He writes "I woke thinking of you at 2 a.m. and could not sleep nor wanted to (for fear of losing you in the self-righteous theology that lately fills my sleeping mind) and so slipped outside to walk. Single digit temperatures, bright stars. Maybe a hundred yards from the house I realized I was under-dressed but didn't feel like turning back. I never do, once I'm going. Crusty snow bore the dog well but I kept slipping through it and so returned soon enough to the road, passing houses in which people slept - people do that, don't they? - and dreamed. I imagined I could see their dreams rise like gaseous bubbles, shimmering and effervescent, like gasoline trailing through rain puddles. Metaphors were no good - they never are really - and so I insisted on returning to the moment, seeking the clarity that you seek too, and allowing that we might seek for it together, even though we cannot talk about it. Part of the problem is we think we're special and know we're not but know too that knowing we're not does, in fact, separate us a little from the proverbial spiritual herd. All of which simply means that the brain - like the rest of our so-called body - is no good at this sort of thing! Or is too good perhaps. At least I can laugh, which sooner or later I always do, walking like that in the darkness alone (but am I really alone if you are there (in thought) and if the dog is here too?).
"The dog longed for the woods and I felt sad withholding it. I fear something in me breaks or goes sour when I refuse to meet even a single need of my beloveds. And so part of the walk, as always, involved sadness which is a sort of bittersweet way of sustaining our uniqueness. Look at me! Teachers, of course, abound. Closer to the bridge where thirty years ago A. and I first kissed and she said quietly after 'please promise you won't tell anyone' and I was so happy - truly as close to ecstasy as ever before or since - that I could only mumble a few disconnected syllables in reply, I saw how happy she (the dog) was, literally gamboling from snowbank to snowbank. That is to say, she had truly forgiven me for not entering the forest, by which I mean she literally no longer remembered that such a so-called wrong had existed only minutes before. It's hard to even imagine the intense love a dog bears for anyone. To A. - now practicing law in D.C., who recently wrote to remind me of that kiss (how different the past is in memory, which is reason enough to set it aside altogether!) - and to you - I simply say forgive me, in the mode of dogs if possible, and human beings if not. What else is there?"
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