Saturday, March 01, 2014

Day dreaming

The atheist tells me he thinks religious belief is wishful thinking. He tells me there are no invisible sky daddies up there. It's supposed to be insulting or demoralizing, like he's the heroic one and I'm the loser in denial. He means to hurt me. For one, that I'd need a daddy. For two, that there isn't a daddy whom I need. I find nothing shameful about the lack of daddies. It seems to me most of nature gets along just fine without daddies, but then I'm not the atheist guy. No.

No, here I am putting one foot in front of another, climbing the side of a mountain ridge very old relative to me and very young relative to the mountain itself. I am moving through time as I hike upwards. I am following no guided path rooked by seekers and religious tourists. I am following a way opening itself before me through tree branches, bordered by stone falls, and carpeted by flood damage. I follow the path of water as it slid down the mountain. Packs of re-placed leaves, exposed tender roots, the black soil beneath the rotting, dry leaves: signposts in natural magic pointing upwards to the source. I follow this way back to the source.

She appears before me. I hear her name in my mind, but the only word to call her by making sense is Skymother. She is a skymother, a beautiful specimen of a tulip poplar old in a way I cannot imagine within my body. My lifetime is her dreamtime. She is a skymother, and she asks no worship from me. But I celebrate her. She will accept that.

And I continue upwards. Each foot left a breath, each foot right a breath. In-out, out-in, the rhythm jumps. Hard to keep a pace when the heart starts pounding oxygen-starved delirium and there's nothing left but lactic acid. Subtle panic in a tired body. But I'm still climbing. On the climb, upward, on the way, outward, and there I see them. It's not just the one skymother. It's a whole sisterhood of them. I find what I have been wanting to believe in. The visible sky sisterhood up there. Behold the children and figures of a new commandment, "Be greedy, but let everyone be."

Tulip poplars and towering white pines, young eager pine saplings like a mosh pit of explosive puberty. Up there in the sky is a sisterhood, and my life is in their hands.

Far below the ridge, not as far down as the very young, very small ferns and mosses and lichens at the creek's largesse, the Father stands broken and dying. He is a large tulip poplar holding court in a large ampitheatre. He used to hear his own singing in there, in the Valley of the Giants. But at some point, rot and worms ate the right thread to bring half of the crown low. It's been there a very few years. It's not gotten to really rotting away. It's still a fresh wound for the Father. But he is angry and sad, down there among the Giants, when up there on the ridge sing the sky sisterhood, sisters I can see.

So, the boy is right. We shouldn't believe in invisible sky daddies. Not when the sky sisterhood is there for us to see and acknowledge and celebrate.

I find the little one sitting where I left her, where she trusts me and I trust her. To go is to return. I have now met my trees and my tree.

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