How to begin?
At one a.m. a skunk ambling up Main Street pauses when it senses me ambling the other way, and when I pause as well, it decides to keeps going, taking a left into the Historical Museum parking lot. When it's safely past, I walk again.
At an early age I detected a fundamental lawfulness in living that was baffling, given the obvious - often personal - pain that filled the world. God was no answer - God was the question.
There are other questions.
It is raining, lightly, just shy of freezing, and my jacket grows heavy and cold, my shoulders stiffen. I am ice man, encased, slower with each step.
Is this anything like what it will feel like to die. Is there anything it feels like to die.
We are stories, not story-tellers. So much softens and settles when we realize this in a felt - in an embodied - way.
Looking up through tangled maple branches at dim clouds. One a.m. or a little after or did I say that already.
What did I say already.
We are the particular observer for whom this world arises in the particular way that it arises, and no more, but also no less. So much softens and settles when we realize this in a felt - in an embodied - but wait.
We are a way of deploying commas that has to do more with rhythm than with the structure of content in the sentence, but we are not just that.
The skunk was not alarmed by me so much as briefly cautious, which I took as a compliment, being that sort of man. Other encounters with skunks - when there is less time to prepare for the encounter, and less space in which to allow minds to assess and choose among various responses - have been less amenable.
All pain is nontrivial.
In a sense, there is no beginning but only picking up where one left off. And then what happened?
Insomnia again, the toxicity of no sleep again.
Nobody comes downstairs to ask if I am okay and the secret that I want to tell you - which you probably know - is that I wish somebody would. I don't know if I would know what to do if they did but I would like to try. I would like to ask for help and then accept help. I think I might be that man now.
Two onions left from the garden, a couple dozen squash, and what feels like uncountable pounds of frozen apple sauce and apple slices.
What do you get to, what do you let go.
I make tea and let the various narratives quieten, which they do. Something in me is broken and asserts itself by whatever means it can find, and I am listening, but I am also scared and not sure how to care for anyone, let alone myself.
So much of what we say could go unsaid without the world dissembling accordingly and yet here we are, writing and reading together, as if the last sentence were somehow related to the first in a way which is not mysterious and very much acclimated to love.