Each day mountain walks itself.
Cascading ice rounds tumbling solid forms sculpturing. February cold wavelets oh so slowly lean through ice flowing pre
-dawn. Night millimetres winter growth under double-plank bridge across from animals' burial ground at turn of brook.
I am nowhere to be found.
The birds have vanished into the sky.
Now the last cloud drains away.
We sit together, the mountain and me,
Until only the mountain remains.
- Li Po (701–762)
Would that be so. And is, but for my seeing it so. I still see ghost of what is no longer there. When I disappear, it is only holy ghost remaining -- as, at, on -- mountain.
At Thursday Evening Conversation eight sit antiphonal to Waterford 103 firebox inserted in fireplace. Finally, in 11th
winter of shop at harbour, a warm place with no smoke filling back room, no cold draft sucked in under eaves, nor kabuki dance of dying fire cooling narrowing circle as edge-sitters pull sweaters and fleece tighter. Jack facilitates A Course in Miracles. Delia Mae arrives at end telling how Spring Hill was blocked and stopped for some 30 minutes (again, as it was that morning) with ice-misfortune cars, trucks, and plows. Lola said she prays just coming out driveway to Camden-Belfast Road. Even as we came down from Old Town through her place of prayer earlier for 5:30 conversation, wheels slid on curved road banked hill ice -- which is how we knew we were where we were at.
In car driving back from north of Bangor we talk about how landlord of building we use for harbour shop seems to be pushing us out; how it comes time to (finally) re-think the evolving blueprint of Meetingbrook
, long stuffed in dusty closet; now that external cause invites internal affect -- something will change -- what effect will we fashion in this revelation?
So much of life is a dance. So, too, with death.
Just do the steps that you’ve been shown
By everyone you’ve ever known
Until the dance becomes your very own
No matter how close to yours another’s steps have grown
In the end there is one dance you’ll do alone
Keep a fire for the human race
And let your prayers go drifting into space
You never know what will be coming down
Perhaps a better world is drawing near
And just as easily, it could all disappear
Along with whatever meaning you might have found
Don’t let the uncertainty turn you around
(The world keeps turning around and around)
Go on and make a joyful sound
Into a dancer you have grown
From a seed somebody else has thrown
Go on ahead and throw some seeds of your own
And somewhere between the time you arrive and the time you go
May lie a reason you were alive but you’ll never know
(from song "For a Dancer" by Jackson Browne, 1974)
As often as I think of it, I have no grasp on why I am alive, why here, why now. The steps and mis
-steps called 'my life' seem the length of a single song over decades and decades playing background over glittering frozen pasture after ice storm. The seduction of each step. Of night with dawn, twilight with dusk, one body with another, one instant of awareness with consciousness itself.
It feels like a poet's version of the ten commandments -- Thou shall not commit, dancing!
My Methodist Grandmother Said
set to music
how right she was
in that sweet sway
breast to breast and
leg to leg
sin comes into its own
if you have never
you cannot imagine
the sheer voluptuousness
the light touch
palm to palm
wool and silk
mixed below the waist
your partner's warm breath
on your neck
the strength of the man
the yielding of the woman
so unspeakably sweet
he moves toward you
you back away
he pursues you
and with the faintest
you encourage him
and watch the blood
rush to his face
not a word is spoken
no one sees this
although it's done in public
in full sight of everyone
and touch again
in time to the music
without thinking of your body
in that gentle
one two three
in the western
(Poem: "My Methodist Grandmother Said" by Mary Mackey, from Breaking the Fever: Poems. Marsh Hawk Press.)
There's foreplay everywhere. Wind with wind chime, cat with mouse, water with bottle, wood with fire, fingers with keys, silence with sound.
Life is foreplay with death.
Working around hermitage these days has been lovely. Hours cutting back unruly bush outside kitchen and barn, hours moving snow during Valentine's Day storm, cutting wood, repairing plastic against broken window in mud room. I have a body.
So does mountain. its body and my body are not two bodies. Our service and landlord's investments are not at odds. Marriages and divorces -- with accompanying hopes and despairs, are the unpredictable turns and high color, falterings and disconcerting realizations of the dance.
So we are, so we go on. Jory likes the word 'acceptance' over 'forgiveness.' Jesus might have said: "Father, help me accept that they are doing what they are doing, they don't know what they are doing." Forgiveness is a good word. Acceptance is its dear kin.
We are kin to one another.
If we dance, will only the mountain remain?
Am I irretrievably mis
Now, here, to be, found?