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

28 April 2011

Letters from the Outside #41

Emergence. Everything saturated, standing water in the garden, roadside waterfalls running at top volume, creekmusic, night peepers, robins in the apple branches and redwing blackbirds taking up their stations in the tall reeds. I asked the best tree people we know about the blight on your plum trees. He said that the only cure for it is an intensive, expensive, season-long administration of some fungicide. We are looking into the pruning, as its a task which requires confidence and a grasp of tree logic, neither of which I possess. The Putty Place is for sale, 200K. They came in, bulldozed, sided and paved over whatever soul and spirit they could find, and flipped it. This is what passes for improvement, which is why I never fret too far for my delinquency from the status quo.

Today, a brief balmy respite from the rain, out in shirtsleeves digging dandelions out from the front bed, and just as soon the blue sheep pasture of sky grazes away toward the lake while from the hinterlands the storms dense, dovegrey breastfeathers come rumbling toward us, the house grows dark and im grateful for that extra stovewood I brought in wet this morning. Me in my topknot and purple silk kimono squilching up the mud track and down, two bits at a time in my fingers. When the bull would get through the fence on the farm its the kimono id go out in, to hold the gate open and scuttle it shut after Cowboy had successfully persuaded the two-ton creature to thunder back from whence it came with rocks and harsh invective. Me in rubber clogs and silk kimono not watching the offended juggernaut considering, with synapses on dial-up, whether to take the path of least resistance or the more intriguing one paved in violets.

The rain, when it comes, is torrential; ten-hundred upturned buckets at once, the kind you can watch the wind move through. And theres no dry decree from whoever gets paid to presage this sort of thing, although I am hoping for a bright-skied Beltane, after an Eve clear and crowded with stars.

The rain and thunder pass overhead, and now bright white underwings absorb the light, the light that never goes out, and farther south grey quilled tail feathers, and somewhere after that, blue sky. The windows open to the strong warm winds. It is a comfort simply to hear the wind through the oaks and the negative-ion white noise of the creekwater through the open kitchen window as I put together tonights pot pie. Taking out the compost, it suddenly rains on me, and here comes more lightning with its thunder. The heat and humidity like something off the southeastern seaboard. Deep thirst and breeze-craving returns with another chapter in Aprils epic monsoon, rain falling fat and fast making a river of the road and a dream sequence of the window panes. There is a weight to it that seems like something out of late summer more than early spring. And going out in the pour to shut the windows (a quirk of the hoosie), I realize the front gutter drains directly into its corresponding flowerbed, which explains why the Iris and Bergamot are thriving. The lawn is a shallow marsh in all directions, everywhere water in a mad rush to the ocean, and its temporary transcendence, a circle cycling through us and the world since the first night, on my head and my hands the sweat and breath and essence of all beings before me, ghost of snow and bitter condensed vapors from the works of man.

It will take the garden a good long while to dry out. Meanwhile the Opalka tomatoes are thriving, the french melons drawing their little serrated leaves from somewhere inside the stem, like the kerchiefs of a magician dandy, the parsley proffering tiny green palms. I think I started it all too far from the bulbs, though. The lettuce and calendula are leggy and struggle to rise like that woman in the Andrew Wyeth painting. Deep replanting may be in order.

The wind has been fierce but I revel in it. And the strong wind channeled down the valleys helps return the Earth and Sky to balance. There is a great deal of that wild Beltane energy about. The trees are bubbling with buds, tight little eggs of leaves at the ends of bitty branches. Little cherrywood butterflies among the comfrey and forget-me-not battalions assembling in the garden.

Piercing restlessness sends me down the road, striding into a headwind, watching the canopy sway. The sun sinks through a filigree of thin hillside trees. There is a gentle mischief in the woods which calls to me ceaselessly, pixie-led down soft scented paths of pine needles and creekwater, the calls of crows or doves, the pixilated prickle of dusk you can feel on your forearms and the tip of your nose. Those last long sleeves of light before the land you stand on rises away from the sun and takes you with it into another night of wee peepers and wind and maybe rain, always maybe rain. In a few days it will be May, and we will miss you all the more.

15 April 2011

the friday song, for Zuzu.

in the dream it was just like it is.

13 April 2011

its the birthday of Seamus Heaney

Rite of Spring 
So winter closed its fist
And got it stuck in the pump.
The plunger froze up a lump

In its throat, ice founding itself
Upon iron. The handle
Paralysed at an angle.

Then the twisting of wheat straw
into ropes, lapping them tight
Round stem and snout, then a light

That sent the pump up in a flame
It cooled, we lifted her latch,
Her entrance was wet, and she came.

12 April 2011

Letters from the Outside, #40

It has been a lifelong crusade against my Self, the part of the Universe that has been gifted to me for a brief moment in Time/Space, and now, as the arc begins its descending trajectory, I blink awake a bit in the Light, and I am lonesome. This is what ive been dreading. Ive lived in self-imposed exile all my life, and it was simple persistence which convinced me that any kind of Home was somewhere I would never find. I avoided the ache by believing there was nowhere for me to go, like a girl I knew in grade school whos mother died and she said, “I stopped believing in heaven because I couldnt bear to think my mother was somewhere I couldnt get to.” I perambulated my eddies in resignation so determined some of my teeth are cracked from decades of gritting. I flung my flaming oarless coracle into black-hole maelstroms, reckless in surrender to self-loathing. And im going to stop blaming myself or the actions of others because those haints have had their way with me, and I want what little time I have left to be Real. But all this knowing makes me lonesome. Lonesome for Real. Its like that wanting I get to wander in the Fall, but stronger now, and in Spring. I cant say I let myself really believe ill ever feel at Home, but I can at least stop hating the Away.

There are things to think and lessons to learn and Peace and Beauty to be found most everywhere you go, even if you go in some projected hamsterball of others avoidance and alienation. Were all just travelers, a spark of Light in a twist of flesh, and our journey, inextricably linked to all others, is also our own. My incredibly early acceptance of deep despair led to a fundamental ingratitude for my life that propelled my storyline like a smartbomb, print to fit and cover the base of a cage. And this sudden respect for the time it takes to write it calls up deep desires, directions the best of us head into as we fledge. I have been untrue to myself, and pay the price, which is my life. What I need to begin to believe is that what is left is worth saving, is worth being Real. And I will do that where I am. I will be brave, and wild, and kind.

True Spring, the bleeding-heart and the hollyhock and the lupine raring to go, the monkshood already a robust viridian mound, not to mention the hyacinth and daffodil and squill between the lilac tree and the creek that sings the season in alongside an unbroken chorus of peepers in the wetland. Evening with the wind blowing warmer and everywhichway, the buds pointillist ornaments on black bare branches against a deep blue and burnt papaya sky, the kind of breath born from knowing that the snow is over until another summer comes to its close.

My Matamorphs and Faraos unfurling already; how wise these motes of dust once allowed the right environ! This week, after the rain, ill begin the work of the garden in earnest, and tend to my Self alongside these terrestrial labors. We are object lessons. Our lives are how we learn.

Orion setting in the west, the handle to the Great Plow swinging widdershins, the icicle of stars melting and rising and pouring rain from the open gourd. I bring my attention to Sirius, and our Moon. T. is already around and about with the soles of his feet like eyes wide open to the Earth, constructing impromptu art installations from rare and mysterious gifts washed down the mountain; the understated elegance of ceramic insulators, potshards of wedgewood Phoenix and pale, raised, painted roses, the vaguely eroded-grecian-torso of a chunk of pink granite set before the trifurcated stump of a small tree topped with a rusted cribspring becomes some wayside shrine, an auspicious sign along the Path, that all things carry within them the Light, and the Truth, and the Way.

Our first campfire, a small affair in honor of T.'s birthday,  which his sleepover companions insisted on attending to with their fluids, before which I retired to the hoosie, lest I profane this secret (and decidedly rural) male rite with my motherhood. Monday I raked away the winters maple leaf mulch from the perennial bed and unwound some of the windows, and the breeze through the house was a benediction. 

The hoya blooms in handfuls and lettuce, tomato and brussels sprouts come up in wee helmeted tendrils splitting quick into chubby palms to catch the light and rise, and grow as only they know, and offer themselves to us for our benefit in the magnificent and natural order of things. Nightbirds and spring peepers and rain so fine only the ground gets wet the rest of your dry winterbone body drinks it in and you sleep in a breeze with no dreams and in the morning its half as warm as it was the morning before. Overnight, seedling emergence doubles. The thin magenta whips of beet, the sudden stout sockpuppets of french honeydew, all that life unfurling, shining sweet and pale and growing greener, stronger, with the sun. We love you.

06 April 2011

Letters from the Outside #39

The wind blows damp under a milkwater sky, raising the ragged hem of Aprils early skirts, showing a little lovely green ankle of sprout and bud among the leafmat and mud. The rain falls in earnest, and I slip more cloves and cinnamon scrolls into the Shakti pot on the woodstove to bless the house with comfort and abundance. The dogs and I out for what seemed like the first time in a long while, striding open and unconstricted, the sky bunted with clouds you dont see in winter, those flat-bottomed large-curd congregations of vapor unburdened and serene before the one-way-glass of summers blue morning sky.

I go out in my gumboots and yellow raincoat to fill the feeders and bring in a little more stovewood to dry. Everyday something new emerges. Something miraculous and lovely and wholly intent on unfurling into itself. Sitting the morning gloom eating oatmeal with wolfberries (which I find eminently more edible once rehydrated) listening to Stevie Ray play Tin Pan Alley, im more at ease than ive been in too long a while. I watch a cactus flower stretch open its petals to let in the light. Lightning and thunder, the multiple personalities of rain.

I have been dreaming of skies at night, night skies, dense mythic constellations and mandelbrot clouds. I dream of enormous bullfrogs and hostile crowds. And so this week the seeds begin; I waited for the Dark Moon to move through void-of-course and into Taurus, earthy and determined. Waited out in the damp blowing chill of a rustbelt ghost town for over an hour to pack myself like a bearing into the firehazard beerhall before Gogol Bordello, where my ability to withstand The SeaGlass Treatment has waned with the years. Cowboy and I convected over the evening, ending up at the spacerich far edge between stage left and the kitchen doors. The friendly, slab-featured Staff standing on an ampcase threw water at us from small plastic bottles while Hutz asperged the front row with fragrant, nameless red wine. Before the first encore the band gathered by the back doors, double dragonmaws smoking steam into the black open night, and then trotted past us to get to the greenroom doors. I howled, and he held out his hand. In that brief moment, our corporal bodies met as I set his hand against my lips. Not a kiss, just a connection, an acknowledgement of cells meeting briefly, a unique moment in an infinitude of unique moments.

Another foray from home offered me Stephen Marley in the parking lot of a natural living supermarket. His presence is intense. All these men who carry dense radiant wedges of Spirit with them. We are matter, drawn by gravity. Women seem to carry it like a riverstone in their pelvic bowl, or confected light around their faces. Men send it out through the breastbone like a tractorbeam. Theres another chakra that excels in this magnitude of communication, but I dont respond much to it. Im way more for the Pineal than the penile. At which point of course I reach the end of my chain and am hoist back by my own petard into the haunted wasteland that is the subject of my father.

I grew up with the old Drifter banjo hanging up on the wall, the one where hed set a Liberty silver dollar into the dark wooden peghead. I grew up with the sound of banjos and they always honed in me the deep longing for piney woods and bare feet on hard cool clay. But fear kept me from letting the Sound speak through my fingers, a physical fear of the strings. And I read just today that “the treasure you seek is in the cave you are afraid to enter.” and I see now somehow more clearly that a long time ago I locked my wedge of Spirit in a lead box, and my spirit grew to believe the dimensions of its cage to be the ends of the World. And something lately has let me see from farther away. I see the box. And I know it can be opened.

Now I am not such an enlightened creature that I can simply flip open the top and release my captive aspects like a picnic hamper full of doves. But I am awake enough to understand that the box must be opened. So I go back to The Plow, and at this lead fear ill focus the Light, ill play prism with Celestial white, and sing down Wholeness, and know the Peace that comes from such a crucial reunion. Thats the plan, at least. And I might just get there playing the banjo, my plowshare from a sword. So im getting it the Lazarus Treatment and maybe some lessons, and a pair of safety glasses.

Steady winds blow north through Cloud Valley, relaxing all the boundaries, releasing the lockjaw of another Winter, lifting the skirts of Spring. The snow still comes now like it comes in late September, that sudden shift from drizzle to flake that never seems to make it to the ground. I bring in more stovewood to dry like a henge under the resuscitated rubbertree. Tonight the sky is wide open, profaned by the dreadful clamor of a raccoon burgling one of the goose nests by the creek. My mind is a dovecote with the doors open. We love you.

05 April 2011

the next stop.

01 April 2011

the time has come.

"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)