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

28 July 2011

Letters from the Outside, #48

A long stretch of hot bright days, the beds and garden get extra water, and then last night it rains and rains, lightning stitching hillcrests to the roiling sky around the valley, heralding another week of forecasted record temperatures.

I reluctantly pluck the Calendula heads from their stems to concoct an infusion, the Coneflowers rise to their prime, and the Delphinium have shed their petals to reveal the ripening seed, successfully primed by the seduction of violet skirts and pollen, intoxicating. One Tulsi self-sow by the French Melons, like a miracle. And the joy of discovering three Tithonia self-sows that should be two-hundred times their size by now.

The heat is foreign to me, this high, relentless heat and humidity that gives one the sensation of being slathered in glue-stick. I realize its a wee rabbit living in the bramble thats been at the beans, which, I just now realize, are of the pole variety, which I am not prepared for. Therapeutic weeding session reveals several Tulsi re-seeds beneath the beans.

And the sky lowers slowly and the grim rumble of the thunder that rolls slowly around the wet lip of the valleys wineglass like some distant and approaching doom, gaining that metal treble with proximity, the kiss of the cooler front, great green boughs whipped to a silver roaring and consummated in rain. The vastness is often dizzying, and im tharn in its midst.

Sunday, we returned to the waterfall where we were married, where on the very spot inexplicably grows in the middle of the streambed a tree, and swam like palsied dogs and sat under the falling water, letting it beat us clean. It even shed the amber callous of a second-degree burn I received by attempting to shift a conflagrant stump with my my naked phalanges. The world there is beautiful, all the stones have stories. I see, over many years, how someone, or everyone, has worked with the Earth toward a beautiful compromise, steps worn into precipitous ledges, and a sapling slowly grown parallel above it, offering assurance to the less nimble as the path reaches its most narrow. There is a green and sweet smelling peace to be found there, among the Nettle and the Fern, and a nursery of Hemlock and a wee peeper, penny sized. Artemis-breasted Mayapple fruit, electric emerald moss on fallen logs, dogs tractoring up where no path will ever begin. Countless marvels for the Open Heart.

It has been dry, and the rain, falling gentle and steady, is welcome. Heading out to double-check I havent left anything out in the rain I shouldnt have (again), I end up pulling Redroot and Purslane from around the Roses, and it feels wonderful. I emerge from under the hood and accept the baptism of rain as a Sign of Unconditional Love, followed by a benediction of sunlight through which Cowboy and I pick our way like pack mules up a gullycreek, chaotic with rocks run down from The Rest Of It, vertical miles of the East Hill, like wild horses funneled through a chute with no corral.

And the last perilous scrabbling onto a flat open space walled like a water glass narrowly broached by slate steps, crumbling, spangled with light off the water whispering through cracks in the flat black terraced ascension toward the fabled Great Reward. I lose my Presence, my self, in thoughts of the future, of returning down the packed silt cut bank backwards, irrational panic exposing that glorious Will to Live when I ran out of ersatz exposed root railing, and I dont even see where I am or let it in or breathe. But my steadfast mountain goat companion led the way and when I ran out of root to hold onto, was compelled to fall back and slide slightly to the next exposed offering and Cowboys hand clasped around my wrist, divine concentration of Love and Truth and Well-Being, and we were back on the rocks as the rain started to pour down.

With these days of rain, the lawns have gone green and growing again; its been lovely, this long rest from the roar of mowers. Late July, I see how Summer is arcing above the unconfined pastures, Corn sprouting its fountain crown, and each seedpod spilling pale green silks, each paired to its kernel, a gossamer umbilicus.

Pulling weeds in the darkening, wincing at the difference where the manuring didnt reach, how cracked and implacable it is. So it asks, and shall receive. Its been so hot I havent been walking, the walking that feeds my mind and soul and body, and I feel its salubrious ether leaving me in a slow leak. Darwin said it wasnt the strongest that survive, its those most adaptable to change. Those willing to release their Qi like water, quiet patience for the slow deep places and a twinkling song for running among the rocks. Life-Bringer, Primal Environment, Ocean Mother of Us All, Soul. 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)