Thursday, July 31, 2014

What Goes Always Slower

Oh the soft halos of light, oh the briefest rain.

We count four crows, forgetting we brought a camera.

Wild morning glories in the shadows of staghorn sumac are like a first kiss, like a soft kiss at the end of summer.

And the burdock's thorny purple blossom does not resist the sliverous moon.

Nor quartz-colored birch trees bending over hidden springs off West Street.

The crab apples blush near their stems, and rabbits wait until we are almost beside them to dash away.

Oh this moment and no other.

Clouds that gather - stupendous towers of orange taffeta cumuli - and drift slowly east, at least twenty miles away.

Turkey feather, blue jay feather, and feather of a bird whose name I do not know.

And fox scat.

And old trailheads that only a handful of us now remember, hidden in bracken, winding deep into stands of maple.

I slow down and stop when I see the moon off my shoulder.

God is what goes always slower.

The brook sings a little passing beneath the road, and the chickadees sing as night comes on around them.

And the congregational church, and the old school, and the cattle who come to the fence to watch me go.

How my heart quickens like a top in their glances.

In the tall grass where the road turns, my heart quickens.

I remember ten thousand nights like this one, and no night better than this one.

There are so many roads in the world and this is the one I am on.

There are so many paths, and this is the one I am a prayer upon.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Lost in a Flood

The brook rises and all morning I long to sit beside it, dreams lost in muddy currents, but instead work patiently - well, mostly patiently - through the sentences of others. Ravens pass, and the wind, and thoughts come and go, none more real than the last.

J. brings some tomatoes by, and grocery bags filled with rainbow chard, and asks my opinion on how young is too young to help slaughter cows. Meanwhile, the past unfolds like a deer path in the forest, like an origami angel lost in a flood.

We pause by recently cut hay fields to watch turkeys bobbing in the distance. There is always something to see, but not always someone with whom to see it!

Counting the books stacked where I sleep she stops at one hundred, saying, "this isn't about reading but something else." Persuasion is one mode, acceptance another.

Two days later the front yard lilies have not recovered from torrential rains and so one resigns accordingly to this summer and no other. Before the mail there were only dreams, and before dreams, only the bland imperative of survival.

Tired and briefly alone, I rinse off the kayaks, wondering why anybody would bother reading Nietzsche more than once. Clouds bunch on the northern horizon like bruised roses or retracted gifts.

What we want precedes us, while what we accept forms a rear border. From time to time I consider letting the twenty sentences sift to nothingness, the way salt dissolves when sprinkled on the sea.

Parrots only mock what they can't possibly understand! Reheated coffee beckons a soft light.

Later, walking near twilight, L. pulls over to discuss what she calls "the limits of Buddhism in a mind structured by Catholicism" and though I walk for hours afterward I can't find the requisite - the familiar - interior silence. Working with stone pleases me, and always has, always in a way that is mysterious yet eminently solvable.

Notes for later amount to nothing to nobody's surprise. I fall asleep in afternoon only to wake more tired than usual.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

An Ancient and Unconditional Joy

Another cup of coffee, another ten pages edited. I am sitting in shade, watching robins and rabbits pick through the herb garden. Clouds are tracking unusual winds - moving east to west and sometimes circling back. The heat broke and it is as cool as late August. The mind turns to apples. The mind turns to you.

Let's say that you are sitting beside me, but engrossed in your own work - probably writing but maybe something else. Books are piled near your right hand not because you are going to read them at the moment but because they reassure you of your new commitment. It is quiet where I live, and this quiet is what most impresses itself upon you. One can hear the wind from far away, sense it gathering, feel it somewhere deep (even offer it something there) as it travels down the hill towards the brook and beyond.

From time to time I comment on what I am editing - more in passing than from a need for conversation. Talking too much is a distraction, but I like talking to you. I like that you take notes with a pen and paper. You voice has always settled something in me, or awakened something, and I am grateful to not have to go without it.

Lunch will be bread baked at 5 a.m. yet still faintly warm (I leave it under towels when pulled from the oven), and from the garden cucumbers and spinach lightly salted, sprinkled with vinegar. Perhaps wine, perhaps tea, depending on where we are with our work. Voices are not the only distraction . . .

This is a dream, of course. The twenty sentences are also a sentence, and I bear it alone, as most of the time one must. Yet from time to time an interior window opens - I cannot say precisely how or why - and a beam of light passes through, and one senses then the possibility of an ancient and unconditional joy, met in you, and - oddly, yet happily, rightly even - tended by us in common, despite the many miles, despite the long and heart-breaking silence.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Between Anonymous Graves

Always one more thing. And language is so imprecise, a bludgeon where a feather might be better. Piano notes reach me from a distance, reminiscent of lakes but not at all of telephones.

The mail way of doing it? All morning I watch robins work the berry bushes and wonder how I ever coveted pie. The tallest pine trees on the farthest hill mark the limits of my vision today and it is enough, it is more than enough.

Curtains drawn and the sound a mattress makes when an unfamiliar body settles across it. Whiskey where a fool might have better tried a fiddle. The dark becomes nobody and yet we love it so, we do.

Over brunch studying a map of the United States and plotting our circuitous route as far west as Colorado before turning North for the Canadas. You think about the bones of horses when it gets cold and nothing else will warm you. Grasshoppers in the burdock, dew where the grass falls heavy on its side.

And the sentences have a way of elongating when she is not here. Feather and father are similar only if you think spelling is an art. I have gone farther than anyone I know and yet remain hobbled, whistling at night between anonymous graves.

Arrive already! One's poetry understood at last as a long hymn to winter, that season of profligate insight. We bind up our tears and go walking past towers of burning tires.

The deer this year are slower than usual, as if grateful for something, or else aware of how hungry I am for their elegance. As always unaware of that which I am unaware.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Swallowing Stars

Clouds from the west bunch like gray flowers folding. A female cardinal settles in the dogwood tree not unnoticed. Chipmunks trill from risky perches on the backyard fence. Hunger is everywhere happening now.

One longs for bookstores from the 1970's, one feels in the wind the dust of ancient Palestine. God is reconstructed when you kneel, recalled in the prayer you utter leaning forward. Swallowing stars in order to rest my wings? I remember baking bread in Vermont, I remember swans flying overhead singing.

And I try to say ahead of narrative of course, terrified as always of correction. With you I surrendered the compass, with you I burned the charts. Oh to hear the rustling maple leaves a final time before the sun rises! Bliss where gravel calls the river home.

She laughed when I went into the garden naked to gather tomatoes for a salad. You move beyond the bible and beyond shirts falling softly onto motel floors, only to arrive at the ancestral whiskey bottle and Jesus saying quietly try again. I mean that hymn and no other. He burned the envelope in which she mailed no photograph.

And yet at night the faroff owl reminds me that it's not about me and never was. When I go slowly, God is there, going slower. One day I will set the twenty sentences aside and breathe and even sleep. For now a little rain, a bowl of olives from Chrisoula's grove in Greece, and sheets on the clothesline trailing beautifully away in the mid-summer wind.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Plunging Hungrily the Royal Blooms

Oh morning, so green and vivid, you are never not here when I am! Butterfly balm grows so high I can see it at the window while laying in bed for Christ's sake! And at 5 a.m. - no kidding - hear the energetic buzz of hummingbirds plunging hungrily the royal blooms. The dog curls up tighter in the crook of my knees which are delighted to be so useful.

I thought I would die but instead I dreamed of a new way to write syllabi. You want to open, so open. Make contact with possibility - which is freedom - which is God - and thus forever welcome. Also, your definitions are like an ice cream stand that sells only gravel so maybe give attention to a revised business plan?

"Shove over," says Chrisoula, and I do, but then I not-so-subtly sneak back, hard and perennially hopeful. What are dividing lines but invitations to reconsider one's understanding of Christ? Gertrude Stein planned her last words, which should surprise no one. Oh Sappho, you would have made me go down on you in silver moonlight without reciprocation and I would have, happily!

All the apple trees of New England are now pleading with me for a sentence and so here it is. Thank you for bearing such lovely fruit and allowing me to make love in your shade half a dozen - no, wait, a dozen - no, a thousand - times over the years. Emily Dickinson doesn't blush but she does question my math. One time we were trespassing and the woman in question said are you not afraid of the owner and failing that of God and I said in reply - and I meant it, mouth full of Honeycrisp - may they both now come.

Jesus steps to the left in order to let the divine oxen pass. When I see all the sad men in the cart - all of whom believe they are being carried to their death - I leap in and begin throwing them out, one by one, and Jesus catches them and sets them on their feet, giving them each both a map to and a brochure for the Kingdom. The man without shoes has weathered but sexy toes! I am carrying you this bread, the sea is spilling from my shoulders, and every time I open my mouth a sparkly disco ball comes out insisting "dance."

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What Emerges When We Perceive Loss

Moonlight confuses the roosters, oddly. Narrative is what emerges when we perceive loss and need a bridge. At 4 a.m. the rain has an odd, a sort of ammonia smell to it. Once upon a time a man without shoes began writing twenty sentences a day and I am, still.

The coffee grows cold while I search for the right word. We also project onto others ideals and that, too, is a form of attack. How busy one's brain can be, like a moth trying to understand the light for which it would die! I wanted to tell the woman at the co-op it was okay but didn't because I could see that opening my mouth - regardless of what came out - would only confirm for her that it was not okay, and might never be again.

Summer passes and one remembers older summers as a means of keeping time. Sparse bluets near the stone wall and chunks of enviable quartz. I am never not in the mind of oxen. Writing projects that cannot be completed in a matter of hours confuse me and always have.

Perhaps one day we will meet in a yarn store. I am less impressed with the interstate highway system than some people I know. The dog studies the rainy window, her mind drifting to an intensity I can barely imagine. Some women say yes, that's all.

Resisting Christ by loving Jesus. One studies their need to be right and comes to a god that doesn't want to be seen. Minor arpeggios, rose petals, breasts. The morning hour stultifies, and once again the prayerless men ascend their humming gallows.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Unexplored Interior

Did I mean burgundy? A beggarly inclination perhaps. I was distracted when she came. Also, the fawn's skull glistened in light rain and it made me sad. At two a.m. I breathe cool air at the window and whisper names that otherwise are left unsaid.

What do I mean when I say "more than words can say?" We are all finding our way, is what nobody seems to want to accept. In my dream you are strong but still want me to call. There are limits to imagination maybe? Pumping gas, one stands and stares north and wonders about all the things that didn't happen, and won't, or maybe won't.

Days of rain give way briefly to sun. Bluets in the cemetery mean stop and give attention for Christ's sake. Red is God while blue is God's home and purple is the hurt I feel without either. Townes Van Zandt steadies me before the unexplored interior. Is there such a thing as too late?

Chaos attends inaction. Wordiness is refuge but poems are white stones. Remember that publishing and creating are different, that one is extension and the other commerce, and be guided accordingly. Crows pick the mown hayfield, reminding me that we all have to eat, but we don't have to call it eating. Emily Dickinson turns away at the door and it's okay darling, it's more than okay.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Now Familiar Ache

Always I give attention to that which resists language. Or is it that some things don't want to be known? In darkness a full buck moon casts itself on the daisies which are tall and bright by the road. Fireflies in the hollow remind me of Emily Dickinson at night in summer in the early 1860's. Grief is a river, not the rusting iron bridge that spans it.

A large sound belies the size of what makes it. Turkey hens cross the road and a dozen or so goslings bustle just after. J. and I study the crab apples and debate the merits of guerrilla gardening, which M. is doing somewhere, maybe outside Boston. A difficult meeting yields subsequent smaller meetings, to which I am present only by believing in both community and duty. Suddenly I come upon a path I'd forgotten - nearly hidden, overgrown, flanked by ancient maples, going west - and I wonder what else I am missing and what, if any, consequences attend.

The Rose of Sharon straightens where I replanted it and its pale green leaves flutter and emit a faint but greening light. At midnight, something came for the neighbor's chickens, and I sat sadly by the window, letting it matter. Admit death and what happens to joy? You can make a dog stay if you merit love. A slow morning filled with coffee, reading, baby rabbits in the drifting shadows of ferns, neighborly voices floating through the heat, and a now familiar ache right about here not diminishing.

Walking a wide circle allows one to face all directions, at least a little. A robin on the swing set at twilight sings and further away one answers and one learns again that territory is simply space and we share it and that is all there is to it, maps and deeds be damned. I walk quickly, which annoys many walkers who want to share the way, yet you have to find your rhythm, and then not deviate from it, no matter who says they love you. Oh strawberries I never knew how much I needed you for breakfast in hot July! Writing or not writing the same.

Friday, July 11, 2014

To Leave Me So Breathless

I would not but then again maybe. Tiger lilies open in the side yard, lovely mallow folds unfolding. Forbidden Om? What salt I am becomes no kitchen you would visit.

Turkey hen between black-eyed susans watching me go as I always am. For all of us? A midnight corner in which certain preferences are briefly entertained, certain hungers given space. Tenuous fireflies in rainy dark abounding.

A rigid walk? At six a.m. I lean my head against yet another maple tree and whisper through tears "I am sorry." F. spies yet another bald eagle circling high above the fields - most beloved of so many predators - and we all stare at her, secretly wondering what God or Gods so blessed her eyes. If I could take you on forest moss I would and you would never forget how carefully I studied you.

Certain doors were open once, certain guests walked through, and certain others kept going, and now we live in the barren hall. First raspberries, then blueberries, then the long and prayerful stumble into snow. How happy I was last night dreaming of bears walking slowly up the road before me like sentinels or old friends leaving after a warm and loving visit. What a porch my mind has made for you!

Summer's full belly throws me hard into God's waiting allness. Unused muscles soften as limbs can forget their function. Words are just sound to which general assent attaches. What a dance to leave me so breathless where rumors are E.D. once chose you too.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Like Mahogany Angels

How imprecise our language is - languishing meaning really - when one gives attention to it. Purple loosestrife and chicory on the road to Vermont (and memories of driving to Syracuse two decades ago, writing the first of the turtle poems for you). While earlier yet, two deer watched the dog and I come back down Sam Hill Road just after six, then leaped away like mahogany angels. I received your letter and owe you a call.

Is that right? We spent more time than expected in the used bookstore, bulking up our gardening shelf, and just in general slowing down into happiness. Iced tea, organic grapes, and a good sourdough with lettuce. At the top of any hill one turns, one descends.

One tries mightily - all day off and on - but cannot find the boundaries of awareness. Moose crossing indeed! We followed one of the old trails all the way to a swimming hole that was smaller than I remembered but still a joy to swim in. How slim a trout can appear when lingering in rocky shallows at day's end (at the end of shadows).

I mean wedding rings, attic offices in which to write long narrative poems, kidnapped journalists, goslings chattering in open fields, crisp plums dipped in syrup, and the last of last year's blueberry wine finished at midnight on a blanket beneath the Milky Way. Notes for later is a good sign, or good enough. Jesus points out imperfections in the moon I cannot see but know are there. Coffee for the drive home, okay?

One pushes past the surface - the shallows, say - in order to make contact with underlying structures, and beyond even that to foundations, to ground - and keeps going. A moral imperative implicit in mycology? Suddenly - sun in my eyes, dog panting nearby - it is all so clear, all so right. What I mean is, you fold your umbrella, and it stops raining, just like that.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

One Slips Into Bed Quietly

Gibbous moon at dusk floating over hay fields into which deer step both elegant and fearful. Clarity reveals what I have chosen to hide (usually with language), and the effect can hurt. Grasshoppers leap away, crickets sun themselves where the clover is thickest. Where waiting ends, joy begins.

In my journal of morning bird song - who sings first, who sings next, at what hour and from what direction, et cetera - the robin is strangely absent this year. Fences are always falling somewhere, and someone is always relieved. One slips into bed quietly so as not to wake her, yet not so quietly because she does awaken, and it's okay, it's more than okay. One appreciates the purple cow vetch, so reminiscent of papal entitlement in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

A monastic ideal impairs the otherwise available now. In summer, the twenty sentences are harder to write, but why. Even in July Bronson Brook is so cold my head hurts when I duck into its rapids. A bobcat crosses 143 near where the land slopes away north, and later walking and noting where moose have ripped greens away from bushes and trees, I wonder again at my obsession with bears, given the relative rarity of moose and bobcats.

One settles into it - it arises naturally - and thought recedes, being of little use in this new but thankfully familiar mode. On my feet for hours before microphones means my back aches, and so the dog and I walk farther than usual, despite her gathering slowness and own stumbling, because I have never mastered not testing myself against what I perceive as punishment. The old books don't work and I can't afford to buy any new ones. I assure you my inconsistency is neither intentional nor acquisitive, and any mysteries that result, however seemingly attractive, reflect nothing but my confusion about love.

Dogwood blossoms rot near the clothesline. We dress the trout where we catch them, lest the reek of guts and fish blood call predators too near the chicken shed. Tiny green blueberries emerge into sunlight on branches extending over crumbling walls framing Center Cemetery. Night yields surprisingly happy dreams from which I rise surprisingly open to service.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Love Before Jesus

Sometimes the way is marked by little yellow flowers. Not often - but now - I question the twenty sentences, and they always respond that they are not twenty sentences, but something else. People change, or seem to, and so love must not be only that which is shared between bodies. Half moon visible between shifting branches of summer maple trees is all the delight I need. Well, also summer bull thistle, which the dog sniffs as we pass, and seems to glow when the sun rises.

Question habit or else. And give attention now to what arises, and also to the words "arises" and "arisings," both of which may help undo the stubborn self forever insisting on gain. Emily Dickinson's snow remains instructive. We are forever volunteers? J. and I stop near Watts Brook to watch trout jump at dusk, lovely silver plashes in the soft-sinking light.

Preparation mars the otherwise perfect present. The kids and I spend the afternoon cloud-busting, and later at night hold sparklers against the sky. There is nothing to seek but there is a lot release! Chrisoula wakens me because of coydogs howling, a pack of them out near the beaver pond, and she worries about deer, fawns in particular, and we sit quietly on the porch holding hands until the yelping fades, unaccompanied by death shrieks. Not everything I want - or profess to be grateful for - is necessary, which is a hard but requisite lesson.

If and when the time comes, gentleness matters most. How far one's childhood recedes without ever actually disappearing! Imagine a world in which you are not. Study that which cannot be sold. Morning arises, nothing passes, and we are infused with the Love that was Love before Jesus said "I am the way."

Sunday, July 6, 2014

After the First Faint Strains

Waiting is lovely but wait no longer. At 3 a.m. the raspy bark of foxes lends the night gray. Somewhere a stone falls into the sea, tumbling through depths that grow only colder and darker. What is the point of memory is not bad question. We recall the light after the first faint strains of the old song are heard in pithy distance.

So say yes. I stumble through the internal court, bearing its hard judgment with one eye ever on the shifting exits. Perceive the heart as more than a relatively complicated bellows and you're making more work for God than necessary. Heaven resides in a  percolating sourdough starter? Well, something tasty I'll share when you visit.

Perhaps God is the absence of conditions? One hears voices in the odd hours, soft whispers that suggest there is no past but that everything is happening all at once, right now always. We follow the ribbon of blacktop into the northernmost hills and discover a new place for ice cream. One surrenders happily to the Milky Way on a moonless night. Even your distance cannot undo the sweetness enfolded in immunity.

You still wonder who else is awake, don't you? Few laws are as useful in application as "thought will not undo thought." Remember that memory serves a master at odds with your peaceful nature. Liberty is on the far side of longing and no trail leads to it but the one you break yourself. I stay awake until the first birds sing, then tuck myself back into my sleeping bag, stars fading overhead the way I do too.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

A Little Light Suffices

Restlessness and heartache give way to long walks after midnight which - somewhere near the top of Watts Hill - give way to rain which - as is rain's wont when not resisted - gives way to joy, the quiet kind that leaves you wanting happiness for everyone. So the night passes, rain clouds passing, and winds reminiscent of October so you come home shivering with damp shoulders yawning. Bears, always bears.

Four days running now peaceful dreams in which one is rewarded for loving Jesus despite their countless flaws. Luminous scars reveal a loving God? One works despite the mail which rises and falls like an intelligent tide, a knowing or watery guide.

We chase history and at night it enters through the window in the form of starlight, in the form of the scent of honeysuckle. Who is traveling, who is wandering so far from home? J. and I watch pheasants work the underbrush and I remember the feel of rifles and I wonder again what I still don't know about repentance.

Awakening is nothing more than giving up the habit of insistence. Curtains move in light breezes, cars break down on the highway, and lungs gently settle into stillness. It is not the fireflies with which we are entranced but rather the darkness they are up against.

See? The emphasis on stumbling is now set aside in favor of trusting Jesus to provide the helpful verb. In the morning Chrisoula holds me and we plot the day as best we can, including what to write, and it is enough, it is more than enough.

I am holding off reading A Pattern Language, but also questioning why. T. pulled over while I was coming back down 112 - I could smell the beer, could see the dull light falling out of his eyes - and he said, "you keep walking this much you're gonna forget what cars are for." A little light suffices as always.

We are taking Macbeth slowly but we are taking it. Horses fill the afternoon while at night I beg for mercy.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

To Share Yes

I remember mornings given mostly to staggering half drunk to where I dropped my cigarettes and now I sit quietly out back near the dogwood tree grateful for another morning it didn't come to that. Men who sleep in cars, men who carry knives . . . Broken hearts take many forms as my shoelaces are only so happy to remind you. We walk farther than usual and sit by the brook talking in the old way and it settles me, it quietens me.

Two days running now a scarlet tanager flirts with us where Sam Hill Road is flanked by unhayed fields - once going ahead, once falling behind. After rain, daisies hang their sodden heads and dragonflies gasp for air where the sturdy milkweed holds its ground. Jesus says "you want to talk about tractors, then let's talk about tractors," and when I say "no, I want to talk about Emily Dickinson" he says "How will they tell the story -/When Winter shake the Door - ." Well, a pair of moose calves trod through Watts Brook at 5 a.m., turning to look at me when I call to them and the old dog, who is at last too tired to give chase to anything, just watches.

I demand you bring the world back to me golden and whole! I remember hiking with Chris years ago - silent a good couple of hours - and just shy of Mansfield's rocky summit he said, "I wonder if angels give head?" And now we walk in dogged quiet, now we claim the ruins. There is enough tea for all of us to share, yes?

Strangers pass and we watch them go, aware that they are taking yet another shot at salvation with them. Waves rise and fall on the salty singing sea and we swim through them at twilight, pretending to be whales. Oh Big Dipper won't you spill your sweet nectar down upon me? I've never been too tired for a kiss and whatever happiness follows.

Morning turns to high noon and the many ghosts I know come, rattling chains, dragging old silk. S. asks shyly what do I like so much about A Course in Miracles if God is everywhere and in all things and so forth. Oh for a glance of the revved-up sanctuary! Being mostly forgiven and walking around happily, bored as always with clothing.

A Helpful, Clarifying Decision

Fireflies after rain leave dizzy streaks in still-wet air, phosphorescent stigmatics braving long hours of dark. Question the inclination to render umbrellas a fashion statement. The dog growls at the window and we walk in circles through the yard and it's no good, an hour later a fox takes one of the neighbor's chickens, its blood cries falling off away between goldenrod and timothy. One says certain things about God - like, "seeking God is like your tongue trying to taste itself" - and then at last realizes the futility of language, which is to say, the dimness of its utility, and so the spaces in which one admits a stunned silence grow larger and, oddly, more welcoming. It's not about you, and it never was.

Or so one thinks - or writes at least - admitting again the difficulty inherent in following Jesus, which is not so different from following Buddha, unless you insist on seeing the cross as a necessary penitential juncture. Raw garlic and an apple for breakfast, allowing that Jonathan Edwards wasn't all wrong. Thomas Merton's love affair is perhaps instructive, at least insomuch as it testifies to certain considerations of secrecy and, in the end, a helpful clarifying decision. Whiskey is a trope, and I like studying difficult books, and putting it all into words this way matters, and that's it, that's how it is right now. One comes to a stop on the beach perceiving in the watery distance a sailboat with enormous white sails blurring as it falls away, and one realizes that they are its pilot, and so this moment expands and encompasses so much more than initially believed.

I put away my prisms because the young cats were batting them, but now - morning after morning without rainbow shards floating through the bedroom - I wonder, I really do. D. once said "you have amazing eyes but get increasingly ordinary the lower you go" and I laughed even though I felt bad for my calf muscles. Her ankles were amazing and one afternoon while she read - Virginia Woolf, if memory serves, and if memory doesn't, imagination will - I studied her ankles closely and wrote dozens of pages of poetry in which the word "ankle" did not appear once and yet in which I learned all one can know about the body as a hinge, and thus began a mostly doomed, mostly wasteful exploration of what happens when you gently open it to reveal the other side. The broken insist that light is never so lovely as when it is separated into its vivid spectrum but the healed are happy in either instance because they know that only the form of light can change.

J. writes to tell me that self-salvation is the beginning, not the end, of the atonement process. Is it all a question of internal willingness or do we need someone to help? I stumble through informal prayers while picking sleep out of my eyes, falling back off my knees in gratitude, and receiving again - in yet another form (sort of like fireflies passing by the window at midnight), as if somebody somewhere is insisting on something - "it's not about you." I haven't found a single turtle to rescue this summer which makes me feel like Jesus is saying, let's just relax on the whole "I'm responsible for shepherding all New England turtles to their love nests" thing, okay? Song behind the song, Song of Songs, song singing me into you home.