Interior Altars and Jesus

I head out later than usual. The dog chases a rabbit. Last night she woke me three times. I stood beneath stars groggy and unsure. Something is shifting.

Shifting, evolving. Words matter until they don’t, and then they don’t matter at all. If you read this, why not say so? Orion eyeballing a distant bear lumbering through the galaxies. I pause at the brook to drink and listen to chickadees.

They remind me there are other ways to think about time. Moments of clarity are increasingly rare! My teachers write and ask me to read more. Hawks frighten the chickens and the chickens frighten moths. What is it I cannot hold back?

One studies a particular expression of love only to learn they’ve been dismantling the only bridge back to illusions. Who stands beside me now ? Put aside the metaphorical metaphysical bullshit about interior altars and Jesus. The dog waits for me by shadowed ferns. What I am asking is, this together or another?

Categorized as Sentences

The Impulse to Correct A Sweetness

And so the rain comes, a soft patter from the west. Certain fields go without deer. A quartz perspective, a sense of rising.

Bored crows pick at a dead third where the road turns. We enter the future blind. Slick rainbows, a popping sound.

The rain crescendoes mildly between maple leaves. Crickets scurry beneath tufts of woven grass. Your shoulders, the lines on your face.

One bares her chest, another her soul. Behind the clouds, stars, and beyond the stars, God. I can’t remember the last time I saw a deer there.

An ancient mirror, mummified snow. Roads darken as the rain falls harder. Be wary of the impulse to correct a sweetness.

We long to be right. Or not alone. Or dry at least, when it rains.

Sentences elevate existence. Ours.

Categorized as Sentences

Something in the Stars

On the trail I find blue jay feathers, shotgun shells, rusted ball bearings and bear scat. Broken glass and oil cans dinged by .22’s. The heron passes overhead, traveling west, which means something other than me spooked her. When I dream of you it owns the clarity of quartz and my fingers trailing a passage down your cheek come alive.

One reflects often on the movement of advaita vedanta west – to England and then the United States – and the resultant transformation – still subtle but readily trackable – on Christianity. The words we use matter. As in, “Potomac sunrise.” We find ourselves in specificity and then lose ourselves in a greater light no longer fearful. I cannot bear – my body trembles – at the possibility of kisses.

Robins and their babies scatter. A fence, properly understood, binds nothing. One daughter takes her camera to the garden, the other carries a book into maple shadows to read. Often this writing is like notes for later, so I’ll remember what to say. We are ripples joining, we extend and grow quiet.

Carry me a little further, won’t you? Her letters often remind me of origami, or a yearning to create folds of my own, as if that were a helpful model. As roses are, or kisses. I am electric in you, as you are in me, and it just this side of manageable. We study the sky and see something in the stars that says we have done this before and it is okay, it is going to be okay.

Categorized as Sentences

Not Always Knowing

I go blessed though not always knowing. She is in my dreams, her orange sari moving with the wind. She urges me to greater honesty and thus a greater trust. Awakening means acceptance of what is, she says. And I think of you who are still distant yet closer than ever, and something electric passes through me. It sparks.

We are not alive the way we think. Waves roll in and go out. Light can take years to find us. In my dreams, you are always gentle but frequently given to hard questions. How I long to make love to you in the morning, our voices never rising above a whisper! And yet.

One trembles at the sudden depth of longing, as if suddenly realizing the sea has no bottom. There are models for this but they are all in the past and one is beholden now to what is. Your voice softens me, dear one. Avoid judgment, she says again. There are no directions in the country of love. The moon is still and yellow behind a line of maple trees and all the light one needs.

For you I choose the words carefully. As in prayer, in grace.

Categorized as Sentences

Crows Appear

And so the light changes. Roseate skies turn violet than blue. My glasses break. Are you there?

I am here, in the tendril narratives we confuse for our lives. The oven hisses, chickadees flutter at the back fence. I hear bells sometimes, other times trains. Your letters make a difference in my happiness.

Can I say that like that? Slow-moving rivers testify to power. I think of her often while walking, a sort of catalogue in my mind of images I think she’d like. One longs, one does.

Impossibly a zinnia blooms in late August. One walks the horse deeper into the forest and the quiet owns an unfamiliar quality. This is not writing the way I want to write. He wrote.

Honesty comes hard. My traveling woman carries secrets and inside her a desert. Crows appear to study me at a distance. I swallow hard – say it – and continue.

Categorized as Sentences

Oddly Vulnerable

I walk slowly sometimes. Sometimes I stop. Yesterday I saved a little snapping turtle from the road. Last of the hawkweed makes me want to cry. Come home, won’t you?

Certain sticks are reminiscent of snakes. Certain snakes make me sad, how oddly vulnerable they are. In dreams she wears the shirt I use for cutting wood. Quartz glistens after rain and the last of the hawkweed brings tears to my eyes.

Tracks of the dog, tracks of deer and then – more rarely – fox tracks. Chicken feathers on the trail means an unhappy farmer. Have I ever put “coffee” and “struggles” in the same sentence? Probably not.

She struggles over coffee with how much writing to show me. January stars await our going forth. In a sense, my hands already know you. Desire wedded to stillness equals bliss.

Or so it went twenty-five years ago on a dirt road in December! Snakes buried in a frost without dreams. May I share with you the hawkweed, its last flare as the august sun winds its way home? Don’t worry, write.

Categorized as Sentences

A Dream and Not A Dream Too

How blessed we are.

How quiet the brook is before dawn.

How soft the humus when I press my hand against it.

When you speak something in me softens.

In the vale of your attention I soften.

In August, the moon and the sun share the sky, like lovers whose relationship is nearly always outside time.

But now.

Now the goldenrod leans out over the pond.

The deer step gently into the pond.

Ripples reach the far side and continue up the bank into the cool air where I stand electric.

Moonlight fills the hayfield where the tall grass has fallen over in rows.

My heart fills: and worries: and lets go.

Again and again and again.

The traveler I long to hold is nearly here.

The traveler whose lips have called to mine: in prayer, in song, in letters.

For my knees long to bend, my hands to grace soft shoulders.

It is a dream, and not a dream, too.

And I will be here.

For waiting is the perfection of stillness.

And stillness the perfection of love.

Categorized as Sentences

All I Know of Loveliness and Welcome

We roust a bear on our way back from the fire ponds. It peers at me from the oak tree, the limbs of which are its refuge, appearing almost bored. This is what I meant to say. How lovely the forest is, and how welcoming, and all I know of loveliness and welcome.

This writing project cannot be possessed! Nor do I owe anybody anything. I’ve never claimed to be other than a wordy fool. I’ve never suggested I can do more than stumble around in search of grace.

Spiders rest in the center of their webs. Beer bottles emerge from the soil, half a century old. That’s what rain does: bring the past back to us. How I hate that old intrusion!

It’s easy to surrender what one doesn’t want. That’s what we say the trail means, no? But the question is: what are trails good for? And usually the answer is found off the trail, where the woods grow thick and gnarly, and the bears look at you as if to say: again?

Yes, again! And again and again and again! Now what? Now this, naturally.

Categorized as Sentences

Old Anguish

Slow mornings illuminated by bronze light. August clarity. Shadows cross the face of the barn. Now what?

Last night I followed the moonlight deep into the forest. I went off the trail. Being tracked by others scares me and so I won’t read her writing anymore. This is not intimate.

The days expand. One feels the breathing of which they are a part. Was this what she wanted? Ravens fill the sky and Monarch butterflies pass in the wind.

Mine is the old anguish of silence and the words to say it. The brook rises in its track and deer sip from it cautiously. This sentence easily becomes you. The next one leaves you behind, also easily.

Interior movement is itself the guide. The mapless are beautiful, as those who claim to study with them know. The fingerprints you see next will not be mine “beloved.” I go alone now, every step more quiet than the last.

Categorized as Sentences

Happier Now

And the corn grows so tall I can’t see over it.

Red-winged blackbirds perch on the ears.

At night beyond the pasture bears grunt working through crab apples rotting in the grass.

And the moon seems to pass.

And the light comes, and grows stronger, and fades.

Sometimes I think of each word as a package, a little gift.

The last of the chicory sags.

The sunflowers are happier now at night.

In the morning, the dog and I walk out to the old fire pond and watch beavers paddling back and forth.

The Great Blue Heron stands quietly in the distance.

Cameras are deceptive.

As sentences are, though differently.

In my dream she said again: the only book is your heart.

I woke happy, tangled in dewy blankets.

All morning I write and read and all afternoon I work with Chrisoula, putting up kale and broccoli and blueberries.

We talk about the doctor and her recommendations.

Hawks pass over and the chickens scurry beneath the shed.

Hummingbirds perch on the old goat fence and at night I walk out to where we buried their bones and see again blood and again feel the sorrow of one who has caused more pain than he intended.

Grapes emerge, and blushing apples.

And in the forest, the smell of pine needles floats on the wind, the only letter necessary.

Categorized as Sentences