Friday, June 25, 2021

Happy in a Way We had Forgotten

Why did I care so much about Thomas Merton's little book Contemplative Prayer? My family in those days were scattering far and fast, and I chose the road another had chosen for me, and ended up with lots of questions and no real interest in answering them.

The skill of knowing how to make a fire, how to kill an animal and prepare it for cooking, and the skill of knowing how to know these things at a late stage of the world. We who are still making up for it.

In darkness the amethyst speaks.

At night she visits when I am watering the garden, coming down the hill in loose pastels, her long graying hair pulled back, and we talk about our day and what our friends are doing, and it makes us happy in a way we had forgotten was our own. None of this should be understood to exclude the moon.

There were more fields growing up but fewer cows, and nobody understood what my father was trying to do, and nobody helped him do it.

Beneath peonies, already falling to the dewy earth, dead chipmunks grow stiff, their dark eyes gazing in opposite directions. Even the word game at which I became so skilled was not itself the answer, as any corpse reminds us.

Any mystery can be solved, any knot can be untangled.

Cup after cup of lukewarm tea, reading that self-impressed prose, and realizing what I cared about was possessing that level of confidence which I learned too late came only from indifference to the fate of those still yoked to observation. There is always hospital drama.

How happy the old dog was around water, sitting in it, paddling around in it, lapping at it while I walked slowly through the forest, still working on the first problem in a little text I like to call "The Sermon on the Mount."  

There is always another drink, always another night in which we will rise and use the earth's bounty to briefly overthrow the patterns and rhythms of our body, the better to catch a glimpse of the soul. I have known one ghost and her feet did not ever touch the ground, and she was entirely uninterested in me, making clear in the end that I was the one haunting her.

Square-dancing steps I still remember, can still execute, a little smile on my face, as if my body were remembering something and saying hey, this makes us happy, can we do this - really actually do this?

Hand-whittled black bears with salmon in their jaws, their legs and ears chipped. A couple three doors down lives the hippie astronomer I've known since I was nine-years-old, whose gracefulness and kindness have been important cosmic mirrors in my life.

Beautiful towering cumuli over the apple trees, further hemming in our little farm. Perhaps Christ is observed relationship between ourselves and observing ourselves, and perhaps we all just need to go barefoot more.

No comments:

Post a Comment