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

14 September 2011

Letters from the Outside, #50

Autumn heralded in with chainsaws and the sound of acorns falling onto trucks in the driveway. Roadside bunting of Goldenrod flowers. I put on some Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and water the plants. I seek the sun like an old cat, sensing its wane, its growing scarcity.

September, traditionally treacherous month, melted butter on the ledge from which by my fingertips I hang. A sudden spate of social occasions, unexpected reunions of long yesterdays spectres. The project delievered I find myself reading again, and the walk. Perhaps it requires a certain frame of mind; an acceptance, or surrender, to things As They Are. Early september heat of what feels more like Indian Summer, sitting soaking in the light of a sun the wane of which we sense in our animal bones.

Ribbed crippled old dogs in the bed of feedstore pick-ups, a texas polka band on the radio playing “in heaven there is no beer.” my Tithonia blooms, and the Wolfsbane buds and everything so late to the party this year, theres no time left for ripening in the cycle. Theres a grief in me as old as I am, and it keeps me from attending to these letters of yours, for fear of filling the pockets of pages with stones. My strawberries are profuse with blooms. I find the cats at play with winsome prey and it steals my appetite, all the senseless suffering of the world condensed into this moment, which cannot be salvaged nor saved, and I turn away. It has rained and rained.  The garden is mud and the bewitching smell of Tulsi, ancient and sweet.

Roadside Goldenrod, Jewelweed and Sumac in her red flocked fall coat, the ground thick with Hickory nuts, culverts running with rainwater and frogs, while I stand in a dense expansion of sunlight in the center of a circle one southward Monarch makes time to cast around me. The cows graze their quiet way in the shade of the windbreak til the tip of the peninsula thins into a shady grove, and follow the sun across the creek to haybales and evening home. I unpin my hair and let the wind have his way with it. In the sky, a rainbow serpent, or a swan. The farther I go the closer I come to understanding how finely-tuned I was when I was born. How years of abuse and neglect have left a callous as ugly as it is numb. How does one exfoliate a soul?

The old woman plants a patch of black-eyed-susan where the plastic lamb used to be and replaced the mirrored gazing ball with one of driveway oilslick dragon tchotchke hues. Fairy cathedrals of Cleome in the garden where one of the relocated roses offer pink rannuncular assemblages of petals, regressed back toward some ancestress hardy and more fragrant than the rarified hardware store hybrid it arrived as. The moon a pearl in a bowl of fog, and the nights are not yet cool enough to keep the crickets from their recitations.

A day of revelations, Full Pisces Moon the sunlight warm goldenrod honey bright butter colored waves along the shore of the road miraculous backlit hawkweed the wild dappled Apples, pregnant bellies of orchards of seed, Chestnuts gestating in their seamless spiny pods and the smell of Concords. Foxgrapes ripen on the vine. Offerings to the Pine, second station of Mary, and I gather dense resin in a maple leaf, and in surrender am offered this significance: Pathkeeper. So I ask for guidance to find that Path and tend it true.

I am sitting outside in the late morning sun and can still feel the weight of my walking bag against my body. “You arent carrying that bag anymore.” Grant me the strength to put down the satchel of ghosts. To reclaim my open heart and my soul. The past is not a place we can ever go again, it is a purgatory, and thief of the living. Hold onto Wisdoms souvenirs and let the wind and rain and sun scour the rust away.

I hang laundry, patch a blanket. I pick tomatoes, cucumbers and squash, walk to the crossroads where the wind blows and the leaves fall and the dog trots through the tall grass dew-spangled and deer-trod. In her dream I am as I am, petticoated in earth and sunset and the dusky lustre of winegrapes against greek leaves and tendrils set in wood or sugar green. A house of marvels and laughter escaping forbidden from the heavy door, out into the wondrous, waiting world. These dreams are a gift, little candles in the window sitting vigil for the wandering soul.

I bake a hotmilk cake, oatmeal cookies, and then put together a stroganoff for supper. By eight the yard is dark, and the rain comes with a bolt of lightning which turns the darkness around us inside out to white. The Calendula petals dry, the Blackberry cordial brews. I should have picked that Tulsi on the full of the moon. I am as I am and Great Goddess when will I stop apologizing?

Grateful I am evolving, my satellite soul traveling the spiral of All That Is, unfolding to a flower and ripening to a seed in endless cycles akin to infinite others and entirely significant, always forward, never straight. 
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)