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

22 October 2011

 Letters from the Outside, #51

Its been too many moons since my last letter, and I apologize. Let me begin this late letter by wishing for a day next year as glorious as the twenty-fifth of september was this. After that it was october a week early, the wind blows and the trees turn, leaves falling in thin yellow slivers through the thick canted light. Dog trots through the tall grass dewspangled and deer trod. The wind has reclaimed his coldwater quality and the sun valiant behind a cloud-Pollocked sky only strong enough to melt the edges. I have “what shall we do with a drunken sailor” inexplicably looping through my head.

The woods are lovely, every aperture in me opening when I am with them. A blush of rust on the far hillside and the wooly bears are decidedly polarized from what ive seen of them, either pine or mahogany with no interruption from the other. I realized the Chestnuts are a pair of mothers and daughters, former flanking the latter, broader, fecund, old enough to ovulate. The slender branches of the maidens within bearing only leaves. An excellent example on someones part of land stewardship. I dont fill my pockets with the glossy nuts this year. I take one.

At noon in the western sky, the waning crescent moon powerful and lovely from even so far away. Thirteen crows give the benediction and the leaves estranged from their source lie heavy on the ground. The switch is off. I walk into thick mist cogitating on Druid Oak rites and set off five fine doe from the high, wild rosebushes. The cattle are a henge through the pasture of mist. The rills run loud and hard, the Apples of Avalon shrouded. I stand and listen keenly to octobers incantation to split the husk and scatter the seed, and then to sleep.

Indian Summer comes, days flirting with eighty degrees, and we celebrate The Anniversary of My Latest Arrival in pilgrimage to the conservatory, the flame speckled koi and the vanilla scented orchids and the staghorn fern. A room of hundred year agaves and pin phalanxed cacti keeping tender fingers from the sweet water inside. I feel my soul battery recharged, absorbing the humid high oxygen easy breathing of all this pure green growing behind glass. Two tiny Tortoise and several scattered congregations of Box Turtle in the burbling rock ponds. A prevailing sense of peace and sanity we carry with us on a walk through Holly, Magnolia, Hornbeam, the winsome Autumn Crocus and a thousand magical enclaves under the old trees, in small rolling rooms of manicured grass and light and shadow.

A visit to the marble Neptune, offering wanderers the scallop sign, all roads returning to the Ocean, all jagged fragments of some greater glass sphere softened in the turning tides at this foreign shore of Time until we are incorporated, the sand itself for others to leave their fleeting footsteps in. Old graves disintegrating into geology. At the chinese restaurant my Crisp Oracular Dessert proclaims, “If I bring forth what is inside me,what I bring forth will save me.”

Resurfacing work between the two little towns turns the road into miles of Pennsylvania Turnpike, the hypnotic challenge of lined pylons.

After a few days of glorious seventy-degree swansong, October takes on the sodden mantle of November. Damp and chill as I revel in, my woolens and my seven-league boots, the comforting cool humidity, the long evening, the season of my most recent incarnation and today the advent of my thirty-ninth tour around the Sun. A fine day by all accounts, the sky speaks of coming rain but today a little wind and sun, a walk down the road with hawks keeping close to the ground, preserving their precious energy on low branches scanning for wee rustling beasties searching themselves for provisions with which to survive the coming season. The dark spreading margins of our incrementally abbreviating days send us out of the house into inkwater mornings and home again through an already encroaching dim. The morning clouds are apricot or periwinkle, the creek rushes high from all the rain and, like time and angels, passes through us toward the Ocean or the Sky, sounding just like the wind winnowing whats left of the leaves on the trees. The Oaks will be last to lose their brown leather leaves, but this year everything got cut-off, caught off guard.

I reaped one small pumpkin, self-sown from the compost pen. The gardens overgrown with Tulsi and an array of field weeds, a seasons worth of tomatoes returning to dust. I did observe that, having not purchased any Mennonite seedlings this year, and despite the extraordinary wet, and the fact that that sort of thing lives in the soil in perpetuity, there was no blight. The Cleomes are a fragile dream and Tithonia saturate saffron Faerie crowns. Im still picking Calendula petals, and the Monkshood has bloomed, as the Bleeding Heart withers to reveal the Rhododendron daughter, deep green and waxed for winter. 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)