I spent this past week-end in Salina, Kansas with a few close friends and a thousand others who share my love and concern for the blessed Earth on which we walk and breathe and have our being. I was able to listen to some brilliant speakers, speaking to different topics of ecological concern and how each of us as individuals and all of us as community might lend hand, heart, mind, creativity and whatever else we have to bring to the table, to help haul the ecosystem back from the brink of destruction. We do so wish to have life, health and beauty to leave as a legacy for those who come after.
Wendell Berry spoke to us out of the deep, rich depths of his poetic soul and his lifetime of wisdom. Kent Whealey opened our eyes with revelations about how money and deception can destroy decades of good works in a very short space of time. My heart ached for his broken heart and the weary yet determined set of his shoulders. Wes Jackson spoke to us clear truths, laced with humor, about what has been done so far in the area of conserving and healing the earth, the hard climb ahead of us and his concerns about what lies ahead in the near future.
There was contra dance in an old barn, to the music of dulcimer and fiddle, where all of us joined hands and smiles with strangers and friends. I stood shaken under the stars and wept. I walked into the lights and the dance and tried to follow the steps in my new role as a single woman. I had trouble with my footing in dances that I have danced for years and years. I fell and was helped to my feet by people I did not even know. A very humbling experience and emotionally wrenching on many levels. I slept well.
Amy Zimmerman sang peace to my soul in the words and chords of her beautiful songs of the prairie. I wept and laughed, smiled and sang. She reminded me of myself, twenty five years and a lifetime ago. The music and her lovely voice were a balm to all that was stretched tightly within my heart.
I met a new friend, Mary, who listened and talked, comforted me and looked me straight in the eyes with eyes bluer than my own and assured me that, though it was a long and arduous journey, I would be able to walk through it and beyond because love endures and I was not alone. She helped me to see the months of preparation that I had been living through and the promises already made to me by the Creator who is ever within, around, before, behind and beside me, before my Danny stepped out of this world and into the arms of God.
I came home with apples, hugs, good words and understanding from my friend Pat, who had only slightly twisted one of my arms to get me to go in the first place. Today is unbelievably beautiful.