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Issue #4, October 2016 - MAKING KIN: Part I

Editorial Lise Weil

The dream of hotdogs in homemade bread leapt alive to me, since I had a powerful and hitherto unexplainable dream about three weeks ago of a similar unfamiliar terrain, all muddy and alien and rich in invitations to be explored. I think this theme of kindred worlds, making kin of strangers endangered (animal, plant, and all other earth forms) could not be more timely. I’m agreeing we are too gender-centered lately, too people- oriented, and I like the Alice Walker quote about the earth enslaved. I feel as if this “Dark Matter” focus is an endorsement of a path I sometime blaze alone—and love meeting up with kindred spirits!

~ Marcia Goldberg, Montreal

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“Deer” & “Magpies” & “What My Cat Would Say to Me” by Jennifer Finley

Thank you for simply beautiful and powerful poems. I could relate to them and “Cat” brought tears to my eyes.
Dark Matter is new to me, bringing to me a connection to kindred spirits. Thanking you all.

~ Rita Mae Underwood, Butte, MT

Thank you for your beautiful poems. I am moved by your felt sense of embrace by the earth.

~ Sheila Murray, Columbia Falls, MT

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“Kinship and Murder” by Karen Mutter

This is a very profound, emotional and touching article. It brings a clear picture to light of the atrocities that keep occurring with guns, violence and extremist actions. Please, all of us, take a moment and envision peace. So we can pass through this.

~ Marcella Zinner, Palm Harbor, FL

Thank you Karen for this beautifully expressed article about the status of our conventional medicine and the solution of kinship.

~ Noelle Imparato, Baltimore, MD

From +35 years of direct observation, this is sadly, an insightful observation touching on many of the common practices of medicine. Karen, you are much more than a skilled physician, you exhibit soul which is not often present in practice or academia. You are brave and true. It is wonderful to know that you are.

~ Henry A Brown, Miami Beach, FL

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“Becoming Kin—Becoming Elephant” by Deena Metzger

The elephants who “spoke” with the author prompted me to reflect on a baby/youngish bull elephant I encountered at the Angrignon Park zoo about 15 or 20 years ago, a fellow who eyed me deliberately in his glass cabin and engaged me in a Full Stop. I paused for at least half an hour to think with him about his situation. He was so alone and so isolated from trees, waterways, mountains and sky where the human wardens had confined him in this glass cage so we could oogle him, and I knew he was lonely. I wanted to share with him my sorrow, so I copied the pacing he was doing. Back and forth, I hung my shoulders as he slung his heavy trunk as he walked this way six or eight paces, turned, and came back. I was with him and no one else was around, so I knew he saw me copy him. After about twenty minutes of this, he stopped and trumpeted very loudly, as if I had it all wrong. He was more agitated, not less, having been found out. Sure I “cared,” but could I get him out or bring him home? No. I felt his rage. He wanted to break out of that glass cabinet and batter down doors, run across waterways and get through oceans of grief to rejoin his kin. I was NOT that. But I did hear his story, and I know the word “story&tdquo; in this piece is the right one.

~ Marcia Goldberg, Montreal

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“Saved by Whales” by Nancy Windheart

I am less and less comfortable with humans. Humans disappointed me. I feel I can't trust anybody. But at the same time I found in animals and plants the love I needed. I am single with no child. I am 48 and I sometimes ask myself what is the purpose of my life? I know there is a good reason why I have not been able to have children, and I feel that I have something important to do while I am here. I learned unconditional love with my cat who pasted away last fall. She was a rescue cat and I promised her I would provide her with the best and take care of her no matter what. Which I did. After her passing I was devastated. I learned what it was to have a broken heart. I felt so connected with this cat, I could feel her pain and when her spirit left her body I felt a relief and the pain in my chest stopped.

A new pain took place, the broken heart, but it was different. It was so hard that I decided to apply to become foster mom for the SPCA. That is when I met this white cat whose owner just passed away. She was so depressed and sad that she could not stay at the shelter. She came to live with me and I could feel how sad she was. We were both grieving and something magic happened. Slowly we healed each other and now I can feel a new special connection. I could not let her go back to the shelter or even imagine her with an other human so I decide to keep her. That's when I noticed her change, she started to feel more comfortable. At the beginning, she was so scared that she spet the two first months hidden at the bottom of my closed. I had to sit down to feed her. She would not come out, only to use her litter box when I was not home. When I decided to keep her she changed, she came out and started to trust me and sleep with me on my bed. She is now a completely different cat. Still scared of other humans but so happy with me. Even the way she looks at me is different. I can see love in her eyes, not pain anymore… I have another “weird” connection, this one is with a tree. I work in an office and it is not my dream job for sure, but it pays the bills. I found a tree in a park across from the road where I go for my lunch. I don't know why I picked this specific tree but I like to call it my friend. It helps me relieving my stress and I can feel like if it was looking after my well being. I tried to be even more connected to plants and animals but I have difficulties to relax and meditate. My brain never stops thinking. English is not my first language so I apologize if this sounds like broken English

- Regine Hervy, Paris, Ontario, CA

Simply beautiful and eloquent

~ Connie Eastman, Gunnison, CO

Hmmm. Words can’t convey how inspiring your story is… It seems that you were born connected with the Universe but grew in awareness and remembrance of this as you grew up. Your story also conveys how our early life’s experiences, though painful and confusing at the time, are actually guiding us to our life’s purpose. I had no idea that the Baja whales interact so closely with humans. Thank you for how openly you shared your story and demonstrated the connection we could all have with the other kingdoms in the universe (mineral, plant, animal) if we would just open ourselves up to their energy level and learn to just BE in the moment.

~ Deanna Sava, Buffalo Grove, IL

Boy, did this article of yours hit all the high notes, you have a follower, absolutely&hellp; horses for me have taken me down some of the road you are describing, look forward to reading more!

~ Pam Asheton, Alberta, Canada

Thank you for reminding me of my longing and my belonging.

~ Heather Faris, BC, Canada

Wow! This is such a powerful story. I am speechless. So beautiful. So powerful. Thank you for sharing your experience with the animals and for your beautiful full-circle. Since you are so attuned to animal language, has Deena asked you to go to Africa with her and help her hear the message of the elephants? Just a thought. My bow to you.

~ Noelle Imparato, Baltimore, MD

So beautifully written about the cat and the whales.

~ Linda Fischer, USA

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“Invoking the Salamander” by Cynthia Anderson

I felt so much like I was with you while reading this poem - and wishing that I had been. I have been eyeball to eyeball with a golden crab - it felt like direct and unfiltered synchronous knowing.

~ Sojourner Kincaid Rolle, Santa Barbara, CA

I love the Salamander poem.

~ Suzanne Ross, 29 Palms, CA

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“Divorce of the Night Sky” by Tricia Knoll

Love this prose essay poem about divorce, lack of night sky, lack of something comfortable like pure dark. Lovely writing!

~ Patricia Brody, New York

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CODA : “Embracing Duncan” by Kristin Flyntz

I so enjoyed reading your story about Duncan… I was riveted, moved and felt a deep heart opening in myself and for you both.
Thank you for sharing so deeply.

~ Heather Faris, BC, Canada

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CODA: “Just ThisI” by Lise Weil

This is how I would write about my animals, if I could. Thank you.

~ Lou Robinson, Ithaca, NY

Ah, a love letter like this to the cat of one’s life makes me remember so many of the soul friends who were perhaps the truest intimates I’ve ever known. This piece says something about how to grieve well and how to grieve fully–I of course remembered my own experience weeping for months as I vacuumed the dark grey hair of my dog Simone from every crevice of my house– and in weeping for her I was able to heal some of the grief I still carried after the death of my father years before. Amazing how these animals help us even when they have vanished from the scene.

~ Camille Norton, Stockton, CA

You capture the “I know you’re here” because all my sense tell me so. A loving tribute that captures that fleeting period of time when the gone are still here.

~ Tricia Knoll, USA