I. I am a snake in molt, rubbing my length between two Birch. Like scratchy sandpaper, the old skin itches. Snakes don’t reveal their feelings, but they say that molting makes a grumpy bird; bad feather days, behaviors appearing to those who study them, as irritable, aggressive, miserable. Snakes may not like it either.
Humans slough our skin continuously, five hundred million flakes a day; much less visibly, yet like snake, shedding every inch. The serpent knows she’s chucking her entire coat between the trees. We humans grow our skin anew so very incrementally, it is a process never noticed.
I rasp, but my pinched skin chafes along the trunk for hours. I am a live file grinding against confinement. I forget that the magic of molting is replacement, and making room to grow again.
When I finally leave behind skin, and fears, and all the past attachments of the decades, nothing sticks, on skin slippery as a new-hatched babe’s. My smooth and brilliant scales slide easy over obstacles and leisurely repel, with cool unconcern, all the old worries. I wriggle and shine for the thrill, my new skin tingling me awake! I remember that the magic of molting is replacement. And making room, room— room to grow huge.
II. I thought molting bumpy, but ha! The wake-up call today, instead of stopping at the surface, pierces our flaking shells to the core of chromosomes and DNA.The caterpillar human, fat with ravenous consumption, in our very lifetimes dissolves itself to juices. Our imaginal cells shift us to a fresh vibration. We resurrect as who-knows-what.
The wake-up call of Mama Gaia hollers for humans to shed everything we think we are. She howls for us to discover — divinity, our largest Self, the one who cannot countenance killing or contamination, or anything except one steely will for harmony in all creation.
The invitation to awaken comes to me-in-the-body from my own Galactic Sea. The wake-up calls and calls, like a singing bowl that began resounding the day that I was born, like a summoning flame from an insistent lighthouse in the stars. Now past seventy I stir, I rouse, I open all my eyes.
On my street, Maria sits on the curb, solitary every day, head bent low, studying the cracks, she says. But when she lifts her eyes to me, the Tibetan bell, the flame, are struck anew. I stir, I rouse, I waken. But oh, the wake-up feels like bad feather days, grumpy birds, untried feather stubs; like serpent scales of coarsest sandpaper; like an insect carapace, half-shed, half-clinging. Dangerous. Unfamiliar.
Cops drove the drifters off the beach today, those who’d made their homes with castoffs, men who daily raked the shore in service, whose leader, like a bro, looked out for me. There’s no preparing for the wake-up.. A slow detection of sameness, a bud barely seeming to change, blossoms one single night. Transforms. My heart flings its window open to Maria and Pascual, to every other being. The insufficiency of No grows crystal clear. I come clean with my fears. My Yes names strangers: allies, kin. Though I miss the skin that I stepped out of, my naked newness strange and clumsy, I hear the clarion call:
Hello, hello. Incoming!
Downloading OneSelf to delicate human—
Heads up, take heed, lavish your attention!
I’m the wake-up call that dares you
to extend the threshold of your knowing
to unroll your carpet of awareness,
and stretch for the download of all-you-are..
Reach! Unfold! Expand!