In the end the beginning

September 8, 2017 | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

In the end the beginning

Hurricanes in the south: rain
measured by the yardstick,
houses flattened by gusts
three times faster
than the average speed limit.
Lights out, power lost
from decades of disinvestment
completed by the tailwinds
passing by. Maps predicting
who will be next in line,
people in line
for water, in line
for gas, in line
for the power to leave.

Wildfires in the west:
set by a teen tossing
carelessness with a lit fuse
into a draught-dried
canyon. Flames rising, smoke
choking, trees falling, ash
filling the air and wildlife running,
running, running,
people packing quickly,
leaving, running. And now, earthquake

Too: ground shaking, buildings
swaying, everyone running into
the city streets. Tsunami
coming. Trapped between
cracked foundations from another era and
a wall of water on its way.

Where to go? Where
to run? How to survive our own
careless combustion?

People say it’s the end times
long foretold, now
here. Say a prayer. Ask for-
giveness. Plea for
grace. Or
hide and hope
to be passed over by the
winds and water, the
fire, the quaking. The
judgment, the judgment, the

In another story told
long ago, a prophet running
for his life after speaking truth
to power, was told to come out
of hiding. To listen
for the holy passing
by. And there at the mouth
of the cave, a terrifying
wind blew, but the sacred truth
was not in the raging gusts. And
the ground shook, cleaving
open what had been solid, but the
healing promise was not
in the quaking or the breaking.
And a great fire roared, but the holy
wisdom calling was not
in the scorching flames.

After all this, in a world laid bare—
burned and blown and broken open—
as in prayer, the prophet heard
what he needed to hear. In the silence, this
whispered knowing: It’s a miracle
            you are here, small
and fragile, feet on holy shaken
ground, one
with the meek and the powerful. This
is your truth, your wisdom, your promise.

What will you do, where
will you go, how will you begin again, now,
knowing this?

Karen Hering, September 8, 2017

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