The fallen tree has been cut for a couple of years, it sits along a road where Maria and I walk with Red. I am drawn to the exposed marks on the tree, it's veins and lifelines, I imagine some of the tree is chopped up every year for firewood by the local residents. I know people can read the age and history of the tree by these rings and marks, but I can't. This was a large tree, now cut into huge sections. I imagine it is telling it's own story. Trees are so ubiquitous we hardly pay attention to them or even see them, yet they evoke strength, history and connection in so many different ways. I am learning to pay more attention to them, thanks in part to my photography. I like what I see.
A secret admirer sent me some Gerber daisies, and I cannot imagine who would care for me enough to do that, it wasn't Maria, the only other person I know who might. I wonder who you are and why you sent me these flowers. They did brighten my day, and lift my heart up and remind me why I love living in this world. The daisies remind me that there are so many good and thoughtful people out there in the world, and some of them think enough of me to send me these beautiful things. Not necessary, I want to say, you shouldn't have bothered, but a small voice inside of me chuckled, and said, "don't listen to him, thanks for sending them, they are beautiful."
This poem is dedicated to Joshua Rockwood, an honest and conscientious farmer and animal lover in Glenville, N.Y., and to the horses and dogs taken from him by the new animal police. You can read his story on his blog here and also another account here, I would rather he tell this story than me. Rockwood understands the true meaning of transparency.
First, they came for the carriage horses,
then the elephants in the circus,
and the ponies in the farmer's markets,
and the chickens in their coops,
and the border collies with their sheep,
and the horses in the movies,
and the sled dogs on their paths,
and the homeless man with his dog,
and farmer with his pigs,
and the dogs with no tall fences,
and the people riding horses,
and the cows in the snow and rain,
they came for the seeing eye dogs,
and the therapy dogs,
and the dogs who sniff for bombs,
and the dogs who track the lost,
and then, they came for
the farmer whose water bowls
froze on a bitter night,
and who didn't trim his horses
hooves in time, and took his
dogs and horses away, while he cried,
even thought he loved them
and cared for them well.
When they came for the horses,
we looked away,
they were not our dogs,
not our elephants,
not our ponies,
not our horses,
not our pigs,
not our chickens,
And then, one day,
the family farmers were gone,
all the food in the hands
of the giant farms,
where the feet of animals
never touched the ground,
their souls never warmed by the sun.
The working animals of the world,
who had worked with humans since
the beginning of recorded time were gone,
there were only the furbabies and pets,
who lived on couches and
slept on beds, and walked on leashes,
and went to the vets, and
never worked with people.
They had already come for you,
and for the animals you loved.
For a better understanding of animals and animal rights, please consider joining the herd at Blue-Star Equiculture. For the love of animals and the people who love and live with them.
It is the role of the artist to capture the color and light and hope in the world and transmit it to the people who need it and seek it. Much of the world makes no sense to us, but color and light – like the love of animals – seems to be an almost universal human connection.This is my purpose, my mission, my reason for existing.
I do not speak harshly of my life or my work, they might be listening. I am grateful for my life and what it offers me.
it is not my role to tell you struggle stories, to talk about how difficult my life is, to complain about money or success, it is not my role to give you unwanted advice or tell you what to do or how to live your life or how you ought to care for yourself or your animals or your work. It is my purpose to offer encouragement and thought, nourishment for the mind and soul. So I seek out color and light wherever I can.
I am not looking to be soothed, or to persuade you that my life is harder than yours. if I need help, I will seek it from a qualified and professional source, not from strangers on the other side of a computer screen. I take responsibility for my life, and for the many mistakes I have made, I will resolve my own problems. I believe in a creative life, a meaningful life, I will not live in fear and warning and alarm, the currency of the time.
Anger and rage are as much a part of me as breathing, I will not succumb to either, I will know myself and work to be authentic.
I seek to understand the true meaning of compassion and to practice it. As often as I fail, I return to the quest. I understand that a spiritual life is never fully and truly attainable, it is a path, a direction, a longing. Like so many quests, it is a shining city on a hill, I may never have the strength or the will to get there, I will never stop climbing. Every step makes me a better human being, I have so far to go.
I understand what Jesus and the Dalai Lama meant when they said we are all imperfect, flawed creatures, it is the flaws that connect us more than any other thing. They are our common thread. There is no perfection in our world, not perfect person. Only the animals are pure in spirit, without malice and guile.
These flowers speak to me, as do some of the animals in my life, they remind me to reach for the color and the light, to remember what God said in the Kabbalah. Love is the point, it is the purpose. There is no reason or meaning in life without it. That is my faith. Love will triumph, even in an angry world.
Our daffodils are leading the Bedlam Farm charge on behalf of Spring, which is dawdling it's way to us. It is a joy to have flowers on the windowsill gallery.