Lisa DeShantz-Cook and Jane Rennalls

Jane Rennalls
Mixed media
Inspiration piece

Rituals for the Living
By Lisa Deshantz-Cook


Promise me these things. No, wait. Promise yourself these things:

That you will celebrate the raucous and impossible colors of spring, the pinks and purples and green-golds and you will be giddy, and hopeful.

That when the earth thaws around you you will sit still under a tree and hear its song, or the wind rush or the root hum or the crow call or the earth teeming with insects, whichever sounds come to be heard.

That you will slow your stride and stuff your face into the inner workings of a lilac bush, a honeysuckle vine, a night-blooming jasmine and you will breathe in the sweetness.

That you will let the sun caress your unadorned face and let the wind have its wild way with your hair.

That you will sit in a garden close your eyes and by listening intently forget what species you are, for just long enough.

That you will tune out the voices of humans to hear night animals, and that you will call back to them in a voice you won’t recognize as your own, but is.

That you will use this voice to howl at the full moon, or a sliver of moon, even the new moon, and you won’t worry that people hear you (but hope they join you, because a group howl is a more potent howl).

That you will find a body of water and immerse yourself, naked, never mind that your body is old, or bony, or difficult, or wrong because no bodies are wrong, especially when embraced by a body of water.

That you will do these things because you are young, or old, or ancient, and you are alive, and the world is still turning even if parts of it are on fire.


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