The world moves me, incredibly, yet hurts so much with all its trouble. We are all each other. We are all vital and fresh, and greasy damaged goods, all at once. We are a mash of matter and cells, primordial puree.
I want to shed my human-ness and unite with my animal incarnation. Wither my body and swipe it out of the way, integrate my spirit-life into the land itself, the very sky. Be inside stones and water and wood, be outside what we perceive as space, divorced of linear time.
It was odd, having a hospital bed in the house, a morphine drip-bag next to it, attached to a metal stand. I especially hated the head-brace with the four clamps, and the way the four prongs actually entered the flesh of your skull. The memory of that spring morning is like a frozen painting in my head, like a song that you not only know every note of, but is also a selection from the soundtrack to your life – inescapable, like weather or family bloodline or disease carried by mosquitos.
I awoke to the smell of a decomposing body. Realizing I had missed the chance to say goodbye, I cautiously entered your room and kissed your cheek, then returned to my own bedroom. The paramedics arrived, and because my bedroom door was open I could see them file past as they walked down the hall and into your room. I listened to the sounds of a lifeless body being wrestled onto a gurney, then watched them pass again with you in front of my doorway. The gurney banged against the wall twice and I winced. I don’t know why I winced, I don’t suppose it mattered that it hit the wall. That was the last time I saw you, unless you count ashes in an urn.
Twenty-five years and still trying to heal. That particular morning I wandered out and caught the bus to go to school, didn’t know what else to do, I guess. My history teacher saw me in the hallway and said I had to go home. He was normally a hard-ass, but that day I could see tenderness on his face.
Of course, when we say all we want is to be left alone, what we mean is we don’t want to be left alone.
“There are limits to having people make up your mind for you.” -Lloyd Alexander
Prosperity is a good pair of shoes. Beauty is to sleep well.
Good fortune is to enjoy your work. Bliss is something to eat.
Magic is having your health. Comfort is a simple life.
Perfection is a parent and child laughing together.
Peace is a choice you make.
I am a friend to open doorways and floor-to-ceiling windows, backroads and hillsides, paths, trails, sidewalks, porches, crackling fires, paint, ink, water and earth.
I am a friend to sweet breezes, shagbark hickory, rising smoke, stone, gentle tides rocking like cradles beneath splattered stars, new days, constant poetry, old cars.
I am a friend to work, a friend to rest, a friend to the morning as you may have guessed. To what came before, I am a friend, and to what lies next around the bend.
“I do believe that I shall have a meal,” said the cat with the marvelous colorings, “and once I’ve finished – and cleaned my paws just so – I shall have another.
Then, perhaps, I will curl up outside on my small wooden table, next to the stone statue of the girl with the tortoise on her lap, and make myself perfectly round.
I love the in-between times. It’s no longer summer, but not yet fall. How the rodents scurry along the wall! I relish the open doors. My autonomy is dear to me.
After my nap (I suppose it’s rather obvious what sort of nap I will take) I will glance with slanted eyes at the man I keep for a pet. He is sitting in a chair on the porch. One hand strokes his beard while the other hangs low, almost to the wood beams. I rise, pause to lick his fingers as I pass, and go inside, padding my way coolly toward the windowsill.
At the heart of humankind stirs an ever-present unquenchable need to tap into its own creative power. This manifests in ways both peaceable and destructive. Nevertheless, we yearn yearn yearn to push beyond the aches, pains, phlegm, blood and gunk of mortality and the visible world known to us. No wonder we enjoy star-gazing so much: we have a desire, be it conscious or unconscious, to explore and experience cosmic energy. Many of us feel as if splinters of that energy are hooked into us. Couple this desire with the unavoidable recognition of our stunning insignificance, and you have before you the Sense of Wonder that has been endlessly pondered by countless humans over countless lifetimes. It can go either way, I suppose – you might feel energized and awakened by it, or you might adjust the rope and kick the stool out from under your feet.
I think that in the most exciting circumstances the artist within us springs to life, even from the most dormant state. The artist incarnation of ourselves then goes to work, producing something that has the ability to inform or inspire others…and in many cases it continues to inform and inspire long, long after our departure from this world.