Practice Day 25: What Lines must I dare to Cross Today?

Theme/Mantra: “What lines must I dare to cross today?”


Reading:

A Walk Along the Old Tracks by Robert Kinsley

when I was young they had already been

abandoned for years

overgrown with sumac and sour apple,

the iron scrapped, the wood long

gone for other things.

In summer my father would send us along them

to fetch the cows from the back pasture,

a long walk to a far off place it seemed

for boys so young. Lost again for a moment

in that simple place,

I fling apples from a stick and look for snakes

in the gullies. There is

a music to the past, the sweet tones

of perfect octaves

even though we know it was never so.

My father had to sell the farm in that near perfect time

and once old Al Shott killed a six foot rattler on the tracks.

“And when the trolly was running” he said, “you could jump

her as she went by and ride all the way to Cleveland,

and’ oh,” he said, “what a time you could have there.”


Meditation:

Find a comfortable position to listen.

Ask your heart- your mind- your whole person-

Who do you put on the other side of the tracks from you.

How can you find a way to plant some sour apple and sumac to bridge the gap between you and the Other?

Sit with this. Be honest with yourself.

Consider this truth without judgement, but with hope.


Physical Movement:

Balancing Act- or Balancing the Cat.

Kneel on your hands and knees in “table position,” with legs under your hips and your arms under your shoulders.

Focus on a spot at eye level ahead of you.

As you Inhale, lift your right leg straight out behind and simultaneously lift your left arm reaching straight out in front of you.

Balance on your left knee and right hand.

Don’t raise either too high. Your leg should be at hip level, and arm at shoulder level.

Hold for a few breaths before lowering leg and arm.

Repeat on the opposite side.

Remind yourself, “I can accomplish anything I put my mind to.”


Reflection:

I wonder how that term began, “wrong side of the tracks.” I guess in too many cities across our nation, there are railroad tracks that separated the rich from the poor, the white from the black, the “haves” from the “have-nots.” I grew up being taught to fear the “other.” I grew up being taught that evil lurked in the city.

Oh god have mercy. What lies we have been taught. Evil lurks in our own hearts.

Tracy Chapman’s self- titled album brought us Across The Lines, along with “Talkin about a Revolution” and the haunting “Behind the Wall” (about domestic abuse). I was changed when I heard it in the 80’s. I think I had always considered myself a pacifist- and the underdog, the marginalized, the abused had been the people I identified with and wanted to defend when I was older and stronger. But when this album came out, it solidified my commitment to working for justice in the world.

Lines. Across lines we must walk. Lines that divide and shut out- that divide what should be equal.

I included the poem above, because I love the image of old railroad tracks that used to separate being overgrown, taken over by the natural world- by an equalizer. By a Healer.

Yes, moving in the direction of justice is always complicated.

But still- it is the only way I can choose.


Song: Across the Lines by Tracy Chapman

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEHXyFmdVeI

Lyrics:

Across the lines

Who would dare to go?

Under the bridge

Over the tracks

That separates whites from blacks

Choose sides

Or run for your lives

Tonight the riots begin

On back streets of America

They kill the dream of America

Little black girl gets assaulted

Ain't no reason why

Newspaper prints the story

And racist tempers fly

Next day it starts a riot

Knives and guns are drawn

Two black boys get killed

One white boy goes blind

Across the lines

Who would dare to go?

Under the bridge

Over the tracks

That separates whites from blacks

Choose sides

Or run for your lives

Tonight the riots begin

On back streets of America

They kill the dream of America

Little black girl gets assaulted

Don't no one know her name

Lots of people hurt and angry

She's the one to blame

Across the lines

Who would dare to go?

Under the bridge

Over the tracks

That separates whites from blacks

Choose sides

Or run for your lives

Tonight the riots begin

On back streets of America

They kill the dream of America



Until Tomorrow- Peace


22 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All