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

07 December 2010

 Letters from the Outside #31

Supersaturating rainfall turning to heavy snow in the freezing dark and now in the molecular heat of first december sunlight the hill crackles with the thaw of ice like rock candy under a chicory sky. The wind that roars around your house at night whistles under your hat and its hard to hear the cars coming, though when its still the cold air helps you hear for miles.

For all my talk, I think I have it backwards, still. Theres a quantum leap between knowing something and Being it that I have yet to make. And to these ends I wend through vineyards beneath windfarms for a dark, fey woman in a blue house on the hill, her little arctic familiar sounding out the hour, and for now ill call her The Plow. I am thinking Frau, and the guidance of stars and the lovely dark furrows of late fall that presage pale green fields of Springtime. Pixie-led into the forest of symbols I knew as cones and acorns in nimble little hands my lifetime ago. Here, at the bottom of the year, I am arrived at the Gate of my latest adventure, the Seeking of the Key. Key to Box and Whats Within will come later. For now, delighted and satisfied with a sign ive come the right way around. And Lo, the light on the sword that rises slowly to its hand through the water attracts the silent flight of my sharp dark, eyes like the canyon creekbed you fall towards in dreams. Of course the whole thing is translated into some mythic battle for my bright and ceaseless Soul but arent we all the Multiverse made microcosm? Arent all our stories the nth retelling of the One? Archetypes, Transformations, Faery Tales. I go back to Sexton and Bettelheim, Lame Deer and the one about wolves. The Hobbit sets out to Return the Ring. Retrieval of access to Self that is not locked in a box but a wild bird roosted and to a certain tree returning. Fresh scars the hieroglyphs of how I fight to keep the ax in my own hand at bay. The recurring struggle of my Decembers, the Oak and Holly battleground, the Wheel. Its just the next leg on the Road to Find Out. Creiddylad, Drudenfuss and Gawain (whom Zuzu referred to as "those other gwynnishdwiddlinsceruddlinoos") lead me back to The Lady, who was waiting all along on the altar behind the ravens and the rabbits and the horses.

There are no love songs on Highway 61 Revisited, and crows flap and gather in the shallow snow of stubblefields. Water in the culvert turns to slush and the brown reeds in the fen seem less bereft and more an essential symbol for the hope that what once was green will be again. Creeks and culverts adorned with baubled atolls and archipelagos of ice, hibernation pulse of sunlight I can feel the exposed plane of my face respond immediately to the fleeting glow, honey dripping down to meet the steam rising from my skin. The woods seem subdued beneath the first hypodermic freeze thrown sleeping rug of snow the dry autumn carpet not entirely inhumed and the hillfloor is a texture like brushstrokes, the broken surface of change before the deep eiderdown expanse of january.

I review my understanding of vast mechanics and am briefly allowed into their telescopic perspective. The sacrificial Sun spending itself in Light and the attendant orbiting aggregates of dust, rock clockwork tipped like pears in the hemisphere of a wooden fruitbowl, making their Way. I see how the good growing world changes, how the light shifts. I represent my pagan tribe, a small shining vigil for tolerance and wonder, at the school again this year, invited to share the Celebration of the Light, drawing down the Lady Freyja in her amber and her falcon cloak and her fiery crown. Then I circle small tables in my big black boots and serve white-icing sweets to wide-open faces.

Cold now until april, with mud and sprouts and everything emerging into itself. I discover a cache of fine stovewood earlier obscured by the gown of an old lilac. 'Tis a golden gift and im out in my socks and my clogs, climbing sliding piles of industrial shelving to carry the heavy eggs of fire inside, celebrate by baking brownies and drinking the last of the shiraz from the bottle. 

Three o'clock low sky twilight. The boys come home, showing me their gentle, smiling faces, inspiringly patient, kind and understanding, my wee ones. And all this after all that questionable parenting. Coming in from the cold to the smell of fresh coffee and baked chocolate. A little Steve Earle and the Del McCoury Band, waiting to start supper. I hope these letters are leaves of filigree that you can hold up to the light like paper snowflakes and see a little of the world that waits for you, the wind and the weather and the wildness. The Faerie Keep and the butterfly silhouette made from the tenacious open husk of a chestnut high up in its tree.

We enter the long dark, but how bright the stars burn for us now.
"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)