Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Tentative Way Of All Saviors

He wakes early to move snow, worried for the dog whose gallivanting takes her into the path of plows. He watches her go though, grateful as always for evidence of joy. He listens to the distant engines, not louder than the scrape of his shovel, neither of which is more clarified or lovely than the sound of falling snow itself , precisely a susurration. Physical labor helps separate him from thought, those nontangential wanderings that are nevertheless like webs of steel in which we all flounder, bound in traps of our own making. When the dog returns, whole and hale and dusted with snow, tongue lolling from open jaws, he bends to whisper, kind words that are not precisely English.

To write is to be in love and to explore love's boundaries. He writes that and smiles - later now with hot coffee, the fire beginning its sporadic smoky crackle. How many men and women he knows who would reject such sentimental, such outrageous pap! And yet later no doubt wonder: what am I doing with all these words this way? It's a good - it's an important - question.

Well, we don't wake up - call it what you like - alone and we also don't choose our companions. That becomes clearer and - like desire itself - yet another hurdle to ascending the invisible mountain. In the other room, the woman who saved him for this work sleeps in the tentative way of all saviors. There are others, and other ways. But he has chosen now and so the terms are set.

Yearning is simply lust gussied up and pretending otherwise doesn't help anyone. As a child, he enjoyed washing the pigs in buttermilk, ignoring the fact that in a few months time they would be shot from behind and hoisted with the tractor, their blood spilling to crystallize in snow. He has become excellent at love letters but lonely among their recipients. When did he agree to clear the sacred trail on his hands and knees, blindfolded, a broken spoon held between his teeth? And why did he waste so much time being fussed over, pretending it was his idea to find the cross and keep going?

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