I want to be on the right side of history.
We all do, of course, and we all have
our ideas of right and wrong, as though
every part of this were an open discussion.
We want to take the comfortable path
and be assured of our golden destination.
We don’t want obstacles along the way;
we don’t want the seamier side of the
fairy tale, only the ending, rainbow bright.
But there is a wrong side of history, we
know this. It is the side most of us won’t
be here to regret, mourn, or reconsider.
It is the side that bears witness to our
ugliest nature, that twists our own need
for comfort and security into a languishing
hole all those who are struggling will
easily fall into. It is the hole we will have
dug, depraved, with our own two hands.
I want to be on the side of history that
favours life, and that honours the sanctity
of the living. I want to be on the side
that remembers what it’s like to desire
the chance, no, all the chances we have
in us to imagine, for every last one of
us sentient beings, from beginningless
time until the never-ending. For all of us.
Here is how to recognize the right side
of history: it lives, it breathes, it includes,
it contemplates, it makes things better.
It never looks away. It never looks away.
It is full of hearts that can rest in the
knowledge that they beat the to soulful
rhythms of compassion-driven action.
It is full of people who hold hands, and
take every opportunity they can to listen
and bear witness. It is waking up to a day
free of bloodshed and the thoughts that
take us there, that can unfold and stretch
and open into all the infinite tomorrows.
The birds started first,
singing into the darkness.
Then the sun opened
the day up to the size
of our possible worlds. It
was expansive, the way
I imagine a desert would
be, at the break of day,
before thirst sets in,
when the body is still
thick with dreams, the
kind that beckon, invite.
The same world, a different
time. The clouds roll in,
form a dense layer between
us and the endless sky.
It always seems you
can reach up and touch
them, like they are our
shelter, our protection, as
though they are not
heavy with the responsibility
of nourishing the Earth, or
lacking in tangibility.
And I think, I don’t just
want my story playing
over and over; I want
them all. I want to be
everyone and everything
and all of history at once.
Not only to understand better,
but because there is just
so much to this life, too much
for our one psychology, and
I am and want to be
every colour, sound and
emotion at once, to finally
be the One in the All.
How about, just for now,
this one small moment,
nothing but this:
As far as I can see,
the world as a history of origins,
life coming into being,
and I dissolve right into
a time that predates me,
and the greens are readying
for the birds that will land for rest,
the sweet supple leaves plump and open,
and the sky, our shelter and window,
has not yet had to bear witness to the atrocities,
the trees are not yet scorched or felled.
But I do not have to travel in time
or let my imagination take over.
I can be braver.
I can stay.
I can let what is, is.
And I can look at my fear
until it turns into love.