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

13 November 2010

Letters from the Outside, #28, Part 2

After the thick fog burns off, the morning is clear and cold as creekwater. Otc asthma meds resorted to, but they give me the wicked jitters and my scalp crawls. For the second year in a row theres a martial chauvinist choral performance at the high school where they will, inexplicably and also for the second year in a row, be singing “dixie," as well as "praise the lord and pass the ammunition."  I sit in the back and bring my knitting.

The light comes from somewhere closer to the ground, the long shadows stretching into december. Cardinals and Jays and a bird I follow in a tree with my ears until I seem to breach his comfort bubble and he disappears into the frugal defense of silence. Trees along the easthill practice the howl of snow in the backs of their throats. The cattle are shaggy and contented. The wind picks up and we walk into it, a northwind Boreas rinsing the warmth from our faces. The trees are full of secrets. I pray fervently past the place, Hawk offers benediction. There are dusty smudges on the hill, all thats left of larches gold chain, little links lying on the forest floor in wait of returning. The clouds are frog bones. I offer lavender buds to the air above an oak leaf with dew like the map of the sky.

Walking moves the white noise through me. I felt myself relaxing into the turns of a slow emotional death spiral, and was grateful for all that taking my way had to offer. The turkey buzzards who inspire silent reverence, the cry of the hawk that cleanses the air, and today, arcing along the phone line above the dense brush in the drop-off, a bluebird. Perfect gorgeous creamy blue and a rust red breast, a bluebird. I make a wish and my heart is happy.
Sudden developments that may lead to one of my wishes coming true. Lovely and terrifying the hope that swells inside me for such a crucial boon. The keystone for all other wishes to rest upon. I try to relax, do what needs doing. Bake brownies, wash the kitchen floor. Take a nap in a sunbeam. Ride chanticleer, feel my heart beat beneath my bones. Its like May here, a dry clear day in May when theres a sense of emerging except in November its a knowing of your last look before the long sleep of snow and dark at four-thirty. The nights have been so clear, the stars so close in an infinite sky.  The glory of Jupiter, Orions belt in the east, doomed Cassiopeia to the west. My cozy home, dogs and a woodstove, coffee pot and crow feathers, books, blank canvas, music.   The miracle of my life so far.

A sudden, unexpected, marvelous and cathartic experience derived from someones truth-telling drives me outside into the warmth of the world, the pure priceless sunlight and air, and im cleaning up and rearranging the threshold when words come to me to assure me I am strong and beautiful and worthwhile, the kind of words we all need to hear, strung together in just the right way so that they ring like a bell of mindfulness and wake us to living and to Love.

"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)