Longing, we say, because desire is full
of endless distances.”

10 September 2010

Letters from the Outside, #15

Moon waxing in september. Tom Waits, Blue Valentine thursday when the sun never rises, theres a fog duvet over the valley that lets through only the most diffuse illumination. So heres #4: Skinny Dipping, which encompasses so many joys indeed, how to narrow it to just one? I settled on Belonging. The Earth has given you your physical form, has given you the body of water and the night. Nothing else required. Release yourself into the water that will, if you only let go, hold you up, so you may take in the stars, or the rain, or the moon, or push through the water like an otter, something first and deep remembering days before land, or the Loss of Atlantis. And to me that signifies Belonging. That lovely mindstate where we feel woven into the world. How could wars be waged, atrocities premeditated, when youre in some little mountain lake, naked as the day you arrived, the smell of the woods and the water and the moon a bright shifting smudge in the bowl of your hands. The sense that you are perfect, that you are part of the world, which is perfect. And mind you, this perfection has nothing to do with parking lots or plastic or petroleum. #5? “Receiving a Real Letter or Package via Snail Mail.” this, I think, is the simple pleasure of Effort put forth on your behalf. We are so distracted, as a culture. Handcrafted anything has become so radical its embraced by the Punk Left and Christian Homeschool Right. I go to parties sometimes where gifts are required and am without fail the only one whos taken the time to Make something, even if its just bakery. And some would argue, for sure, that thats because I have the time. But I think its more than that. The buy-it mindset really took off after WWII, this huge confluence of money and advertising that brought us cake mix and dishwashers. Now, im as grateful for my washer/dryer as the next josephine, but you dont need to sell your soul to madison avenue, let them coca-colonialize your mind. Were constantly distracted from Simple Pleasure #4. we forget the gifts of the earth, our belonging to her. Our attention kept always at the surface, the jeans, the car, the bronzer. The aesthetic obligations theyve superimposed on us are not too much with me, you can tell. I look always for the truth you can find in the elements, stripping away the barriers between me and my experience, not tasteful layering of cosmetics with apparel ornamented with the very latest in chain-gang technology. I do not text or tweet or watch TV. I knit and bake and garden and walk and read and yes, maintain a blog that all of two people read. And I realize that as I get older, the chasm between me and “The Real World” continues to yawn. And thats alright. Ive got some lessons to learn, and I cant do it trying to keep up with someone elses affairs. I dont want to be distracted. Im infinitely curious about the world, and my fugitive hour in it. Like ive said before, I was never well assimilated. Not in my nature. End of rant (for today).

Starting to get called in again, which is a comfort. Waxing moon, turning tide. Every day some small accomplishment, but in my dreams I struggle against angle and gravity from a great height. I lose my connection, and on the ground I find a crystal, the vision and protection I am seeking always. Autumn as a liminal season, a threshold. Threshold of portent, transformation. Shekinah, Shakti, Shanti. Resting Place, Creative Energy, Bliss. Matrix, Manifestation, Transcendence. Earth, Body, Sky.
The sound of acorns falling onto the pickup in the drive. Boneset in the creek, in this, the first year I remember there being water all the way through the season. And this unpleasant influx of microscopic biting insects, perhaps bred in the creek that never now runs dry. Days of rain. An enormous articulated tractor-trailer trapped in the warren of our little enclave this morning, outlined in lights and incanting reverse, testing the exits.

Reading upstairs and down, Everything is Illuminated and The Echo Maker, a butcher block of a novel concerning neuroscience and the migration of cranes, whipping itself into an engaging read the last hundred pages. Got a request for a Little Pig knit hat, should muck out to the garden and gather more tomatoes for a weekend canning session. Got called in to work already, which is heartening. People all around me wrestling with various angels, kaleidoscope trajectories that life is capable of, im trying to just breathe through my own days, hope the proverbial candle lighting a vigil in the growing dim. I tend it for the triumph of Love, an urgent prayer for Compassion, Liberation and Well-Being.
"And if the question were asked: What is more real, the mundane or the sublime? most would hesitate before they gave an answer. On the one side, details: say, the aftermath of a breakfast, dirty chipped plates in the sink, their rims encrusted with egg yolk. Against this, the unnameable: small aching heart with boasts, what can you know? Outside the cage of everything we ever heard or saw, beyond, outside, above, there lies the real, hiding as long as we shall live, there stretch and trail the millions of names of God burning across the eons. When all through this our end will come before we even know the names of us.

For many the egg yolk prevails." -L.M.

"Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well."

"The perfection of the Absolute where all Becoming stops and pure Being, immutable, timeless, unchanging, hangs forever like a ripe peach upon the bough." -E.A.

"...and the whole incident was incredibly frazzling and angst-rod and filled almost a whole mead notebook and is here recounted in only its barest psycho-skeletal outline." -D.F.W.

"At the top of the mountain, we are all snow leopards." -H.S.T.

"Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live." -D.T.
"Cometh a voice: My children, hear; From the crowded street and the close-packed mart I call you back with my message clear, back to my lap and my loving heart. Long have ye left me, journeying on by range and river and grassy plain, to the teeming towns where the rest have gone - come back, come back to my arms again. So shall ye lose the foolish needs that gnaw your souls; and my touch shall serve to heal the fretted nerve. Treading the turf that ye once loved well, instead of the stones of the city's street, ye shall hear nor din nor drunken yell, but the wind that croons in the ripening wheat. I that am old have seen long since ruin of palaces made with hands for the soldier-king and the priest and prince whose cities crumble in desert sands. But still the furrow in many a clime yields softly under the ploughman's feet; still there is seeding and harvest time, and the wind still croons in the ripening wheat. The works of man are but little worth; for a time they stand, for a space endure; but turn once more to your mother - Earth, my gifts are gracious, my works are sure. Instead of the strife and pain I give you peace, with its blessing sweet. Come back, come back to my arms again, for the wind still croons in the ripening wheat."
-John Sandes, The Earth-Mother (excerpt, 1918)