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

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.

"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)