The Time of Women – Part 2 & Part 3
By Jeanie Johnson
You ever hear the peeper frogs in the spring?
Out by the wet places, the murky waters, the
muddy trenches where life is dividing and conquering
all manner of hurdles and mountains? Brown places.
You ever see those tiny little cocoons under a fuzzy leaf
and you brought one to school to show and tell and
the science teacher said it was really a butterfly and
you said, “No way!” but you had to believe ‘cause
he was your science teacher? What else could explain it?
You ever kiss someone for the first time and nearly faint?
Ever watch a horse run like the wind across a field and
wish you were that very horse almost feeling your legs?
Did you ever listen to some piece of music, some classical
music, and disappear in to a dream floating like a leaf?
You ever see the mountains at sunrise with their tops
snowy and crystal clear in the nearly blue sky?
You ever hold a baby all new with skin like silk
and see it look back at you and wonder how ever
in the wide world could such a thing be real?
Ever look at the moon some October night when
the year is getting old and the moon herself is all
wrapped up in orange and you could cry it makes
you so happy and you know it’s all the same?
Did you ever laugh so hard with someone that you
forgot you were separate or different or a girl or a boy?
You ever stand just at the edge of the ocean and feel
a surge in your belly and know you belong to the salt
and the water and the waves and the wind and the sand?
You ever wake in the deep dark of the night holding a
shred, a piece, a tiny bit of dream dust and you can’t go
back to sleep because it’s too precious to let go?
You ever see the Grand Canyon or a mulberry or a robin’s egg?
Ever hike the Appalachian Trail or stand under a waterfall?
Ever ride an elephant or a camel or look a buffalo in the eye?
You ever lie in the grass watching clouds or count stars?
You ever imagine how fast the earth is spinning?
Did you ever listen to how quiet the snow is when it falls
on a Saturday afternoon when everyone is gone shopping?
You ever cry when you see roses so perfect it’s impossible?
Ever peer at a spider’s web or an anthill or a redwood tree and
wonder how any of it can become what it is, so exquisite?
Will we rise to remember these things we have seen and done,
the moments and the hours we gazed, gawked, stood before
the web awestruck, gratefully scribbling in our journals our joy?
Will we rise like the first buds of spring in time to sing our
connections, know our relatives, deeply feel our same cells?
Will we rise because we remember the mountains, prairies, the
sunsets and rushing waters, the creatures who leap and swim
who fly and crawl and burrow and dance to impress their lovers?
Will we rise like a flood to nourish the lands, to bring new life?
You ever hear the peeper frogs in spring?
What I Have Seen and What I Know
a woman rises to speak in the time of women – part 3
Our species has been a plague on the planet the past short number of decades. As this is more true than not true at this juncture on Earth, what do we do with the knowledge? What do I do with this knowledge? This is what I have seen. In here is knowledge and, hopefully, wisdom of some sort. Everyone can write these experiences. Mine are only different if we have not seen the same things. I encourage you to write what you have seen and read it aloud to someone. We can only rise if we hear our voices.
I have seen rivers and streams, oceans and lakes, creeks and drainage ditches, wells and irrigation ditches, flowages and wetlands. I have seen islands in the Pacific, the Atlantic seaside, the shores of the Great Lakes, marshes and tangled swamps, living relics of sometime lost in memory. I have seen volcanoes from thirty thousand feet in the air and rippling waterfalls from land and cascades of water on glaciers and heard the roar of Niagara. I have crossed deserts, hiked damp forests, camped in the mountains and danced at the foot of high peaks. I have looked down the throat of crevasses, tiptoed on ice in summer, felt altitude and flown in rain. I have swum in warm waters, leaped in to chill lakes, dipped my toes in coral reefs, felt thunderstorms, watched tornado clouds, heard the sound of hail and slept in the arms of an all-night soak. I have examined the skin of Banana slugs and peered into deep July water as a giant Muskie swam by. I have photographed mountain snows, desert flowers, northern sunsets and my own feet in water. As a child I have taken a boat under gigantic falls, hung in a gondola over an angry river, waited in a blind for a herd of antelope and stood against a buffalo. As a child I have run from bears, watched them steal my family’s dinner and passed cookies to them from a car window. I have petted elephants and ridden a camel. I have sat with my chin in my hands and watched millions of giant fruit bats swarm from their caves at dusk. I helped raise a raccoon and mended Mourning Dove wings. I have stepped into the mighty Mississippi, up to my ankles in a fossil spring. I have met and fed not-so-distant relatives of Custer’s mules. I have been up very close and personal with a rattle snake, witnessed the Mesmer that she was and felt the energy surge of such a creature. I have been bitten by Spider Woman as a child, watched my foot swell beyond comprehension and experienced the fever of that blessing. I have seen a zillion sunsets around the world each one as spectacular as the next and wished they would go on forever. I have stood under pine trees, palm trees, maple trees, old growth redwoods and sacred cottonwoods and heard them all speak and amazingly watched them dance. I have wandered an old forest where the most beautiful family of fungus lived and bent down to see their delicate wings and necks. I have canoed with my son near the edge of a pristine pond and seen a huge snapping turtle. I have sat silent on a lake in fog so dense I could not see the tip of my oar. I have walked in the dust of ancient Mesa Verde and run my fingers along the cool bricks made by other hands. I have sat on the Earth all night, listening to Her sounds, slept with Her under the stars and dreamed with the Spirits.
And what do I know from these adventures? I know I cannot live a full life as a woman, a human without each of these intricate and balanced creatures and places. I know that I cannot dream completely without them, sleep peacefully without them, eat and breathe and laugh without them. I know that my conversations and my writing and my relationships will not be fully realized without them and that my last years would be filled with an aching sadness to know they are only a memory.