Gulf Coast Contemplation, for Her People and Her Creatures

"I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for our victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit."
-- John F. Kennedy


by D.M. Solis

How can I hope
to deserve such wealth?

How can any of us earn
the beauty and variety
of flowers, gems, or clouds?
How can we merit such richness
as the colors and shapes in a campfire
or of creatures like starfish and seahorses
even sand pebbles? And what about waves,
the wondrous strength, multiplicity
and impermanence of waves?
Lifetimes seem as temporary, yet...

Each individual, each one in billions
is worth so much more
than the way we sometimes treat
a child, a woman, an elder,
an ancient tree that nourished as it grew,
a forest that shelters and consoles,
a stream that heals
while she weaves and wends
to the sustenance and sacredness
of the ocean's giving, purposeful waves.

The paradox: a lifetime's just a wave,
but each flower, every child
is so much more
than definitions, treaties or doctrines--
part of everything
infinitely greater than sums,
each birdsong and every butterfly
one with, gift from, and symbol of
the generously creative
all-knowing One.

How can I earn such otherworldly
lavishness? I'm only human.
How can I merit
even the fragrance, flawed as I am,
of one precious blossom?
I can't.  Still I'm given, and I hope
to honor every sacredness
of the one I was born to love,
the beautiful one for whom I believe
I was uniquely and perfectly made.

If by some grace I could deserve...
well, I keep trying and hoping anyway.

* * *

And I keep hearing these reports on national public and independent radio about dolphins, not one or two, but hundreds washed up on island shores suffocated or still dying in agony, and sea turtles burning alive in the oil fires where rescuers watch at the perimeters unable to free them.

I hear the plaintive, frantic voice of Linda Hunt's Billy Quan, "What then must we do? What then must we do? What then must we!" (from The Year of Living Dangerously)