Sitting on a hill watching white birds:

m.d. leto
Posted January 7, 2010 from United States

"Masterpieces are not single and solitary births; they are the outcome of many years of thinking in common, of thinking by the body of the people, so that the experience of the mass is behind the single voice," Virginia Woolf.

What revolution do you direct with your breath? With your footsteps? Do you see memories as whole images or fragments? Sometimes I see through layers and have an intuition about people. Never trust people who do not walk barefoot upon the naked earth- we feel what we can connect to: bare feet in wet grass, buried in moss and mud, submersed in cool waters. Shoes say something about people. Pay attention to how they are walking. This also reveals their connection to self. What can you see on this pretext? What do shiny black shoes tell you what worn-down loafers can not begin to articulate? What do slip-ons with loose threads and hemp insoles have in common with stilettos? I like bare feet, earth-dirty feet, feet smooth in their padding from working in the garden or running through dandelions. I like toes that spread open like fingers. Feet that tell stories and can appreciate a massage once in awhile. Feet say a lot about a person. Do you wear your shoes in the house? On the bed? Do you take them off on the porch so you don’t dirty the carpet or bring in all the energy you collected in the tread? Do you have lots of shoes for seasons and special occasions? When was the last time you were barefoot? I would rather wear thick socks in winter than boots of any kind. Imagine a world where either EVERYone had a pair of shoes or NO one had a pair of shoes. Imagine that again, but with food. Either everyone can have a peach, or no one can! We walk passed the starving as though they were already ghosts, factor them into the death toll while they still breathe. We spend more money on diet pills, juices, smoothies and energy gum, water, toxins than we do on balancing food portions. One less bite for you, one less for me, if we all eat none of us can go hungry. We have too many shoes, outfits, pills, too much complacency, artificiality. Would you trade your XBOX for a hug? The hug may only last thirty seconds and the XBOX was three hundred dollars. What you give away reflects what you value. I walk through parking lots collecting "trash" and apologizing to every "thing" we've defined as "things" so we don't sense our connection to them. On a two-minute walk I picked up four hamburger wrappers, a McDonald's iced coffee - half full; two Starbucks cappuccinos, in glass bottles; a snicker's plastic, receipts for gas, cigarette butts, three working pens, an unused teabag, and napkins ready for driving haikus or meeting notes that always morph into ditty's or blues.

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  • Emily Garcia
    Jan 08, 2010
    Jan 08, 2010

    Dear Mei Li,

    Thank you for posting this thoughtful and gently fierce reflection. Though your words are eloquent and so kindly delivered, I see your fierce determination for justice supporting them. They seem to me as seeds planted, embedded in soil, that promise to grow and become manifest in the world as true flowers of peace...I think hard and feel ashamed when I read and re-read these words: "We walk passed the starving as though they were already ghosts, factor them into the death toll while they still breathe" and get angry that I console myself by finding comfort in the fact that we all do this--that we all ignore the suffering, that this is the norm not the exception...

    May the seedling you've sprouted in my mind (and I imagine in the minds of many others here) help me live a more compassionate and just existence.



  • Sharese
    Jan 11, 2010
    Jan 11, 2010

    seriously, wow. This is beautiful, articulate, and most especially true. I very much look forward to reading more of your writitngs. I also look forward to reading about your work with the women transitioning from prisions.

    Thank you for this.

    Much peace and love,