What makes humans special is not our occasional propensity to kill strangers when we think we can do so safely. Our unique capacity is our skill at engineering peace.
— Jane Goodall
Everything has instincts. I can sense
from a dead sleep a child out of bed
the way a wolf tracks prey across a hundred
miles of bone-chilling tundra.
Once, a college friend vacationed in Hawaii
and asked me to watch her wolf dog, Winter.
Wild and gray he jumped all fences and she
never came back. I’d pick him up in far parts of the city
until finally I found a home that could hold him.
That girl who fled for Hawaii used to say how peaceful
nature was, how she felt it sanctuary. I did not mention
the facts: that male bears will eat their own cubs
if not for their mother’s vigilant protection.
The father of my children tells me he’s coming
to town with his new girl to attend his sister’s wedding.
16 years—a half-life—I knew him, her, the whole
family, bore their name and buried my own.
The wedding is one to which I haven’t been invited
is all, is natural, like a pack of chimps turning on
(or from) their wounded. I have fallen (I have).
Under morning sun I surrender against
bone-deep reason my half-awake young,
still rubbing starlight from their eyes, pulling at
clothes stiff and tight as freshly departed leaves.
We surround them with a relieved kind of joy,
like endangered cubs we’ve agreed unspoken
to protect, my former family corralling the pair
for the imminent ceremony.
-a new one, by me
We started dying before the snow, and like the snow, we continued to fall.
Louise Erdrich, opening sentence in “Tracks” (via andlohespoke)
I love this first book in Erdrich’s Love Medicine trilogy the most. Fleur Pillager is an impressive character.
Actress Shirley MacLaine (b. 1934)
I recently re-watched two movies with Shirley MacLaine in them: “Being There” and “Terms of Endearment.” I really like her. She’s tough, affectionate, authentic, kind, and difficult. I also enjoy imagining what it must have been like in her household growing up (Warren Beatty is her younger brother).