Kindness in Times of Fire
Kindness in times of fire.
Compassion in times of bloodshed.
I’m in a hurricane of fear and hatred.
Some of us are actively destroying the body of the mother.
Some of her sons are crying tears of rage and pain.
They will not take one more pang.
They will pang back to feel redemption, a sense of victory.
The daughter of Cane and Abel.
Crying for the wounded
praying for the beast who wounded them
crying for the wounded.
Don’t lose yourself to the wayward winds of hatred.
But who am I to say, to the man whose mother was raped and taken, that we must pray for the man who raped her.
I am no one to say such things.
I can only model the world of prayer in hopes that I might lessen the burden of all this disdain we feel for one another.
Tiki torches are burning citronella oil.
My car is burning blood oil.
I am wearing the sweat and labor of children I do not know.
We are all so diseased.
I point a finger.
Three more pointing back at me.
How can we climb out of this hole of confusion and slavery?
Where is the ladder out of this dark cycle?
It is in the power of prayer.
The Wintu mothers, long ago, looked around as all the children were dying of starvation.
The nations were at war.
They were the ones to pray, they say.
The prayed for the revitalization of the hearts and stomachs of the next generation.
At this time a miracle came, they say.
They say the acorn maidens came down from the hills and taught them the preciousness within the nut of hope.
Taught them to shell it, pound it, leech it, boil it, until it was fit for human consumption.
They taught them more things than physical subsistence, however.
Taught them how to walk.
How to pray each day.
They taught them the way home.
Not to a physical place, but to a place inside the spirit.
A place where your fear is replaced with faith and you become a spear for the People.
A spear that shakes the ground with laughter and kindness and good feelings towards each other.
This is the model we are capable of giving to a world caught in the rapids.
It was the mothers who prayed.
It doesn’t have to be just the mothers this time.
You will find me out there in the woods crying for a sign.
You will find me looking to the sky, to the soil, to the soul of the earth, asking to be hammer that builds the home of healing.
As mothers we cannot tell our sons to put down their guns, their bats, their bullet words and go into the woods and pray.
As mothers we cannot ask them to stop chasing that beast who raped me and go into the woods and pray.
No that is not for me to say.
But I can go there for them.
I can go there for us all.
I will come back bearing a gift for the world. Not from my bosom, but from the heart of the sky, the heart of the earth, to their precious children.
I will appear from the forest’s edge with my sisters and perhaps some of my brothers and perhaps some of my non gender conforming friends, bearing some unimaginable suture.
A balm for the wounded.
A balm for the beast.
by Lyla June Johnston
Original Caretakers Fellow