Slow Fade to Black

Easy breathing, autumn air
early mornings turned satisfyingly crisp
the sun has softened like sleepy eyelids
drooping gently in the pastel sky

Time to get cozy and start lighting candles
celebrating sumptuous spices and savory foods
using up the squashes left over from one last harvest
patient preparation of nests for the cold months ahead

Another successful cycle completed
observing the graceful pirouette of mother earth
showering colorful leaves from her folded skirt
as she spins new life into old, familiar stories

Sit with me awhile and listen
to the cicada chorus begin its evening song
to signal the bittersweet surrender from summer
a goodbye serenade to constant sunshine

Learning to enjoy the subtle sadness of certain endings
seeing myself in the auburn fade of fallen leaves
allowing my own colors to seep out slowly
to nourish the dark soil with all that I once was
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Secret Summer

Summer Saturdays by the waterfront
the Festival of India in Wheeling, WV
streaming colors of elaborate scarves
the wafting fragrance of warm spices

Celebrating ancient cultures with old friends
buying raw crystals from a precious grey woman
suddenly handed prayer beads and a mantra
pleasantly trapped in impromptu meditation

Slipping away after a free meal of fresh curry
a few secret shots behind the door of a bathroom stall
just a little liquid courage to quiet evening anxiety
before blending back into the smiling crowd

Reckless abandon and eager enthusiasm
for mind altering substances at every moment
used to make me feel exciting, wild, and interesting
but as I near 30 it's starting to feel shameful instead

Hoping no one notices my enhanced mood
wondering at these strange things I do
even more curious to know what private lives
other people lead when no one is looking

Shocked at the idea of all the things
that could be hiding behind bright eyes
disturbed by the notion that I'll never
really know another person completely

Reincarnation

Summer stirs something deep inside
a soul shaken awake by sunshine
renewed and ready to add its song
to the symphony of early morning

Slipping unharmed from the jaws of winter
wondering at this cycle of renewal once again
where did I go while the world was dark
resurrected by blue skies as a brand new being

The shadow of death has fled from my heart
crept into the creases to await autumn
ready to beguile me with cottage core
cozy sweaters and pumpkin spice

Every season seems splendid and romantic
in the intoxicating summer air full of flowers
all of life seems brighter, softer, less scary than before
safety found in long, winding, aimless days

Warm skin soaked in bright light
greedily drinking the sun's special elixir
this soul of mine is solar powered
one juicy charge lasts until January

Every season is all or nothing
in the summer I know I'll live forever
in the winter I know I've already died
celebrating my 28th year of reincarnation

Just Say Yes

Summer weddings in West Virginia
a single cloud offers happy tears
as it passes above the rolling hillsides
before the ceremony begins

Blending in to a crowd of strangers
to celebrate a giddy spectacle of love
the ritual of vows and rings
sealed with a single kiss

Mingling with smiling faces
around tables spilling over with 
food, drinks, and delicate decor
dancing ensues as the sun goes down

Slipping away into the cool night
a secluded sunken structure
offers shelter in the dense forest
sharing a solitary flame

Infiltrating the mountain lodges
the elites like to frequent
people watching and pondering
this bizarre, beautiful life

The night ends with a live performance
a solitary girl with her acoustic guitar
sings a song that is dear to my heart
a wink and a nod of sacred synchronicity 

Summer Slips By

Summer settles in
around the eaves of the houses
a heavy heat that grows and expands

Lush gardens swell
creating a hopeful sea of green
rough leaves reaching upward toward the sun

The atmosphere buzzes
the electric hum of birds and bugs
the gentle breeze rustling through the leaves

The cycle of the seasons
reflected and repeated in each creature
the metronome of moments that connect us all

The misfortune of our
clever distractions that separate us
summer slips by unnoticed beneath the blue sky

Sweet Air

Winter wipes away all memory
of the sweetness of summer air
it stops me in my tracts
when my senses are infiltrated again
with the intoxicating scent of soft petals

The cacophony of sensation
that saturates the warmer months
never fails to fill my soul
with reverence and awe
for our magnificent mother

Inspiration seeps into every pore
when the world reawakens
at my doorstep
the miracle of resurrection
witnessed once again

When all hope is nearly lost
the tender blades of grass whisper
"just give us one more day"
I fall to my knees upon it
and gratefully obey

Cycles

My sorrow comes in cycles
waxing and waning with the moon
regular intervals of lapping tides
frigid dark waters against a jagged shore

long desolate seasons of solitude
convince me that joy was never mine
the cosmos close in around me
a heavy weight upon my sunken chest

when the sun finally emerges on the other side
of that cruel and endless winter wasteland
happiness breaks over my heart
like a revelation

my sleeping soul cracks open
shivering with delight in the warm heavy air
finally freed from its cramped cocoon
to absorb the majesty of the world reborn

open and unafraid, buoyantly held above
the stark reality of the season past
the second side of my dual nature
shaking off the bizarre burden I've been carrying

why was I so sad before?
what was it that I'd been pained by?
now suffering seems so far away
was it ever here at all?

I don't recognize myself
as I look back through the snow
and the aching, bony trees
caught in the swift, sharp wind

the summer beckons me forward
into a bright mirage of green
where nothing can cause me harm
where this time the cycle has surely stopped

each moment maintains its own eternity
forever paralyzed in each part of the pattern
immovable sadness giving way to boundless joy
always and again

Rebirth

Bring me back to the sun
to the smell of damp soil
to the rising dust of a dry earth
as the sudden summer rain begins
pelting it with lush droplets
let me refill my cup
with the sweet nectar of fresh life
with the soft rhythmic sounds
of the land as it wakes again
let me wake along with it
let me rediscover the light
that has long been lost from me
to surrender to the smooth air
heavy with the perfume
of so many plump blossoms
the vastness of nature
has space for my cramped sorrow
inviting me to offer up
all my private pain
to lick my wounds
alongside shimmering streams
and to pour out my heart
to the healing light of the moon

VegFest 2021

Today was my first time going to a local vegan festival called VegFest. Even though I’ve been vegan for nearly a decade now, I somehow never managed to make it out there. I’m so glad I finally went though. It was so much busier than I could have ever anticipated. There had to be thousands of people crammed into the span of a few blocks. There were over 40 local vendors selling all kinds of things from plants and art to baked goods and bourbon. I don’t even want to calculate how much money I spent. There were a lot of things I wasn’t even able to try because the lines were too long or they sold out before I had a chance to stop.

I highly recommend attending any vegan festivities in your area. New vegans could definitely benefit from discovering what type of vegan options there are in their area. Experienced vegans can benefit from the uplifting atmosphere of being surrounded by like-minded people and seeing just how much support the vegan movement actually has. Even in more vegan-friendly areas, it can feel like a lost cause at times. There is nothing more inspiring than gathering together with your community to celebrate.

It’s really crazy for me to think about how far veganism has come in just my small area. There used to be hardly any options for me in the grocery stores or at restaurants. If I wanted to eat a dish that was even moderately tasty I had to put in all the time and effort to make it myself. Now being vegan is easier than ever.

I used to get it when I was first transitioning if people told me veganism was just too difficult for them. It was a big adjustment in a society that catered to carnism alone. Now I’m shocked that anyone can still use that excuse. With the Impossible Burger at Burger King, dozens of different vegan ice creams in the supermarket, and hundreds if not thousands of other perfectly incredible replacements for anything you could possibly desire, how could you still ask a vegan, “so what do you eat?” or “I could never give up x or y.” Hell, even the dinky little road side ice cream shop in the middle of nowhere has nondairy options now!

Even though I can no longer hold out hope that veganism will save the earth, it can still save the animals from enduring unnecessary suffering in the short time that we have left here with them. I am so grateful to be have been reminded today that there are so many other people in this world that are fighting to end that senseless pain.

Sublime Surrender

Breathing in
I taste the thick sweetness
of summer air
breathing out
A shimmer of satisfaction
ripples through me

Enveloped in a world
so miraculous and perfect
humbled by the chance 
to simply be
my soul sings sweetly along
with the heartbeat of existence

So much beauty to behold
the many layers of this life
an endless spiraling 
inwards and outwards
far past infinity
incomprehensible complexity

Unfurling like a flower
to the sunlight
my innermost essence
opens to encompass
the vast vibrations
of this earth

Five superpowers called senses
ten fingers, ten toes
a body that heals and grows
a brain that questions and creates
at one with all there is
but also somehow separate

How sublime it is to surrender
to the deep knowing in our bones
that stardust inside of us
that says, "all is well"
that tells us, "have faith,
and you will find all you seek" 


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