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

11 March 2011

Letters from the Outside #36

The mist a thin scrim, an intermission between events sent from Ohio, the deep snows. But now its water in the air like by long falls and liquid music in the rills feeding creeks and east to the Sea. Stacked maybe two face cord, baked an apple crisp. My heart was sad out there in the side yard, thinking how cool it would be to wave hey to you across the sound of the water, through the thin twigs of the hedge. And then came in and listened to knopfler and ate warm apple crisp with vanilla ice cream and I thought maybe sometime Potter will come over and well eat warm apple crisp with vanilla ice cream in the kitchen and listen to music and laugh.

Lady pulls up with a clipboard and I override the pink sheet on the door what says “We would greatly appreciate it if you would refrain from attempting to sell us either your product or your god. Thank you.” shes selling cable. One of the first things we did when we got here was take the tv spacedish off the outhouse. She reads the sign and takes me in, psychedelic longsleeve with the collar cut out, wide leg linen pantaloons billowing, my hair haphazard in some yogi topknot, smiling. Admirably, she gets to the point. “You dont believe in cable, do you.” “I believe it exists,” I reply. The dogs are circling and leaping around her, and I can see shes filing through her gambits, exercising the remote edges of her training in sales. I ask her who owns the company shes trying to sell me. She does not know. I tell her that we may be interested at some point in switching internet companies. She gives me a number at which to reach her directly. She remains pleasant and agile throughout the interaction. I will call her, probably.

Forty on friday, the glacier recedes but taking out the recycling is still a small treacherous endeavor. A yard of long grass, matted maple leaves and thawing frozen dog turds is revealed. We throw the frisbee to the blue dog, who skids and cavorts through the slush and the mud endlessly retrieving. Therell be more snow before this is over, but we walk through the latest brief reprieve, the wind raging through ragged white sheets of cloud so that when the sun comes through its like some miraculous event, which I suppose it is. But theres deep damp in it, the air full of water from the creek that leads to the lake up over its edges, swamping the blue trailer and spreading over the back lawns across the street, a churning of pumps in cellars all down the row, I suppose.

Everyone tired; overstimulated by so much light is my hypothesis. The light is rising out away from november and back towards may, just the thinnest skim of cowslip to it, little flame slowly rising through the white. This is still a winters wind, just full of snow drawn back up into humidity, however chill. I study the wild grapevine, the wild violet already evidencing how hardy and hale it is, ready to conquer the northern flowerbed, whatever alternate plan I may have had. The rhododendrons made it, even today their waxy palms unfurled to bring sweet green light to sleeping xylem and phloem. The true canadian migrators pass over the house in twos and fours, that glorious noise that stops me like Mary Olivers muezzins. There are small bogs across the lawn, and the garden fence is wonked, entirely. This leads me to imagine the long days of breeze with more generous syrups of sun, bringing down the old sunflowers and corn, digging out the more formidable looking weeds before tilling. Remember not to till too early, I say. I could put in a patch of spinach and greens before proper tilling, I say. But I am an old woman and this damp cold, despite the visceral thrill of the sound of the air moving through tall trees close by, drives me inside, albeit half-heartedly, George Gordon dying slowly on the grey moor, something like that. Drives me inside and suggests time spent putting together another crisp for the weekend is just as well spent, the mind roving its memory and consciousness, the hands at work transubstantiating last years apples and dessicated discs of grain into something warm and sweet and excellent smelling to be eaten in a small bowl with maybe just a spoon of ice cream and some coffee.

If there was somewhere for the dogs and I to rove that didnt include passing cars and macadam, id go. But today, right now, im here in the four-legged squallor and piles and stacks writing letters to my evangelical friend about Peace, and Jesus and Love and Liberation Theology and why I wont attend her church service no matter what. Sent along two cds of old-time folk and country gospel. I cant sit there and vote with my butt in that pew when the man at the front tries to convince me that God is a vengeful punishing overseer, that the price of humility is damnation, and unless I pledge to disparage all who believe otherwise, its hell for sure, for me. Its a great comfort to resist the hook of shame, and fear. I highly recommend it. We love you.
"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)