What have we been, in the very ground of our being? What might we become? These questions are of past and future. In trying to answer them, we will not find peace.
Carry the wind of the present in your heart and you will never thirst. You will participate in eternity. You will experience Real Time, not clock time, not practical time, not linear time.
We carry bow and arrow but not much power.
Let us have no use for it.
There is no room left to breathe when we make too much of things, when we are swept into drama. The drama takes up all the space.
The simple things, small things, have the most power to bring us peace. There is space around them. They are not so small after all.
Why do I wake while morning is still night?
I grope along endless caverns, it seems, descending many fathoms deep into memories of the past, and dreams of the future, my hand outstretched, a flickering candle in the curl of my fingers.
Journeys that – in the present light of day – I struggle to recall. And I am a tourist there, though I carry no passport and leave no footprints.
People whisper, muttering: “Oh, he looks tired. Something wrong with him?”
Yet I just smile because I know my pockets were sewn with fortune-thread. And I know I am the ragged onward-goer, the ever-forward marcher.
My fires are so thirsty,
the hunger drinks itself.
Transcendent wheel turning,
at once groaning and soundless.
I speak the language of rounded stones,
spoken at the navel of the world.
At times I cannot even reach you.
At times I scoop you up
to ride across the world in the cups of my hands,
my skin peeling back
as if it were the bark of a eucalyptus tree.
To really explain, I’ve got to go back
to where the rain stopped suddenly
and everything went quiet
and the sky turned bright orange.
I’ve got to go back and I can’t take you with me,
but I will return and tell you what I find there.
All my life,
I simply do what I was made to do.
That is why I am a contented man.
Kettle on, I began my chores while the water heated. I don’t mind winter’s darkness being punctual, but arriving too early is plain inconsiderate.
Before long, my cracked fingers smelled of orange peel and smoke from the wood-fire I built, with kindling so fine and fair it swelled my hands to cut it. My tea, too, was smoked – black tea once carried with great difficulty across Mongolia, Siberia.
Still in my work clothing, I stood looking out through glass and viscous gloom, as the cat relieved himself. He inspected his production before covering it with snow, and bounded back to the door, rabbit-like.
I retreated to the lamp-lit heart of the arthritic house to get out of my boots, praise the luxury of soap and hot water, and begin cooking.
Once, everything you knew – wanted to know, even –seemed so important. All the things you were sure you understood, and wished to better understand.
But then the long night of your life came.
Deep in among the folds of that night, you cried out for your life to be different, but it was only ever up to you.
A thousand pairs of eyes watched you from a distance. They only knew there was nothing they could do to protect you, and that their final breath would come as surely as yours, and that they were hungry.
Songs of moonflowers, rain-shadows, animal powers – even the song of the wind we must unlearn.
You’ve walked a path upon the earth – now to it, return.
Last night, we stayed up late planning our move to Ecuador. This morning, San Diego.
By the time we sat down to lunch, we had made our final decision about Florida.
Over afternoon tea, we practically signed an agreement regarding the Virgin Islands.
Naturally we ended up on the couch watching a documentary about Brazil, a fire crackling in the wood stove.
Me, throwing myself against you like a slobbering Saint Bernard as the snow hushed up this fitful town.
You, making another remark destined to become a classic, while the icicles outside
closed in on their objective of connecting our roof with the ground,
the clock ticking its wheels over the little bump of midnight.
The face of the stone lion who surveys the back yard has turned white due to weather and time, two things I understand very little of, being neither meteorologist nor physicist. I only know that he reminds me of a Celtic warrior painted up for a fight, milky streaks spreading through the dark copper of his mane.
A stone lion is the best kind of lion to have, for he requires no meat and will never turn on you. Being stone, he looks no more tired than he did when he entered my service all those years ago.
I admire his dignified silence, and wish I were more like him, so unaffected by weather and time. Maybe then the sun I’m sitting in wouldn’t feel like it had to work so hard to beat back the gloom of eventuality.
For the moment, though, I somehow get hold of the slippery fish of acceptance and wrestle it in close, effort in one hand, surrender in the other.
For the moment, he comforts me, ever gazing at the garden before him, neither its conqueror nor its servant, a snail passing before his feet like a tourist visiting a monument.