Monday, April 27, 2015
What are the owls carrying on about at 4:30, their cries echoing back and forth through misty woods on either side of the brook which smells oddly - or is it me - of smoke. Meanwhile an unspecified ache in my right side keeps me leaning ever so slightly left, not entirely distracting me from a lifelong - but recently intensifying - study of birch trees. Such loveliness always right before us! And what are books but reflections of experience? What are kisses but happy accidents of biology? I don't know - I really don't - and who cares anymore anyway. The dog is content with Spring, rolling in fox scat, drinking from puddles, going mostly ahead of me like in the old days. I keep thinking how we won't be here soon enough, the two of us together, and it's okay. More and more death just feels like a letter falling out of an envelope, or a breeze stirring yellow curtains above the sink in my aunt's kitchen in 1972. God is the story we tell ourselves until we grow up enough to face the dark without narrative. What a mess we've made of chickens, broadly speaking, and don't get me started on Africa or the Republican party. The flip side of all this solitude and interior focus is a yearning for money and hot sex in motels. I'd do it if I could handle it but I can't, not anymore. I'm not even sure I remember how. Yesterday I cleared a little deadfall from the trail and went down to the clearing where I still hope someday to build a little hut in which to write and read and tend responsible fires. The owls never stop warning against you which is gratifying, in its way. Look closely and see how the forest is in motion, slowly but perpetually. That is the lesson and the only one we need! Thank Christ for the many dogs who have never not helped me see it.
Thursday, April 23, 2015
One day the dog and I won't walk and then what? Then someone else will love the world this way of course. The man without shoes with a dog is nothing new! Thus a last star, a lavender sky, and thus leafless lilac. But not only that. Unkempt lawns, crumbling trails in the forest, and the yet-damp bank of the fire pond. When you open for me, I see the tracks of deer bearing witness to glades I will never enter. Nor seek to enter, not anymore. Rusted sap buckets, maple shadows scaling walls in need of paint. We dream we live by images until at last we consent to see otherwise. In my hands, wintered-over amethyst accepts both dust and sunlight. Garter snakes coil where the daffodils are late to bloom. Gifts? Not really. More like Giving, always, "in perpetuity" as the priests say, but also the willingness to say yes to it, as the earth says yes to what passes, without really worrying over why or what to call it.
Sunday, April 19, 2015
Can I say I don't know? The pine trees are just there in the darkness. And reflected light makes me happy and always has. Maple buds blush across the landscape, red whether the sun is up or not. Nobody has to see anything in order to see everything. I walk slowly, giving the killdeer time to think, and grateful for the spaciousness that holds me, never rushing me into surrender or insight. Way out on old logging trails on the ridge above the river, I rest on a log and study stars. There is the inclination to name what we perceive, there is the process of naming, and then there is a requisite forgetting. Letting go? Oh, I don't know and more and more I can't be bothered to say. A sliver of moon breaks the horizon and I hear the wind flowing roughly north and west. "What a beautiful song," I think, and for a moment am emptied and go nowhere eternally.
Thursday, April 9, 2015
Sleet and a little wind. Town trucks growl in the distance, plows banging the icy hardtop, and the dog for once agrees to go deeper into the forest due south. I stumble near the fire pond, grabbing a pine bough to right myself, but still slip down the icy bank to my knees in freezing water. Well, some mornings are like that. There are stars out there, and daffodils. There are blankets that will never cover my shoulders. What can we do when we perceive at last the fullness of what we will never do, never taste, never hold? The work is always internal, yet a radiant world begs for attention. We project the wound, call ourselves healers and thus become travelers, aliens in our own home. The little I have to offer shrinks even further, the way envelopes curl before burning in the stove. All is ash and sorrow and still. Even though my feet ache I wait a good half hour before turning back to ensure the trucks aren't working roads the dog will use getting home. We are here to be kind, and to let what happens happen, and to learn there is nothing to learn, and that only we can learn it. So yes. A gray light rises, altogether welcome. And yes. The dog sleeps, and dreams, and the dreams pass. All of us really, together.
Friday, April 3, 2015
The far field opens. You think you can't be more broken and at 4 a.m. you are, again. These days I can't say is it moonlight flowing through me or am I the flow only just now noticing itself? I stumble near the cattail, fall to my knees, and cry - quiet sobs the dog comes back to check on. How hard we struggle! How vicious our insistence on personal loneliness and grief! I cry so hard and long I think someone somewhere must be looking for a boat. Yet after, I stretch across the snow to study the blurred sky, and the familiar words come. What remains? The journey isn't an accumulation of steps, nor arrival at some distant destination, but rather every step itself unto itself. How faithful I am to 4 a.m.! And all because all I know is that a single moment of true joy cleanses lifetimes of tears. I didn't ask for this - and will not be here when it ends - but still. The vastness and readiness of what wants only to hold me . . . What else can I speak of now? What else could you possibly want to hear?