Saturday, April 26, 2014

As Happy As Possible

Rain at 2 a.m., compounding loss in a soft way, a commemorative way, until at last I rise and pad softly through the house putting on a jacket and pouring cold tea and going outside to walk.

Mist rising to meet the rain, which in the budding maple trees makes a hushed sound, like quilts being drawn, or pages being turned.

And the sweetness of it - the rain, the fog, the peepers singing between cattails - the loveliness of it - is bearable at last and one accepts it gratefully, alone.

And the copse of birch trees, all saplings yet, denoting purity, or something, for I stop always when I pass, as if the altar were temporarily removed from within and set just there to be admired, to be loved really, as if that were the lesson, which it is, nearly always.

Water boils for tea and I swallow a wall of text whole, again.

One works carefully in darkness out back, rearranging fallen gutters, filling feeders, smiling, not alone at all.

For she sleeps in the next room and reads whatever I give her, and it was she who brought me to the country of turtles and allowed me to build a small hut there, and she who comes so often at dusk to share the thin soup of my broken but aspirant love.

Sentences like thickets when what one longs for is the fox passing through the thickets, on fire and hungry, so hard to catch.

For a long time I thought women were the answer, and for even longer I thought it was whatever was hidden in books, but it turns out the answer was always just sentences, like this one, and the next one, and the one that went before.

And the nineteenth century is neither lost nor gone.

And the eighteenth century battens what is loose in me and gives welcome to shadows.

I am the one who loves the names of flowers more than the flowers, and often renames them in secret, in order to be as happy as possible.

All the way out to the fire pond, dim in the gaining light, the ripples of attentive beavers swimming reaching all the way to shore, and continuing beyond in a way that - as yet - defies my facility with language.

Cookies left over from Easter will be given later to the chickens, for whom such thanks is never not appropriate, nor unwelcome.

For a little while longer, the tea will taste different because it is not in my favorite mug, and for a little while longer I will continue to have a favorite mug, but soon . . .

I remember sheep in the hills facing Castletownbere, the blue and red swathes painted on their shaggy hides, and the way whiskey and cigarettes hit the back of my throat just so, and her kisses by the night fires we lit, and how she leaned into me after saying "just talk, I don't care about what."

And trains, and the distance they make possible, and the landscape thus emerging, and the need to bridge it somehow with words.

And the futility I face, day after day, night after night, of knowing wordiness is not enough, but having nothing else to offer, and so offering it over and over and over.

Oh and the apartment three stories up, across from the homeless shelter, where I first read Wendell Berry and struggled with zazen, and began to lose in a serious way the ability to sleep, and so took to walking at odd hours, rain or snow be damned, and the diner near the lake that opened at 3 a.m. and how I often stopped to order toast and coffee, all I could afford, and the waitress who said "you remind me of my son and not in a good way," and how I literally left the city a week later and have not lived in one since.

And later how the rain spools across the window, just visible in gray light, the dog and I drying off on the bed, shivering but happy with all the apparently random trails before us, so silver, so flowing, and thus.

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