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

30 October 2010

Letters from the Outside, #26

There was a Franciscan I met in New Paltz who taught me a few things. We would sit on the rectory porch and watch heat lightning in far valleys, french inhaling. He taught me to look at the ground walking up a paved incline. Your mind pictures a flat surface without the anchor of a greater perspective and the walking is easier. There was a sloping lawn with a little paved path running up into the old square that you walked from town and sometimes you just had to put yourself into the traces of a narrow perspective and pull. He taught me to center myself in my senses. How do I feel? Endless midnight sand dunes, Oolong tea. Cool running water. The corn silo. Departing geese. For a person like me whos loosely tethered to the Here and Now, an exercise like this entertains the monkey mind and helps remind me that im Real, woven into a marvelous tapestry of experience, an endlessly rolling event horizon, our life a trajectory of displaced space through time.

Intense storm vanguard weather, the dense grey sky smudged with light diffused through where the clouds are worn through, whats left of the leaves blowing through the roar of winds through the valley. But its still warm out there, and theyre presaging snow. The dogs are restless, and so am I, my morning walk postponed over T.'s stay at home day. This is weather I love a great deal. The tempest tossing, treacherous water, wind in your hair. Witchy wild woman weather. Books and knitting by the woodstove when the mercury finally drops behind the blustery front. Bright Jupiter in the southeastern sky, the streets smell of swamp and idling hibachi. This morning the batting of clouds so thick between myself and the Sun I can stand in the street and consider its magnificence without walking away blind.

It is a lovely and munificent presence over the east hill that even so obscured affords us a day to wake in. I cut blackberry bramble away from last years stove wood, I set aside the piece I find is home to a large brown spider and her cocoon of eggs. I make oven fries and apple honey bundt cake. Zuzu sends me a peace and love pecan from her very own tree. Soup and bread tonight, knitting through a movie and into clean sheets for tomorrow, the eve of our new year, of our first winters day. 

Weve all been a little sick and instead of sniffing the air for another walking adventure Im grateful to have the close comfort of my shabby little hobbit hole, and take my place before the fire to rest and ruminate and read, watch the day pass from its birth over East Hill to its decline behind the thinning rim of the western edge of Cloud Valley, which is where you should be, by your own hearth and home, safe and contented, those intense gentle eyes smiling. However soon it wont be soon enough for all of us.
"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)