Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Gathering Rivulet of Days

There are sad faces set like stone, men and women leaning in chairs so that rectangular beams of sunlight - shaped by mottled windows that haven't been cleaned in years - spill across their laps, rise to their necks and flood the anguish of misapprehended decades. The cold braces us, as we walk across the brick pathway, unsure of what to say in such funereal circumstances. Was it a thousand years ago I held you in a storm and said goodbye (in that other language, the one we both flirt with remembering) as the first faint traces of sunlight split the rocky cliffs at our feet?

At this late juncture - so close now to the insight that leaves nothing to undo - I bid farewell to coffin ships, grandfatherly poetry, and studying the sea floor for evidence of wrecks or whiskey. Voices rise and fall within silence and it is that silence to which I (and by extension, you) am now directed. Thus this, this way.

The deer are leaving the deep forest, hungry and frightened, the open swell of their brown eyes a country that defies all incursions. One stands a long time studying the dark lines of trees against the first faint traces of sunlight in New England, ignoring cold fingers, breath racing in tumescent lungs, remembering old goodbyes that even now shape the gathering rivulet of days. You, always you.

One gravitates naturally to a kind of writing that is obtuse, exclamatory, indifferent to punctuation. Days are always more interesting than people but quartz in a river is a thousand times more interesting than all my days put together with a bow. One falls into life, and continues falling, until at the bottom they reach a soft sort of golden loam in which enormous kind turtles reside, dispensing wisdom and telling jokes.

Often I will sit outside after midnight and fish around the crusty snow below the bird feeder to find unsplit seeds to chew on while time passes, as it must since I insist - still - on learning what I already know. One infers Spring from many sources - the presence of deer, the shift of crows from backyard to forest, the gathering lilt in her voice, and the way some people grow stingy with their sentences. Below the snow, buried in frosty earth, bulbs consider spitting a green frond at the light and at least one of my prayers encourages said expectoration.

Letters sent that never arrive are not without effect! We are called not to wait on becoming nor to ponder its absence but rather to be the saints we naturally are when all our attention is given to love (which is simply what is, no more and no less). Snow is just water having a certain kind of experience and when it reaches the part of my lips - turned skyward, turned westward - it melts and becomes another kind of experience, as in time we all must.

The man without shoes learned a dance many lifetimes ago and he repeats it night after night, regardless of the weather, regardless of who is (or is not) watching. Way out in the pine trees - where in the fire pond banks of ice are learning to be water again - he is joined briefly by God, turning an ecstatic and luminescent pirouette herein reduced to language in order to reflect - as best as I am able in this writing this way - the awkward radiant joy of the prodigal son at home in his Father's arms.

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