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Longleaf Pines in the Breeze: On Hiking In Florida

From my last trip to Brooker Creek Preserve many years back, I knew that there would be standing water on the trails. I should have known better. I did know better.

And yet I still wore cotton socks.

Brooker Creek regularly floods during the rainy season in Florida, which is any month you don’t need to wear a sweater. Portions of the trails close depending on how bad the flooding is. Last Saturday, when decided to visit, most of the trails were closed, except for a short ~2 mile loop.

But while I was drenching my trail runners and ill-chosen socks, I noticed some white petals on the ground. The magnolia trees nearby were blooming.

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Black Lives Matter.

Angry? Me too.

Here’s a list of things you can do to help.

And here’s why identifying how you participate in white supremacy culture is only the first step.

Edit – 6/5:

How to be a good white ally

Project Implicit – Unconscious Bias Test. One of the first steps is seeing how white supremacy culture has affected your unconscious bias towards black people and other POC.

11 Black-Owned Vegan Businesses. Support black businesses always, but especially now.

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A Farewell to Cheese

Days long past with brie and crumbled feta
Topped with parmesan and grated cheddar.

My stomach cries “enough!” Refusing milk,
Its myriad children. Something better

Shall be found in almonds, oats and soya.
But my heart pines for youth’s mozzarella.

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My Head Is

My head is
A tree trunk
Hollowed by a thunderbolt
The rain soaks its branches
And the bark groans for relief

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Claudius and I

Keep your head down
Be useful but not smart
The knives are coming
Don’t set yourself apart

We both stammer, you and I
We both know our role
Given what we don’t want
Living the unbearable

Old King Log
Shall we float on
To a kinder age?

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Beginner’s Mind

Every morning
My bedroom is a void
Struck like a set
To prepare for a new show

Every morning
I wake to a new sun in the sky
Wear unfamiliar shoes
Drive streets I don’t recognize

Every morning
The world is reinvented

And I must learn it all again

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Tuna

Tuna swims the frigid waters of the northern pacific
Mercury fills his veins
He is a thermometer
Of the health of the ocean
When all the small fish disappear
And the corals bleach
And the water turns to acid
His veins will burst
And the humans who eat sushi
Will all go mad

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This is not a children’s book

This is not a children’s book
Does a virus have a moral?
Does an epidemic have a happy ending?
Does it end at all?
Do we learn our lesson?
Are the ICU wards illustrated in pastel watercolors?
Can we put the book down and read something else?

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The soul is

The soul is
The broken egg that pulls itself together again
No matter how much yolk has been spilled
It finds its way into the shell
eventually

 

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Choose Health

Shortly before my departure from my church last year, I asked for counsel from a good friend about this decision. She suggested I make a sign that said “choose health,” put it somewhere I’d see it frequently, and follow its advice. In that context, it meant prioritizing my mental health over the demands of a toxic congregation.

Now, as I’m practicing social distancing — working from home, living with just my cat, going out only as needed — “choose health” has a very different meaning.