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God of Dirt

The god of dirt
came up to me many times and said
so many wise and delectable things, I lay
on the grass listening

to his dog voice
crow voice,
frog voice; now,
he said, and now;

and never once mentioned forever

- from "One or Two Things," Mary Oliver

The ending of the calendar year represents a great benchmark for me. Although not as important as a personal birthday, in terms of marking new beginnings and reflecting on the journey of the recent past, the calendar new year represents a collective moment of gestalt. The whole world sighs and heaves itself into something fresh and open-minded. At least I hope so. As we mark the ninth year of war in Afghanistan, I have to ask, what has changed? How different are the goals and hopes that mark the end of this ten year period from those of the beginning? Are we going through the motions of thinking through change and action? Have we forgotten these moments of the future are received but one at a time? Are we living life consciously, or plodding around the wheel, yoked to the grindstone of blind habit and routine? What DO we expect of a new year?

The lines quoted from Mary Oliver speak to the pulse of life; the breath of living that is the present moment. We really do not have a luxury of days; only moments that slip through our fingers, spilling to the ground like grains, possible life in every seed. The god of dirt is the god of breath, of birdsong, of the solstice moon, of today and perhaps, tomorrow. It is not forever. As I meditate quietly in this week in which we bless the world and hope for peace on earth, I hope each of us looks ahead to the new year. And thinks, now. Let peace begin with me, now. Let it begin today. Speak from the earth, the voice of the earth. "Now, he said, and now."
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