In Fresno, and nearby areas.
The San Joaquin River at Woodward Park.
Incense in the air, like a spirit, in my grandparents’ house.
My cousin and I meet an adorable, friendly cat in the orange orchard at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno.
This kid is all KINDS of precious! What a cutie! He also let me pick him up.
I pass by my old house, where I lived when I was ten. A lot of memories here.
Back in my grandparents’ house, I always want to take in every moment of home. Even the oranges are beautiful.
This dining room is where we have shared many meals together. It’s emptier, now :,(
But still, I remember the joyful things my grandpa created, and I carry them with me.
But this is still the land of angels, and I wish to return again, again…
– Gentle J. Pine
memory of all nations,
remember the savannah
Do not forget us,
but accompany us,
friends of the heart,
on our trails into the future.
Remember us who come after you,
Remember us who go on before you,
Remember us who live in the heart-world around you.
… … …
I am one among millions who has known the loss of family. Maybe it is so that every living creature, when it becomes aware of its inevitable separateness from the beings most near it, feels this loss of unity, this severing of oneness. The genesis story of Eden is full of this metaphor. We were blind to our own abyssal awareness: then, we saw, and we became like gods, who who knew death, and the foresight of death, and the meaning of the anguish of self-awareness that accompanies the hominid brain.
I am a face in the sea of time: who will remember this one face? Genetics, maybe, or written words or painted images, better yet. Text is incarnated. You, God, would know most of all; You, who are always present and listening, it is your remembering us that I want for sure. You, who fill the whole earth with your breathing, must know and feel all that we feel in our creaturely lives. Being as that you are in us, and we are in you, then not one of us would be lost to the depths of time. And If you are truly omnipresent, then you would know how sacred the World is. I want to become an ancestor when it is my time. I never want to leave it.
Poetry by Gentle J. Pine
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
Backbone of the world
feather and spine rock
white mountains bridge
arching downward to stars
Place of the great mountain,
I turn to your turquoise
in a necklace of rivers
returning sight to the blind
You come from where lava flows
and pink blooms on your banks
in the wake of your thunder
in feather and bone
Traversing your old back
and making home in your rib valleys–
Mother! Enfold me in crevasses
unseen by the road
In the great places
where sky bends down to dust
I wake up in you, grey mountain,
Image © Gentle J. Pine. All rights reserved.
Welcome to The Leafy Paw, a place where I will burrow into The Big Questions concerning culture, the soul, and the changing earth –and all the shimmering strands that weave between them. Some questions we will get into here are; why is a string of words, arranged like so, so beautiful? Why does it make you feel power in the middle of your chest? And how is that experience of power and deep beauty urgently relevant to humanity’s current cultural struggles to know and care for the world?
Where do theology and science meet and lay down under a great big shady tree together? Why does nature demand blood? What is evolution seeking?Where do dreams go to live? Where can wisdom be found? Why are cats adorable?
I will also share my own poetry as well as others’.
My name is Gentle J. Pine: join me in drawing closer to the sacred heart and soul of The World.