Friday, October 30, 2020

Men Who Were Haunted By Men

Yellow maple leaves falling, toppling through warm air, a loveliness, a light, littering wet grass.

Chrisoula advises me that inclement weather is coming - rain and wind - and I tell her I'll be okay, which is a lie, which in context is okay, but still.

Old friends relaying news of their illnesses, a reminder we are all in motion, going along.

What helps includes potato chips, chess with Jeremiah, Hallmark movies, watching football and baseball, kittens and quilts, baking pies with Fionnghuala, rereading favorite books from childhood (and talking with Sophia about what constitutes "favorite books from childhood," especially if we never stop reading them), and long walks alone at dusk and - in ways I am only beginning to understand - just not being lonely anymore.

Hey Sean, what did you mean all those years writing "and begin" when you had obviously begun and were going along?

One enters the desert in which everything is blasted and wasted and consents to be blasted and wasted and thus meets the Lord shriveled and dry, a husk, a dried-up seed pod, a carapace, a corpse.

Always ask: what is near, nearer, nearest?

Hills on the far side of which Emily Dickinson wrote poems and letters that a century and a half later would guide me through the rockiest portion of the trail.

Neither late nor early, neither enough nor not-enough.

How grateful one can be when one is grateful for the ordinary gift of ordinary days!

"That was another happy summer, for the troubles had not come yet."

Making coffee, taking it with me outside, standing it on a shelf in the barn, grabbing hay for the horses, then coming back to get my coffee and finishing it in the doorway, the earth turning mindlessly into light with me. 

The older cats curl up sleeping. The younger ones stretch and roll. 

And a storm gathers.

Family jokes about how as a baby I ate so much bologna, behind which rests the sorrow of poverty and ignorance.

Oh, nothing beautiful, nothing free.

Yet as as the night grows darker and terrible rains fall and he cannot sleep, his heart softens and opens, and all the sleepless men - haunted by violence, haunted by anger, haunted by men who were haunted by men - come into him and cry quietly, leaning on one another, salting each other with tears - and he says to them all, "here with you by the grace of God am I."

All the many ways we interpret the late biblical gloss: "no man knows the hour at which I come."

And to October I say, "not again."

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