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Out To Pasture

Retirement from community development,
facilitating cooperative economic justice
in this post-millennial time of climate crisis,
feels like being put out to pasture
with the rest of us toothless and feckless horses

Stalking senior centers
and gated communities
to weather the fade-out storm
of physical
and mental,
natural
and spiritual encroaching unease
and disease.

This was not my fade away intent
to graze quietly
with quivering and lame
retired race horses;
although worse company
is readily at hand.

I do like pastures,
meadows,
forest and ocean beach trails,
grains and crunchy carrots
and apples.

But, I also like song and dance
and restorative justice more than retributive injustice,
and skilled multicultural mediation
rather than monopolistic invasion,
and economic cooperative win/win public health investment
and politically empowering regeneration
more than competitively disempowering degeneration,
and polypathic compassionate therapies,
and polyphonic healing designs
and listening with healthy young bicamerally balanced
connected
attached
integral
holistic lives of active hope.

It has taken me so long to get here
in this valley of the shadow of climate death,
and I am so grateful for this vulnerable moment
to share all I can compassionately hear
in multicultural mediation pastures,
including senior health-discernment circles,
of course,
but also echoing off granite bold walls
of win/win ego/eco-historic bicameral mountains,
polycultural peaks
cooperatively grateful
for bilaterally resonant river valleys
of ancient wealthiest memory.

Old nags never die.
We just keep gumming
around Earth’s double-binaries,
longing to speak compassionately
as we have learned to curiously hear,
remember
resonate
reweave
regenerate
seasonal pasture space
of all Earth’s pastoral reasoned time.

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Retiring Nomad River

I finally finished retiring four years ago,
a process that started in my mid-fifties
due to late adopting kids with special needs,
including needs for me to be home
to personally walk them on,
harness them in,
and wheel them back off, their diverse buses
and robotic ramped vans.

During those final weeks of quasi-gainful employment
I amped up my search for a new home
preferably in New London, CT,
because I had visited, and liked, All Souls UU;

But, possibly in Norwich,
where I have some family,
not necessarily white like me,
or someplace more rural
in-between.

Long story short,
which is not like tangential me,
I ended up
or started out,
depending on where this story starts for you
and me
on the south end of Norwich,
just north of the old State Hospital,
seeking healthy justice
above a steep and brooding bank
down to the troubled Thames River.

From here
it is difficult not to notice
how traffic flows
between Norwich and New London.

But, in the case of All Souls UU
and UU Norwich,
not so much,
maybe not enough.

When I lived in the Hartford area
I joyfully attended the Unitarian Society of Hartford,
a fairly large multicultural tent
filled with reviving gospel music.

So, when looking for a retirement destination,
I traveled on-line to uua.org
to see what might be available
in addition to All Souls New London
and found a small cell,
apparently renters quasi-homeless,
Norwich UU,
or UU Norwich,
or maybe both
I hope.

I pictured no choir,
no active faith formation options
for people of all ages
and figured,
probably not right for me.

Long story maybe a little bit short,
it took me over four years
to make my first Norwich UU visit,
recently.

I found somewhat fewer of us
than the number of Norwich residents
on the All Souls Members and ActiveAllies list.

My background is in cooperative economic
and affordable housing development.

With an MDiv from a Catholic seminary
and a double-Master’s in Public Administration
and Community Development
from Southern Illinois,
Carbondale,
where Bucky Fuller once taught
Synergetics,

It feels awkward
to invest in All Souls together
where all souls are welcome,
by commuting back and forth alone in my blue steel truck,
while there is clearly plenty of room
and welcome
available right in my new home town,
where I now know no one except family,
over four years later.

This is a schizophrenic discomfort
for climate activist
and cooperative local community investor
me.

Back in my early adoption years,
I worked in the Office of Urban Affairs,
New Haven,
for the Archdiocese of Hartford,
where I listened to a great deal of turmoil
about aging and poor urban parishes
thinking about how to join forces
to survive
while sharing a clergy ministry team.

So, I wonder
How would it feel to UU Norwich survivors,
activists,
communicants,
healthy and smart registrants to vote local
while thinking global,
to carpool to All Souls on Sunday mornings,
to sit together
in chairs hooked to-gather,
perhaps joined by us other emigrant immigrant
Norwich residents already All Souls affiliated,

To also share a discussion circle
after the chalice light is extinguished
to check in with each other over coffee,
maybe herbal tea,
to reflect on what we heard
and sang
and sometimes endured, today,

To ponder aloud how this speaks
and does not speak
why
and how
and when we arrive together
back in Norwich,
having solved
and resolved to absolve
most of the Thames River watershed issues
rolling back and forth
and swelling in-between
this tidal river’s ups and downs.

Perhaps some of us
or even all of us
would also like to form a Sanctuary Circle
meeting during the week.

Maybe have lunch together,
share our Norwich organizing
and multicultural explorations together,
contribute to All Souls Green Sanctuary
and GRACE anti-racism projects,
restore justice to replace retributive injustice,
speak power with truth,
live together, not apart,
more resiliently.

Perhaps it is possible
to grow more robust
as a distinguished part
of All Souls,
combine resources,
economize cooperatively,
ecologize more holistically
and theologize more healthily
without losing Norwich UU tradition,
focus
mission,
effective
resonance,
green and black and brown and rainbow
resilience.

As for me,
I’m still looking at New London
real estate listings
while troubled about abandoning
a nomad’s home
in which I never let myself fully invest

While dreaming of emigrating further south
downriver toward climatically rising water levels
while still in my first five carbon-burning years
of retiring immigration.

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Life Planning Love

We were sitting in our 60+ sharing circle
on a rainy Tuesday afternoon,
grey and raw and dreary,
listlessly speaking of the need to downsize,
to transition to a more manageable
more safe
more audible habitat.

And wanting to hang onto our independent mobility,
our cars, in most middle-class cases,
as long as possible.

We talked about proactive planning optimal independence,
about eventually living with our kids,
about potential confluence and conflicts of interest,
about shrinking invulnerable distances
between “someday,
as far from today,
as possible”
and the lightning quickness
of crushing physical and/or mental disability,
non-communication ability,
through accidents and aneurysms,
unfortunate and therefore unplanned critical events.

We did not talk about
how we felt
courageous and curious,
brave and patient,
afraid and angrily impatient
about how mortal life is what continues
only one day
one uncritical moment
at a time
while planning for other loving things
to unfold before
“no longer sacred SomeTime
as far away from secular today
as physically AND mentally,
naturally and spiritually, possible.

I didn’t notice,
until later,
we also didn’t look at cooperatively-held
unitarian plans
for win/win
health/wealth outcome optimization.

The hypothetical possibility
today
is “someday” for mutual pre-planning
cooperative downsizing
and shared mobility challenges,
resources,
opportunities,
risks,
vulnerabilities,
strengths,
letting go by first grabbing hold
of shared imaginations.

We didn’t talk
about how much we didn’t like
the empty chairs,
About how we miss, already,
Kate and Betsy
Jan and Sandy
and what they are planning
between shared now
and autonomous then.

Their unique and irreplaceable ways
of planning and not planning
pre-planning and re-planning
life each day
while continuing with other relationships
other communications
communions
communities.

I didn’t talk
about wanting to live with other singers
and maybe even dancers,
with others deeply committed to compassion
for both mortal humans
and immortal living Earth

Hopefully,
providing
inviting habitats of warm
cooperatively-owned and -managed
accompaniment,
creative improvisation,
jazz rhythms,
blues beats,

Especially on raw phrases,
dreary riffs,
rain-drenched
Tuesday jamming afternoons
of richly audible gloom.

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Reversing Healthier Times

I go back,
reversing imaged time
to when I felt
and knew untrammeled internal space
responsive within external
eternally immortal times
of Earth’s regenerative history.

For some,
again less fortunate re-imagining
with some conversing,
comparing rights,
contrasting lefts
I hear no such winning exterior ecopolitics
with winning internal empowerment
and self-investment
since emerging from EarthMother’s
redundant DNA nurturing womb.

But, for a few,
a time of peace
recalls a later conscious memory,
a time of courageous and curiously restoring justice
to those few relationships
showing early signs of uncreative tension.

These, unusually blessed
with resilient confluence,
may not recognize each other
and yet search for their potential bodhisattva peers,
returning to these childhood experiences
to remember slowly regrowing what went right
and vulnerably wrong
for restoring peace-filled justice
within and without
ego/eco-empowering tipping points,
wealth of healthy co-redemption

For all wombs,
their plantings and yieldings,
now still searching
through past generations
still incarnate in wombs
birthing future health-seeking regenerations.

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Climate Reparations

Come by here, Lord,
Kum ba ‘eah;

Come by here, Land,
Kum ba yeah;

Come by here, Love,
Kum ba yah;

Oh, EarthSoul Mama,
come by here!

Someone’s singin’
Someone’s swingin’

Someone’s in pain
Someone’s dyin’

Someone’s laughin’
while Someone’s weepin’

Someone’s prayin’, LandedLady,
Kum ba here.

Each of us contains
a therapeutic difference
Between bad news trauma
from suffering and pain
untimely lost,

Amid degenerating chronic loss
of resilient healthy prospects

Someone’s coming, Land
with aging bones,
with deep Earth longing
to appreciate this difference

Between ego and eco-fragmentation
despair of timeless souls,
capitalization
commodification
buying and selling out
positive regenerating hope
for negative ungenerously depraved profits.

Come by here, EarthBodies
of wisdom to re-attach repairing climates
with vulnerably resonant messages,
re-memories of Earth’s detritional enslavement,
of apartheid bought
and sold embodied souls

From non-elite historic elders past
prayin’ for reparations
restoring youngsters health wealth futures,

Home safe journeys, Earth reparations
kum ba here.

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My Body

You invited me to bring
some object of great regard,
And so I present My Body.

A marvelous sensory object
perfect in so many feeling ways
I dare not count
or shout
or flout it through my days.

Unlike my home
where some rooms I like
just as and where they are
and others could be larger
or a wee bit smaller,
and further back or front,
less up and more down
to better accommodate this perfectly aging body,

All my inside parts are perfectly placed,
even my mealtime’s exhaustive plumbing space,
I’ve grown systemically proportioned,
and synergetic’ly refunctioned,
integrally ecologized with marvelous winning grace
and apparent co-relational ease of pace,
although dis-ease does threaten inside grief
as outside gratitude
to leave room for younger climate minds;
Who healthy best remember
this cherished
chiseled
richly robust EarthBody.

My garden would be magnificent
if as organically functioned
as my organs
and my digits
and my senses of magical sight
and sound
and tasty touch and feeling
good wealth object-ives for lunch this day.

I mention house and garden
because these objects, too,
I cherish
and yet they feel less sacred,
worthy of awe and wonder from you
than this body
which I usually cover up,
especially when going out for lunch,
unless you would rather that I not?

Perhaps you would prefer
I had brought what’s left of my right mind,
to more objectively share,
critically compare;
Rather than leave this gloriously embodied self
wide open
for your most remarkably startled glare,

Which was my original nutritional intent, you see
before you asked me,
To bring a specific icon,
my most noble ancient object
worthy of our admiring subjective stare.

And now in closing
I must confess
this body’s shy performance
finds life easier to bear
by imagining your well-seated bodies
in nothing less or more than underwear.

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WeToo Bucket Lists

My list of domestic chores
vocations
avocations
I no longer wish to know and do
grows longer with each advancing year.

And, because I live with no one
capable and willing to work with me,
side by side,
or even in alternating shifts
and loads
and harvests
and plantings,
it is difficult to grow experientially sure
my motivation has faded entirely,
whether with at least one Other,
or by myself
with only nonhuman fully-abled natures
for song and dance accompaniment.

But, what of my non-domestic bucket list?
That larger stage of ecofeminist transformation,
ecovillage healthy wealth invitation,
sanctuary, green and/or multi-colored celebration
for compassionately resilient
and nutritional communication,
active hope,
sacred trust vocation
for
and of
and within Earth’s warmly integral home
and Great Transitional hearted heart potential.

No bucket I could imagine
would fill all these polypathic double-binding destinations
becoming wealthy here
and trans-regenerationally healthy throughout time
communioned here as now
to my remembering mind

And further fortune future-hunting heart
fulfilling our whole EarthBucket
with passion’s perpetually young
embodied co-investments
transcending past wealth
through immanent
imminent future inclusive health.

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