Near Dawn Light
Today is the beginning of the 5th year for earthfamilyalpha. Oz is on the way to Mexico and I have the honor of pushing us off yet another cliff in time. Perhaps we've budged a smidgen in the grey zone between then and now, one thing and another, empire and international cooperation, for instance.
About ten days ago Jay was driving between Tulia and Canyon on the caprock in West Texas and found himself wrapped in Near Dawn Light, what he has since learned is called a Superior Mirage -- a sort of bending and bouncing of light that lets one see past the horizon with the help of a wave of trapped, refracted light. He said it looked a bit like the photo above, remarkable if you understand that Tulia, Texas is flat, flat as far as the eye can see. Usually.
But sometimes we see differently.
Let's do that.
I move through cold water as rain pelts down around me in a creek teal gray today— a balmy wind brushes water against the flow. I love to swim in the rain, kick through three quarter-mile laps, watch the sky create soft rain from a thunderhead small enough to see. I step out determined to be positive in opposition to an empire eating itself and everything it touches, determined to refuse the despair which spreads like a fire blanket across history. So what, we have not yet changed the world, cured cancer, mental illness, drug addiction, stopped climate change? I will do one thing differently today, be more effective, attend a protest, write a letter, boycott Middle Eastern oil and gas. I will create action to join the work millions of people generate for peace, the environment, gender equality, social and economic justice. If, at this instant, I see no alternative for the planet that does not involve the end of capitalism and can’t yet make that happen, then a break in the day, a long swim in emerald water, a good night’s sleep, a mellow glass of red wine, a beautiful poem — these small things must be enough blessing to hold off despair. I have long been interested in the difference between one thing and another — boundaries, the point at which black is not black anymore, but white, the turn of a stripe. Was there an instant when the Age of Reason began? I choose to resist Empire not because it has, in my lifetime, appeared the least bit vulnerable to containment, but because it trivializes life. I move in the mainstream of a deep paradigm shift and can’t see the edge. If scale is the measure of declination, there is no difference between one thing and another at close range, but one can see the point of a star and the circle of space through a telescope. Maybe someone will look back in 500 years and identify one moment as the event horizon of the American Empire. On the other hand, perhaps the concept "500 years" will have no significance at all. Possibly history will stop some Tuesday. The line of demarcation will exist but will be the event horizon for a different universe. However, on the human plane, where I live, it is gray now. Meaning comes from engagement, so I go to the post office, bank, sign a petition, try to get some work done, light a candle for my children, resist oblivion.
© Susan Bright, 10/05/05
Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-ninety books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.
*Turning a circle inside out.
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