the temple of the green sun

a rowdy pack of dogs goads a herd of cows through the rugged woods,
where the cows take asylum in the fallow corn field by our house.
during the weeks they are here they graze the field clear & they open
a pathway down to shelter valley by the creek. here the cows rest
safely beneath the great hemlock tree whom i call mother because
of her broad, thick & wide-stretched open arms that guard & secure
the cool protected cave-like chamber beneath this sentinel tree.

it is a sanctuary for the cows & later, for me, my
haven where i meditate, self-review & become absorbed in
the ancient energies of the mountain, valley & free-flowing
streams of water bordering toward the east & the west of this
secluded nature preserve & branch-cloistered nurturing retreat.

i call the auspicious spacious chamber beneath mother hemlock
the temple of the green sun. sunlight filters through the green hemlock
needles, casting an undersea glow because the branches sweep the
earth around the tree & the feeling is of a sanctified place.
my chair leans against her trunk as sunlight streams in long shifting bands
of swirling dusty light all around & arching high overhead.
for years we commune daily, the mother hemlock & i, in all
kinds of weather, both inside my head & touching on the outer.

then it happens: the plague of wooly adelgids arrives at the
blue ridge mountains & the mother hemlock falls a victim to it.
the invasive insects slowly vampirize the tree, drinking her
juices. her needles fall, branches becoming bare in a few years,
her power & glory sucked away, her dark bones starkly showing.
i am watching a loved one slowly die during these years, for there's
no cure or help for the mother hemlock. we are all powerless
in the face of this fierce invading pestilence that ravages.

the temple of the green sun is gone. it's now a somber graveyard,
a tomb marking the death of a local goddess, & i am but
memorializing her & the peaceful shelter she furnished.
now she is a skeleton, bare & dark against the empty sky.
goodbye, mother hemlock, farewell & my gratitude goes with you.
i also no longer flourish & thrive, though it's better for me
than for you, yet you are always in my memory: teacher, friend
& dear companion for long, wonderful country-time years down the
curvy backroads of the blue ridge mountains of north carolina.

ah Shiva! growing as a tree, You show me blessings & teach me
patience, acceptance & detachment. I thank You for giving this
insight, for showing me You can change form yet ever reappear
as the consummate teacher & companion. You are woven like
a heartening red thread patterned throughout my whole life, revealing
Yourself to be the heart & soul of every blessing & every
challenge, connecting the varied myriad parts as one, having
a single intent. You make of me a better person so that
my personality may serve the world. You show me that i also,
in essence, extend far beyond form, merging myself into You
at deepest core & fundament, eluding words altogether.

You are the dogs, the cows, the hemlock tree, wooly adelgids too.
just because i cannot comprehend the whole pattern does not mean
a thing & i know that fact well! i have taken refuge in You,
Shiva, so let the drama play out; it's beyond my concern now.
all i need is You, my Beloved, & You know that very well:
You have been lighting the way ceaselessly since time & space burst forth.
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA

the meat rides heavy

the meat rides heavy on the weary bones,
all motion slow as if underwater,
information lethargically flowing
into the dense-packed laboring cells
of the brain with which the heart has lost touch.
the heart no longer reaches very far,
the weight is too oppressive for movement.

the meat rides heavy on the weary bones.
some unrelenting force of gravity
discourages lively exploration.
only the known & familiar patterns
are permitted to pass through to action.
the mouth & brain coordinate in stealth
like fingers pointing to the racing moon.

ah, Shiva! i will search more carefully
for Your hidden messages of good cheer
leading me home to Your divine essence.
i am struggling through this mess now, Shiva,
tangled & caught in ancient protocols.
the meat rides heavy on the weary bones
yet You are the dispelling force, Shiva.
i call to You: om namah Shivaya!