I’ve been watching the UN and the Human rights council, and honestly, it makes my heart full of turmoil. The violence, injustice, and life-threatening conditions that so many people are both part and victims of. What is the source of this reality? All over the world, we see signs of distances, we’re in a deep crisis that affects us all. It’s hard to separate the reality of those facing deep conflict, in addition to our own at home, that can make us form into deep paralysis and complacency, and for me, shattered into an emotional cry deep within me that has no way to visually represent itself. I find myself more drawn to nature, the forest here, as I’ve written about, does not see through our violent reality, as if they see it at all. What can be done? Is there something of ourselves in all of these crises? Is there anything that we can truly separate from?
I work late into the night and early morning when all is quiet and I have some space to think, write, make art, study, and simply get a chance to breathe outside of the day. When morning comes I turn off the lights in the house and watch the sunrise, seeing the dark forms of the shadows of the trees blend slowly into a glow of deep colours and shimmering greens, a bright landscape slowly emerges, until you feel the forms of the trees, dark shafts giving way to impossible branches, lifting toward the sky, as the forest life comes to greet them. Here in Fairfax, there almost is no winter, the trees outside our apartment have been green for the entire duration of the season. Will they be the same in spring?
Everything asks for renewal. Our forests bend and grow among each other, and deep in the forest away from our small street, they bend and twist in the deep colours of black and green, covered slowly across the sunlight, lifting toward the sky, seeming lost, but finding their strange and beautiful patterns up into the canopy. It’s beautiful and desperate, giving a soft sadness to the beauty and impossible reality of forest life. In California we have wildfires, ever-present the reality that one day a striking, quiet fire that destroys all will form across the land. Are we any different?
Our minds can be like fire, our thoughts as deep as a forest, our hearts reaching ever toward the light of our canopies, to catch a glimpse of sunlight, a spark that will create a fire within, pure as clear water, the photosynthesis, the magic of our emotional reality and dreams. What are these distances when we become one in spirit of our surroundings, and what are we when we realize that in the same way, there are no concrete distances between self and other, and what we share is greater than our differences. If our cultures are a forest, vast in their differences of biodiversity, yet so close within their own realities and their structural flow, how are we different from a forest, and how different are our thoughts from those we find in conflict with, in everything from envy and hate, misunderstanding, and at violence’s apex, a death and destruction, and loss of life, that not only threaten those with whom we may have differences, but and the survival of the love of our own hearts, our spirits, our souls.
What are these distances? Are they deep as a raincloud, as momentary as a passing firefly, a minute become a full day, a day that stretches out through passing moments of invisible time? Our actions and emotions are like this reality, obscuring our vision deep within the dry branches of the forest ground, settling into a blank complacency, casting a shadow below its surfaces, where the only thing alive is the shadows themselves, moving slowly as the light crosses across them, an image of night in the bright of day, cloaked in its mystery.
Do we also find ourselves in these moments, tracing the path of our own sunlight by means of the fallen trees of memory, a moment become a twisting bramble, held as stone sculpture, a museum of our past remembrances? Yet high above we reach ever into the sky, as is our own open mind of hope, made manifest in the effortless motion of our dreamed realities? What is the dream of the forests, our deserts, our grasslands, our breath of life? What are the distances between our lives and the natural world? Does it have to be this way? I hope, dream, and pray that it does not.
Our minds are as deep as a forest, our thoughts as deep as an ocean, and between all is what binds us, our world, our realities, our deep love of life, unasked for, reaching without doubt or question, into an embrace of deep love, with no distances remaining, yet as individual as a reflected moment of light as we see the brokenness and beauty of moments of our world, which we tend to, and gently heal, winter become spring, summer, and fall, and back again into what binds these moments, things may come and go like passing moments, or the promise of forever that is a dream, yet we bring ourselves to tend to every day. A careful mending through time, resting gently on the forests of our hearts onto the ground, which asks us to look up, see the dance of time as the forest cries silently without form, without sound, but our own footsteps, deep within the mind of nature, and we may not hear. But it is speaking, life, in all its tragedy, and beauty, its horror and sublimity, and it asks us, what is the difference between each other? The forest can’t hear us, but they say gently in their own language, here is life in all its reality, and its question, inexpressible, yet when we are truly here, wherever we are, truly here.
It invites us to look at our differences, and realize their illusion. The forest within our hearts, the oceans filled with life that rests gently within as we reach toward each other, the sunlight, with our thoughts, and dreams, and asks us, do not take this moment, and this one, and now this one for granted, and lift not just into the sun, but to each other, the storms of our hearts, settling into a gentle rain, bringing with it in its own reality the life that sustains us, and asks us, do you remember our cries like a quiet rainfall when we were all one, Sheltering life and all its forms as we protected the land in perfect concert, together with our forest life, that renews all, and transforms our hearts, from season to season, in the mystery and beauty of life itself, and perhaps this is love. And perhaps we are there, in the forest of our thoughts, in the depths of our love for each other, deep within the forests of time.