Tuesday, August 9, 2022

The Story Forgot who was Telling It

All day a scent I cannot place that places me back in childhood - something okay, something touched by light, a laundry room maybe, or a blanket spread across summer grass. She is out watering her front yard lilies, this neighbor whose joy is infectious, who laughs when I stutter trying to small talk, says "Sean it's time to go home and rest." Sarah Hrdy, thank you.

A subtle shift in her facial muscles alerts me to her frustration, moves me to a patient silence in which she can process her emotions, yet later on Route Nine descending into our valley home, she thanks me for raising it, this thing neither one of us yet knows how to talk about. The insomniac is back, it's summer, the moon is barely higher than a maple tree, what did you expect. Night clouds obscuring stars, undoing distance, you can wander a long time without looking up and still remember you are holy. 

"I knew this day would come" and other lies. Cats chasing moths, moths fluttering higher into the light, all of us doing what our bodies say do. Something about Halloween that cannot be shared, must be possessed, but what or rather why does it refuse to be put into words and why now. 

Brainstorming band names on the drive to Pittsfield, getting silly with it, until the silliness is the point and we enter the sweetness of needing nothing else. What is discontinued, what is beyond repair. In mid-afternoon a local amateur ornithologist stops by to talk about A Course in Miracles and a propos of something only she and the Holy Spirit can see laments the diminishing number of birds in western Massachusetts.

I got good at the story, its arcs and embellishments, forgot who was telling it, and now look. Men who mow around flowers, my brothers. Watching the neighbor hang laundry, asking Christ to translate it, tell me what it is I'm looking at, he says give attention to the shapes and colors, notice movement, what shifts, and most of all don't worry so much about the names you're using - shirt, shoulder, sweater, dance - all of which are means by which the separation seems to be real.

Gently correcting my son, "actually what I said does explain my behavior, it just doesn't justify it," feeling pretty damn slick and righteous, and he's quiet a minute, then sighs in a way that makes clear - again - that being right can in context also be a way of being wrong. The wings of house flies in late summer. Thunderheads gather where the valley's summer hills form a wall called west.

Waking early, driving to the airport, right hand clutching coffee, sight never drifting off the highway. What you would do to me if you could, would it help, help, I am still having nightmares, I am still waking up with these spikes in my neck.

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