there are things that bringlightness and make you laugh and sigh and feel easy with the world, like stories of perky teenage gold-medal Olympians or cute little metal sex toys with flowers on the ends.And there are things that make you anxious and uncomfortable and cause furrowed brows and deep concern, like the ugly phenomenon of urban sprawl or the hideous global spread of McDonald's or that weird tingling ache in your left shoulder that won't go away.
There are things that make you say, "Gosh, isn't the world a screwed-up place right now, but I suppose it always has been," and "Oh well, I wonder what I'll have for lunch."
And then there are the other things, brutal, inexplicable incidents, events like the massive, staggering die-off of hundreds of millions of monarch butterflies in Mexico this past month, shocking, sad events of incalculable tragic randomness that trip your spiritual radar and make you wonder if the universe isn't trying to scream out something a little more profound.
Or struggling to make some sort of message heard over the explosions and the hate-mongering and the blind jingoism and Donny Rumsfeld chuckling on Letterman about "putting the hammer" to Osama bin Laden.
It's a message that seems to indicate that things are indeed deeply out of whack and the energies appear to be very, very off and the dark socio-political cancers are far more pervasive than originally thought, and no matter how you slice it, beauty and grace and peacefulness are dangerously scarce right now, and the last thing we need is millions of dead butterflies covering the ground a foot deep like some sort of absurd, horrific blanket of doomed magnificence. But there it is.
Scientists estimate that upwards of 270 million monarch butterflies froze to death in one of the worst, most catastrophic and bizarre die-offs in recorded history, victims of a freakish cold snap that swept through two of the monarchs' largest winter nesting grounds in Mexico in mid-January.
Mexico is the final stop in one of the most mysterious and magical migrations known to natural science, when hundreds of millions of hardy butterflies somehow innately attuned to the route make the incredible 3,000-mile journey from Canada every year, baffling scientists and arriving just in time for Mexico's Day of the Dead celebration and inspiring many a villager to believe the butterflies represent the souls of their dead ancestors. And if that's not inspired poetic connection, nothing is.
And you may employ whatever barometer you choose to measure the displeasure of the universe right now: rampant jingoism, oil gluttony, the fanned flames of religious bile, and the depth of the scowl ever-present on John Ashcroft's face. There is plenty of evidence. The other shoe feels heavy and ready to drop.
And you realize you have to do what you can to inject positive gobs of light directly into the bloodstream of your id because we could really use more of that right now to counter the press releases and calculated misinformation emanating from the bunkered headquarters of the Powerful White Men Who Are Currently Blackening the Soul of the Planet and Who Seem to Exist Only to Inflict Hate and Dread and Savage Karmic Pain (PWMWACBSPWSEOIHDSKP).
Which might sound all frou-frou and annoying, not nearly bloodthirsty enough considering we're at war, until you realize all it really means is that you should be laughing and screwing and drinking and revelling in the simple, obvious yes-ness of it all as much as humanly possible, because this is all you really can do on a day-to-day basis.
It means actively touching the divine in as many lasciviously sacred ways as possible instead of stressing and thinking it's all about money and success and war and thinking your god trumps their god, and that 250 million dead butterflies is just some sort of insignificant natural phenomenon and not something just slightly more loaded and dire and desperate.
The mystics and the poets, the philosophers and the dancers have always known that it really is a divinely animated universe, a swirling, pulsing kaleidoscope of raw, malleable energy and pointed heat.
And if the spiritual/emotional whoomp of 250 million dead monarch butterflies doesn't cause a twitch in our hearts and a redoubling of our efforts to learn and illumine and knock it off with the bile and the fear, we are in dire straits indeed. This appears to be the message. The question is, is anyone really listening? Copyright (c) 2002 Mark Morford/SFGate.com