Thursday, October 8, 2009

Draggy Ass Energy, It's Causes and Cures

"Energy creates energy." - Sarah Bernhardt

There she stood at the door, my friend who I had not seen in months, announcing, "I just want you to know before I come in that I have draggy ass energy today."

To her surprise, I replied, "Please come in. I have draggy ass energy too." I was grateful to know there was a phrase for what I had.

She walked in. We hugged and laughed, then made peppermint tea laced with coconut oil. My friend sang the praises of coconut oil the first time she ever visited and I've had some on hand ever since.

Over the course of exchanging stories of France, dreams, astronauts and Africa, we laughed, teared up at times and smiled a lot. Somewhere in the midst of our sharing, my draggy-ass energy shifted.

Later that evening, a journal cover caught while bookstore browsing. I found within its pages a quote by Sarah Bernhardt, "Energy creates energy." My equation isn't as succinct as Sarah's, but I would add, Showing up and sharing transforms draggy ass energy.

A few days after writing the above, I found myself pondering the source of my DAE. As Jerry shared a story from the morning paper, I realized my energetic nose dive had nothing to do with the gray weather or planets in retrograde. It had nothing to do with peri-menopause or politics. It started with hiking.

I had just returned from Arizona hooked on hiking. One day we covered 9.5 miles on Templeton trail winding around Sedona's red rocks. I couldn't turn down a trail sharing the name of my dearly loved but deceased cat. Another lesser hike led us into a canyon where we eventually came upon a stream lined with cat tails and clear pools reflecting the red rock walls. (The photo's not upside down. That's the reflection.) I determined once home that I would be found hiking every weekend and even some weekdays when my schedule allowed.

My first two days back I made it to the local lake where I put in four miles daily. That weekend we drove to our house in the country which to my new found excitement is only a few minutes from land set aside by the state government for hiking.

With my new enthusiasm, I determined this weekend would be different. Instead of diving into a long list of chores on Saturday, I suggested we hike to Polly's Branch Falls and the Caney Fork River. When we were last at the river, there was no water only huge boulders where water usually flows.

We headed out. I was elated. A Fall filled with hikes in nature's beauty stretched before us. We arrived at the trail head to find we weren't the only ones to hit the woods. Two tents surrounded by all kinds of gear were set up near the parking lot. This was strange. Most people try to get away from the parking lot to camp.

A young man approached me and said, "You can't hike during hunting season."

Just as I began to tell this stranger I was going to hike, a ranger arrived. My relief was short lived as he confirmed that deer season began three weeks prior and would continue into December. He suggested that I hike down the road. I was furious over being unable to hike but also over hunting in general. I unloaded on this ranger stranger saying that I wished I would live to see a day when men who hunt would find something meaningful in which to invest their energies instead of killing animals.

As I walked away, he said, "Don't forget we have to share." I only wished I had told him I'm one of the most sharing people I know but I would never desire to share with people who used guns to kill animals for pleasure or to prove their manhood (or womanhood).

Down the road, we found a hiker-filled trail about which I should have been happy as in 'yeah, people are appreciating nature, but I wasn't. My devastation had company, profound sadness, not over loosing 'my trails' for three months but over how we treat animals.

The week prior as I had watched Ken Burn's documentary, "The National Parks - America's Best Idea" I wept seeing buffalo herds decimated and photos of men posing by rows of wolf, elk, and bear hides as well as birds killed by the thousands so women could have plumes on hats. And although these events eventually birthed the Sierra Club and Audubon Society, my body shook with sorrow seeing the slaughter of the animals who had called America home long before we arrived.

Now you know, and more importantly I know, the reason for my draggy ass energy. I talked myself out of kick-ass energy (not necessarily the answer) into a cocktail of powerlessness, hopelessness, despair and resignation.

The hunters were the last straw in a series of proverbial straws that had been piling up inside me. The "pile" included how animals we ultimately eat are treated in corporate farms of concrete prior to making it to our dinner plate as well as how animals are used in research labs for new medicines and the study of disease.

Several of the straws relate to our unconsciousness around the multitude of ideas and inventions birthed by animals. The quill (aka feather) was used for writing from the 6th to 19th century. How often do we write by hand or computer or read anything and realize this all started with a bird's feather? How simple and profound that a feather was a basic building block in our communicating with one another. Birds inspired flight and our car engines have "horse power." I know you know these things, but I need to remind me and us. This helps me somehow counteract the 'straws' that continue to accumulate in the pile.

I don't often read the newspaper, but lately when I do I find things like: Tennessee expects record bear hunt. Why do Tennesseans or anyone for that matter need to hunt bears? Naive me, I assume it's because they want a bear skin on their floor.

Then I happen upon a story in the Oct. 17th Tennessean that provides a clue. This story involves a man making $394 from the sale of 300 doves. I should have known. What was I thinking? Of course, money's involved. The story also reveals that the feds are storing 2,000 pounds of mussel shells in a poaching case. The mussels were only tens of thousands illegally harvested from TN rivers and shipped to Japanese pearl makers. (I'm not prone to buying pearls, but now I know I won't.) The same report relates how the dove selling man allegedly sold deer and rabbits last year. I don't want to sound harsh. What if this man needs money to support his family. Charlie Brown in me says, "Arrrgggh, someone give this man a job."

I need to be talked down, until I realize, the ranger was right. Yes, the ranger was right. We need to share. That's at the root of my issue. Stuffing and not sharing caused my draggy ass energy. Sharing shifted it. The ranger was right. We need to share. The animals have been sharing this land with us since our arrival. I long for an attitude of gratitude, like native people have, for the animals that so willing give to us and live with us. As the ranger suggests and Sarah B. said, "Energy creates energy." The shared energy of the animal and plant sustains us. Did the ranger know about quantum physics, the science showing that we're all entangled and sharing everything? Even me and the hunter? I cringe.

A voice inside says, "Yes, you and the hunter."

All I want is for people to stop being greedy. The voice says, "Then first stop being greedy with your love. Send the hunter your love."

"Even the ones in Alaska who are hunting wolves aerially?"

"Yes," says the voice.

I don't know if I can do that. Let me start with the hunters in my area. I can send blessings to those who will savor deer meat this winter. I envision them honoring the animal sharing its life with them. And for those who feel they must hang any animal's head on their wall, I wish for them new ways to hold their own heads high and feel a sense of pride being a human, ways that don't involve hierarchy over others or animals.

As I wind down this unending story, I recall several photos circulating in the internet sphere lately, photos of odd animal pairs. There was the young bobcat curled up sleeping on the fawn in the aftermath of the California fires. There's the depressed orangutan at an animal rescue mission whose funk lifted when Roscoe the hound dog arrived. This email even includes the odd couple dog paddling. And of course there are periodic news stories of mother dogs nursing kittens and all kinds of babies that aren't their kin.

The animals are sharing with us lessons, differences can be overcome. I would love to see the day when I begin getting internet stories with photos showing former hunters pointing out bears and wolves to his children through binoculars, not the scope of a gun.

Should you choose after this, to continue to read my Musings, I suspect there will be more of these attempts at discerning the "Good News" in all of this. It's hard to think of myself as being the Good News Muse when I feel this angry and upset. Yet untangling this starts with owning my truth especially when it's uncomfortable, judging and complicated and yes, in turn sharing that with you. Thank you for being part of the cycle of sharing. For me, in good and hard times, that is Good News.
Dawn, The Trying to Find the Good News Muse
** Sign up for easy to sign environment/animal email petitions at Earth to Care . Last week alone, I signed two e-petitions one asking the Obama administration to halt aerial hunting of wolves in Alaska, yes, this means hunting them by helicopter ! That's not hunting. That's stalking and terrorizing.

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