I am much more likely to feel like a respectful,
trusting family member
than an entitled warrior,
when outside “property improvements”
than when inside anthropocentric habitats.
even as I approach my favorite sanctuary,
an AllSouls Unitarian-Universalist built structure,
I feel more sacred peace before I open our front door
of intended mutual hospitality
accompaniment on life’s great spirited journey,
than after closed off into merely human monoculturing nature.
It’s not that I see or hear myself
as some great and profound nature mystic.
A post-millennial John Muir
I am clearly not,
although I would like to at least feel myself this communal way.
This contrast between indoor and outdoor trust
comes not from feeling trees embrace me
but from me embracing trees
occasionally taste, if no humans are watching
with judgmental eyes.
Trees are much more tolerant of my curiosity,
than my cousins,
and most of my siblings.
Perhaps tolerance is not the best word choice.
Acceptance sounds more reassuring.
Inviting into co-presence feels too grand,
worthy of vocational commitment,
Where indoor mistrust and distrust relationships
speak of selfishly heartless patriotism
and national monoculturing identity
and language and cultural antipathy,
rather than positive integrity
of a sanctuaried people
longing to live free
and comparatively loving lives
under and within paint
and textured sheetrock
looking a bit like bark
and if I am feeling generous;
boundaried boxes smelling like chemical toxins.
This unfortunate comparison feels too simple,
for sustained resolution
of internal unsancturied sensitivity,
to notice I need to get out more,
because this means leaving my good faith community behind
as if I were so autonomously strong
in active outside hope and passionately robust love
that I need not hear human stories,
Need not see and conjoin liturgical non-verbal dance,
and patterns of compassionate dialogue,
mutual esteem and support,
not of warriors,
but of peace-builders,
cooperative listeners, prayers
My oppositionally defiant daughter,
when in a forgiving mood,
refers to me as a “Talking Head.”
I find too much truth in her smiling tolerance
of this inflamed ego’s hunger and thirst
rather than a quieter mutual righteousness
inside as necessary for communion’s nurture
and outside as profitable for everyday sane nature.
I respect the limiting fact that pipe organs
and grand pianos
cannot sustain in the rain,
but I also seem to respect the possibility
of rapture in a cappella chant
and fire-circle sanctuary dance
witnessed by trees
spoken of only by sacred smoky breezes.