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  • Earlene Gleisner

This Isn't A Game

When I saw the date, May 1, my mind exploded with a memory of the game, “Mother, May I.” As a kid, that game seemed boring, to me, to wait my turn then everybody else’s until someone closed the gap enough to tag the “Mother.” Bedlam ensued with all of us running in circles and screaming until another person was chosen.

I might not be remembering the game as it was, only as I want to remember it right now. Participants standing in a line far behind the designated ‘Mom’. Each of us asking, “Mother, may I ...” then including how many steps we wanted to take or some other action.

The leader would say “Yes, you may or No, you may not.” He/she would designate some other movement like ‘twirl in place’ or ‘take only two steps backward’ or ‘turn a cartwheel’.

I admit, it’s a stretch of the imagination to say this game reminds me of our current predicament. But doesn’t it seem as if some of us have played by the rules of asking our Mother Earth; “Will this action be good for you and/or us?” then waited for our answer? Others have asked their question, gotten their answer, then done as they pleased. Some have never asked because they have no idea of their relationship to our Earth and to all of us.

This “cool down” period or “Sheltering in Place” has had many following the orders with vigilance. Others are like those cheating in “Mother May I” by not asking any permission and doing what feels right to them. I remember a few kids in that game stepping or running forward when the leader wasn’t looking.

The difficult part is that we are all ‘playing the game’ whether we want to or not. No matter what we tell ourselves, whatever anyone of us does, will affect the whole. We are on the verge of the end of the game with all players running in circles, chasing each other or no one.

That childhood memory stands as a backdrop to my current experiences. I am part of what everyone else does and I cannot turn my back on any of the events that happen in my new community or in my world. I know I would prefer it if we all would play the game honestly so we can get this completed and can begin whatever game is next.

I walk in the late evening around this new-to-me apartment complex, looking for a clear view of the full moon.

I find her when I stand near the creek bed that ducks under a rusting fence outlining the entire property. A towering cedar tree has my back. No clouds shield the rising moon as it brightens everything in its path, including me.

After my stumbling arrival, frogs resume their croaking conversation. Guinea hens chirp from their underbrush nest. Crushed grass emits that familiar fresh spring-green smell. My skin tingles in the soft breeze. I taste the sweetness of being grounded into the Earth. In that moment, I pray for our future.

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