** This past Wednesday I was able to partake in what for me is still one of the meaningful rites and “passages” in a lunar calendar, Ash Wednesday. This poem may have been inspired by the ancient teaching in the Genesis story and the beginning of profound humbling as to who we are and to what we can possibly hope for from a SomeOne/ Something that chooses to communicate to even dust. (Genesis 3:19: “And God said to Adam, from dust I created you and to dust you shall return.” )
I found this in a notebook when I was clearing out “stuff”. I wrote this way back in 2007, before I ever started this blog space and when I still drove my four kids around to things and often drove them crazy. Written before I knew how quickly those years of parenting would pass and written, well, during everything that mattered.
I wrote this after a visit to the Los Angeles History Museum’s incredible gem and mineral collection and exhibit. For better writers than I on rocks and other natural things that sing, talk, yell, shout and praise Creator-God, please read Habakkuk, Isaiah, the writers of the Psalms and the words of Jesus of Nazareth.
Even the Rocks Cry Out
By Jane Tawel
The world can seem lonely,
and I doubt there can be a God.
Otherwise, wouldn’t He or She or They
inside me and without.
And people keep killing each other,
while churches and synagogues and mosques
make more and more and more money
to feed their superstars.
While the masses go hungry
for the lack of a miracle
of people sharing their loaves and fishes.
Ah, yes, Superstars.
We would rather worship running backs
and quarterbacks and rappers and
pretty people all in a row.
But the real stars in the sky
are consumed by our false neon-lights,
and the darkness is completed–
in the heavens as it is on earth.
The stars. The stars!–
Those magical rocks that glow in the sky–
Ah, where are the stars?
They have been put out,
just as the bridesmaids whose oil ran out
on their way to the Great Wedding.
No, the celestial lights,
don’t bother to speak to us anymore.
We stopped listening to the wisdom of the stars
just as we stopped listening to the trees,
and birds and bees.
We are too busy trying to explore and exploit them all.
Busy, busy, busy, busy as bees,
And we are killing the bees with our business
just as we kill ourselves.
Sometimes even killing ourselves by
the saddest, most hopeless choice.
Perhaps because there are no more stars of light in the darkness.
And I feel like a very small and useless pebble,
tossed on a god’s whim,
into the roiling angry waves,
of a sea perpetually at storm.
A useless stone, cast out.
Yesterday I went downtown in L.A.–
Los Angeles–land of people hungry for stardom,
and begging for applause;
people also hungry for a meal
and begging for change.
Los Angeles – City of Angels,
and of Devils, too.
With the most human stars per capita,
and not a single star
that can break through, shine through
the city’s false lights and the smog.
Poor little luminaries,
all dressed up and no where to glow.
Yesterday I went downtown in L.A.
and I visited the Natural Museum of History.
And there I saw the most amazing exhibit.
Among dead rows of extinct things,
or things nearing extinction,
like our planet, our poor dying planet.
I saw a living universe of color and light.
I happened upon a world unearthed.
There in row after row,
were rocks that glowed.
The glass cases held
every color of the rainbow.
Hundreds of minerals and gems
with tiny little placards
that tried their best to name
the unfathomable, unique glories of rocks.
An entire cosmos seemed to breathe,
in and out, and in and out.
How can rocks breathe, you ask?
I guess you had to be there;
holding your own breath as I held mine,
to hear the inhalations
and soft, sweet exhales of a rock’s breath.
There I stood alone in a crowd,
and communed with
that which is found under the earth.
“Ah, bless the hands that discovered
the jewels of the Earth!” I thought.
And still, I forgot,
to bless the womb
of She Who created them.
And yet, there among the rocks,
that seemed silent
in a world of our noisiness,
I discovered this:
There must have been a Creator.
And whatever you may call Him or Her or Them –
This Creator has created this planet with love,
and us with it.
There is no other way to understand,
how there can be so many different and
beautiful, incredible, unbelievable things—
even just the most simple of things
that we call minerals or gems;
let alone the creation of a butterfly wing,
or a whale’s song, or a human eye.
There must be Something – Someone –
Who said, “Let Us play with the dirt
and see what we can make.”
Only love and beauty and wonder and delight
and playfulness and joy
and creativity beyond human understanding—
could make the scope and breadth,
of things we might call – “stones”.
How else do you explain –
quartz, and opals,
aquamarine, and talc,
chrystobalite, adomite, hematite,
beryl and benitoite,
diamond and pearl,
painite, mica, and more.
Oh, I entered there
with a heart as hard as stone.
But my feet were set upon a rock,
and I was hugged by the rocks,
for want of shelter.
I was silenced
by the world’s hardness.
There was no faith left
in calcified lungs, or mind, or heart.
And then standing
in a temple of wisdom
in down town L.A.
A riotous, wild cheering!
an adoring psalm broke out!–
among the most inert, unmovable things
that any god could create.
I looked around but no one else there seemed to hear them.
The minerals and gems were yelling at me.
Now singing as a choir, in harmony—
Now performing as soloists.
All were praising their Creator,
their loving Parent
The God of each mammoth mountain,
and each tiny stone.
The Creator of every fallen leaf
every stone unturned,
every child who ever felt unloved,
were held, and turned and loved by Him.
All the rocks knew their Maker,
the Creative Genius of the whole world,
still holding all He loves
in the deep caves of His hands.
All the rocks knew their Mother,
has She not told us?–
“I am the Rock of your Salvation.”
And even an inert, unmovable thing,
like my heart had become;
even the mountain I had built of my doubt,
I was moved to cry, “My God!”—
as even the rocks cried out.
“I tell you truthfully, if every voice on the planet is stilled, then even the rocks themselves will cry out in praise of the Parent-Creator.” – Jesus of Nazareth.