. . . and walk with you. The quarter moon is where I dreamed it would be, south and a little east across my shoulder, a soft feather slowly floating, like goose down on the fire pond. Watts Brook is buried beneath ice and drifting snow and the silence is unsettling - a portent perhaps - while the hill rising to the west is spotted with moose tracks. Blueberry bushes stand like withered hens beneath gunmetal skies at noon. You say you want to walk here but not everybody does.
Missed appointments, difficult texts, stomachaches. The choice is not between spirit and matter, the old divide that continues to dog us. At three a.m. the stars are lovely, inspire a kind of simple almost wordless happiness, and one need neither explain nor defend it. Certain reading is no longer helpful and needs to be put aside. The crucifix from my childhood - its blond plastic Jesus long since fallen away - rests on the window sill next to my prisms.
Ask not from whence the Light comes for it comes always from the You and I of Creation, that lovelily union. It is important to question everything but also important to come to gratefulness, and this is the spiritual practice now. Forced writing is still writing in the sense that one can learn from anything if they are willing. Coming home cold the rooster scraws and one thinks of foxes who smell spring on the North wind. I don't want to teach today, I just don't.
Gravel mixed with salt mixed with ice which - if one bends to study it and does not quit - reflects the starlit sky of four a.m. and thus serves as a reminder that beauty is both subtle and pervasive. What we call "our" lives are in fact merely a procession of stale images from which we scrounge a most unsatisfactory love. Naked remains an ideal. I fold the blankets and straighten the books before praying, not because God cares about clutter but because the puttering somehow clarifies the who that prays and the who that listens. Just because I did not hold your hand in the forest this morning - snow crackling underfoot, starlight fastening to birch trees, coyotes yipping on the far side of the river - does not mean you were not there.