Leaf Maple leaves turn yellow and fall, the Salmon fighting upstream to their death and decomposition, dancing in grace and power, fully enthralled in their Great Song.
No my love, what is mine is to share my truth, my authentic nature at this moment, which is to say a few humble words:
I love us humans.
What gracious gifts we are, with our shadows and our demons, struggles, awkward edges we hide away.
I am grateful to be alive together, grateful to be drinking this tea with a now numb tongue, my body sore and my spirit humbled, never broken.
We are such a strong collaboration of so many instruments, continuously creating our waking moments through elegant and ferocious Nature.