These things are all true:
Somewhere there is a Verdin with his yellow ochre mop and he is building several nests for his lover. He will show her each nest and she will choose her favorite and they will mate and have a family. His song is impossibly high and sweet.
Somewhere there is a Bowhead whale thundering through the inky deep of a southern ocean. Her people are all around her singing songs about her. She is the oldest of her kind with memories gathered from across three centuries of ocean travel. There is a massive scar on her left brow from a harpoon thrown at the hand of a savage born in 1804. The savage is long dead and the bone-carved point, made from the hip of a bear, is now fixed and calcified and covered over, as much a part of the whale as if she had been born with it. What a wonder that the DNA of that old bear would travel the belly of every ocean, learning the language of whales through songs and sorrows and dances that no scientist will ever understand!
Somewhere there is an Alligator collecting sticks between dainty jaws. She is placing them and scooting them and blinking from under those ridiculously serious ridges. She will make this nest with care. She is not clumsy nor half-hearted. This will be her third clutch and she will not loose them to raccoons like the first one. When the babies begin to chirp through the leathery skin of the eggs, she will hear them and she will tend them into the world of swamps and turtles and herons and foxes and mangroves and tarpon. There are no words to explain the heart of an alligator. Her cells were lit back when the scent of eternity still hung in the air from the birth of the earth.
Somewhere there is a child born, it is Detroit, it is Simpsonville, it is Stockton, it is Rock Springs. The odds are stacked against him. He will not be given the chances of the privileged nor will much be expected of him. He will not be taught but he will learn anyway. He will find the fire in his gut and he will understand it’s importance. He will learn compassion in the most significant of ways — like learning to love air because you nearly died without it. He will teach children. He will leave light in every room he enters. He will apply his body and soul and prove love to be most manly of all traits.
Every one of these scenarios are linked. There is one key element to each one. One thing connects us all — The Heart. It is the subject of so many poems and millions of songs. In truth, it is only the thing at our center that pushes the blood to our parts. It is faithful and essential. Without the heart, we cannot love. And so it is the engine, the genesis of all of our Being.
I feel a kind of divisiveness in the world today. We seem to revel in it, or at least that’s how it feels. There is trolling and sarcasm and a kind of generic hate that ain’t healthy. In light of Valentines Day, the day of the Heart, I wanna talk about something that’ll fix our brokenness. If only we could all keep in mind (myself included…especially) that opinions and differences are important and needed, but they will be effective only if they are attached to compassion. Like it or not, everyone has a heart.
I’ll steal a line from Hafiz and paraphrase it into something I might say,
“My heart is a furnace, I’ll get it stoked up and you can burn your trash here if you want.”
Post note: This Essay is written in honor of Kayla Kosloff, the lady with one of the most beautiful hearts I know. What a wonder to love!