Grieving wild things

So much to grieve for the Earth, especially on Earth Day. Losing nature and wild things, the loss of plants, animals, habitats. Saying goodbye to pieces of the ocean, species, trees and clean water. It can be devastating. Heavy and overwhelming. Despite this sadness, walking along the edge of the wild is a healing act. 

This afternoon, as I took my woods bath, I grieved my disabled-autistic-deaf-nonverbal-gesturing brother's 50th birthday (April 21st). Before autism was an everyday word, some professionals may have labeled him a 'wild thing.' Every birthday of his, I look at photos that my cousins send online and feel that familiar distance. My primary knowledge of him is through photos, other than my trips to the Philippines since I was 12 years old. My last one was 15 years ago. During my anxiety-ridden twenties, my therapist supported me in acknowledging and learning how to cope with my survivor's grief. And so every birthday of Michael's, I am reminded how blessed and abled I am as well as how heartbroken, brave and strong my Mom is. I don't think my or my Mom's guilt has disappeared. It just sits there buried deep in our hearts. My Mom never speaks of her guilt, but I know it's there. Me? I like to think I have learned to deal, but the feels creep up on me, especially on his birthday, and I make every effort to just sit with my complex grief. 

This year, Manong Michael's birthday happened to fall on Easter Sunday, and my Mom is there to celebrate him. 

And so during my hike, I drowned myself in the quelling noise and perfume of wild things, sending loving energy to my Mom and Michael as they share mother-son time together.


Into the woods I go

into the woods i go, 
to be mindful.
the larger than life pileated woodpecker comes knocking
with its flaming peaked head and ravenesque body, 
a foot long like a boulevard hotdog

into the woods i go, 
to acknowledge that life is full.
the blood orange winged blackbird 
who hovers lakeside as somber 
as all the black we used to wear 
during our love of depeche mode 
and new order in the '80s
my very own woodlands creep 
with the most invasive weeds 
yet daffodil cheery
like the bed of buttercups that lies in front of Lincoln
who sits statuesque 
next to my second home of 13 years

into the woods i go, 
to find my soul. 
the clamor fills the darkness 
as it swells with 28 species of frogs
they keep my woodslands healthy and mosquito free
a lively chorus of spring peepers
like dusk's rush hour lullaby 
of jersey city's summer crickets 
in the basement of my nunda avenue home