The ravens on your shoulder will whisper in your ear

Ernest Lowe, poet, gardener, activist, and member of our Radical Joy for Hard Times community, who lives in Wisconsin, wrote this beautiful reflection on our Facebook page last July. It seems particularly apt at this time when the Earth is so much under threat and the human world so full of danger, hatred, and greed: 
For a friend fearing that time is up for humanity:
“The journey might take you a few hours, day, a year, a few years, a hundred, a thousand, or even more.”
         —Joy Harjo
You say that we’re not immune from the Great Extinction… our ship is going down… civilization is collapsing… all happening in accelerating slow-mo right before our eyes. You say, What the fuck can I do about it?
You can start by crying a flooded river, ravens on your shaking shoulders. You can feel in your belly a mother elephant murdered for her ivory tusks. You can taste in your mouth a child dying of 120 degree heat… heat without water.
When your sobbing quiets, just wait… somewhere… it’s all happening… right now. The wells of grief are deep. Then, friend, wait some more. Wait and listen for the raven’s call to her mate circling her in swooping play. Listen to the grass growing in a dead tree’s hollow. Listen to the worms returning a car-crushed deer to the soil. Listen to the toes of your feet caressing moss and lichens on a fallen log. Perhaps, after these initiations, your heart will reveal to you the world ’round compassion guiding you to your rocky path of action. The ravens on your shoulders will whisper in your ear.

Trebbe Johnson
Trebbe JohnsonFounder
Trebbe is the author of The World Is a Waiting Lover and 101 Ways to Make Guerrilla Beauty. Her new book, Radical Joy for Hard Times: Finding Meaning and Making Beauty, will be published in Fall 2018 by North Atlantic Books. Her articles about people’s emotional and spiritual relationship with nature have appeared in Orion, Sierra, Ecopsychology, The Ecologist, The Nation, Harper’s and other magazines. She lives with her husband, Andrew Gardner, in rural northeastern Pennsylvania, a region currently under exploitation by natural gas companies.

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Radical Joy Revealed is a weekly message of inspiration about finding and making beauty in wounded places.

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