Falling Down and Going Under by Sara Wright


I have been traveling across country during the past week from New Mexico to Maine, leaving one “home” for another wondering what the word even means for me these days. I suspect the word doesn’t refer to a place, but a state of mind/body that continues to elude me.

In a forested glen in Virginia I first heard the cardinals singing from the trees and smelled fragrant mounds of trailing honeysuckle that cascaded over every bush and lichened granite stone. For a while I seemed unable to soak in enough of the fully leafed out deciduous trees – trees dressed in miraculous shades of lime, deepening to dark spruce. My endless hunger for emerald green was finally appeased by endless rolling hills and blue tipped mountains.

Arriving in Maine brought rain, a second spring, the joy of peepers chiming by the thousands in the bogs, a million shades of unfurling greens, muted maple flower reds that veiled the trees, and willowy emerald grasses waving to the hills. The rich scent of forests, ponds and brooks allows me to breathe in rich moist – laden air with an appreciation for humidity that I have never had before l moved to the desert. The North Country woman has come home to cobalt blue skies without a harsh summer white out, and the brutal west winds of the desert have been left behind.

Last night, the bears came. First a small yearling who climbed bb’s pine after feeding a few minutes on the ground – oh, the sound of pitiful wailing and moaning broke my heart. Where was the yearling’s mother? After about 45 minutes she arrived, ate a few morsels, tipped over the bird feeder for her yearling’s pleasure and strode across the lawn with the confidence that comes from knowing her territory and accepting recent non – threatening human/dog arrivals. Disappearing down to the brook she finally re appeared behind her little one. Suddenly, startled by some strange sound, she sprinted down the hill with her youngster trailing close behind. This mother behaved so casually towards her offspring that I wondered if family break up was immanent. When the female comes into estrus she will leave her yearling on its own… a normal process, though heartrending to experience. Yearlings are often very afraid to be left alone. After they left I stayed by the window staring into the night, and sent a silent prayer of gratitude and prayers for the safety of these bears to Venus, who was perched in high the night sky over the eastern horizon. If any experience would help me find ‘home’, I thought, an experience of seeing beloved wild bears would.

Yet I am still walking on air.

Upside down, backwards, sideways. No wonder we feel dizzy and nauseated much of the time. Legislators discuss ”consensual rape,” presidential spokespeople insist there are ”alternate facts,” and lies become beyond brazen since there are written, photographic, video, audible, publicly witnessed records and testimonies exposing the lies. Crowd size, for example. What was said in an un-doctored videotaped interview or speech. What crime was boldly committed and baldly denied. When enough of these accumulate—and they come in an avalanche daily—they leave tiny pits, then dents, in a citizen’s self confidence about recognizing reality, until the blizzard of pebbles becomes a pelting of stones and finally a hillside of boulders roaring down to bury the self, the truth, the real…This happens through language and action both, via short-term tactics and long-term strategies. It’s so blatant it bewilders the rational mind…It’s so continual it exhausts attempts to select one discrete example and analyze that constructively… It’s so absurd that in lighter moments we liken it to Wonderland or the looking glass, with ourselves as Alice–shrinking, swelling, lost, being bullied, even being sentenced to our own beheading. There is fear, and worse: the massive combination of all this seems so encompassing as to feel overwhelming, it evokes despair.

This morning Robin Morgan’s words burned through my bear haze, reminding me that along with all the wild creatures I cannot inhabit this planet in peace. Just like the haunted, hunted bears, I too am on the run. Because ‘the personal is political’ no place is home because most of the humans on this planet have gone insane and there is no safe place left to go…

 

Sara is a naturalist, ethologist ( a person who studies animals in their natural habitats) (former) Jungian Pattern Analyst, and a writer. She publishes her work regularly in a number of different venues and is presently living in Northern New Mexico.



Categories: Ecofeminism, Nature, Politics, Women's Spirituality

Tags: ,

14 replies

  1. What I didn’t realize until I wrote this post was that on one hand we are being assaulted – the Earth and her peoples, and on the other side we are faced with a wall of personal and pubic denial of what is…there is no way through. We are stuck in a crack in between.

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  2. Sara, you say “most of the humans on this planet have gone insane and there is no safe place left to go…”, but I believe you are wrong. Do not despair, my Dear. There is but a very small percentage of persons who are forcing these insane new rules and views on us, and it’s only through the crazed focus of the media that we are seeing this minority insanity. MOST of our world realizes this deplorable treatment of both Our Mother Earth and our female bodies. You have to BELIEVE the Truth will come forth. You have to continue on your Path, do your Work, spread your Love, to maintain the integrity of the Web, so that the Truth will shine forth.

    Case in point, do not forget that the Federal Courts banned the implementation of the immigration bans that were first put in place by Trump a couple of years ago. Their steadfast logic and integrity stopped that insanity. While the small men and women in some states attempt to dislodge our protections, and take us back to the Dark Ages, I believe their backwards, controlling, mean spirited positions will be upended, and balance will be achieved. It will be hard work on our part, to attract the attention of the media, who only like to spread sensationalism, aka, nasty and rude behavior. But, we can do it. With a smile on my face, and a hug on my arms, I send you strength to continue.

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  3. Thank you for this lyrical post about Nature. As it happens, I live in Virginia and take deep delight in the beauty of my adopted state. Please write more posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve been to Virginia, and what I remember is all the green, more than I’d ever seen before. I’ve never been to Maine, but I enjoyed your story of the bears. Here in SoCal, rich people (mostly) are building their houses in wilderness that is home to bears and and coyotes and other animals. So the animals come into people’s new neighborhoods–their old territories–and swim in people’s pools and eat people’s left-over food (which the folks on TV call garbage).

    I agree with Diana that, in the main, it’s a small group of people who are creating all those alternative facts and trying to destroy not only the planet but our democracy, too. It’s up to people like us to get rid of them so we and the bears can live peacefully and listen to the birds.

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    • Gosh Barbara, if there are so few why haven’t we gotten rid of ‘them’??????

      Sadly, you are right. It is mostly rich people that buy up the wilderness and then call the death patrol (state wildlife agencies) when they become a problem… then these poor animals are shot.

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  5. Sara–I share your despair. “Because ‘the personal is political’ no place is home…and there is no safe place left to go….” So in all of those unsafe spaces, I still attempt to find beauty of all sorts. Sometimes, I succeed, albeit, it’s all so transient. Perhaps that transiency is what makes up the reality of our existence. If so, it doesn’t make living any easier.

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  6. Thanks Sara, your thought impressed me where you mention — “This mother behaved so casually towards her offspring.” So I thought about that, and I decided maybe because the mom wasn’t trained to be a mom, because in nature everything is instinct. Maybe we humans would do better if we followed our instincts more often too.

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    • In this case the “casual” mom is one who is leaving her offspring because it’s time to mate. Family breakup during the spring of a young bear’s second year is what happens… The youngsters are scared at first and then adjust.

      In my opinion all animals do a dance between instinct and learned behavior just as humans do – but I do agree – if I had paid attention to my instinctual body instead of being being educated out of it I would have avoided many personal horrors.

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  7. The first part of your post evoked such resonance within me; I lived for 4 years in Tucson and by the time I left, I was dessicated (or so I felt) on all levels, which is why even though I know our heavy rainfall this spring (in SW Missouri) are creating trouble and hazards for many, I still react with utmost joy and delight in each rain after our 3 years here and the verdant greening you describe is absolutely LUSH here right now!!! I’m so grateful to be here in our little woodsy place.

    I did despair on some counts when we moved here since it is firmly entrenched in bible belt, conservative culture, but after a while I was able to let it go … despair is more distant now. I continue to do my part in helping to alleviate suffering however I am able (usually via dog rescue work, my personal niche for more than thirty years, and basic environmental conscientiousness) but then trust in Gaia to – in whatever way, form or manner – cleanse our world as necessary from the destructive machinations of humans.

    There is a movie “The Happening” that feels reassuring to me … too long to go into here .. maybe I’ll write a post about it.

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  8. Welcome back to Maine, Sara. As a former Californian I revel in Maine’s lush green beauty. As to your other comments, it is easy to despair given all that’s going on in our country and around the world, but I try to focus on the bright spots, such as Maine’s new governor, Janet Mils. She is such a breath of fresh air after former governor LePage. (I hope I’m making sense here because I’ve got a cold so my brain’s a bit fuzzy.) :)

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    • Agreed about Mills – LePage was a monster – a precursor to Trump…The problem here is that too many of us focus on the bright spots – how else can we survive? – but what we desperately need is humankind to rise up as one people to say no to these atrocities and that is NOT happening. I may give thanks for the Greening but nothing shifts the big picture reality that hangs over my head, and I am never free of that awareness.

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