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.

"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)