The most admirable animal I know is the Emperor Penguin: those noble beasts that live a life of incredible focus. I would like to nominate the Emperor Penguin official father figure of the planet. He carries the single precious egg upon his feet for months, without food, facing the harshest winter conditions this beautiful planet has to offer.
Imagine: male penguins by the thousands huddled together through Antarctic blizzards with just one purpose… to protect the egg; the single precious egg layed by their mate who then must march to the sea to feed or die. Never fear father of the year, she will return, gods willing… in about two more months! When his mate returns he will at last be relieved of duty that he may then march, famished, for days on end to the sea to eat and try not to be eaten. And thus it goes… parents taking turns, marching to the sea to feed that they might then return to the colony to feed their young.
Imagine: the stark landscape, the stunning black and white birds with the blaze of father sun upon their cheeks, marching back and forth to feed and feed their young. They recognize their mate and young by mysterious powers of longing to be reunited, given voice in song. Only death disrupts this arduous and holy journey. They are the incarnation of Father Sun humbly generating solar power with their own bodies to keep their young alive.
What is true love, if it is not this?
This love of life itself and each other, as they say in Costa Rica, “Pura Vida!”
Pure life! Life stripped bare, simple to the point of stark, stunning in its harsh reality. Let us all bravely march together to the sea of imagination to feast and bring back the spiritual food that will nourish the young of our kind.
I dreamt many years ago of a Navajo woman: one of those Dine Shamaness prowling the dreamtime. She carries a ceremonial knife in the form of a penguin. She is Dine; of the southern central region of North America and she carries a sacred penguin knife into ceremony. She is, like me, a citizen of a reality where the usual boundaries do not exist. Where penguins roam the desert and black bears and jaguars reside in the center of Tucson. I bear witness to a reality where elephants walk with little girls in the suburbs of Los Angeles. We are all in this one great mysterious carnival of life together.
P.S. It is now March and the male Emperor Penguin has begun his four month fast to do his best to insure the safety of his future. Let us stop, for just one moment, and offer a prayer for his success.
Shalom Shar Shk Buk X
©March 15, 2012