Anne M. Smith-Nochasak:
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Wasaya Times: the Dogs of Canoer
Developing the novel A Canoer of Shorelines has been a special part of my life. Like the Wasaya setting, it will always be part of me. This will be a visual blog, a journey into times past but ever present, to the haunting beauty of the land, blessed by the presence of good dogs. Dogs, as I have written before, are a gift from the Creator to teach us how to become better people. They are spiritual beings, who inspire love of creation and a deep and abiding joy. To experience joy as a dog does is a gift that dog persons will understand.
to the three dogs who inspired Rachel's dogs in Canoer,
to my last Wasaya dog (my Lady of Wasaya),
and to the Golden one
who guards their memory with me.
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No Gentle Apocalypses
Today I want to write about joy, but I also have gloomy thoughts. This seems a perfect time to write about worlds ending and worlds emerging.
Worlds end with harshness and violence, and that compels me to live in joy this moment.
I en-joy the beauty around me if I live it fully in my heart this day, and carry it with me as my future joy.
This morning I walked in the rain through a green world beaded with moisture and enveloped in mist. Dampness cooled my face; my hat and jacket softened and clung to me. Nearby, a thrush sang to the morning, and in the woodland, the mourning doves called to one another. It was a morning like many others here.
Elsewhere in the world, an infant frets to the sound of artillery. Children are being born in shelters underground, children who have never heard the thrush or felt the morning damp on their faces or breathed the pungent fragrance of a forest day. I am saddened by that thought, yet relieved that I am not there.
They do not have that choice.
It is easy to speak of kingdoms coming, of worlds ending and new orders being born, when our pocket of the world is still beautiful. It is easy to hope for a bright future when our own is comfortable.
I believe that the hardest day for me will be the day that I look out over my precious green world and see that it, too, is a smoking rubble, when I see the waters clogged with debris, the sky oily and low, the tender woodland scorched and scarred. On that day will I be intoning "Thy Kingdom come" , or will I join in the great existential howl of humanity "My god, my god, why have you abandoned me?"
It is easy to have faith, when birds are still singing.
It is easy to anticipate the joy of seeing a new child enter the world, but we must remember that labouring for that child is agony.
As a student of Christian eschatology, I would do well to remember that Jesus' last words in some records were that existential cry: "My god, my god, why have you abandoned me?" Nowhere does it say that Jesus recanted, and although we explain the question away as words uttered in the name of fulfilling scriptures, it echoes in my mind as a very honest despair. In that instant, Jesus is fully human, fully alone.
God, too, is alone in that moment. I believe in God, often, as the One Who Will Fix Things. I choose not to see the agony of a God who must watch his creation twisting and mutating in terrible ways, works of beauty cast down and trampled. God is alone in that moment, and so embraces and accepts my aloneness.
When my world crashes down as the worlds of so many already have, when all that is beautiful and fresh crumples, when I no longer remember my name or my story, when the darkness is absolute, I will matter.
I will matter, and one day, the voice of the thrush will ring in every heart.
I have hope, and I have these days to fuel that hope for me, and for everyone. I must take care to en-joy, to infuse each moment with joy.