SARAH MESSER KEENAN
Although I do not often share writings from my journal, I feel especially open to sharing this one since it highlights the essence of the magic of the natural world we personally witnessed one night.
On a kayaking trip on an island off the southeast tip of Puerto Rico, my husband and I pushed off the mangrove covered shores of Vieques and paddled out under the dark skies of the new moon only to look above and peer into the depths of the Milky Way Galaxy. With every stroke in the bioluminescent bay, the water beneath us glowed with an equally dazzling effect. As if all of the universe lighting up before our very eyes wasn't enough to completely fall back in love with all of existence, our guide then spoke to us about the wisdom and wonder of nature.
The bay has been an attraction in Puerto Rico for a long time, and due to the amount of chemicals from sunscreen and other products used by humans on their skin, people are no longer allowed to swim in the water here. This is an effort to allow these bioluminescent plankton to thrive as they once did, making it one of the brightest bays in the world. The environment in special places like this has been adversely affected by the actions of humans for a long time, especially the rainforests close by.
Over the last few years, scientists have discovered some of Mother Nature's unique ways of healing herself. It was that night with the knowledge of our guide that we learned how Mother Nature was responding to the desperate call of the rainforest after the devastating effects of acid rain. The sands of the Saharan Desert of Africa had been catching rides in the winds across the entire Atlantic Ocean to come replenish the Amazonian rainforest floors with the nutrients they craved. What a truly wonderful, magical planet we are living on.
With chills down my spine, I leaned back gazing up into the vast, perplex, and beautiful mysteries that surround us, though so often unnoticed and allowed myself to relax into this perfect moment of endless gratitude.
And as I awoke in the unforgettable awe of that moment, I knew in my heart I would forever carry this responsibility as my own. That my life moving forward would be the most valiant effort to preserve, respect, and act in accordance with this innate intelligence of nature that binds all parts of this universe as one.
for what felt like the first time in a long time,
i peered straight into the Milky Way,
as if staring through a still, glass pool.
above and below,
the stars before me mirrored and dancing in the waters edge on my finger tips.
tiny messages lighting up the night sky and miniature sea crests:
ripples across the surface,
whispers in the wind,
gently guiding my eyes skyward.
the myth of the bay as the birthplace of the heavens
teasing and testing
the capacity of the limited mind.
let the truth in, tilt back your head
suspended between stars,
inhaling deeply the vastness,
exhaling to release all attachments to orientation:
down is up,
left is right,
it's all the same.
stardust here, there, everywhere
dancing in and out of form-
tickling the skin, as the skin, in the bones, and back out again.
to the edge of infinity and back in a whimsical flash.
is the nature of the Divine.
embodied in every cell, the inherent joy,
rests in the center
playfully awaiting and longing for awareness,
to deliver the deep inhale to awaken
and exhale to liberate.
over and over again.
caress of the winds
whatever un-seen intelligence is not un-aware, un-sympathetic, nor in-active.
the unseen listens and takes to heart the whispers
of the aching ancient rainforests,
heading the cries of the soil
long depleted by acidic rainfall,
the Mother calls on the over-plentiful sand of the Sahara.
eager to please,
to bring balance,
to restore peace and harmony,
the sands spring into action,
surrendering themselves into the open arms
of the Eastern Trade Winds.
despite the daunting length of the journey,
their intention is strong enough to carry them through.
following the path of compassion,
they dance across the span of the oceans.
the storms will come and pass, they will rise and fall
but a heart set in intention will lift them back up
time and time again.
alas, they arrive at the source of the gaping wound;
your cries have been heard,
your prayers have been answered.
dear forest, rest easy.
let it settle deep into your bones,
let it replenish you
as you learn to breathe as One again.
our planet a single-celled organism,
our parts fluctuate in synchronicity,
all One in the same.
can you hear the cry of the forest echoing within?
can you trace the sands dancing in the wind
within the pathways of your own self?