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

07 May 2011

Letters From the Outside, #42

Skunk totem, and a coyote. Furled hearts emerge on dicentra sleeves. Damp and chill, winters green sweater reemerges for a walk to Sister Mothers where I realize the hummingbirds are back. Jiggety-jig to make french breakfast muffins, and nectar. Its been a bit like Edinburgh here, without the culture. I think this is the fourth sump pump. Skunks are loner mystic pacifists, im told. Skunks walk their talk.  Skunk people are buoyant with life-force, and crepuscular. Allied with Artemis, otherwise unaligned, with its own family classification, Mephitis mephitis.

Early afternoon doesnt feel quite like November as it had in the morning, that prickling in the air when mist crystallizes into thin glittering snow. There are columbine and lungwort and lily of the valley. Deep amethyst faerie cathedrals at the ends of lilac branches. The hosta unwinds in fluted chartreuse stands. Broadening swaths of Lemon Balm and Wild Violet, the Nemeton buds fuzzy with blood red at the edges. The Monkshood robust, Ladys Mantle, Lupine, Lambs Ear, Solomon Seal and Jacobs Ladder in spreading evidence. Coneflowers in deceptively humble clumps, Stargazers and Foxgloves. The daffodils are over, the tulips exuberance still concealed in slender stemmed reticules, and the lone purple hyacinth at the end of the drive rests its fragrant, heavy head on the rising tide of daylily. There might even be hollyhock, if they dont drown.

My little apple saplings sport their silver-dipped leaf clusters. Inside, the christmas cactus lets loose with an especially extravagant display of flowers, phoneix flaming. In lieu of planting leafy greens which I should presently be attending to outside in what most resembles an abandoned hog pen, I putter and dote with the nursery, just proud as punch of my tomatoes which I recently realized I never labeled when moving them into larger nests. Entirely like me, I suppose, but theyll let me know soon enough what their name is. The bookshelf set up just wasnt up to snuff; the bulbs were weak and two set tight together in the center pulled the outside rows of growing into limp slanting filaments. The lettuce and Calendula may never set right. So Cowboy hauled the big four-bulb we used last year up from the recently drained basement and we set it on pedestals of craft tackleboxes and up-turned terracotta pots. I imagine books will be employed to raise the bar as we reach the frost-safe date.

Instead of a fieldtrip I take a lap on the mountain bike (such a different experience from my garagesale blue chirping boardwalk cruisers) and begin the summerlong task of weeding the garden. The soil already leans toward clay, so the stuff is heavy and dense and the dandelion roots slide out with gently applied leverage. Im pulling Comfrey and Mullein and what ive heard called Witchgrass, for the sharp teeth waiting beneath the surface to bite. Today a toad, carried to the cool of last years lavender and sage with salutations to our Lady. Today a prayer more steadfast and effortless as any ive ever sung standing on the Big Pink as the water rushed around me, an incantation to weave me deeply into this wondrous painted veil of the world. And an enormous mythic stone in answer. And a snake, drowned and swaying, caught on a root underwater. I clear the leafpack and lay her in a spiral at the little altar of moss on the feet of an oak tree I have dedicated with a standing stone, a solid chip from a brick. A lot of bricks this spring in the crick.

I begin my auto-didactic banjo lessons today, me and my safety glasses and my workbook with accompanying cd. It is so strange to think it took me this long to get here. Still feeding the woodstove, but only to keep off the chill. Made cookies for Cowboys birthday, little cut-outs of dogs and suns and hearts and john b. stetsons.

Saturday another sunny day so im up and out for more weeding, and another day to work through the tearing pain that comes with my ostracism by Cowboys family, but desperately trying to understand that this is a crucial step in my evolving. But being informed by silence that im simply unforgiveable for a crime no one will explain to me, that my exile has been unanimously agreed upon simply as the way things are and the way they will remain, that i never meant anything to anyone...the senseless hostility and estrangement...its a millstone ive worn around my neck for years now and so much of my spiritual work right now is focused on lifting that millstone. The first decisive step is realizing that I cannot change others, how they perceive me, and their inexplicable, steadfast desire to maintain a hostile environment.  It feeds and validates my vile and ignorant habit of self-loathing, it frustrates my true and beautiful soul-self to literal tears, and since it is a persistent but unspoken subject, it takes up residence in my dreams. This struggle no doubt has a purpose, crucial to my Awakening. But I grieve that when that Awakening comes, it will be only me, without them, on the other side.

"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)