Friday, November 30, 2012

Full-contact Religion

We mill about the peristyle (our temple) waiting for the ceremony. Some of us catch up on the past week, or the past weeks, since we’ve last seen each other.

At no time in particular, the ceremony begins. Assons are rattled, the sound of bells fill the air. The drummers take up their sticks and pound out a rhythm. The singing begins. I struggle to find the song.

At this point the Lwa (the spirits) have not come. The songs are sung the best we can. The ceremony begins like so many have begun before. We reach out.

In me, I feel their absence. My song is not its best. It feels dry, but I carry on, responding to the call of the verses. People are slowly starting to move, but even my movements feel dry.

We move to the rhythms.

Monday, November 26, 2012

My Muse Has Left the Building

79200-Encounters in Nature by BTNewberg
Meditation in the North Woods
From the ebook Encounters In Nature

© 2011 B.T. Newberg

Last week I sat down to write and was struck by a horrible feeling. I didn’t like where my writing was going. Nothing seemed to work. My wife and best friend Saumya suggested I go back and re-read some of my earlier pieces (for completely different reasons) – I did. I began to feel that was the cause of my funk. I like to blame things on her, but really the blockage was all me. After writing The River is In Me, I longed to write more like it reaching for my departed muse; all my attempts failed.

There are some old pieces that moved me. I revisited: Crisis of Faith, There Is No Hell and My Other Family. Nothing seemed to work. I listened to Encounters In Nature, mainly because my friend Mauricio shared his feelings on it. Did it hold some kind of mojo I could tap into?

Replay complete: I’ve decided it’s time to take stock of how my life has changed over the past year.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The River Is In Me

Standing on the banks of the Mississippi River on the New Orleans shoreline, I stick my hand into the water to greet her. She is the Mississippi, and I know her well. After all, she’s my lover.

The scent of her fills my nostrils. I take her into myself, filling my lungs. It’s not a fresh smell, but one of mildew, decay and memory. Her warm humid breath comforts me. She welcomes me to her, my oldest friend.

There is a picture my mother has of me, at the age of months, less than one year old. I’m reaching for the throttle of our family boat, the Mimi III, named after my aunt. It was third in a tradition of five spanning three generations of our family. Not even old enough to speak, she was a part of my life. I grew up on boats, on her water, on the shores of Dubuque, IA. My weekdays might hold school or summer play, but she consumed my weekends. I spent countless hours riding her, swimming in her, swallowing her and eventually skiing upon her. On countless weekend nights, she would gently rock me to sleep and gently crash upon the sides of my bed.

Second Class Citizen: Thank You

My last post Second Class Citizen was a plea to vote no on the Minnesota constitutional amendments being proposed: a limiting of the definition of marriage and Voter ID. I’d like to say “Thank You” that both measures were defeated in Minnesota.

I truly believe both proposed amendments would be a limit on individual freedoms that I hold dear. Last Tuesday made me proud to be a citizen of this great state and our great nation. Minnesota, you made me proud.