Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Opossum - December 20, 2010

Beauty of fox, lemur, panther,
aardvark, thunder-worm, condor,

the quagga, the puffer, the kudu,
and this: the opossum

with her babies hanging on, gray lumps.
all around the scaly tail

that was bent over her back, like a sailboat's boom,
for the very small and oh! almost human baby-fingers

to cling to. At first I thought
it was some pitiful broken thing

lumping along over the scrubby leaves,
and then I saw the brown dog-softness of her long-lashed eyes

as, swiftly, with her wobbling burden of life upon her,
she ran.

When a child I once came upon a broken possum on the roadside.  She had been hit by a car, dead, but still warm. About her were strewn her babies, some still with their hands clenched in death around her fur.  I think hating my own kind began then in that moment, and since that day I have spent a lifetime moving ever so slowly from hate back to love.  Each day I rise, struggling  to love all beings, whether marsupial or placental mammal, finned, furred or feathered, or with grasping feet, tail, or hands.  I admit some days it's tempting to run as far from possible from the heavy burden of my own humanity.

But then comes grace, a chance like this morning where I rose very early and beheld the blood red moon, totally eclipsed by the earth's shadow.  Shadows and blood, shining above us all, and in us all.  What's not to love?

Where is there shadow in your life?  What burdens do you carry?

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