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The Locomotive's engineer cast hir mind outwards and sought awareness.  The WeaveMothers, those consciousnesses which had distilled from the collective knowledge of all creatures in the Greataway were tending their flocks and new happentracks were condensing into existence.  SpaceTime expanded.  There were new choices for the path of the train to take.

The Storyteller plucked a poem from the past.  The Listener perked up.  The Passenger slept.

Every day people around me reveal that they live in
a country that shocks my soul.  Words that they
speak suddenly open infinity between us.
Books or friends or conduct they embrace
recede to a pinpoint on my screen and go out.

It is my habit never to hurt these people
around me.  Their offenses against my taste, my moral
sense--my religion--can't be allowed to darken
their lives or our joint residence in our time.
In separate rooms we are traveling our lives.

--William Stafford, Daily Writing, 2 June 1993

The WeaveMothers were one, yet they were also several.  The collective rippled the fabric towards the Locomotive.  They would have smiled if they knew how.

Learning to Smile was added to the To Do List.

Concentration returned to the brighter spot.  WeaveMother births were exceedingly rare.  There were too many stillborn, too many happentracks that withered and died.

The WeaveMothers prepared a space for a possible new cell.

- # ^ &  - # ^ &  - # ^ &  -

I know how the argument goes.  It's not like I haven't heard it ten or twenty or a thousand times.  Every member of a suspect group has heard it.

If humans could just learn to make some traits we have invisible, in whatever way they need to be, we would have no maltreatment based on someone having (or not having) that trait.
It sounds quite reasonable.  Completely impossible, but quite reasonable.

I cannot not see what I see.  I cannot not hear what I hear.  I cannot not know the knowledge that I have.

But recognizing that people have different skin colors doesn't make a person a racist, no matter how much people who voice that above argument think it does.  Being able to recognize someone's ethnicity from hearing the language they speak or the accent that they are speaking with is not a bad thing.  Having knowledge of other religions and cultural customs is, in fact, very beneficial to a healthy society.

It's called diversity.  We are all different.  And that's good thing.  Who knew?

The idea should be that we celebrate our differences.  I celebrate yours along with you.  You celebrate mine along with me.

Guess what.  That takes effort.  It takes living in each moment of our lives with an awareness of ourselves, of those around us, and our interactions with those others.  It cannot benefit any interaction with others to be completely blind to the otherness each of us feels.

I become friends with the Thai lady who owns the restaurant next door, the Filipino couple who work as cashiers at the supermarket, and the Indian couple who own the Krausers.  I teach inner-city younger people of all sorts of hues, ethnicities, religions, and cultural variations here in New Jersey.  The number one thing we all learn is to co-exist.  That's part of our Mission Statement here at Bloomfield College.  It's why I teach here.

...The mission of Bloomfield College is to prepare students to attain academic, personal and professional excellence in a multicultural and global society.

The College is committed to enabling students, particularly those who have traditionally been excluded from higher education, to realize their intellectual and personal goals...

We recognize our differences.  And we celebrate those differences as well as our similarities.  We develop what some of us call empathy.

I fail to understand why anyone should think it's that difficult to understand.

I choose my words carefully.  The "should" in the sentence above is there for a reason.  I don't think we should find it difficult.  It is with tremendous amounts of pain that I recognize that so many people do.  I grieve for our species.

Perhaps a part of me dies every time I hear it voiced that this is inevitable.  How does one change the direction of inevitable?

I am intensely aware that not everyone thinks or feels or believes what I do.  We are who we are.

We are one.  And we are several.

We are a community of individuals as well as a communal organism.

Cellular Diversity

we form and transform
the words and thoughts
building an understanding
a commonality
cells aligning
and recombining

Not by becoming
but through sampling
our differences
does this creature
avoid being stillborn

--Robyn Elaine Serven
--June 20, 2008

I would hope that before any of us starts commenting upon the life of another, we would make the effort to learn who that other person is.  Take some time.  Read some comments, maybe an essay or two.  Walk a mile or so inside someone else's brain.

Make an effort to learn that which each of us brings to the party.  Make an effort to dismantle the barriers that separate us as individuals so that the organism can thrive.

If we can extend that to our personal lives, maybe the world has a chance of becoming a better place.

Just a thought.

With love from me to you.

- # ^ &  - # ^ &  - # ^ &  -

And with hope this birth is not still, thought the collectiveness that was the WeaveMothers.  They were one.  But perhaps they were not complete.  And they were several.  But perhaps they were not enough.

- # ^ &  - # ^ &  - # ^ &  -

The StoryTeller tossed another old poem at the Engineer.

Cliff Dweller

You could say I live on Acoma, steep
drop all around.  Sometimes my foot
dips, and I feel that giddy height.

Often my words drop into nothing:
no answer comes back: a pale
whisper reaches up from the blue distance.

Relatives, friends who walked beside me--
I look around and they are gone.  They don't
live on this rock any more.

Stories tell of a place where the land goes on,
firm all around.  Your steps can be sure.
In my dreams I parachute into that land.

I wake up.  A breeze is blowing the curtain.
I send out a few words toward the edge.  Sometimes
they bring back a friend.  Sometimes--the blue whisper.

--William Stafford

The Locomotive switched happentracks.

Originally posted to Robyn's Perch on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 09:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by DKOMA and Readers and Book Lovers.

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