The Ultimate Power of Femininity (Durga) Always Wins

The divine feminine in us

always recovers.

We cannot be stopped

Tongue hanging

Eyes wild with anger

Suddenly returning to the wisdom

of and old soul

with beeswax on her lips.

Breath sweetened by anise.

Coal accentuating the unique shape of her eyes.

Vermillion in her hair.

Gold and silver circling her skin.

A woman who damn well knows what she is talking about.

How do we get what we want?

We must be clever at all times.

I came to this part of India

To see the Bishnoi Temple.

I tell the driver

I will not leave until I do.

He tells me it is time to return

To the clustered markets of Jodhpur.

I disagree.

Now is the time to go to the monument

To the women who shed blood

For the trees of trees

A forest of women

Their heads loosened by axes

An epic tale of unarmed bloodshed

For silent woody children

drinking light from the breast of the sun

But our Jeep driver has other plans.

“Closed” the man says.

“Why?” I ask,

Choosing an elaboration request

In place of confrontation.

He cannot answer.

I call the number of the office where I booked this tour.

The man on the phone pretends not to understand.

I refuse to accept it.

“You know what I am talking about,” I say.

He hangs up.

I call back.

Resisting me

Is a waste of energy.

I stay calm.

I use my resources.

I search maps on my magic phone.

I find a photo of the temple and show it to the driver.

Now it is harder for him to pretend it is not possible.

I know he has seen this Bishnoi Temple.

It is close to here.

I came here to Jodhpur to see it.

To pay my respects. To learn from this place.

No one will stop me.

Because I am unstoppable.

It is that simple.

Now I must leverage what this man cares about.

“I will sit in the tour office, and I will not leave until they give me my money back.” I promise.

“I will write a very bad review on Trip Advisor,” I continue.

“We were happy. We were going to give you a tip. Now you get no tip.”

I think I nailed it.

He keeps driving. I keep thinking.

“I don’t understand why you don’t just take me there,” I say.

“We go to Bishnoi Temple,” he says without turning to look at my eyes.

The whole Jeep relaxes. The tires roll faster.

This man is my teacher. Every challenge teaches me more.


We arrive at the gate.

It looks locked.

The driver pushes it open.

The Bishnoi Temple stands still up ahead.


Like Lumpini, where Buddha was born.

Without words.

Sacred space.

In a strange way I feel

I have attained a victory for all women.

I would not step down.

I imagined that day when the word “tree hugger” was born.

The 300 women that would not step down.

I see no English plaque that explains the monument.

Strange. Such an important place to leave unmarked.

The Bishnoi monument to 300 women in Jodhpur

Those women are remembered.

Those women will make us think

For centuries to come.

Down the road chai is cooking

On a fire of cow dung.

The women here do not use wood for fire.

Here the trees are not to be burned.

There’s a small bird perched in the kitchen ceiling.

Bird in ceiling of Bishnoi kitchen in Jodhpur

The peacocks and peahens roost.

The deer do not run.

The antelopes are not afraid.

I like being here

Where the Bishnoi people still live.

The old woman with an enormous nose ring pours me tea.

What am I supposed to be thinking right now?

Not sure. But the soft moment has passed.

I go to pet her cows.

Chai from the cows from a Bishnoi home

I have watched the city cows

Scratch their heads on motorcycle handlebars.

It seems that is how they like to be scratched.

So I try it.

The cows nod their heads in approval.

The cows made the milk.

Their dung fueled the fire.

The women continue to save the trees

Close to the place where their ancestors

Would not back down.

I thank them all with my eyes.  

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