Life in the Bay Area these days: Safeytfest is coming, and the coyotes are returning to the city. I guess this means it’s time for me to sacrifice something to them again. When I was a child, it was the cats they captured, and recently I’ve been feeling like it’s my writing routine. The coyotes, I hear, come out during the hours I used to reserve for writing. I imagine their slender bodies slinking through the streets, camouflage colors gleaming bright against the black asphalt beneath the rising sun as they gobble up the words I don’t record when they can find nothing else to eat.
I can find plenty of other ways to sit before a blank page, when I’m not writing on it. This morning, I’m thinking about Safetyfest, non-violence, the idea that a commitment to ending violence can take so many different forms. I’m thinking of peace as a practice, a discipline, in the same way that I develop a writing routine as a practice.
What does peace look like when I’m practicing it as I write? Where does it land in my body? Is it in my fingers, which uncurl to find letters, rather than making a fist? Is it on my skin, in my scars? For every moment that I’m not retaliating against someone who hurt me, that I’m writing instead of continuing the cycle of violence, is the practice of peace settling in my hunched back, laying rest in my unflexed muscles?
I imagine, in this sense, that you’ve done something this morning to practice peace. What was it? Staying silent to listen to the birds, or adding your own song? Taking up a child in your arms, rather than taking up arms? Re-opening your favorite book, instead of old wounds?
Here’s a thank-you to you. Thank you for practicing peace. May it rest in your body always, in all that you do.