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

13 October 2010

Letters from the Outside, #23

Eggplant tomato onion the last of summer curry and I go out to feed the rut with stones as an excuse to be out in the blue cool with the sound of creekwater running. Dark moon in libra. T. and I walk the neighborhood, the sky distant and clear, full of stars the streetlights allow us to see. That October night smell is coming up, cold crystalline clouds and dry leaves disintegrating. Something inspires me to take out my nikon, the kind that uses film. I love that camera, and have not been using it much since I got the digital. When you walk in the backyard the leaves release dry reels of recorded sound theyve soaked up over the summer. A late squashblossom reticule reveals one green egg covered in prickling fuzz and striped as a fawn. Clear, hot day. Tall grass shifts in sibillance, the dogs scattering cabbage moths drinking from the outer edges of the deep culvert springs, frogs leaping in panicked abandon from the top ropes of their sunbank vantages and dragonflies hunt and spar above the spangled midgeclouds where the woods begin. Taking pictures of wild grapvine twining off a maple tree a branch comes off in my hand, an antlered stang.
I remember the dancing line of dry grapevine along the farm road, the smell of feedcorn in the silo.

Cold days, leaves falling in earnest. Nick Drakes Northern Sky. I make monkey bread and doctors appointments. This is my life. My one, small, pixie-lit, hard to keep clean life that I try to make lovely, and comfortable and just big enough for a few folks more. The boys are so good, so gentle with me, its hard to believe I did something so right. They are always patient and reasonable and kind. I think that children are not our possessions. They are our gift to the world. I should learn to call up their faces into my heart every time I want to buy another round of “Youre Pointless and Toxic and Bad.”
On the walks, low angled light reflects off standing water at the edge of the brushlot. In the wind we walk into the black dogs ears flap like sails while the blue dogs fold back like falconwings. Moon high black buzzard and scarlet creeper hanging back-lit and miraculous from the locust bean tree. Wind rushing through the golden wood with the strength and presence of an ancient incantation. In the yard, jays feed from seedhead banquets lining the garden overrun with pigweed and bitegrass, the flowers limp and receding after that first frost I saw on a recent nightwalk passing your front yard, the low level right before the road was patched in a billion thin crystals that reflected the somewhere sunlight reflecting against the silent face of the moon. First frost and flowers fade and the night fires we sit a little closer to, that seem to burn a little brighter. My cooking is a comedy of errors but alls well that ends well, chicken pot pie and monkey bread and the house is full of my people, well fed.

Sun through a thin blue sky, blinding blur between the branches of the spruce that leans. Sound of the creek running. Deep turquoise jays and redheaded woodpeckers gorge themselves on mongolian sunflowers, tarahumara. It is only just cool. The low trees are golden. The valley is golden. I watch the cattledog choreograph ever more intricate maneuvers in her play with the big black. October is a righteous month for me. The one that mirrors an interior landscape. The oranges and browns the bare branches against a blue sky the smell of woodsmoke. The woods all whispers and beckoning, the pull of the road to wander. Acorns and chestnuts and coffee in the afternoon with the leaves falling and the dogs playing and im out in the comfort of sunlight knitting up a little whatnot, listening. Listening to the shift of the Earth on her axis, turning the wheel toward winter.
On todays walk there werent any words to write, kept my hand on the camera, communed with the blossoming witch hazel that will keep her wild yellow flowers well into springtime, looked high up onto the mountain with a fierce longing to ramble there on the side of the sign that doesnt say anything, stood on the edge of everything with my eyes closed just bringing the moment into me, the wind and the woodsmoke and the unseasonable heat that flies like time into novembers cold and barren arms.

 We should be catching each others eye over the facecords that needs stacking, raise our hands in a gesture of peaceful recognition, go back to our homes, have supper with people who love us, and sleep in the arms of our sweethearts until the morning brings its promise and its obligations we are willing to fulfill. One day this will be, and we will understand the simple significance, and be glad.

"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)