This Time, We Have Come

Slowly enough to be steady, rowing sturdy canoes,
old-speak appearing in the fog on the water
first language, hand-spoken, fur-hackles
predating the migration of babble.

The land that we love should not be carved into prizes.
Nobody owns a place until their dead are laid down in it.
Are you a wild god of fury?
Are you untamed, as suspected?
There is no safety with you, then,
Unpredictable Storm.
You are the end of safety,
but somehow you are comforting.

You would know, if you are here.
You must know, if what they say of you is true.
You too must have also suffered
a severance from family and tribe.
You must know the sadness
of all songs.

This time, O Lord of Burnt Offerings,
We have come bearing a trial of lanterns
to hunt you, whispering your darkened name

and your old shadow reclaims you,
curls in relief
down in toward wooded night comfort
slinking back into thickets
evading intrusive light.

This time, God,
we have come ready to find you,
wherever you are.

This time, Mother,
whoever you are now.

Hidden Magic

I found these following gems while sorting through my phone-photography.

Early in the year it snowed. We went to the hills to see it up close. I love the feeling of being wrapped in wool when it’s snow-cold out. Only wool clothing is a suitable when you sit down in snow; this way, you can be peaceful and take your time.

At the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, I was surprised by what a beautiful effect the glass separating humans and non-humans has on the photographic lens. In these pictures you can see the telling reflection of the onlooking humans. The effect of a transparent barrier between species is uncannily significant.

Below: words of fascination and appealing design, Kinokuniya Bookstore in Seattle. The company is a specialty Japanese bookstore with only a few locations outside of Japan. It’s a favorite for language-learners such as myself.

Speaking of Japanese inspiration, I got to visit the Pokémon Company International headquarters in Bellevue, WA! Pokémon was one of the original “sparkles” of my childhood that set me on the path of wanting to learn about Japan.

Going for a walk in Seattle on a bright, early summer morning…

I wish all parts of the city were as clean and inviting as this neighborhood. Sadly, Seattle is having a lot of problems lately with chronic drug-induced homelessness, and the ripple effect of crime and filth is becoming a local crises that no one in the region can ignore. While there are several complicated reasons this is happening here, it still doesn’t change the unfortunate truth that I no longer wish to spend time in Seattle city proper unless it is really necessary. Beautiful moments like these pictured above seem to be less frequently found these days. People who have lived in the region much longer than me say it was never like this before. T and I now just want to stay further out, even past Redmond, closer to Issaquah and Sammamish where we currently live. We jokingly say of downtown Seattle, “There but for the grace of Kinokuniya go I.”

This gorgeous house in Seattle probably costs multiple millions of dollars. However, I and many others see that the cost of real estate alone is no where near solely responsible for the aforementioned local problems.

Above: sunrise captured from the balcony of a house on a hill in Bothell, WA. May the mountains watch over us.

Alert! These waters (Pine Lake in Sammamish) contain toxic invasive species you oughtta know about. This is one of those instances where species identification is the real deal, more than a naturalist’s pastime.

Hmmm, something isn’t quite right about this picture… ;3 A morbid sense of humor in a Tacoma neighborhood, anyone?

Now that’s what I call a true enthusiasm for the holidays, for flood prevention and for caution while kayaking: it’s only August, and already these good people are preparing for Halloween!

Perhaps the spirits of the river’s dead will be reborn as…

a kingfisher, kawasemi in Japanese. I love how the kanji for “kingfisher” looks like it’s smiling :)

A Bird, a Frog, and a Patch of Woods

For your inspiration.

 

T and I found this tiny little guy! He’s an adorable, special little creature called a Pacific Tree Frog (Pseudacris regilla). Location: a patch of woods near our home in Sammamish, WA, July 2018. The Pacific Tree Frog above was surely the guardian of the threshold who greeted us on our way into the woods that evening. It makes me think about how the Japanese word for frog, kaeru, かえる / 蛙 , is a homonym for the word return or come home, かえる / 帰る, and also for transform, かえる / 変える.

We don’t know what creature formerly owned this bone, but it was pretty cool to find.

This beautiful little birdy is a Black Capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus). He flew into my windshield one sunlit evening this summer. After realizing what it was that made that tiny impact without a second’s notice, I pulled over to get out and go back for the poor cutie. He died on impact. I held his still-warm little body in my hands, and thanked his little spirit for the remarkable opportunity to to hold him, examine his remarkable self up close, and learn from his life. I took him home to let my kitties have a sniff: Mawzawoo had no clue what to do with the tiny corpse, but Aiboorah was adorably desperate to eat it (he got to softly gum the wing for a moment, not believing his good fortune). That’s when we took our little Chickadee body out to the woods, laying him to rest in the hollow of a great Big Leaf Maple tree.

A Book About Evil and God

 

 

Laying down, reading a book about evil and God,

two insects wrestle on the ground below my eyes

while another carries her dead comrade away.

I, monumental–

and the ants– what devotion they show me.

Obscure, so near to them,

an incomprehensible cloud.

 

 

 

poetry and photography by Gentle J. Pine

This Is What We Go Through

…on the job hunt.

Tell us about your previous experience and why you feel that would make you a good fit for this position.

I’m great at a lot of things, so there’s a lot of great reasons why you should hire me. One thing I’m great at is catching grammar mistakes, like the ones in your question: “experience” should have an “s” on the end, and “that” should be either “they” for plural or “it” for singular, if you insist.

Anyways, I know how to make an ancient friction fire from “rubbing two sticks together” as it’s colloquially referred to (it’s actually called a “bow-drill”), and that’s only a slice of it. You should see me in the 21st-century office. I’ve been through 10 years of work as a young adult bringing myself up in one carer that has taught me a lot, but now I’m setting my sights on better horizons, like you. You want me on your team for so many reasons, but to really find those out, you’ll need to offer me an interview (and hire me).

Tell us about any special skills or qualifications you feel would give you the ability to perform this job well.

I’m sure my aforementioned above answer was the bullseye you were really looking for. Oh, and I have a lot of fun with writing, communications and generally being one badass boss of a muffin who leads through compassion and deep respect for those I am responsible for and in service to. I’ve been the grunt, and now I want to take care of other grunts and keep them reassured that they don’t have to bail. They might even become your most amazing, profitable employees with the right investment of support in them.

What is your greatest strength?

Critical thinking.

What is your greatest weakness?

Chocolate. What’s yours?

What are some of your short-term and long-term goals?

My short term goals are to change careers, starting with Your Company™️, obviously the best little cohort in town. My long term goals are to retire filthy rich from flamboyant, risky investments and put my terrible, estranged mother in a retirement home.

This Is What We Go Through (Prologue)

Hi again, Recruiter. So, I went through the whole long application and got to the end and submitted it. The job then said that certain Amazon-related experience was required. I do not have this experience, but I can learn what I need on-the-job. You did not mention this during our phone call. I hope I didn’t go through that whole application for nothing.
I also noticed in your email that you have signed me up for a “group First Step interview”. We did not talk about a group interview: I was led to believe that this was a traditional one-on-one interview. I don’t do group interviews because I find them to be quite disrespectful of candidates’ time and dignity. We don’t need to be sitting in a room being talked at among our competition, hoping for a real interview: that’s degrading. If you’re willing and able to get me set up with a real, actual one-on-one interview, that’d be great. Thanks. If not, just let the next person know about this well in advance.
Say no to group interviews.

Taking the Time

My response to the request, “Please explain any gaps in employment greater than x [insert units of time here].”

Not everyone needs to work full time, all the time. Sometimes, people spend time doing other meaningful things that matter for their personal lives. I’m grateful that I’ve had the means to take the time for this. Work is important, but it’s not the sum of a full human life.

 

Greatly Loved In Its Wildness

I’m an ex-cradle-born-Unitarian Universalist for good reasons. I’m politically moderate. I converted to sparkly Roman Catholicism at age 21. I am Jewish-curious, and am deeply attracted by their cohesive peoplehood and long, honorable struggle with a crazy God. When I was 22, I did something like animism and nature-based rites of passage in a community, but that community didn’t stick, even though the spirituality sure did. I don’t believe in fairies, I believe in birds. I don’t believe in unicorns, I believe in equines. I don’t believe in dragons, I believe in reptiles. The World is what’s real. Prayers and spells don’t save you; human research and evidence-based practices do, but a really grounded spirituality makes it all worth living through. Now I’m a scientific panentheist (is it really necessary to differentiate between pantheist and panentheist? Really?) who believes in a Creator that lives, breathes and moves in all created beings. I don’t claim that this Creator is always or ever going to do as we wish, or can even be trusted the conventional sense, though it can be greatly loved in its wildness. Nature is violent, insane and unjust, and we have every reason to think that any Creator who wrought it might be the same way. But Nature is also, simultaneously, beautiful, life-giving and deeply good. And so the same must be for this mysterious Creator. Such is life on earth. Sometimes I wish I were born in an Animist hunter-gatherer tribe of 30,000 years ago. Then again, I’m grateful for the gift of reason, evidence, vaccines, the internet and refrigerators. What I want most of all is a real tribe I can belong to. I wander, but I am not lost.

 

 

 

Photo by Ivana Cajina on Unsplash